I’ll be following up on that story, but for the moment, let me just say that it put me very much in mind of the account given by David Cameron in his 2008 Conference Speech:
In August, I got a letter from one of my constituents, John Woods. His wife was taken to hospital. She caught MRSA and she died. Some of the incidents described are so dreadful, and so degrading, that I can’t read you most of the letter. He says the treatment his wife received “was like something out of a 17th century asylum not a 21st century £90 billion health service.” And then, as his wife’s life was coming to end, he remembers her “sitting on the edge of her bed in distress and saying ‘I never thought it would be like this’.” I sent the letter to Alan Johnson, the Health Secretary.
This was his reply.
“A complaints procedure has been established for the NHS to resolve concerns…
“Each hospital and Primary Care Trust has a Patient Advice and Liaison Service to support people who wish to make a complaint…
“There is also an Independent Complaints Advocacy Service…
“If, when Mr Woods has received a response, he remains dissatisfied, it is open to him to approach the Healthcare Commission and seek an independent review of his complaint and local organisation’s response…
“Once the Health Care Commission has investigated the case he can approach the Health Service Ombudsman if he remains dissatisfied….”
A Healthcare Commission. A Health Service Ombudsman. A Patient Advice and Liaison Service. An Independent Complaints Advocacy Service. Four ways to make a complaint but not one way for my constituent’s wife to die with dignity. We need to change all that.
Quite right – we can’t go on like this. Labour have failed on the NHS and we Conservatives are now the Party of the NHS.
Bureaucracy is holding back first-class professionals. Buckinghamshire NHS is underfunded and people feel they have lost control over their services. Thousands of people in Wycombe are rightly up in arms about the loss of services at Wycombe Hospital.
This is why I’m backing David Cameron and Andrew Lansley on the NHS. Only the Conservatives are taking seriously the huge challenges facing the NHS. We recognise that, with an increasing and aging population, rising patient expectations and advances in treatments, the NHS must be protected with real terms increases in spending.
But this protection must be supported with real reform. Our draft manifesto for health includes key pledges which go in entirely the right direction to deliver:
- A patient-centred NHS
- A more accessible and accountable NHS
- Improvements to the Nation’s public health
David Cameron and Andrew Lansley have made the Conservatives the Party of the NHS and I am backing them for the change Wycombe needs.