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Your Future Liberal Democrat Prospective MP and the NHS‏ - reply to letters from constituents via 38 Degrees

March 31, 2015 5:02 PM
By George Cunningham - reply to letters from constituents via 38 Degrees in George Cunningham - reply to letters from constituents via 38 Degrees

Dear Constituent,

Thank you for getting in touch with me about the National Health Service. The NHS, Manston Airport and the proper planning of any housing development are clearly the three very top issues concerning voters in North Thanet constituency.

I am very grateful as well for having received emails detailing the illnesses suffered by families and individuals who have written to me with their stories through this opportunity presented via a 38 Degree mass emailing. You are the people best placed to keep your elected representative fully in the picture about the successes and any short-comings of NHS locally. This would allow me as your future MP to take the necessary corrective action to improve continuously local standards as well as helping me advise my party about national laws that need changing as a consequence.

One of our veteran district council candidates has been in hospital at QEQM for almost two weeks now. We are reassured from the care and treatment he is receiving that the NHS is doing its job mending the health of local people and helping them get back on track in the best possible condition afterwards.

The NHS is our most treasured public service and I can assure you it is safe in Liberal Democrat hands. We'll invest the £8 billion that those in charge of the NHS say they need to maintain the high quality care you'd expect, free when you need it. And we'll guarantee equal care and support for everyone with mental health problems, who have been left behind for too long. These commitments are so important to us that they are prominent on the front page of our manifesto.

We have increased NHS spending in real terms every year in this parliament, introduced the first ever waiting time standards in mental health and worked hard to join up health and social care so people with long term conditions get the help they need to stay healthy.

Under Liberal Democrat plans, by 2020, the NHS will have the money it needs, joined-up care will be keeping people out of hospital who don't need to be there, and people with mental health problems will get help swiftly.

Our priority in health is also the carers who work so hard for their loved ones. We've invested £400 million to improve respite care in this Parliament but we'll go further: by 2020 every carer will get a £250 bonus, once a year, to take a break, as well as a carer's passport to open up support and benefits elsewhere in public services.

None of us want to see the NHS privatised. I will always resist any attempts that this happens. I accept that there may be a role for competition and private sector involvement in the delivery of NHS services where it can improve care and reduce costs, but I strongly believe that the NHS should be free and based on patients' needs - not their ability to pay.

I am pleased that at the recent party conference in Glasgow, Liberal Democrats voted to end the role of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in health, making it clear that the needs of patients come ahead of competition.

On the matter of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Treaty (TTIP), there will be no requirement in TTIP for the British Government to open NHS healthcare services to further competition and private sector provision. Access to NHS services will continue to be based on need, not ability to pay. The agreement is currently still under negotiation between the European Union and the United States. The European Commission has taken due note of the concerns of British citizens and in any case, any agreement has to have the consent of British Government and the other EU Member States as well as being passed at the European Parliamentary and national parliamentary levels. So there will be plenty of scope of scrutiny.

I hope this has reassured you that protecting and supporting the NHS are at the very top of my priorities. Thank you very much for being in touch with me on this important matter.

Best regards.

George Cunningham, Liberal Democrat

Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for North Thanet.