Would you really want to be a Conservative Party candidate when their government’s new local NHS services organisation, the Integrated Care Board, is going to close the Burntwood Health and Wellbeing Centre next to the Leisure Centre and banish almost 5000 patients, sorry, they say “disperse”, to other GP surgeries?
In fact, what would you say (if you were a Conservative Party candidate) when asked: “When will you close the current health centre and when will you open the new one?”
Would you be honest and say, “It’s going to close in March 2024 and the building is due to be taken down in September 2024. The new one is not planned to be up and running until 2025.”
And then when asked if planning permission has been submitted yet? Would you be honest and say, “NO.”?
So, then you are asked: “How long did Greenwood House Health Centre take to build?” and you, the Conservative Party candidate remember, says, “It took 2 years and 7 months after the planning application was submitted. Of course, that was over 13 years since it was promised – until the Conservative and LibDem Coalition Government changed local NHS organisation for the first time.”
You are then asked: “Has the Integrated Care Board, that your government set up, consulted the 5000 patients – or the patients that will be affected in other surgeries?” Of course, you, the Conservative Candidate, must answer, “No. The rules mean they do not have to, and they aren’t.”
Then, when the voter has recovered from this astonishing admission you are asked if the other surgeries have room for even more patients. You have to admit that just in January “There were 951 patients waiting more that 28 days for an appointment at the Darwin Medical Centre and 58 patients at Salters Meadow Health Centre.”
Exasperated, the voter says, “But at least our Conservative MP is trying stop this appalling situation for his electors, isn’t he?”
Of course, you, the unlucky representative for the local Conservatives, have now made your excuses and left.