Orpington Labour Party

Labour Rose

South London Healthcare Trust: an update and how to help

Local Labour members are working together to save jobs and services at the Trust.

There have been a lot of developments since Orpington members resolved to stand up for SLHT’s service users and staff a month ago.

After our meeting in June, our Secretary, Nigel de Gruchy, wrote to all the Labour MPs in South East London, asking them to come together with us in a joint campaign. And across the areas affected by the turmoil at the Trust, our colleagues were more than willing; in fact, Greenwich and Woolwich Labour have already established over the past eight months a successful campaign with an unambiguous message – that we love the NHS and won’t let it be threatened by a reckless Tory government on a privatisation bender.

It was inevitable that our political opponents and the right-wing press would describe private finance initiatives as “Labour’s mess”. Inevitable too, that some on the left would muck in. And it’s true, of course, that the new New Labour government pursued existing PFI projects (signed off by the Major government – lest the right forget!) –  and then instigated more – all the while many voices even within the Party itself both opposed PFI in principle and prophesied its financial underpinning was flawed.

At little more than ten years old in 1997, my grasp of the economics was somewhat – and excusably! – limited at the time. But it’s since become quite apparent to me that you grown-ups too easily forgot the years before. Though I would seriously reflect on my membership of a Labour Party that championed PFI today, desperately-needed schools, hospitals and roads appeared in the Blair years that without such arrangements just wouldn’t have.

But in SLHT’s case, the ideological argument is not only post-event – it’s a red herring which diverts energy from exposing the cynicism of the Health Secretary’s decision to place the Trust in administration. As Greenwich and Woolwich MP Nick Raynsford told Parliament this week:

We’ll be out and about in Orpington in the coming weeks collecting signatures in support of the Trust – if you’d like to lend a hand, please get in touch.

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