September 25, 2007

Politics and the Nationalised Health Service

Grant Shapps, our local Conservative MP and a tireless campaigner (and now the Tories' housing spokesman, so watch out, incompetent Yvette Cooper), has been spearheading a campaign to save a local hospital. What's of wider interest is the political context he places this in on our excellent local community board.

He recalls that Welwyn Hatfield was promised a super-hospital when it was a marginal Labour seat, but that once junior health minister Melanie Johnson lost the seat "they took the Hatfield super-hospital away".
Furthermore in a County the size of Hertfordshire with over a million people it's interesting to note that there are 11 constituencies. 9 are Conservative held, 2 Labour. But guess which will be the ONLY two constituencies with an acute hospital once this review is over? You guessed it Watford and Stevenage -- and guess what both these constituencies have in common? You guessed it!
But, he goes on, all that could be co-incidence if it weren't for the discovery of a leaked memo last autumn from a meeting between the Secretary of State for Health and the Labour Party Chairman, which talked about political heat maps for hospital healthcare. "So it's absolutely clear that our healthcare is being gerrymandered."

However, "it is equally clear to me that the best way to fight the closure is to work together in a cross-party manner". Hence
we've agreed to put these disagreements about the cause of the problem to one side and are united in our belief that Welwyn Hatfield deserves better, particularly at a time when we know we're expected to expand our population by tens of thousands of people.

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