Voting to block hospital closures

Archive for March, 2014

Voting to block hospital closures

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Last year the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt attempted to close down Lewisham hospital but this was ruled illegal by the High Court.

To get around this situation, the Government has introduced the controversial ‘hospital closure clause’ into the Care Bill going through Parliament. “Special trust administrators”, appointed by the Secretary of State to sort out a failing hospital, will now be given sweeping powers to make changes to health services across the whole region, including closing down other local hospitals even if they are performing well.

Residents know first- hand that top-down bureaucratic decisions taken without listening to patients and residents has had a devastating blow on our local health services. The borough is in the middle of a ludicrous local health re-organisation that they don’t want. Residents will be losing one A&E, at King George, so their only choice will be Queens, which is in special measures and struggling to cope with the volume of patients.

We need to put fairness back into the health service. No decision about the closure of any hospital should take place without listening to the concerns of patients and clinicians. I voted against this proposal and am very disappointed that it was passed due to the support of MPs from other parties. However, I will continue to fight to ensure that the voices of residents who depend on these services in the borough are heard.

Success: Increased opening hours for Barking Police Station

Monday, March 10th, 2014

I am so pleased to hear that our campaign to increase opening hours for the new Barking police station has been a success. When Barking Police Station moves to the learning center later this year it will be open until midnight on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

The original proposals, which saw the Police Station only open from 9-5 on weekdays and close at 6pm, were completely unacceptable. Many residents were understandably worried about this; over 8,000 of you signed my petition in the last two months alone. I met with Stephen Greenhalgh, the Deputy Mayor for Policing in London to let him know that these changes were unsatisfactory for residents.

Longer opening hours goes a long way to addressing our concerns. Barking is a busy town centre. We need more not fewer bobbies on the beat.  It is essential people know the police are available. People want to know the police are there and that they can turn to them easily in an emergency. This is even more important on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings when the town is busier. I will continue to monitor the situation when the police station opens up later this year.