Wyre Forest Labour doesn’t feel we can let our MP, Mark Garnier, get away scot free with his comments in The Shuttle on 16th February 2017 when promoting the new NHS STP (sustainability & transformation programme) and consultation process.

He peddled it being about changes driven by people who work in and use the NHS, as well improving services. Nothing could be further from the truth. We’d prefer to avoid calling our MP a liar but frankly we are struggling to find another word to describe it.

Under the Tory’s £15billion cuts since 2010, the UK already has fewer hospital beds than any developed country per head of population, the worst cancer survival rates in Europe, less health funding than the European GDP average, more cancelled operations, longer waiting times, and tragic deaths on trolleys in our hospitals.

What is the Governments response? Another £22billion of cuts called ‘STP’ when the NHS already faces a £30billion shortfall due to insufficient funding and rising demand come 2021.

Locally, our own Acute Trust is £35million in the red whilst struggling to implement a review lasting 4 years. Under STP, the funding gap will grow to £250million and inevitably increase the deficit if more cuts are not made. It will break the back of the NHS but we are expected to believe this will miraculously improve services.

So what can we expect from STP? Asset stripping, fewer services, less clinicians, more bed losses, more closures, more centralisation, more privatisation. The Government’s last major restructure, the Health and Social Care Act, fully swung open the doors of the NHS to private companies. No doubt it will now allow PM Teresa May the chance to offer President Trump a giveaway trade deal post Brexit, allowing US companies to gobble up NHS contracts on the cheap similar to the awful EU TTIP plan.

If Mark Garnier is serious about public consultation on STP we urge residents to write to him and tell him his support for Jeremy Hunt’s cuts is a betrayal of his Wyre Forest constituents wellbeing.

If he’s not prepared to stand up for the NHS and us, then he should stand down and allow someone else to be our MP who will better serve us and who will campaign to save our NHS and give it the resources it needs. Austerity is a bust flush and Labour will end it.

Stephen Brown

Wyre Forest Labour Party

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