Crosby's new Blundellsands Ward Labour Councillor Veronica Benne

Veronica Bennett
Crosby's new Blundellsands Ward Labour Councillor Veronica Bennett was one of the first local councillors to sign up to Shadow Secretary of State for Health Andy Burnham's NHS pledges.
Cllr Bennett joined Andy Burnham and Sefton Council leader, Labour's Cllr Peter Dowd, to launch the pledges in the borough.

The pledges include five principles to protect the NHS:

1. Protecting an NHS that is free for all, resisting the encroachment of charges and unwarranted restrictions based on lifestyle choices. 
2. Preventing a postcode lottery. Patients in some areas are already being denied routine treatments, such as for varicose veins, that are available on the NHS elsewhere. 
3. Maintaining Labour’s waiting standards for cancer care, operations and in A&E. Since the election there’s been a 25% rise in people who waited longer than 18 weeks for operations. 
4. Promoting collaboration over competition, preventing the market from destabilising valued NHS services. Labour will call for a “one NHS” approach in every community. 
5. Putting patients before profits. There are already signs that financial incentives may mean NHS patients get sub-optimal care. Labour will always be vigilant in protecting patient choice and preventing profiteering. 

Andy, who was born in Aintree Village and brought up in Formby, said the pledges were the next stage in Labour's ongoing campaign against the Tory-Lib Dem Health and Social Care Bill.

Andy said: "The argument in Parliament may be over but we are now taking the battle for the NHS to every town, street and doorstep. 

"The NHS is heading in the wrong direction. But, rather than sitting on the sidelines waiting for things to go wrong, we will be working in every community to limit the damage. Labour mayors and councils committed to the ‘NHS Pledge' will be the last line of defence in that fight. 

"David Cameron was explicitly warned by GPs, nurses and midwives about the damage his NHS re-organisation would cause. Sadly, he ploughed on regardless, putting his own political pride before the best interests of the health service. 
"Patients are beginning to pay the price, as the effects of the Government's NHS chaos hit the ground. People will not forgive David Cameron for what he's done to our country's most-valued institution." 
Crosby Blundellsands Ward's new Labour Councillor, Veronica Bennett, was one of the first to sign up to the pledges.
Cllr Bennett said: "Apart from the local issues, fears for the future of the NHS is one of the big concerns raised with us on the door.
"The message is clear from the people of Blundellsands Ward, 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 only the lucky few get preferential treatment.
"Andy Burnham's pledges make clear that the Labour Party is determined to protect the NHS.
"And that is the message from Crosby and Blundellsands to the government. That's why I was happy to be one of the first to sign up to the pledges."
Cllr Bennett said Andy Burnham took time out of his busy schedule to sign people up to the pledges here in Blundellsands Ward.
Cllr Bennett said: "Andy received a great response from the people of Crosby and Blundellsands as he went door to door signing people up to the pledges.
"People here know the concerns and they oppose what this Tory-Lib Dem government is doing.
"That's why people were eager to sign up.
"I'd like to thank Andy for coming to Blundellsands Ward and everyone who signed up to the pledges."