The people of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have suffered more than most from the reorganisation, underfunding and fragmentation of the NHS in recent years.
Our proud local Addenbrooke’s hospital fell into special measures, under intense pressure. The attempts to reorganise services for the elderly in the ‘Uniting Care Partnership’ collapsed with a huge bill for public. The experiment of running Hinchingbrooke Hospital with a private provider also failed disastrously.
I have consistently scrutinised these plans and campaigned for better funding and for services to be retained in public hands. I have led a campaign and a thousands strong petition to ensure IVF remains an option for couples locally (https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/keep-ivf-treatment-on-the-nhs-in-cambridgeshire-and-peterborough).
Plans being secretively drawn up around the country, known as ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans’, with very little involvement from frontline staff or patients, are planning to make huge ‘efficiency’ savings from local budgets on top of everything that has done so far.
The slice demanded of our region? The plan says we will need to adjust services to make up a deficit of £543 million by 2020/2021.
I’ve been absolutely clear. Saving that amount is impossible without costing lives or the care that people need. I’ve said this before (http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/health/addenbrookes-green-party-nurse-cambridge-12935395).
In the longer term integrating health and social care budgets is an idea that has merit. We should be investing in public health and preventative services to relieve the strain on hospitals and help people stay healthy in the first place. But the budgets for these services, with local authorities, have been slashed in recent years by government. Sexual health and preventative health services have subsequently been cut back.
We cannot have genuine and beneficial transformation of health services whilst attempting to save hundreds of millions from local budgets.
No-one I have spoken to involved in this process, including some of those at the highest level, believes this is possible. They are being forced into this by central government.
Labour have said they will review these programmes. Only the Greens have promised to scrap them.
And out of your local candidates I am the one who has followed this process and challenged it at every step. I have seen the devastating effects of cutbacks in the NHS and social care. If elected I will do everything in my power to prevent them going ahead.