Islington MPs speak out against Government health plans

ISLINGTON’S two Labour MPs spoke out against the Government’s plans to radically overhaul the NHS last night.

They spoke at a public meeting hosted by the people who spearheaded last year’s campaign to save the borough’s only accident and emergency ward at the Whittington Hospital In Archway.

Around 100 residents, health professionals and service users packed into the Archway Methodist Hall in Archway Close, as Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North, shadow health minister Emily Thornberry, MP for Islington South and Finsbury, and other speakers attacked Tory Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s heath bill - and warned against the dire consequences it would have for healthcare in Islington.

Ms Thornberry MP said: “The Government’s health bill is intended to drive competition into the heart of the NHS. That’s their agenda and that’s what they want to do.

“The plans represent a major threat to the Whittington A&E – the battle goes on. Islington is the worst area of all when it comes to access to GPs out of hours – we do not need our A&E taken away from us.”

Speakers warned that as competition is ramped up, private companies will move in to deliver services – and voiced fears that profit-driven health providers would try to offer only the most profitable treatments.

Mr Corbyn MP said: “The Tories think there is a market solution to everything. There’s got to be serious action and monitoring of everything that happens locally.”

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Shirley Franklin, chairwoman of the Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition, said: “Nothing is safe from this bill. It’s absolutely dire. People at the Whittington do feel the A&E is still under threat.”