Jim Fitzpatrick: Reforms are wasteful and unnecessary

By Jim Fitzpatrick

jimELECT.JPGThe Coalition Government's Health and Social Care Bill has recently been the generator of a very large number of emails, all expressing similar concerns about its intentions. My own correspondence to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley highlighted the fears of individuals, patient groups, professionals and experts who have condemned the proposals as wasteful, unnecessary and potentially damaging to the NHS.

You will probably already be aware that the Coalition Government has decided to pause and engage in a period of listening with those who oppose or have concerns about the Bill. But will this be a meaningful exercise - or just a gesture in response to the outpouring of opposition?

Given that the latest reply I've received, the Government pledges its commitment to the principles of the Bill and its timetable, and says the engagement process is "not about changing the approach". I can only hope our views have some impact.

The extent to which this will be the case, we cannot yet know but I will be doing all I can to ensure constituents' concerns are not sidestepped or ignored.

The £3billion cost of this reorganisation would be better spent on patient care, especially when the latest indicators show waiting times lengthening for the first time in many years.

- Jim Fitzpatrick is MP for Poplar and Limehouse