14 January 2015
Loughborough Parliamentary Candidate Matt Sisson’s letter to the Loughborough Echo this week, on how the Green Party would fix the NHS.
The article in last week’s Echo showing that 56% of local health service contracts have been awarded to private companies is particularly pertinent in relation to the high-profile NHS stories in the news since the New Year. First a number of hospitals had to declare ‘major incidents’ in order to cope with A&E demands, with now just 87% of patients seen within the four-hour target compared to 98% five years ago . Then Circle, the private company appointed to run Hinchingbrooke Hospital (an agreement initiated by Labour ) withdrew from its contract, pre-empting a damning report from the regulators, and leaving the NHS to clean up the mess . Both stories are a sad indictment of this government’s expensive and complicated top-down reorganisation of the NHS system; reforms that the Conservatives promised they would NOT undertake if elected , and unanimously opposed by doctors’ and nurses’ organisations .
What’s needed in the NHS are three things. Firstly, we need to fund our health service properly. It is already the most efficient healthcare provider in international comparisons, costing 60% less per person than the privatised American system . A wealth tax on the super-rich would provide the money to improve the NHS, benefitting everyone. Secondly, we need to end privatisation of health and return to a fully joined-up, public health service. The public don’t want three competing hospitals in each town to choose from, which is an inefficient duplication of resources. They want one hospital, which delivers the best care possible. Thirdly, we need to focus on prevention rather than the cure. If we tackled issues such as obesity at source as well as inequality, which is shown to produce a whole range of poor health and social outcomes, then there would be far less pressure on our hospitals in the first place .
Matt Sisson, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Loughborough
 Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, The Spirit Level, Penguin, London 2010:223