After Jane Collins’ and Richard Elvin’s incredible by election results against Labour, coming second in Barnsley and South Sheids respectively, John Bickley is bringing the campaign to Manchester. Labour are terrified of UKIP making serious inroads into South Manchester. They have every reason to be worried given their shocking record on… wait for it… the NHS.
Tell big lies often and loud enough and people often believe them. That has been Labour’s strategy since the 2010 General Election and in Wythenshawe its campaign claims to fight for the NHS. Nothing could be further from the truth. Labour’s 13 year love-in with the corporate sector has laid waste to the long term capacity and financing of the NHS in South Manchester.
The Wythenshawe Hospital PFI (Public Finance Initiative) deal in 1998 was the largest and worst value for money of any of the more than 700 deals signed by Labour. It was raised specifically by the Public Accounts Select Committee given the widespread concern over it. For putting down £6m, developers borrowed another £75m and in return bagged £900m in debt interest and juicy “soft service” contracts.
The people of Wythenshawe and Sale East are 15 years into this deal and are locked into another two decades. It’s hard to believe that in a time of austerity that almost 10% of Wythenshawe’s budget is spent on this deal which should be described as the timeshare from hell for South Manchester’s patients. PFI repayments are inflation proofed and since 2004 there has been a surge in the supply of migrants to work as the janitors, cleaners, caterers and carers (the soft services). This has made the deal all the more lucrative to PFI equity holders but the fun does not stop there.
Labour made cutting waiting times a top priority and spared no expense in driving down the figures. It was for this pledge, and not for improved quality that Labour brought in the cherrypicking Independent Treatment Centres. It is not UKIP, but the former president of the Royal College of Surgeons in England, Sir Bernard Ribeiro, that said this of Netcare,
“In Trafford two wards have been closed as a result of the contracted work going to the ISTC (private treatment centre)”
and that in the first six months of 2006,
“…£2 million had been diverted away from Trafford to fund treatments at the private clinic.”
There have been widespread concerns over the quality of the surgery performed with several hips needing a second, higher risk operation at NHS hospitals which not only cost the NHS more money but put patients at risk from revision surgery.
The coalition hasn’t made life easier for the NHS in South Manchester. The Accident and Emergency department at Trafford General was downgraded to an urgent care centre at the end of November last year.
Just ask yourself this, who in their right mind closes an A&E department in the very first NHS hospital, on the eve of winter? Labour sold out the NHS that serves the people of Wythenshawe and Sale East but the coalition seem only too willing to finish the job.
UKIP is the only choice for people who want an accountable health service for this nation.