Crawley Observer Column, Wednesday 9th August 2017

Healthcare in Crawley has been in the news again this week, as leaks from whistle-blowers have revealed we live in one of fourteen areas at risk of the Capped Expenditure Process, which if implemented will severely restrict the money available for Crawley’s health services.

The news follows on from recent revelations that local patients are being denied angiograms and angioplasties as a cost-saving measure, that we’re at risk of losing existing services from Crawley Hospital and Crawley’s Clinical Commissioning Group has been put into special measures, as the budget they receive from central government no longer covers Crawley’s needs.

For years Labour has warned the NHS isn’t safe in Conservative hands, but while many thought that meant some very visible large-scale privatisation of its services, the NHS is instead at risk of a death by a thousand cuts.

Aneurin Bevan, legendary Labour Cabinet Member and Founder of the NHS, allegedly once said, ‘The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it.’ Yet, when the destruction place slowly, quietly, wrapped up in vague terms such as ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans’ and ‘Capped Expenditure Processes’, will people realise what is happening before it is too late? Will we awaken one day to find that the safety net that was always there to catch us has been replaced by a cold American-style insurance system, where your right to live comes second to what you have in the bank.

Just this week, the Leader of my party, Jeremy Corbyn, visited Crawley to discuss with local health professionals and party members the state of our health services and how the next Labour Government will save our NHS.

At the last election, Labour put forward a fully-costed manifesto, showing how we could afford to invest in the health services the country needs with a fair system of taxation. In contrast, the Tory Government, who ran on an un-costed manifesto, still have a £3bn blackhole in their budget. If the Conservatives can find money for Northern Ireland to buy DUP votes, they should find money for England’s NHS.

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