Ealing Hospital "Save our Services" debate - a priority for Sharma?
Last night I attended the debate arranged by the "Save our Services" team. The purpose of this was to enable the public to gauge their Parliamentary Candidates for their stance on the services under threat at Ealing hospital. I and Lib Dem candidate Mr Nigel Bakhai attended. Mr Virendra Sharma, the Labour candidate failed to attend.
The debate was a good one and what became increasingly clear to me was that the NHS is being subject to "creeping privatisation". This is basically a situation whereby, key parts of our hospitals are being stripped away and sold to the highest bidder piece by piece. The clear risk here is that when the business world gets involved in running the NHS, priorities become mixed up. The main stakeholder of the NHS is you - the patient - whereas the main stakeholders for these private companies are their shareholders who want nothing more than improved profits. These profits can only be achieved by cutting costs and making "efficiency savings" - something that will inevitably lead to more risk and a downgraded service. This is unacceptable.
Unfortunately, Mr Sharma failed to see the merits of turning up to such an important debate. Instead, he sent a messenger to ask for a pre-written statement to be read aloud (the wording of which I recognised from his campaign material and was probably written by head office on his behalf). It later transpired that he was at the local Paradise restuarant a short walk away on North Road.
The most shocking thing about Mr Sharma's stance is that he misguidedly believes he has saved the day already! He is under the impression that he has gained unequivocal confirmation that Ealing Hospital is safe yet, it was clear to me and those in attendance yesterday, that this is far from the case.
What added further insult to the injury of his no-show was that only an hour after the debate, he had the gall to profess his commitment to the Ealing hospital cause on Punjab Radio.
My position on this is very clear. I have made it a top priority of mine to not only fight to retain the services at Ealing Hospital but to enhance them further. Further still, the Conservative Party has committed to safeguard the NHS budget - something the other parties have failed to commit to.