Wycombe Labour today demanded answers from Steve Baker as the NHS faces crisis.
In October last year, Steve Baker published proposals to put all of the services at Wycombe
hospital - GP services, emergency medicine, maternity, elective surgery and care of the
elderly - out to tender as one contract.
Steve Baker asked people to treat the proposals seriously and comment.
Wycombe Labour ‘s Parliamentary candidate, David Williams, QC, wrote to Steve Baker a
few days later suggesting the proposals would lead to the privatisation of Wycombe hospital
- who would manage and operate the combined services at Wycombe Hospital;
- was Steve Baker in favour of all NHS services at Wycombe being run by NHS
providers on a not- for- profit basis or was he prepared to see the Hospital and all its
services being operated by a private company;
- what role did he envisage for the Clinical Commissioning Groups; and
- how much did the report cost, who paid for it, and why did Steve Baker choose a
company called Durrow to carry out the study.
Steve Baker has not even acknowledged receipt of that letter, despite a reminder.
In fact, he has been conspicuously silent about his proposals for months.
Two days ago, Circle Holdings, the first private sector company to be awarded a contract to
run a NHS hospital, said it wanted to withdraw from its contract as it is “no longer viable
under the current terms.” The hospital, Hinchingbrooke hospital, has been assessed as
inadequate and put into special measures.
A spokesman for Circle Holdings said “it was difficult to see how any private operation
looking for a commercial return could run an acute services hospital under the present
Steve Baker has not commented on the failures of Circle Holdings.
David Williams, QC, said “We can see now what happens when the private sector runs a
hospital – when it can’t make a profit, it walks away.
If the Tories get back into power next May, they will privatise more and more of the NHS. If
the private sector finds it can’t make a profit, then it will walk away again and again leaving
it to the public sector to pick up the pieces.
How can patients have any sense of security when the private sector can just walk away?
Steve Baker won’t answer questions about his proposals to contract out Wycombe hospital.
We need to know why our MP thinks his proposals for privatisation would work when
privatisation at Hinchingbrooke hospital has failed.
How can residents treat his views on healthcare with any degree of credibility if he fails to
respond to legitimate and critical questions on a report which he commissioned with
taxpayers’ money and on which he solicited views?
In the meantime, we hear daily about the problems of the NHS – lengthening waiting times
for operations, difficulties in getting treatment for mental health problems and not least the
continuing failure to provide emergency care.
We see cuts in social services which leave vulnerable people reliant on hospital services and
A&E, we see GPs struggling, an inadequate out-of hours service and of course the lack of an
Emergency Medical Service at High Wycombe.
Wycombe Labour fought long and hard (with many other people) to retain the EMC in
Wycombe while Steve Baker sat on the fence. He has dismissed any idea of getting an A&E
back to Wycombe hospital.
Wycombe Labour will fight to get an emergency centre back to Wycombe Hospital and we
will fight against any proposals to further privatise the NHS.
It’s about time Steve Baker earnt his MP’s salary and fought for the interests of the people of
Wycombe rather than his pet subject of fractional reserve banking,'”