You might think that after five years of complaining about local NHS changes the local Labour types would expect some real meat from Shadow Secretary of State for Health Andy Burnham when he came to Ealing on the eve of a general election and talked about changes to our local health system.
On Saturday night (yes, this really is how Labour types spend their Saturday nights) Andy Burnham addressed a Labour NHS rally in Acton. You can see a photo here tweeted by Labour MP Andy Slaughter showing a nurse in uniform (not very appropriate), comedienne Jo Brand, “Dr” Rupa Huq, Andy Burnham and GP, BMA official and Labour zealot Clare “fear of annihilation” Gerada.
.@andyburnhammp: I am minded not to proceed with those changes (to west London A&Es). Will demand full clinical review.
— Andy Slaughter (@hammersmithandy) May 2, 2015
According to Slaughter Burnham said:
I am minded not to proceed with those changes (to west London A&Es). Will demand full clinical review.
Whoah! Strong language!
I am minded …
He doesn’t say: “I will roll back closures of Central Middlesex and Hammersmith A&Es.”
He doesn’t say: “I will keep the current A&Es as they are.”
He doesn’t say: “I will keep Ealing maternity services open.”
No, he says: “I am minded not to proceed with those changes.” But he would not, in law, be able to make any changes without proper process and evidence.
His call for a “full clinical review” is his real offer and is just silly. The Shaping a Healthier Future (SaHF) programme was produced by clinicians and reviewed by a body (with clinical skills) called the Independent Reconfiguration Panel which reviewed it and passed it. The SaHF programme was never very attractive to Ealing residents and the only actor in this drama who has ever given us any respite is Conservative Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt who had representations from our MP Angie Bray and demanded that Ealing and Charing Cross A&Es stayed put.
Now after five years of Labour screaming blue murder Burnham promises us a review. Now we know from Burnham’s own mouth to his own people what his offer is. A review.
The most likely outcome from Burnham’s “full clinical review” is that it will find that SaHF is sound and let it roll on.
Labour has spent five years belly aching about the consequences of Burnham’s own £20 billion Nicholson Challenge and Burnham now promises a review. Talk about weak.