Saturday, January 22, 2011

It is unreasonable to expect the NHS in Shropshire to configure services to suit Welsh people at the expense of people living in Shropshire

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust is currently consulting on the provision of services across the two general hospitals in the county.

Faced with real terms budget cuts from the British government, the Trust has to consolidate services at the two sites as it is no longer possible to fund the same services at both hospitals.

Consultation events are being held all over the county where Shropshire residents can have their say but not only are we in Shropshire being consulted, people in Wales are as well.

The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital is used by people in Wales where it is closer than their nearest Welsh hospital but it is not their hospital.  Health is devolved and the Welsh government is responsible for providing health services to Welsh people.  Welsh health boards pay English NHS Trusts to provide health services to Welsh people.  They are customers of the English NHS, they have no right to make decisions on how we provide our service this side of the border.

Of the eight consultations taking place, three are in Wales.  A lot of the arguments against moving services from Shrewsbury to Telford that have been reported from the consultation meetings already held revolve around the inconvenience to patients from Mid Wales.  Travelling the extra 10 miles to Telford could be the difference between life and death, they are saying.  Well yes, it could but then people from South Shropshire travelling the extra 10 miles to Shrewsbury could be the difference between life and death.

In Shropshire it is the responsibility of Shropshire County PCT, Telford & Wrekin PCT and the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust to provide health services to Shropshire people.  In Powys it is the responsibility of the Powys Health Board to provide health services to Powys people.  In Shropshire the funding comes from the British government, in Powys it comes from the Welsh government.

That there is a shortage of hospitals in Mid Wales is not in question but it is not the responsibility of English hospitals to fill that hole in health provision.  The Welsh government chooses to spend a big chunk of its health budget on free prescriptions and hospital parking rather than a general hospital for Powys.  That's their choice.  The NHS in Shropshire loses £2m per year treating Welsh patients because the Welsh government won't pay the same rate for treating Welsh patients as the British government pays for treating English patients.

The best thing for Shropshire is, of course, to keep a full range of services at both the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princess Royal Hospital but the British government won't let us have enough of our taxes back to pay for it so services have to be targeted at where they are needed.  Telford is the fastest growing town in Shropshire and has by far the largest population of any town in the county - more than twice the size of Shrewsbury and accounting for 35% of the population of the whole county.  If services have to be consolidated on one site then the site that can best serve the majority of Salopians is the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.

If people in Powys are unhappy with the idea of travelling an extra 10 miles to access services in Telford then they can lobby their Welsh Assembly Member for a new hospital of their own.  It is unreasonable to expect the NHS in Shropshire to configure services to suit Welsh people at the expense of people living in Shropshire.  The Welsh can't have all the benefits of devolution without the responsibilities that go with it.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

More on RBS redundancies

David Wright MP seems to be having problems with his email because it's been several weeks since I emailed him asking for a meeting about RBS' policy of English jobs for Scottish people which has resulted in 500 redundancies in Telford.

Tomorrow I will be hand delivering a letter to his constituency office in Telford asking him again for a meeting to discuss English jobs for Scottish people and how the 500 jobs can be saved from being exported north of the border.

We will be leafleting outside RBS' office in Telford soon to make sure staff there know what's happening to their jobs.  Anyone who wants to help hand out leaflets one morning (early!) in the next couple of weeks, please get in touch.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

The hypocrisy of David Wright over RBS

David Wright, the Labour MP for Telford, has demanded a meeting with the Royal Bank of Scotland after the bank announced that it is cutting 500 jobs in Telford as part of the 3,500 job cuts it plans to make in the next year.

David Wright said:
This is a shocking announcement and my thoughts are with the employees of RBS and their families.

The public stumped up the cash to save this bank and this is a kick in the teeth. I am now seeking a meeting with senior RBS management.

If rumours RBS jobs are going abroad are true then it is a disgrace. The bank needs to stop spending millions on sports sponsorship and protect jobs in the UK.
When David Wright says "the public" bailed out RBS, what he means is "the English taxpayer".  Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland get more money from the Treasury than they pay in taxes, only the English pay more in taxes than they get back from the British Treasury.

The money that bailed out RBS and all the other Scottish banks was English money and as the only net contributors to the British Treasury, the English will pay back the loans that the British government, under the leadership of a Scottish Prime Minister and Scottish Chancellor, took out to pay the bills.

