Debbie Abrahams MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions joined Chester MP, Chris Matheson, in a day of action on Saturday (26th November) in support of local NHS services.
Debbie said: “It’s unbelievable that with the health service facing the biggest financial squeeze in its history, last week’s Autumn Statement contained not a single penny of extra investment for social care and the NHS. That’s why we are out campaigning in Chester today – to oppose more cuts and more closures.”
Over 60 activists from Chester Labour Party took to the streets to speak to residents on the doorstep and at a range of information stalls in suburban shopping areas across the city. The events were designed to raise awareness of proposals to close the Countess of Chester Hospital, along with others in the area, and build a super hospital in Ellesmere Port.
Chris Matheson said: “These proposals make no sense. Increasingly the government is being exposed for their real objective, which is more cuts and more privatisation. Chester needs to keep an excellent general hospital and I will continue the battle at home and in Westminster to ensure the Countess stays put.”
The events followed November’s Health and Wellbeing Board at Cheshire West and Chester Council, where Labour councillors passed a motion to oppose the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) for Cheshire and Merseyside, citing a lack of information and any evidence of engagement with patients and residents as reasons for not supporting it.
Eve Davies, who presented a petition against the STP at the Health and Wellbeing Board was collecting signatures at the information stall at Chester Cross on Saturday. Yvonne said: “We have collected over 3000 signatures today – it is clear that people love our health service and don’t want to see their local hospital get closed down, sold off or moved on. I will continue to campaign to protect our NHS in the New Year.”
Chris Matheson has set up a new website where people can sign the petition online at thecountesscounts.org. He said: “I urge all Chester residents to sign this. The future of the NHS is a political choice between more disastrous privatisation like our railways and utilities under the Tories, or a free and public NHS under Labour.”