Sefton public back Labour Party's call for Lib Dems to 'Drop the

Labour Shadow Health Minister Andrew Gwynne with Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson, and Sefton Labour campaigners at the Drop the NHS Bill event in Southport.

Hundreds of shoppers in Sefton personally wrote to Southport Lib Dem MP John Pugh this week calling on his Tory-Lib Dem government to Drop the NHS Bill.

Labour's Shadow Health Minister Andrew Gwynne MP and Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson were joined by Sefton Councillors and Labour party activists at a 'Drop the Bill' campaign event in Chapel Street.

If the Tory-Lib Dem government gets its way and the Health and Social Care Bill gets passed in parliament, it will lead to the break up and privatisation of the NHS, with a return to an unfair postcode lottery for patient care while waiting times rocket.

The Labour Party and people of Sefton are calling on John Pugh and other Lib Dem MPs to oppose the bill.

Speaking in Southport's Chapel Street Andrew Gwynne said: "I'm here in Southport together with Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson and Labour Party Councillors and activists from this borough to highlight the danger of this Tory-Lib Dem NHS bill that's going through Parliament at the moment.

"Nobody wants these major changes to the National Health Service. The professionals don't want them, the unions don't want them, the Labour Party doesn't want them and most importantly of all, most people of this country don't want them.

"We want to make sure that our health service stays exactly what we want, a National Health Service. We don't want the NHS broken up and fragmented, we don't want free market competition introduced. What we do want is a proper planned National Health Service.

"Time is running down for us to get this bill rejected from Parliament - we now have to all convince John Pugh and the rest of this government to do the right thing and oppose the bill.

"John Pugh needs to stand up and convince his Tory-Lib Dem government partners that this bill needs to be dropped. In the coming weeks, we need to hear from John Pugh and his Lib Dem colleagues that they don't want the NHS broken up. They now have the chance to do what the public wants and drop this bill once and for all."

But when the Shadow Health Minister together with Bill Esterson and campaigners went to deliver the public's postcards to John Pugh's Lib Dem office in Southport, they were greeted by a 'closed' sign.

Andrew Gwynne said: "It's no good the Lib Dems announcing they are closed for business. The British public want this bill rejected. The Liberal Democrats would be wise to listen."

Crosby, Hightown and Thornton Labour Action Team's John Kelly also attended the campaign event in Southport. He spent his career as a leading NHS professional in the North West. He worked in Health and Social Care for Sefton Council until leaving his post as Assistant Director for Adult Social Services in 2001 to become Borough Director of Adults in Knowsley working for the NHS Trust. In 2005 he was promoted to the post of Director for 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Trust. He then went on to oversee the remodelling of adult care which resulted in the trust gaining Foundation status.

Last year he retired from his post as Executive Director Operations after over 34 years' public service and is now a health and social care consultant.

John said: "With more than 30 years' service in the NHS and as a former senior executive in the NHS, I am very concerned that this government's Health and Social Care Bill will not improve care for patients, will open the door to privatisation, fragment care and create an expensive central quango that will override the needs of local communities at a time when the NHS will have to find billions of pounds in cuts." 

Crosby & Blundellsands Labour Action Team's Veronica Bennett said people were queueing to write their messages to John Pugh.

Veronica said: "I was overwhelmed by the response we got. I had doctors and nurses going out of their way to add their support to the campaign, as well as dozens of ordinary people who rely on NHS services for themselves, for friends and for relatives. People were queuing up in the street to sign our petition, all of them asking me to take one clear message back to this coalition Government - this is our NHS, and we don't want it sold off to the highest bidder."

Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson said the level of public opposition to the Tory-Lib Dem NHS bill sent a clear message to Lib Dems and Tories.

Bill said: "We had hundreds of people in Southport writing postcards urging John Pugh to oppose the bill and save the NHS and I have had thousands phone calls, letters and emails sent to me from concerned residents who see this bill as a Tory-Lib Dem betrayal of our NHS.

"David Cameron and Nick Clegg both promised that there would be no break up of the NHS. By pushing this bill through they are breaking this promise.

"They also promised that there would be no cut to front line services and waiting lists would not be affected. We are already seeing thousands of nurses under threat while waiting lists are steadily rising.

"John Pugh and his colleagues should do what the people of his constituency, the people of Sefton and what the people of the country want and drop this bill and save the NHS from the the Conservative's planned privatisation of the health service."

Sign the Drop the NHS Bill petition - click here

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