When the Scottish Chancellor of the British Exchequer bailed out the Halifax Bank of Scotland, he personally intervened to protect jobs in Scotland at the expense of jobs in England. The HBOS head office is, of course, in Edinburgh where Alistair Darling's constituency is.

The Labour government, of which David Wright was a member (assistant whip in the Treasury), supported HBOS' anti-English policy of sacking people in England to protect jobs in Scotland.  They also stood by while RBS followed HBOS' lead and cut jobs in England to protect jobs in Scotland.

While RBS is cutting 500 jobs in Telford (and another 3,000 elsewhere in England) they have pledged not to cut any jobs in Scotland. Not only that, but they are actually creating jobs in Greenock and Edinburgh in Scotland.

Is RBS being fair to their workers in Telford, sacking 500 people in the town and another 3,000 people in England so they can increase the number of people they employ in Scotland? I don't think that's very fair and I think David Wright is a hypocrite for complaining about the RBS policy of sacking English people to protect Scottish jobs when his government not only condoned, but actively supported, exactly this policy for Scottish banks.

If anyone should be demanding anything, it's the workers at RBS Credit Management in Telford (some of whom I used to work with in the very same building prior to the RBS takeover of NatWest) who should be demanding that their MP stands up for the country he was elected in, for an enquiry into Alistair Darling's dereliction of his duty and legal obligation as a British Minister to treat all citizens equally and for a judicial review of HBOS and RBS' policy of racial discrimination.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Which Shropshire candidates support an English Parliament?

Shrewsbury & Atcham
Conservative candidate, Daniel Kawczynski, didn't respond to our enquiry but from past correspondence, supports English Votes on English Laws but opposes an English Parliament.

Green candidate, Alan Whittaker, couldn't be contacted (email address on his website incorrect).

Labour candidate, Jon Tandy, is "very busy and may not have time to respond". He didn't respond.

Lib Dem candidate, Dr Charles West, wants to stop MPs from Scotland, Wales and NI voting on English laws. Doesn't support an English Parliament but says he is open to being convinced.

UKIP candidate, Peter Lewis, believes the current system is unfair but is concerned that an English Parliament would overshadow Westminster and that there would be too much overlap between the two parliaments.  Supports abolishing devolved executives and having British MPs form "devolved" parliaments for all four home nations on a part-time basis.  Acknowledges that Scots would probably not support this.

BNP candidate, James Whittall, is committed to the principle of an English Parliament and believes that it is unfair that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should have a devolved parliament when England does not.

Impact Party candidate, James Gollins, didn't respond to our email.

Conservative candidate, Tom Biggins, failed to return calls or respond to emails

Labour candidate, David Wright, didn't respond to our enquiry but from past correspondence, opposes an English Parliament.

Lib Dem candidate, Phil Bennion, supports devolution for England and can see the logic behind an English Parliament although he has concerns that England's size will diminish the union. He suggests an alternative of English and English/Welsh days in the British parliament. Would like the incoming British government to produce a green paper on tidying up UK devolution.

UKIP candidate, Councillor Denis Allen, supports a devolved English Parliament with at least the same powers as the Scottish Parliament.

BNP candidate, Phil Spencer, is committed to the principle of an English Parliament and believes that it is unfair that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should have a devolved parliament when England does not.

North Shropshire
Conservative candidate, Owen Paterson, didn't respond to our enquiry but from past correspondence, supports English Votes on English Laws but opposes an English Parliament.

Green candidate, Steve Boulding, hasn't responded.

Labour candidate, Ian McLaughlan, doesn't support an English Parliament because he doesn't think people want an extra layer of politicians and because of the cost which he believes would be high.  He would, however, support select committees of MPs elected in England dealing with English matters.

Lib Dem candidate, Ian Croll, agrees that the English should control their own legislation but doesn't specifically mention an English Parliament.

UKIP candidate, Sandra List, agrees that the current situation is wrong but was on her way to a meeting and couldn't give a longer answer. Says she will provide a longer answer by email (check back for response).

BNP candidate, Phil Reddall, is committed to the principle of an English Parliament and believes that it is unfair that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should have a devolved parliament when England does not.

South Shropshire (Ludlow)
Conservative candidate, Philip Dunne, didn't respond to our enquiry but from past correspondence, supports English Votes on English Laws but opposes an English Parliament.

Green candidate, Jacquie Morrish, hasn't responded.

