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Harlow MP Robert Halfon challenges Suzy Stride over “privatisation of NHS” comments made by colleague

Politics / Fri 23rd Jan 2015 pm31 01:19pm

HARLOW MP, Robert Halfon, has challenged Labour candidate, Suzy Stride, to disassociate herself from remarks made by Labour shadow Health Minister Liz Kendall “supporting” privatisation of the NHS.

In an interview with the Parliamentary House magazine, Liz Kendall said:

“On private sector involvement in the NHS, she insists there “will remain a role” for private and voluntary firms “where they can add extra capacity to the NHS or challenge to the system”.

“I’ve always believed what matters is what works,” she adds, citing the positive contribution independent sector treatment centres (ISTCs) have made in reducing waiting times.

“I remember when I worked in the Department of Health a very senior clinician saying ‘you’ve got one of these ISTCs down the road now so I’m going to have to talk to some of my GP colleagues about getting my waits down and stop doing so much private practice’. So it did bring challenge to the system. It was the NHS – and the increased investment we put in the NHS – that delivered the vast majority of the reductions in the waits. But some challenge in the system was crucial to that.”

Robert Halfon said: “For the past few months Labour in Harlow have been claiming that Conservatives want to privatise the NHS. In leaflets, letters, and statements, Labour in Harlow have tried as Ed Miliband said to ‘weaponise’ the NHS and frighten local residents. Yet the reality is that under the Conservatives just 6% of NHS is not run by the State, compared to 5% under Labour.”

Moreover there has been 3,000 extra nurses‎,9,000 more doctors, and 19,000 less managers under the Conservative led Coalition. In addition, the health reforms have saved the NHS £5 billion a year. The Government have increased NHS spending in real terms and given an extra £5 million last year and £4 million in 2015 to help PAH with A&E.

Robert Halfon has now gone on the attack.

He said: “Will “silent Suzy” disavow herself from Liz Kendalls support for privatisation in the NHS, or will she apologise for misleading residents about Conservative plans. She should let residents know.

“In addition, Liz Kendall added that more money does not solve every problem‎ in the NHS saying:

“With the future of the health service proving a key election issue, Kendall argues that there is a natural temptation for politicians and the media to focus on headline-grabbing figures for extra funding – “is it £2.5bn, is it £8bn?” – rather than the more knotty issue of reform. “Everybody always jumps to the extra money,” she says, “but actually we very rarely focus on the long, difficult but vital issues. My personal mission is to make sure that we never take our eyes of those reforms. Because it’s not just about the money, it’s about different outcomes.”

Robert Halfon said: “I agree. Does the Labour Candidate for Harlow?”

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