ON April 27, the Public Accounts Committee reported on the planned shake-up of the NHS. It said that “pushing through the changes while seeking £20billion in efficiency savings may damage front-line services”.
So I wrote to our MP, Jonathan Djanogly, asking if he shared the concerns of that committee, which is made up of MPs from all sides. Among a number of questions I asked, I was particularly keen to hear how Hinchingbrooke Hospital could be affected.
The reply I received answered some of my more general questions but made no reference at all to Hinchingbrooke. What's more, the reply "answered" two points that were not even in my letter. This led me to wonder if I had merely received a standard reply, rather than a more specific one.
Surely even a standard reply from the Huntingdon MP should include a reference to the main hospital in his constituency. After all, on his own website back in November, Mr Djanogly wrote: "Hinchingbrooke Hospital is a well-used and much-admired local health facility. I will be looking to ensure that the level of care service provision is maintained at the current level."
I have had cause to use A&E at Hinchingbrooke twice myself in the past, and my son was born there. For that reason, if no other, it has a place in my heart.
Last year, our MP said: "This is a testing time for Hinchingbrooke ... let us all get behind our valued local hospital and not let constructive debate become damaging sniping."
I hope Mr Djanogly doesn't think that I am sniping in a damaging way. Hence, I do look forward to the results of Andrew Lansley's listening exercise, which Mr Djanogly assures me is genuine. I sincerely hope that, where good suggestions are made to improve the NHS, they are taken on board.
After all, David Cameron promised last year: "I'll cut the deficit, not the NHS." With the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing warning that the proposed NHS shake up represents a privatisation of the health service, we must hope Mr Cameron and his MPs are being sincere with us.
Councillor STE GREENALL