Meeting on 5th October

The next meeting of KONP Durham will be on Monday 5th October, 8pm at Antioch House (upstairs room), 66 Crossgate, Durham City, DH1 4PR. This will be our first meeting since the General Election.

Agenda for the meeting:

1. Welcome and Apolgies
2. Foundation Trust: problems, e.g. the deficit, reorganisation of services
3. University Hospital North Durham (aka Dryburn): problems, e.g. lack of A&E consultants
4. Way forward for KONP Durham
5. Date of next meeting

Letter from Liberal Democrat Candidate

Dear Craig Martin,

As a voter in your constituency, I am writing to ask – if you were to be elected at the next general election – whether you would be willing to support inclusion of a Bill in the first Queen’s Speech after the election that would reverse 25 years of marketisation in the National Health Service, abolish the purchaser-provider split, establish Health Boards and other public bodies and fully restore the NHS in England as an accountable public service. I urge you to do so.

The key elements of such a Bill are set out in the cross-party National Health Service Bill presented in the House of Commons by Green Party MP Caroline Lucas on 11th March 2015 and supported by 11 other MPs from the Liberal Democrats, Labour, SNP and Plaid Cymru. The NHS Bill

Reply from Craig Martin
29 April

Thank you very much for getting in touch with me.

It is always a pleasure to hear from those passionate about making Durham and our country a better place.

If you would like to find out more about the Liberal Democrat’s stance on the issue you’re concerned with and many more, please follow the link below:

Hopefully we’ll get the chance to meet during the campaign.

Kind Regards
Craig Martin
Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for City of Durham

Further reply 2nd May

Dear Carole,

This automated email gets sent out sometimes to those with genuine questions.

I do not believe the current Health and Social Care Act is perfect and I am concerned about the privatisation of the NHS. This is one of reasons why the Lib Dems wrote into this that any competition within the NHS cannot occur based on cost, only on patient care and outcomes.

We must appreciate the outstanding work everyone that works in NHS has done through this top-down, complicated reorganisation. I’m concerned about introducing any new legislation that would cause any major changes to the NHS. The staff of the NHS are very clear, they do not want any further reorganisation.

Craig Martin
Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for City of Durham


Letter from Labour Candidate

I copy below a letter from Roberta Blackman-Woods in response to a request from me to know what the Labour Party will do about the reinstatement of the NHS after the very damaging legislation passed by the Coalition, in particular the health and Social Care Act 2012. Carole Reeves

From Roberta Blackman-Woods
1st May 2015

Dear Carole,

Thank you for writing to me recently about the NHS.

I believe Britain needs an NHS that is true to the principles on which Nye Bevan founded it in 1948 – public provision, free at the point of need for all who need it, and accountable to them – and which is also capable of providing the best possible care for all throughout the 21st Century.

It is a huge challenge which certainly can’t be met by introducing more competition.

This Government’s Health and Social Care Act has removed the Secretary of State’s legal duty to provide a health service and created Monitor to remove “anti-competitive” practices in the NHS – together a charter for privatisation. The Act also wasted £3 billion, which could otherwise have been spent on patient care.

Over £70 million of public money has been spent on competition lawyers and related administration because of the Act. The biggest private deal in NHS history, worth £780 million, has recently been agreed by the Government and an even bigger deal, worth over £1.2 billion, is proposed in Staffordshire. NHS as well as private bodies have been invited to bid; but the Guardian has reported that the leaked tender document included requirements to minimise VAT payments. NHS bodies are exempt from VAT altogether.

I strongly welcome Labour’s manifesto pledges to repeal the Health and Social Care Act; to exempt the NHS from the TTIP trade agreement and other forms of commercial competition law; to invest an extra £2.5 billion a year in the NHS to provide 20,000 more GPs, 8,000 more nurses, 5,000 more home care workers, and 3,000 more midwives; and to begin the integration of health and social care services, reducing “bed-blocking” and ensuring dignified care for everyone who needs it.

Labour’s plan to integrate health and social care, and greatly raise the profile and quality of the latter, is the only way to safeguard the future of our NHS.

If Labour is elected in May we will have a difficult job to make sure our NHS remains a world-class service free to all at the point of delivery. But it must be done if, to paraphrase Nye Bevan, we are to continue to call ourselves a civilised society.

Thank you for taking the time to write to me on this important issue and please don’t hesitate to contact me again if I can be of any further assistance.

Yours sincerely,

Roberta Blackman-Woods
Labour Parliamentary Candidate for the City of Durham

Health Hustings Notes

KONP Durham held a ‘Health Hustings’ at Durham Town Hall on Tuesday 14th April from 6.30 to 8.00 pm.

Panel members

  • Chair: Nigel Speight, KONP Durham
  • Carole Reeves, KONP Durham
  • Roberta Blackman-Woods (Labour Candidate)
  • Rebecca Coulson (Conservative Candidate)
  • Jonathan Elmer (Green Candidate)
  • John Marshall (Independent Candidate)
  • Craig Martin (Liberal Democrat Candidate
  • Apologies were received from Liam Clark the UKIP Candidate

The attached notes comprise brief summaries of the questions asked and the candidates’ answers. Hustings Notes