Maghull woman tells Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson she f

Bill Esterson with Kathy McGuffie and Joseph McGuffie



A 70-year-old Maghull woman has told Labour MP Bill Esterson that she fears for the future of NHS care in Maghull and Lydiate as news breaks that private companies are preparing to buy up GP surgeries in the area.

Kathy McGuffie lives with her husband Joseph at their home in Maghull.

Joseph, 78, suffers from dementia.

She has recently been informed that as a result of recent Tory-Lib Dem changes to the NHS, her local surgery is being bought out by a private company.

Kathy is concerned that private companies will put the pursuit of profit over patient care.

Kathy told Bill Esterson: "I received this letter telling me my surgery was being taken over by a private company and I was shocked. I rang the surgery and I was told nothing will change. But I struggle to believe that.

"What happens if I am seriously ill? Will I be able to get the treatment when their primary concern isn't my care, but the cost of the treatment?

"This isn't privatisation by the back door, it is privatisation by the front door.

"People here in Maghull and Lydiate just don't know what damage is being done. These private companies want their cut. They want to make a profit.

"When the NHS was set up, it was done so with the aim of never turning anyone away and everyone will be seen. But that will soon change. The way things are going, you will only be seen if you can help a private company turn a profit."

Kathy, whose son died two years ago at the age of just 40, fears the excellent care the NHS has provided her family over the years, will become a thing of the past because of the Tory-Lib Dem NHS reforms.

Kathy said: "Two years ago my son died of a brain tumour. The care he received was excellent. I fear people going through what my son went through won't get that level of care now.

"My husband has got dementia. He requires lots of care. Recently he went to the doctor's with pains in his chest. Each time he saw a different GP. Each time he got a different diagnosis from a different doctor. He was told he had a pulled muscle, until finally he was told he had a chest infection, which they were able to treat. 

"The good thing about having a GP is that you can get to know a doctor. But this system means we won't get to know our GPs. My fear is, that kind of thing will only get worse as there will be even less consistency of care.

"Everyone needs to be aware of all these changes. And how the changes will affect the care that we all receive here.

"These changes mean that private companies will dictate what treatments we can receive. They will cherry-pick the treatments that are in their financial interests instead of in the interests of their patients.

"But people here in Maghull and Lydiate don't know what damage is being done to the NHS by this government. They don't know what these private businesses will do to our NHS.

"That's why we all need to make a stand against these changes ... before it's too late."

Bill said he had been contacted by constituents in Lydiate and Maghull, Formby and Hightown who were concerned that their surgeries were being bought out by a private company.

Bill said: "My understanding is that the surgeries in question were previously in the control of the PCT. But now the PCTs have been disbanded by the government, private companies are free to come in and bid to run our 'local' GP surgeries.

"Kathy is right. This is privatisation by the front door. It is exactly what the Tory-Lib Dem Government knew would happen when they passed their Health and Social Care Bill. It was what I, and my Labour colleagues in Parliament warned would happen. And it is why Labour voted against the changes.

"The door has been thrown open to private companies to come in and run our surgeries. They are businesses and they are in the business of making money through running health care. They will obviously want to make money while they do it.

"The NHS was not set up by the post-war Labour government to provide private companies with new opportunities to make money. But the Tories and Lib Dems have manipulated the NHS to allow private companies to do just that.

"My Labour colleague, Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham, has pledged that Labour will reverse the disastrous Tory-Lib Dem Health and Social Care Bill once we get into power, but that is two years away at the very earliest.

"Mrs McGuffie is concerned about the quality of care at her GP surgery. The concern is that the private company running some of the GP surgeries here will spend less on patient care in order to make profits. That doesn't sound like a good deal for patients or for the NHS.

"It is my responsibility as the local MP, to ensure that any surgeries continue to provide the same level of care, with the same hours of access to a GP, as currently provided.

"I have contacted the private companies asking for written assurances that they will continue to provide that level of care for their patients.

"I have also passed on to Andy Burnham the correspondents sent to me by my constituents. These are the very real concerns of people directly affected by this Tory-Lib Dem betrayal of the NHS."


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