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Hackney Labour councillors last night (Wednesday 21st November) pledged to protect patients in Hackney from the Coalition Government's dangerous changes to the NHS.
Labour councillors put forward a motion, which resolved that the new Health and Wellbeing Board - the body responsible for overseeing the new arrangements - should stick to a set of principles that will put patients before profits and maintain standards of care in the borough.
The motion comes in the wake of huge Government restructuring which places £60 billion of NHS money in the hands of local GPs.
Labour Councillor Jonathan McShane, the council's lead member for Health and Community Services, proposed the motion, saying: “The Coalition Government are dismissive of the principles that underpin our NHS. It’s only by working together rather than competing in a health market that we can do the very best by our residents at a time when money is so scarce.
“Last night I hope we provided some reassurance to local people that, at least here in Hackney, the values that underpin our NHS will be protected.”
Labour Councillor for Clissold ward, Wendy Mitchell, who seconded the motion, said: "With our GPs in Hackney, we have already taken a lead in trying to protect the NHS in the borough and this motion is about the council having a clear set of principles and working with our NHS partners to ensure that services remain free at the point of need, waiting times stay down and Hackney only uses providers that put patients first.
“With recent figures showing a 47% increase in the number of people having to wait over half an hour in ambulances before being admitted to London A&Es, this motion couldn't come at a more critical time." The pledges in the motion are as follows:
The Council resolves that Hackney’s Health and Wellbeing Board should work with all NHS commissioners and providers, local GPs and hospitals to adopt the following core principles, and have these as a statement of intent for the NHS in Hackney:
1. Protect NHS founding values. Prevent the encroachment of charging and the restriction of services.
2. Prevent postcode lotteries. Avoid the emergence of a postcode lottery.
3. Guard against longer waits. Keep waiting times down by maintaining the focus on the 4-hour A&E and 18 week standards.
4. Promote collaboration over competition. Resist privatisation and a free-market free-for-all in health leading to fragmented services.
5. Put patients before profits. Ensure the doctor/patient relationship is not undermined and that public trust is maintained.