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NHS Reforms

Response to Derek Wyatt's letter in the Sittingbourne News Extra (07.03.12):

Dear Sir

Derek Wyatt intimates that I haven’t contacted local doctors to find out what they think about the Health and Social Care Bill that is currently going through Parliament. Not true; I have discussed the NHS reforms with a number of GPs and it is fair to say that they were evenly split between those in favour and those who are opposed.

Personally, I have some concerns about the proposed GP commissioning panels, which is why I have convened a meeting with Sittingbourne doctors on the 23rd of this month (Sheppey doctors on 30th March) to better understand how health care will be delivered to my constituents.

Mr Wyatt repeats the scare story that the new health reforms will privatise the NHS, which is a bit rich coming from somebody who supported a Labour government that deliberately increased the amount of NHS work delivered by the private sector. As it happens, the Health and Social Care Bill expressly forbids such a policy.

In bewailing the loss of the primary care trusts, Mr Wyatt falls into the same trap as many other politicians. They are more concerned about protecting structures and bureaucracy than they are in improving the standard of care we deliver to patients.

My own view is quite clear; I support the general thrust of the health reforms because in the long run they will help deliver a more patient focussed NHS, whilst preserving its core principles of a comprehensive service for all, free at the point of use, based on need and not the ability to pay.

Finally, the Government is delivering real-terms increases in the NHS budget, £12.5 billion extra every year by 2014. The Labour Party opposes these increase, does Mr Wyatt?

Yours sincerely

Gordon Henderson MP

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