Formby trainee nurse's concerns over Tory-Lib Dem privatisation

Victoria Roberts and Bill Esterson
 
A Formby trainee nurse's warning about Tory-Lib Dem government changes to the NHS were heard in the House of Commons when Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson highlighted her concerns.
 
Bill Esterson read extracts from an email Victoria Roberts sent to the MP detailing some of her concerns about the government's damaging changes to the NHS.
 
Speaking during the Health and Social Care Bill debate, Bill Esterson said: "My right honourable friend (Shadow Health Minister Andy Burnham MP) is, as ever, making the case for the NHS, not for the privatisation that the Tories and their Lib Dem friends are pursuing. 

"We are talking about the future of the NHS, so let me quote Victoria Roberts, a student nurse from Merseyside, who starts her training in two weeks. She says: 'I am a student nurse due to start my training in two weeks. This is not the NHS I want to serve or work in, but rather will help only those who can pay the most.'

"Does my right honourable friend agree with that assessment of where the Tories are taking the NHS?"

Shadow Health Minister Andy Burnham MP said: "I wish the Government would listen to voices such as the student nurse that my honourable friend Bill Esterson quoted - people who want to dedicate their lives to the NHS. Frankly, their views are brushed aside by an arrogant Government."
 
Speaking after the debate, 41-year-old Victoria said she was pleased that Bill had raised her concerns as "more people need to know what damage the government's NHS reforms are doing".
 
Victoria said: "I currently work as a carer for dementia sufferers, but I am about to train as a nurse. I want to train to be a nurse and work in the NHS because I see the job as being a vital one in caring and helping people.
 
"But the Health and Social Care Bill going through Parliament will seriously damage the universal care nurses and doctors will be able to give.; It will promote competition at the expense of collaboration; iincrease to 49% the amount of private work the NHS Trusts can take on; move the NHS towards regional pay awards; create a dual challenge of implementing reform at the same time as finding £20billion of efficiency savings in the NHS; increase the amount of red tape and structures in the NHS in England when it promised to do the opposite; not deliver on the promise to put more decision making power in the hands of nurses and other clinicians and only create a voluntary register for Health Care Support Workers when a mandatory system is essential.
 
"It brings business into the National Health Service which means that GPs are going to have to look to the bottom line rather than caring for patients.


"And the role of nurses will be radically altered and take them from caring for patients to pen pushing. It will severely impact on frontline care in the NHS and more people need to be speaking out against this.

 
"That's why I am really pleased that Bill took the time to not only read my email, but also directly quoted me in Parliament to show that people are concerned. Perhaps if more MPs were like Bill, listened to their constituents and felt as passionately about the issues as Bill clearly does, then these government reforms would never have been proposed in the first place."
 
Bill Esterson said making sure that constituents' views are heard in Parliament is one of his priorities.
 
Bill said: "I am contacted by hundreds of people each and every week. I knock on hundreds of doors in the constituency week in week out. It is my role as an effective MP to listen to what my constituents have to say about issues which affect their lives.
 
"Hundreds and thousands have contacted me with grave concerns about what the Tories and Lib Dems are doing to our National Health Service.
 
"The message is clear from the people of Sefton Central to David Cameron and Nick Clegg. Hands off our NHS.
 
"We don't want our National Health Service privatised and sold off to the highest bidder. We don't want a postcode lottery for treatment where the wealthy get preferential treatment.
 
"That's what Victoria's message is to the government. And I will continue to echo the views of my constituents in the House of Commons, even though this government doesn't want to listen."