Answers from parties contesting the May 4th 2017 Gloucestershire County Council elections. We will continue to publish answers received before the election - we encourage members of the public to
We received answers from the Labour Group, and from County Councillor Iain Dobie, GCC Liberal Democrat Group Spokesperson on Health on behalf of the Liberal Democrat Group. We have not received any response from either the Conservative Party or UKIP. The Green Party have promised a response and apologised for the lack of response so far, saying that their 3 candidates in the Stroud area have "been up against it time-wise with so much going on". The answers below are copied in their entirety as recieved:
1. Do you support the Sustainability and Transformation Plan for NHS Gloucestershire and if (re-)elected what will you to support/improve/oppose its implementation?
Labour Group: "The Labour Group does not support the STP and would look to review it at the earliest time. It is not democratic, and is not representative of how decisions should be made. The Tories have made this Plan in secret, and have purposely excluded Councillors from shaping it."
Liberal Democrat Group: "To date, the Gloucestershire STP lacks the detail needed to form a judgement on it. Whilst supporting the general principle of better integration of health and social care, we are concerned that in practice the STP may - after the May elections - reveal itself as a vehicle for "rationalisation" of services. For which read cuts, e.g. to maternity services at Cheltenham and Stroud hospitals."
2) Do you believe the private sector (including Third Sector) has any role in services traditionally provided by the NHS or GP practices, or in loaning or providing capital?
If not, what will you do if (re-)elected to:
a) prevent further privatisation of services,
b) get non-emergency ambulances, community hospital pharmacies and Out of Hours services back into the NHS,
c) prevent the use of PFI in Gloucestershire's NHS?
Labour Group: "The private sector should have little to no role in the provision of healthcare in the UK. We have seen locally what has happened to services when they are contracted out to the private organisations. Labour would look at all available options to make sure that services are provided by the NHS. We will also fight against any more attempts to further privatise the NHS at a national or local level."
Liberal Democrat Group: "The Liberal Democrats believe there may be a subsidiary role for private or Third Sector providers, for example in enabling specialist minor surgery to be delivered more quickly and conveniently under NHS direction. Pharmacies, likewise, might provide more services. However we oppose any privatisations which may threaten the essential viability of a publicly funded and provided health service for all."
3) Do you believe that health and social care in Gloucestershire have the funds they need? If (re-)elected, what will you do about funding of these services?
Labour Group: "Health and Social Care is in dire need of help. It has been savaged by the current Tory administration, with cuts close to £11m this year alone. The Labour Group have a plan that would see the Council deliver home care services, create a joined up relationship with the NHS and provide outstanding care to every resident. We would also fight for a proper funding formula to make sure that health and care services were protected."
Liberal Democrat Group: "The Liberal Democrats have campaigned, both nationally and here in Gloucestershire, against Conservative cuts to health and social care. Not only do we as a party propose an increase in funding for both, but we have also proposed - in a motion passed at the last County Council meeting - that there should be a major, national, cross-party, commission to agree a long-term and sustainable solution to the issue of funding for both. "
4) Where integration of NHS and Social Care provision is proposed, will
you work to:
a) ensure any service previously provided to all remains so and that
there is no extension of means-testing,
b) oppose any homogenisation of staff employment that reduces terms
Labour Group: "Means testing has limited use and should not be a default position. The
Labour Group would also commit the County Council to signing up to the Ethical Care Charter, which would not only protect front line services but also boost terms, conditions, and pay for the thousands of healthcare workers.
Liberal Democrat Group: "Yes."
5) Will you work with NHS campaigners in Gloucestershire to prevent closures or privatisation of services traditionally provided by the NHS or GP practices and to oppose cuts and changes that will have negative impacts on patients?
Labour Group: "The Labour Group have a strong record of fighting and standing up for
the NHS across Gloucestershire, and we see no reason why that would change."
Liberal Democrat Group: "We oppose cuts and privatisations which will have negative effects on patients and will work with those campaigners who think likewise."