Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Letter from Parliament

A staff member in my MP's office has written to tell me he will be signing EDM 754 regarding the MMR vaccine and the media.

Meanwhile on his website he writes:

"A couple of weeks ago I went to the open day organised by Care UK of the mobile CATS (Clinical Assessment and Treatment Services) units at the top of Yorkshire Street. These are five brand new shiny units costing several million pounds which will visit Rochdale four days every month to provide consultations and treatment not by the NHS but by private companies.

At about the same time I was being given information that hospital services at the Infirmary were under severe pressure. For example the Ambulance Service’s target of eight minutes for blue light emergencies was only being met in 60% of cases.

Staff at the Accident and Emergency during the same period were dealing with record numbers of patients – the highest of the four hospitals in Pennine Acute yet the government insist that Rochdale be downgraded to an Urgent Care Unit by 2012.

Similarly our maternity unit is due to close in 2012 yet in 2007 had a record number of births. Across Greater Manchester the Healthy Futures and Making it Better proposals are unravelling even before they are fully implemented.

Would the millions spent on giving private health companies lucrative contacts be better spent on improving our local hospital? In a reply to a letter I sent to the Health Minister Ann Keen dismissed those concerns saying “the performance of Rochdale A&E of 96.8% remains high but does need to improve”. Try saying that to those staff giving 110% in A&E? - how pompous and out of touch!

The operation of the Choose and Book system is another issue which was taken up in debate by my colleague Andrew Stunell MP for Hazel Grove. This is a system which is supposed to enable patients to choose their Consultant and hospital for an outpatient clinic. However despite assurances given during the Healthy Futures Consultation it is virtually impossible to get an appointment at Rochdale Infirmary because the consultants are refusing to hold clinics there. Andrew quoted the experience of one Rochdale resident. "

Couldn't agree more.

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