Croydon people care deeply about the NHS

Croydon people care deeply about the NHS.

It's a bit sad then that the current local MP chose to dedicate most of his letter to the Croydon Guardian ( No grounds to lecture - 9th March 2011) about Mayday to personal attacks both on me and my motivation for raising concerns about the four wards shutting at Mayday, 200 staff layoffs there and how the government health minister is not delivering on his undertaking to have an acute 24 hour stroke unit at Mayday.

It is preferable, I think, to debate the issues sensibly.

If Tesco works for food and cheap clothing the market will work for health is the radical Conservative philosophy.

The MP's line in his letter is that if Croydon people really want an acute stroke unit, the commercial market will express that cumulative view and so deliver it.

The problem with this approach is the market is no use to you whatsoever when you are suddenly struck down with stroke.

It takes time for the market to respond when what you need is emergency care straight away.

All main political parties have seen a role for markets in health care but markets don't work well for acute emergencies.

The speedy abandonment of Primary Care Trusts' planning of health services comes at a time of major constraints on funding for health care so chaos may ensue - indeed the cuts are partly about hospitals preparing for as yet uncertain competition.

I fear that we'll see a lot of our hospital services moving away from Mayday to inner London hospitals.

This view is underpinned by a British Medical Association survey which found that 89 % of GPs thought the changes would lead to fragmentation of services. Only 21 % thought that patient care would improve and 61 % of GPs felt they'd have less time to see patients under the new marketised health system.

These are serious issues which will have a high profile in Croydon up to the 2015 General Election.

Please let's have a grown up conversation about them.

ANDREW PELLING

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