Labour candidate, Anthony Hunt, hasn't responded.

Lib Dem candidate, Heather Kidd, believes the English need their own representation. Didn't respond to a request to clarify whether this might involve an English Parliament.

UKIP candidate, Chris Gill, supports an English Parliament and made a submission to a Commission into the future of the House of Lords suggesting that it be reformed into a federal British parliament and the House of Commons turned into a devolved English Parliament when he was Conservative MP for South Shropshire.

BNP candidate, Christina Evans, is committed to the principle of an English Parliament and believes that it is unfair that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should have a devolved parliament when England does not.

Monster Raving Loony Party candidate, Alan Powell, didn't respond to our email.

Conservative candidate, Mark Pritchard, didn't respond to our enquiry but from past correspondence, supports English Votes on English Laws but opposes an English Parliament.

Labour candidate, Paul Kalinauskas, supports a devolved English Parliament although he does have some concerns that it might threaten the union. Of the opinion that Westminster is probably irrevocably tainted with distrust and seems remote from voters, unlike the Welsh Assembly.

Lib Dem candidate, Ali Cameron-Daw, hasn't responded.

UKIP candidate, Malcolm Hurst, supports an English Parliament if devolution continues but would prefer to return to one UK government. Points out that under the EU, England does not exist and has been replaced with 9 regions.

BNP candidate, Susan Harwood, is committed to the principle of an English Parliament and believes that it is unfair that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should have a devolved parliament when England does not.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Another poll showing 7 out of 10 want an English Parliament

Another poll showing 7 out of 10 want an English Parliament

The Campaign for an English Parliament welcomes the findings of the ICM poll commissioned by Power 2010 which confirms that 7 out of 10 people support for an English Parliament.
This result backs up last year’s poll for the Jury Team and the last two independent polls commissioned by the Campaign for an English Parliament, all of which came out with the same figure. The people of England want an English Parliament, it’s a mystery why the British parties go to such great lengths to deny us the same right to self-determination they gave the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish.
Hundreds of thousands of people – perhaps even millions – will celebrate St Georges Day today and over the weekend with local councils, companies, societies and individuals organising fun days and parties. What better way to finish off the St Georges Day celebrations than an announcement from the leaders of the big three parties that they are listening to voters in England and will hold a referendum on creating an English Parliament like they did in Scotland and Wales? They’re all promising change, this is change we want.
To reinforce their message, Power 2010 beamed an English flag with the slogan “Home Rule” onto the side of Westminster Palace tomorrow. The Brits won’t be amused!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What are you doing for St Georges Day?

CEP: What are you doing for St Georges Day?

St Georges Day 2010 is almost upon us (it’s Friday, in case you didn’t know) and we’re interested in what you’re planning to do to mark the day.
It was St Georges Day that first led me to discover the Campaign for an English Parliament all those years ago.  I was looking for St Georges Day events in and around Telford but there weren’t any.  The CEP explained why, quite bluntly – the Brits don’t like England.  It sparked my interest and lead to me joining the CEP, becoming an avowed English nationalist, joining the CEP and eventually being voted onto the National Council.
A lot’s changed in that time and one of those things is that Telford & Wrekin Council are finally, after years of nagging, marking St Georges Day.  They’re doing it on Saturday rather than St Georges Day but at least it means more people can go.  That’s where I’ll be on Saturday with my family.
I have the day booked off work on Friday as I do every year (my unofficial St Georges Day public holiday) and I’m taking my wife to my sister’s pub for a St Georges Day lunch (they’re doing traditional English food and beers all week for St Georges Day).  On Sunday we’re planning to visit Blists Hill who are doing special St Georges Day events all weekend, starting Friday.
But enough about me! What are you doing for St Georges Day? If you haven’t got anything planned, check out the St George Holiday website and if you know of any events that they don’t know about, let them know.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all our members and supporters.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Facebook locks England fan page

Facebook has decided that the England fan page violates its terms and conditions and locked the page so it can't be updated.

It seems that Facebook is happy for companies or political parties to set up pages to advertise themselves but not for an English patriot to set up a page for England which has allowed almost 14k people around the world to declare themselves fans of the greatest country on earth.

Fourteen thousand people can't be wrong Facebook - give us our England page back!

