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NHS campaigners urge public to fight against privatisation

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: August 22, 2014

Comments (3)

BURTON NHS campaigners have joined forces at a public meeting to urge people to join the fight against the privatisation of cancer services in Staffordshire.

East Staffordshire Trade Council and the Cancer – Not for Profit campaign group hosted the meeting at the Caribbean Association, in Uxbridge Street on Tuesday.

The meeting followed the controversial decision by four clinical commissioning groups in Staffordshire to put services out to tender.

Although East Staffordshire pulled out to explore other options, the decisions have sparked fears amongst people at the possibility of paying for end-of-life care.

Guest speakers at the meeting included consultant radiologist and founder member of Keep Our NHS Public Jacky Davis and Labour's prospective parliamentary candidates for Burton and South Derbyshire Jon Wheale and Cheryl Pidgeon.

The meeting was well attended, but notably empty were two seats set aside for Burton and South Derbyshire Conservative MPs Andrew Griffiths and Heather Wheeler.

Chairman of the East Staffordshire Trade Council Paul Walker claimed the MPs were both aware of the meeting and Mr Griffiths had been formally invited, but had said that the issue did not affect his constituents.

Burton's Labour candidate Jon Wheale vowed to stand shoulder to shoulder with Burton.

He said: "Certain sectors by their very nature are not best placed in the hands of those running private organisations.

"I believe that the NHS should be provided as a public service. I promise to stand shoulder to shoulder with every one of you united in our cause to protect the NHS."

Cheryl Pidgeon said: "I pay taxes into the system so that the healthcare service is there for me if I need it and not only if I have the money to pay for it.

"We cannot be the generation that allows the NHS to slip through our fingers. We have to be strong and united."

Her sentiments were echoed throughout the meeting and Dr Jacky Davis urged the public to go out and campaign for the service to remain in the public sector.

She said: "Get out and tell people about it, get angry. Although it's a mess we must think that we can fight this. If we don't fight for our NHS we're going to lose it."

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  • Confucius  |  August 23 2014, 8:26AM

    SAYS' Definition of 'Inefficient Market' = NHS, result, gives privatisation an opening'

  • mattlong  |  August 22 2014, 4:59PM

    Well done to all who were instrumental in organising this event including Will and Paul Walker, Jon Wheale and Cheryl Pidgeon. I found the meeting hugely worrying in terms of the proposals for privatisation yet at the same time hugely inspiring. Some thoughts. 1. Dr Jacky Davis, whom I have much respect for, spoke brilliantly despite the her idiotic choice to open the meeting by quoting a line from Bevan about Tories being Vermin. Absolutely no need to do this whatsoever and stupid to say the least given that the campaign can and should be looking to attract Conservative voters who in turn could put pressure on Conservative MPs like Andrew Griffiths and Heather Wheeler. This daft one liner drew huge applause from some in the crowd. A strategically daft comment to use and actually presumed all in attendance at a public meeting were of the political left. This being said she 'recovered' brilliantly and hats off to her as she has proverbially been there, done it and got the tee shirt. I respect this and was impressed by what she went on to say. 2. Pleasingly acknowledgement was made that actually it was New Labour under Alan Milburn who in the words of the meeting "built the bridge over which the Tories are now walking". This was all too fleeting an acknowledgement but at least it was made at the meeting. 3. Whilst attendance at the meeting was good and the event was indeed a massive success, in my opinion it was once again poorly supported by local councillors of all political persuasions. I make no apology for highlighting this. I feel strongly that the wrong type of people are elected as borough councillors in this town and there is a lack of transparency. 4. Hats off to the reporting above which begins to put pressure on Andrew Griffiiths and Heather Wheeler for non attendance. I like both as people and acknowledge their hard work and contribution to Burton. This being said I note Andrew is a master at his use of silence on national issues which he will not go against his party with. Jon Wheale and Cheryl Pidgeon need to work on turning this silence from the advantage which it currently is for our MPs into a disadvantage for them. To further the boxing analogy they will be content to box at long range well out of the reach of the Labour party if they can. Cut off the ring Wheale and Pidgeon and when your opponents are cornered then throw the bombs. The opponent then simply has to punch back and silence is no longer an option.

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  • Terry  |  August 22 2014, 4:11PM

    This is indeed the nasty side of Conservatives, the NHS belongs to us, we pay for it. Conservatives have no mandate to sell off the NHS. Wheeler and Griffiths did not attend the meeting because to rail against privatisation of the NHS goes against their masters (Cameron & co) true agenda. And what a shoddy excuse from Griffiths, this affects all of us, if not today, it will tomorrow.