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Question to council: William Marshal

Richard Stainthorp to ask the Lead Councillor for Culture Heritage and Recreation: William Marshal As I am sure the Lead Councillor is awar...

9 Dec 2011

Battle site medical centre a victim of NHS cutbacks

It has been confirmed by the local health authority that the much anticipated medical centre on the Battle Hospital site will not be built.  To say this is disappointing would be a massive understatement.  For years Battle residents have been waiting for the medical centre and it was something they decided they would like on the former hospital site after being consulted in 2005.

In a press release from NHS Berkshire, financial constraints were given as one of the reasons for abandoning their plans.  This is a very real demonstration of how the Tory/Lib Dem's plans for the NHS are effecting  the people of Reading already, before the highly damaging health bill is passed.  For example the number of patients on waiting lists for more than 18 weeks has risen 153 % in Berkshire West since May 2010.

Battle councillors believe the Primary care Trust (PCT) will sell off the land in West Village for further housing.  Battle councillor ChrisMaskell said: “This is a betrayal of the Oxford Road Community. In 2005 we held a series of public meetings and surveyed the entire ward to find out what people wanted to come from the redevelopment of the Battle Hospital site. The overwhelming response was that people wanted a medical centre to replace Battle Hospital. “

Battle councillor Gul Khan said: “This is a devastating blow to the Oxford Road Community. We believe the Coalition Government is “cleaning up” the NHS in preparation to sell off the profitable bits to the highest bidders wherever they may be in the world but only time will tell. However, what we do know is, cuts to the NHS are happening now even though the Coalition Government’s NHS reform bill has not yet passed into legislation. What the PCT is proposing is a disgrace.”

Here is the press release from Reading and District Labour Party about this weekend of action.  There will be a stall outside Battle Library from 10-1 tomorrow (Saturday 10 December 2011) and you can sign the petition to drop the bill here:

Reading & District Labour Party Media Release 

6 December 2011
“Altogether now - all we want for Christmas is our NHS!”

Healthcare campaigners will be out and about this weekend in Reading in a further push to force the Government to scrap its Health and Social Care Bill. Talking to shoppers in local shopping centres and leafleting door to door, they will be highlighting the threats in the Bill, which will undermine the NHS we all need and value so highly.

Reading Lead Councillor for Health Bet Tickner says “It’s vital right now to step up our opposition to the government’s proposals to make health services a postcode lottery and to put financial pressure on NHS hospitals to take private patients who will queue-jump even if they are in less need. This is just wrong for the NHS.” 

Cllr. Tickner added “All this upheaval is adding to the severe pressures on our NHS locally, where waiting times are up 153% and funding is being cut - despite promises from Mr Cameron before the Election.”

Deputy Lead Councillor for Health Matt Rodda says “The costs of this dangerous reorganisation are already huge - £25 million just for our area and rising. Originally the government said it would cost £2 billion overall - now PCTs are being told to put aside £3.5 billion! At a time when nurses locally have had a £600 pay cut, the RBH is being cut by £60 million and 600 jobs are to go.”

Reading’s campaign, supported by Reading Labour Party and trade unions in the healthcare sector, is part of a nationwide campaign this  weekend dubbed All we want for Christmas is our NHS to try and prevent the bill’s final passage from the House of Lords back to the Commons, where Cameron and Lansley, the Health Secretary, will be able to push it through.

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