Heated NHS talks

HEATED views were exchanged as Bassetlaw councillors debated proposed Goverment changes to the NHS at their full council meeting in Retford last Wednesday.

Coun Alan Rhodes put forward the motion to express the authority’s “serious” concern over the lack of clarity surrounding the proposals and their effect on health services locally.

Independent Coun Ivor Jones opened the debate by saying changes had to be made – but only the right changes.

“This has been a political football for a long time and when we have got 8,000 NHS staff earning more than the Prime Minister, then something is drastically wrong,” he said.

“Bassetlaw Hospital is being run down by stealth. The rag-tag army is worse than the rag-tag army we had before in Government, but if we don’t all get together on this it will only get worse.”

Labour council deputy leader Simon Greaves said it was time all councillors stood united on the national issue.

“We all have our political spats at times, but ultimately there’s a capacity for local representation,” he said.

“I’m very interested in having our local voice heard and if we don’t have that capacity we will all suffer.”

He added: “We need to make it absolutely clear when it comes to hospital services in Bassetlaw we will be there for all our residents.”

Conservative Coun Wendy Quigley said privatisation problems with the NHS had been going on long before with with the previous Labour Government.

“I feel it’s a little bit rich when the previous Government comissioned operations at a cost of several thousands of pounds which never took place,” she said.

“Privatisation was taking place long before with Gordon Brown and his cohorts.”

Former council leader Coun Mike Quigley said numbers of NHS managers had actually almost doubled under Labour rule.

“The NHS is a fluid organisation and it never stands still – I don’t think a motion like this is going to help people. If we work together through proper consultation then we can make a difference,” he said.

The debate concluded with 28 councillors voting in favour of the motion, one against and 16 abstensions.