Please join the Facebook group calling for the page to be reinstated.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Shropshire NHS needs to start thinking like a business, not just acting like one

Today's meeting of the Shropshire NHS Trust was a bit of a shambles by all accounts - they didn't announce it properly so it wasn't a legal consultation - but the Park Inn in Telford was packed out (over 300 people) despite being held, yet again, during the working day.

Earlier this month I wrote on this blog that it is the Welsh government that needs to sort out the inadequate health provision in Mid Wales, not the NHS here in Shropshire and I stand by that. I suggested that the Welsh government should invest some of their substantial health budget in building a new hospital in Mid Wales so that the Welsh government can discharge its duty to provide adequate health care to Welsh people without unduly impinging on our health services here in Shropshire. Again, I stand by that comment.

However, it occurs to me that there is a better solution. It can be implemented in the next financial year and it will protect and possibly even improve health services in Shropshire. As the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) is an integral part of the Welsh government's health provision for Mid Wales, the Welsh government can contribute part of its health budget towards the general running costs of the hospital.

The Welsh government doesn't provide hospital services to Mid Wales, which has a population of about 209,000. Instead it uses the RSH and other English and Welsh hospitals to provide those services. The RSH is the primary hospital for the county of Powys which has a population of approximately 132,000. The population of Shropshire is only around 283,000 (as of 2001). Almost a third of the people in the catchment area for the RSH are the responsibility of the Welsh government. It is only fair, therefore, that the Welsh government should contribute more than a fee per patient treated (at a discounted rate, inexplicably) and should instead contribute a proportionate amount of the actual running costs of the RSH.

The NHS in England is no longer run as a public service, it is run as a business and the NHS in Shropshire is in effect providing an outsourced health service to the Welsh government. Any outsourcing business that didn't either charge their client a share of the capital cost of running a shared service or a usage charge at an inflated price to recover a share of the capital costs would soon be out of business and deservedly so. If the NHS in Shropshire is going to act like an outsourcing business then it needs to start thinking like one.

The second attempt at today's consultation will be taking place at the Park Inn in Telford at 1pm this coming Monday. I hope to be there to put this argument across to the representatives of the Shropshire NHS.

Friday, October 09, 2009

CEP Protest in Smethwick

Members of the Campaign for an English Parliament (CEP) in Shropshire and the West Midlands attended the inaugural meeting of the grandly-titled but pointlessly ineffectual Regional Grand Committee for the West Midlands last night (8th October) to protest at its existence.

Like the vast majority of English people, the Campaign for an English Parliament opposes the damaging regionalisation of England and instead believes that England should be run by an English Parliament.

CEP members held up a 12ft banner and waved placards as MPs arrived at Sandwell College Campus at Smethwick. Several passing motorists stopped to read the placards and many of them stuck up their thumbs and honked their horns in support.

Despite the Conservatives saying that they would boycott these regional grand committees and pledging, in their party conference this week, to unravel Labour's regionalisation, seven opposition MPs turned up to the meeting. Had they not attended, the Labour MPs that attended would have failed to meet the minimum number required for the meeting to go ahead.

These regional grand committees are Gordon Brown's preferred form of government for England and are supposed to be Labour's answer to the national parliament and assembly they created in Scotland and Wales. British ministers have described them as bringing democracy closer to the people. To think that the people of England will accept this sham as the future of their country is an insult.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Letters in Shropshire Star

I had a letter published in the Shropshire Star the other day:

Easy way of saving NHS cash in England

With all the talk of cutting services at the Princess Royal Hospital, it is worth bearing in mind a few things. Firstly, the English NHS has been underspending for the last few years by a considerable amount.

Spending on the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish NHS has increased considerably. Secondly, the Welsh government refuses to pay the going rate to English hospitals for treating Welsh patients - something that costs the NHS in Shropshire approximately £2m per year.

Thirdly, the Welsh are terrible payers - Oswestry hospital threatened to refuse to treate patients from Powys earlier this year because they wouldn't pay their bills. A hospital in Bristol actually went as far as cancelling surgery for Welsh patients this year for the same reason.

The Welsh get free prescriptions and free hospital car parking yet we in England still subsidise their health service thanks to the Barnett Formula.

Why do our MPs allow £20bn a year flow over the border to subsidise spending in the rest of the UK? Shropshire's hospitals could raise well over £2m a year by charging Welsh health boards the amount for treating their patients and penalising for overdue payments.

Stuart Parr

Tonight they printed a reply from another reader ...

