I welcome the Health Secretary’s visit, but he needs to answer certain questions about the running of our local NHS.
One of these is why nurses in England are not getting the full pay increase this year as recommended by the independent Pay Review body – compared to their Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish counterparts who are getting the full award. Ministers are discriminating against English nurses by asking them to accept 1.9% instead of their due 2.5%.
I would also like to ask the Health Secretary why the Government is pushing ahead with plans to impose an Independent Sector Treatment Centre (ISTC) on Basildon. Local people do not want it, the local NHS does not want it, and local politicians do not want it, so why is the Government pushing ahead without genuine consultation?
The second point is particularly important to us here as the ISTC has come with no consultation and the best guess is that redundancies will result at our local hospital. That coupled with yet another review of the NHS by Gordon Brown and the nurses' pay fiasco does not auger well for healthcare locally or nationally.