I've had to go and lie down in a darkened room after reading the Tories' recent pronouncement on the NHS, locally and nationally.
For sure, the ridiculous proposal from the Memorial's management to close one of the elderly care wards deserves censure, particularly when that could occur in advance of the spread of 'flu this winter. And let me say at the outset that I don't doubt for a moment the sincerity of Tory Councillor Heather Scott when she condemned the plans, together with Labour Scrutiny Chair Cllr. Marian Swift and Labour Cabinet Member Cllr. Bryan Thistlethwaite. You can read more on the Echo's website at http://www.thisisthenortheast.co.uk/search/display.var.956107.0.watchdog_slates_hospital_boss_over_closure_decision.php
The reason why this is being given massive prominence by local spinmeister Graham Robb on the local Tories' website is nothing to do with the well-being of older people, however. Nationally, the Conservatives are trying to rebrand themselves as an NHS-supporting party, believing that the British people may develop collective amnesia regarding their disastrous neglect of the service whilst they were in office. Robb, who is never knowingly off-message, is simply trotting off the Party's national line.
Lest we forget, the Tories don't believe in the National Health Service. They voted against all of the extra investment Labour has made in the NHS which has paid for more doctors, more nurses, more operations and that has sharply reduced waiting times. And today, their spending plans would mean cuts to Labour's investment in the NHS. The only words the Tories know when it comes to the NHS are cuts, cuts, cuts.
Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt got it right today when she described the Tories' "policy" on the NHS as "dishonest and confused." You can read her statement in full at http://www.labour.org.uk/index.php?id=news2005&ux_news[id]=dishonestandconfused&cHash=eced8b8d71
Pass the Rennies, someone!