Voicing fears over future of the NHS

MP for Blackpool South Gordon Marsden
MP for Blackpool South Gordon Marsden

RESORT residents have added their voices to thousands of others concerned by proposed changes to the NHS.

Members of campaign group 38 Degrees handed over a petition of 260,000 UK signatures to Gordon Marsden MP for Blackpool South at his constituency office in response to the growing concerns surrounding changes to the National Health Service.

The petition, which includes 250 signatures from people living in South Shore, calls for a halt to the reforms being imposed by the Government, and says the coalition risks breaking up the health service and handing it to private healthcare companies.

It also claims David Cameron’s Government has not listened to doctors, nurses and patients when they have expressed doubts about the plans, and they have been rushed through without testing them properly first.

Bob Bradley, who organised the petition in Blackpool, said: “These rushed policies spell the end of the NHS as we know it and are totally irresponsible. The NHS is very important to me and it’s something we have that nobody else has.

“I had a heart attack and nobody acted better than Blackpool Victoria Hospital to save my life.”

Mr Bradley added: “What worries me is like everything else in business people will say they don’t want it because it’s making a loss.

“The Government need to listen to the experts doing these jobs.”

Gordon Marsden said he will write to the health secretary Andrew Lansley to outline the points made in the petition.

Mr Marsden told The Gazette: “The petition is an illustration of the deep concern about the wholesale shake up of the NHS.

“We have to remember in Blackpool, because of our older population and more people with disabilities, it’s important we have a proper strategy.”

The Government said a review was needed as increased life expectancy, the rising cost of drugs and public health challenges – such as growing levels of obesity – could leave the NHS facing a multi-billion pound funding shortfall unless action was taken.

Conservative MP Paul Maynard for Blackpool North and Cleveleys also received a petition from the campaign group.

He said: “I do understand people’s concerns, but we should not forget this Government has protected health spending from the cuts, when Labour were keen to cut the NHS.

“Government spending on health as a percentage of the overall state budget is actually increasing.

“When I met with nurses we discussed the difficulties of ensuring community healthcare and care in hospitals can be better joined up as more and more people locally have chronic conditions that we want to manage in their own homes.”