Monthly Archives: June 2017

Our community has lost a legend


Never having met any of my grandads (they both died before I was born), I think I can be forgiven for adopting Terry Price as a grandad figure once I realised he was the same age as gran would have been. Caring, passionate, honest, knowledgeable, willing to stick up for his rights and for others, he had all the traits I would want in a grandparent. (I told him this a couple of times, but the last time I saw him I mentioned it in person and got a ‘thanks Ozma’ with a smile and twinkle. Sorry Terry!) He would mix the right amount of advice and praise with an occasional scolding. For example, a few months ago at his house, he told me I should sign off letters with ‘on behalf of Buckinghamshire’. I laughed, thinking ‘Who am I?’ to sign off in such a way, and got a telling off. I’ll miss being able to pick up the phone and seek his advice and wisdom. In the past year I sought it in regards to vascular services and Marlow hospital. His stance included that the scrutiny committee needed to be ‘lambasted’ as they have the power to refer to the Health Secretary. I remember a conversation about Councillors and asked him why he wouldn’t stand (he would have gotten my vote had I lived in his patch!) I remember him saying he was too forthright to be a politician. I know the Buckinghamshire community have lost an amazing man. However, I know we have gained from his sacrifices and everything he taught us, having given so much energy and time to local causes. He was a gem in our community, along with Mrs Mary Mitchell (who also sadly passed away a little while back), and will be sorely missed. My heartfelt and sincere condolences to his friends and family.
Thinking about the campaign ahead, we have an awful lot against us, including what feels like the deliberate destruction of our NHS. We need people on every level to speak up for our NHS. But we have an amazing community and I know if we work together, there isn’t anything we can’t achieve.
Going through my WhatsApp messages (he asked me if I was on WhatsApp, a man in his 80s, wasn’t he amazing!) I found one of my messages from Terry in April. ‘Don’t forget Ozma, go for the throat’. You’ll be missed Mr Price xx




Attacks on our NHS

Yesterday we learned that Buckinghamshire is one of eight regions designated to become an ‘Accountable Care Organisation’. NHS campaigners have warned that these are based on an USA model of healthcare and are designed to set up our NHS for privatisation and a health insurance based system. The architect for these changes is Simon Stevens who spent 10 years working for United Health before becoming Chief Executive of our NHS.

We’ve gone from calling it a ‘Casualty’ unit, to an Urgent Care Centre, to an Urgent Treatment Centre however our MP has yet to explain what this actually means for our hospital. Our MP, Steve Baker, felt his stance on our hospital was ‘vindicated’ at the 2015 election. Questions about who would run the unit and whether GP surgeries would close need answering before anything is accelerated, along with what this will actually look like, and importantly, treat. Our current understanding is that it won’t treat anything additional. No doubt there will be politicians happy to pose outside a sign change to an Urgent Care/Treatment centre as though it’s an achievement, however they should be reminded that we have FEWER services than when our MP first came into power in 2010.

Threats to our community hospitals continue, with patients who would have been treated close to home, now taking up spaces in other hospitals like Wexham. Not one local MP has responded to emails with regards to Marlow or Thame. Yet the overnight bed closures have directly impacted someone our MP has worked with. In fact, some of Marlow forms his constituency.

We have long been concerned about the land at Wycombe hospital, given to Wycombe as a memorial to the Great War. This land on Queen Alexandra Road was given to the people of High Wycombe to honour those that died and to care for women and children. Our local STP mentions ‘estates’, and our Prime Minister has openly shown support for the Naylor review, which not only incentivises Trusts to sell their hospital land, campaigners feel it blackmails them to do so. Selling of our much needed hospital land, or disguising this under the guise of better housing for staff would be completely unacceptable.

Smaller, accessible, familiar GP surgeries are essential for vulnerable patients however this model is threatened with the private sector preferring ‘federations’ and larger centres/hubs.

We’ve helped spread the NHS message with regards to use of pharmacies as a first port of call for certain conditions, yet the threat on these hasn’t been removed.

Meanwhile services which have left Wycombe Hospital, struggle under the pressure.
Underpaid and demoralised by this government, staff are leaving our NHS. Well used, successful hospitals like Charing Cross are earmarked to be sold.

Our entire NHS needs saving. And it needs saving from this government. The decision to underfund our NHS is a political one and it comes from the top. Whilst the government would like to pretend that decisions are made locally, these are very much top down changes. It’s time for our MPs to step up. They won’t be forgiven when our NHS is gone. They won’t be forgiven if our hospital land is sold, or if our NHS is further privatised. We all deserve the best healthcare, and evidence shows that this is the NHS. Private health insurance will only cover so far, when a patient’s condition becomes complicated, it is the NHS which takes care of us.