Wirral MP calls for major NHS reforms to be paused
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23 Feb 2021
Margaret Greenwood MP has called on the government to pause its proposed reforms to the NHS until after all Covid restrictions have been lifted and for the government to then carry out a full consultation with the public, setting out what the changes would mean for patients and staff.
The government has recently published a white paper setting out its proposals. This came after NHS England carried out a short consultation over the Christmas and New Year period about providing a legal basis for Integrated Care Systems. Margaret Greenwood expressed her concern that most NHS and care workers would have been either 'working round the clock' or having a few days break at that time.
Margaret Greenwood also spoke out about government failings during the pandemic and called for it to learn from them.
Speaking in a debate in Parliament on Monday, the Wirral West MP drew attention to the fact that the UK has had the worst death toll in Europe, and that at the time of the debate, it had been reported that there had been more than 850 Covid-related deaths in Wirral.
She criticised the government for being too slow to lock down at the start of the pandemic, for failing to make sure that people on low incomes get the financial support that they need to isolate and for 'dragging its heels' over getting crucial data to public health departments based in local authorities.
She also accused ministers of being ‘obsessed’ with outsourcing during the pandemic, pointing out that they have given almost £2 billion of public money to private companies.
Margaret Greenwood MP said:
“There have been more than 120,000 Covid-19 related deaths in the UK and in Wirral more than 850 people have lost their lives, leaving thousands of people grieving.
"It really is important that the government learns from the mistakes that it has made during the pandemic, and I am very concerned that it is still not providing sufficient financial support for those who need to isolate. This is incredibly important and I urge the government to make sure that no-one has to choose between putting food on their table and keeping those around them safe.
"The virus has been devastating for huge numbers of people and yet still the government has not acted to ensure everyone who needs to isolate can afford to.
"I am extremely concerned too that the government is proposing to carry out a major reorganisation of how NHS and social care services operate at a time when NHS and care workers are exhausted and have been under incredible levels of stress for months on end. This cannot be right.
"I have asked the government to pause the whole process until all Covid restrictions are lifted and then carry out a full consultation with the public setting out clearly what these proposals would mean for patients and staff.
"People value the NHS extremely highly, and we are all aware of just how heroic NHS and care workers have been over the past year.
"The government must pause its process while restrictions are in place and while NHS and care staff are under so much pressure.
"It should then set out its plans clearly at a time when people are able to meet, talk and discuss their implications. To move forward with such major changes during the pandemic would be plain wrong."
You can read Margaret Greenwood's speech at https://tinyurl.com/jsp2euhm