MPs fail to take action, Lynn News letters
Mr MacKinder is spot on when he refers to our MPs as ‘an aloof and uncaring bunch of gravy-train riders who scuttle through the Whitehall corridors and call themselves our MPs – but only really function as our representatives in the most perfunctory and ceremonial way’.
As a former health service campaigner in West Norfolk, the description mirrors my own experience of both our local MPs. I vividly remember the last meeting in January 2016 that I attended with Messrs Truss, Bellingham and the senior staff of the West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group, together with a group of fellow NHS patients.
At that meeting, I tried to get clear explanations from the CCG on how it planned to implement and achieve the millions of pounds in financial cuts that the May Government and NHS was trying to force through to the health services in this region, under its ludicrously-named Sustainability and Transformation Plan.
When I put the CCG’s own figures to them at the meeting, one of their senior managers said he didn’t recognise them. Simply that. End of story.
Our two MPs didn’t even bother to challenge this – although they were both well aware that those ‘unrecognised’ figures and cuts to our services were clearly set out in documents given by the CCG to members of the public at an earlier liaison meeting in Downham Town Hall. Shortly after that stonewalling farce by the CCG, both our MPs left the meeting and swanned off to some ‘do’.
I then realised that Messrs Truss and Bellingham were just simply ‘going through the motions’. It appeared to me then that they were really only interested in ‘keeping the lid’ on things, and ensuring that they didn’t do anything serious to challenge their Government’s flawed policies. Their priority appeared to be ‘being seen to do something ‘ which might look good in the local Press or on their websites, rather then actually doing something concrete that would actually change what was happening to our health services locally.
We’ve all experienced the continuing cuts to our health services since then. The staff and doctors in our local surgeries and hospitals – often at huge personal sacrifice – continue their immensely brave struggle to provide us patients with life-saving care. Despite the lies and spin this Government continues to churn out about funding and other resources, our surgeries and hospitals are still being denied the money they need to do their jobs and protect patients’ health and lives.
I regret to say that Henry Bellingham’s pithy comment in the Lynn News that the threatened closure of the Fairstead GP surgery would be ‘a big mistake’ is typical of the shabby, publicity-oriented grandstanding that both MPs use to try and convince us that they are doing their jobs.