Friday, 29 January 2010

Maybe, Davey

I wasn't intending to write about the Kingston Hospital issue today, but the combined effect of my blog postings on the issue earlier in the week and blog reader Axlrocky's tweets asking for a response have spurred Liberal Democrat MP Ed Davey to send the following response to the Worcester Park Blog:

"I am sorry to say but this threat is very real. Both I and Susan Kramer in four separate meetings with 4 chief executives and one senior clinician. [sic]

You all might like to read BMA's report which mentions that London NHS is conducting a review of acute hospitals.

In South West London a review has been taking place, looking at all 4 hospitals in the area and their services, namely St.George’s Tooting, May Day Croydon, St Helier, Carshalton and Kingston Hospital itself. The NHS was to publish an “options” paper following this review – first in December and then in January.

This plan has been pulled, and NHS bosses have decided to publish nothing until after the election. Both I and Susan think it is wrong to keep this plan secret until after the election. We will be fighting to make sure this vital service is not closed.


You can find out more by visiting www.savekingstonhospital.com. And also sign the petition".

Hospitals and healthcare are such emotive issues in local communities - any threat to local hospital services, whether theoretical or actual, is bound to elicit passionate feelings.

I have no doubt that by campaigning on this issue Messrs Davey & Kramer will garner a lot of local support in the run up to the general election. However I also feel that the manner in which this has been conducted will lose them some sympathy and support.

If a threat to Kingston Hospital has been communicated to them from such senior levels then of course it is the perogative - if not their duty - to ensure it is communicated to those who will be affected by the ultimate decision.

My issue therefore is not with the fact that it has been raised, but the manner in which the issue has been presented - in particular that the first round in this battle was fired in the form of a photo opportunity with hastily-printed placards.

Of course they were not actually hastily printed - as I said in my previous post, the domain name savekingstonhospital.org.uk was registered at the beginning of December so this sudden urgent campaign has clearly been planned for some time.

Whilst I don't deny that the photo opportunity, the placards and the Facebook campaign have been successful in raising awareness of the issue, it reeks of electioneering and the unfortunate hootings of Lib Dem activist Dan Falchikov on a train to Waterloo have merely stoked the cynicism that now surrounds the campaign. 

Had the issue been raised in more considered, less sensationalistic way then I would be less inclined to be cynical of such things.

As it stands, I have every sympathy for the cause but every suspicion about the campaign.

17 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

tony walsh said...

I agree.
I've signed the petition cos it's v. important that there is no loss of convenient facilities, but I'm concerned that it looks like political advantage being sought from the situation.

axlrocky said...

couldnt agree more WP Blogger, Davey is trying to back out of this one and your comments are succinct and well made - of course the issue is important and worthy, it was the manner of the campaign that was wrong, wrong, wrong and is why both Kramer and Davey should be ashamed of themselves and apologise to their voters. They have been caught with their pants down and should be humble enough to admit they were wrong - which would do them much more good in their upcoming campaign.

Rick said...

I'm sure most people are thinking something along the lines of "This isn't the first time that politicians have claimed that it is in our own interests that we should trust their judgement and wholeheartedly support them on the basis of their seeing a dossier of evidence that we can't be trusted to see!"

If these two MPs have compelling evidence that within 45 minutes of the next election, Kingston hospital will face mass destruction, why exactly are they so coy about showing it?

Assuming they're telling the truth, whole truth and nothing but, if they plan to fight to save Kingston hospital, which of the other hospitals will the Lib Dems be fighting to close instead?

If the answer is that they want to sustain all the hospitals, as is, how much is the extra cost of the unfunded hospital and how do these Lib Dem MPs propose to offset the funding shortage in south-west London for the saved one?

axlrocky said...

excellent observation Rick - everyone is restoring my faith in the abilities of local people to see through this sham- have asked Mr Davey to publish the sentence which specifically registers a threat to kingston - as soon as he sends it to me I will post it here for all to se and apologise gratiously - I wait with baited breath!

Rick said...

Readers may not be aware that whilst Ed Davey and Susan Kramer have thrown their collective energy into a save Kingston Hospital petition, two other SW London Lib Dem MPs, Sutton MP Paul Burstow and Wallington MP, Tom Brake are seeking signatures for an identical 'save St. Helier Hospital petition'.

Mr. Brake writes "Fears are growing that St Helier will be the first to be closed". Maybe if this region of London's Lib Dem MPs each shared their inside information amongst themselves, they might be able to work out which hospital is actually under threat, then combine, rather than divide their efforts.

For those wishing to sign Mr. Brake's petition, here is the address: http://www.tombrake.co.uk/pages/savesthelier.html I'm happy to sign either - or both, if there is a genuine threat of closure. But thus far, it looks like these parallel campaigns are based on fears rather than facts.

In the absence of facts, the source of these fears remains the region's four Lib Dem MPs, who (coincidentally) are all soon to face re-election. Until the truth is revealed, I continue to feel as though I am being kept in the dark and fed pre-election sound bites.

axlrocky said...

After a tweeting (unsure of the correct adjective) with Ed Davey - he has now posted the BMA report to which his eveidence hinged on his propaganda website - a quick scan of this report shows general threats to all hospitals - I fail to see any specific threats and he has now said that he has 4 cheif execs who have told him about the threat, I have asked for specific names and will publish those here as soon as I get them (if i get them) so that we can pursue them for comment ourselves). If these four individuals can back up Mr Davey's claims then I will be happy to apologise - until such proof is observed I stand by my claim that the Lib Dems have lied to you on this issue and I implore you not to let them get away with treating you so badly at the Polls on May 6th.

The Parkerilla said...

From leaflets handed out at WP station this morning I see Pippa Stroud and the local Conservatives have claimed the Union Flag for themselves. If you've seen the leaflet you'll know what I'm referring to.

axlrocky said...

Stroud is the best of a bad bunch in Sutton, if your in Kingston you could do worse than vote for Max Freedman (Lab), its a great protest vote if you've voted lib dem in the past and cant stand to vote tory, also he is a local lad (Tiffin school).

axlrocky said...

Also isnt it amazing that worcester park station has become such a launchpad for political cross border campaigning - maybe we are no longer going to be the forgotten pimple on the bottoms of Sutton, Epsom and Kingston!

BenjyP said...

Or alternatively you could make up your own mind by actually reading all of the nominee's manifestos and then voting for the one you agree with most.

I hardly feel someone having attended Tiffins is an inspiring reason to vote.

Paul said...

Voting based on manifesto pledges is a little unimaginative. Helen Whately is surely off to a head start being an unusually fragrant rose among political thorns. Now that's much more inspiring.

axlrocky said...

Point taken BenjyP - Max also did a cracking rendition of the banana boat song by Harry Belafonte in the cazbar one Karoake night - does that float your boat?

Rick said...

axlrocky has a fair point: someone educated at Tiffins is likely to be more innovative and successful, when it comes to claiming expenses, than someone from Cheam High.

Downwind of the Cock said...

Kingstons Labour candidate went to Tiffins? Sounds like a real champion for the workers!

BenyP said...

Sorry Axl, I am unfamiliar with the banana boat song, without looking in to it further the title does sound a little more of a BNP kind of song rather than Labour.

axlrocky said...

you will be familiar with it Benjy its the one that goes Daaaaayyyyooooo! Daaaaayyyyyoooo! Daylight come and me wanna go home...... look it up on you tube - its a classic

BenjyP said...

I know the one now, its in Beetlegeuse

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