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Grantham Journal column: NHS safe? You’re joking

By Dr Gillian Sutherland

Peter Clawson.
Peter Clawson.

“The NHS is safe in our hands.” A pledge used by the Tories to help them win several general elections, but now exposed as what appears to be a blatant lie.

Ever increasing privatisation; more than 20,000 unfilled nursing vacancies countrywide; 6,000 empty doctors’ posts causing GP surgery closures and now claims that over 2,000 independent chemists’ shops throughout England are expected to be lost in the near future.

Privatisation by stealth and the government’s controversial austerity measures are blamed for the overall problems facing our cherished health service and these opinions, voiced by professionals, are hard to fault.

They point to some 13,000 nursing redundancies over the past few years; also Jeremy Hunt’s alleged ill-treatment and lies in the junior doctors’ 7-dayweek dispute together with undemocratic imposition of a new contract is said to be set to precipitate a mass exodus and a costly search for foreign replacements.

Massive funding cuts in the pharmacy budget are making survival impossible for small shops, which would threaten an even bigger disaster since the government has promised us that chemists will be able to take away some of the burdens shouldered by hospital emergency departments and GP surgeries.

Almost all the nation’s health trusts have huge financial deficit difficulties, which already reach down to places like Grantham and other cash and staff starved parts of Lincolnshire.

Our own hospital’s future remains in doubt no matter what the NHS hierarchy tell us. The county has its own personnel problems as well, in desperate need of more doctors and over 200 extra nurses.

I don’t know what local MP Nick Boles intends to do about all this, especially since he appears to be so busy backing David Cameron’s pathetic socalled ‘special’ EU agreement.

But with more of the Tories’ austerity hatchet jobs already on the horizon, he would be well-advised to take some positive action very soon.


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