Rules for English are unfair

I agree with Stuart Parr's letter (Shropshire Star, October 2). We English are very unfairly treated under the Barnett formula to the advantage of the other countries in the so-called United Kingdom.

Over the last few years this has become the "dis-united kingdom". He asks why our MPs allow this disparity and all I can do is point out again that our Government is heavily Scottish-dominated. The other countries in the UK all have their own assemblies, but not the English.

The Scottish-dominated government will not even stop the Scottish, Welsh and Ulster MPs from voting on English-only matters in Westminster.

All this is very unfair to the English and even Barnett has stated so, but with the majority of English MPs being Conservative our current government is not going to change anything,

We can only hope to achieve parity after the next election and have our own parliament, or better still get rid of the other money-wasting and expense claiming assemblies.

Graham Burns

Agree with every word right up until the second half of the last sentence.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Tories won't be boycotting regional grand committee after all

The Tories and the Lib Dems both pledged to boycott Gordon Brown's regional grand committees so I called the offices of the five Shropshire MPs over the last couple of days to ask if they would be attending the regional grand committee in Smethwick on Thursday.
  • Daniel Kawczynski will definitely not be attending the meeting, approves of the Tory boycott and opposes regionalisation.
  • Owen Paterson is giving a speech to the Tory Party conference and won't be attending the committee.
  • Mark Pritchard's secretary in his constituency office doesn't have access to his diary and his Westminster office has yet to reply to an email.
  • David Wright has yet to return my call (although he has been sending me Twitter messages all day).
  • Philip Dunne will be attending the committee as he has been instructed to attend by the party whip.
Tory Party conference follower and English Parliament supporting blogger, Man in a Shed, put the following update on Twitter today:
Abolishing Labour's regional government gets the loudest clap so far
How much applause would the announcement have got if the delegates knew that the whips were ordering their shadow cabinet members to attend regional grand committees despite a public pledge to boycott them?

Down with this sort of thing

On Thursday members of Shropshire Branch will be at the Campaign for an English Parliament’s protest at the pantomime that is the regional grand committee for the West Midlands euroregion.

The regional grand committee for the east of England euroregion was a complete farce – hardly any MPs turned up to the meeting (not enough for a quorum so they couldn’t discuss anything on the agenda) and they spent 30 minutes of the 50 minute meeting debating whether to put the PA system on. The whole thing cost the taxpayer nearly £2m, the meeting in the West Midlands euroregion will also cost roughly the same amount.

This is El Gordo’s vision for the future governance of England but it’s certainly not mine. The protest will be at 6:30pm on Thursday the 8th of October at the Sandwell College campus in Smethwick.

Monday, October 05, 2009

It's not our job to fix the Welsh government's bad decisions

The NHS in Shropshire is proposing to cut A&E and acute paediatric services in Telford's Princess Royal Hospital to save money.

David Wright, the MP for the Telford constituency, has launched a "Say no to Shrewsbury" campaign calling for cuts to be made at Shrewsbury rather than Telford which has prompted Daniel Kawczynski, the MP for the Shrewsbury & Atcham constituency, to campaign for the cuts to be made at Telford instead. Daniel Kawczynski has even tried to enlist the help of Rhoddri Morgan, the First Minister of Wales, because patients from Mid Wales would be inconvenienced by cuts to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.

The suggestion that one hospital can cope with all A&E and acute paediatric referrals is ridiculous in itself but to suggest that they should be centralised in Shrewsbury when Telford has the largest and fastest growing population in the county is unbelievable.

What is best for Shropshire is for the services to stay at both hospitals or for a new hostpial to be built between Shrewsbury and Telford. But if there is a requirement to centralise services then they should be centralised in Telford, not in Shrewsbury.

The problem with this suggestion, though, is that it inconveniences patients from Mid Wales who don't have a local Welsh hospital. The NHS in Shropshire has cited this as a reason to keep services in Shrewsbury and the Daniel Kawczynski MP has also used it as an excuse to keep services at the hospital in his constituency.

And this is the problem with so-called English MPs - they aren't English MPs at all, they are British MPs. On balance, taking into account the interests of patients from Mid Wales, it makes most sense to keep services at Shrewsbury and it is the interests of those Welsh patients that Daniel Kawczynski is taking into account and using as leverage to save services at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.

But the people of Shrewsbury & Atcham elected Daniel to represent their interests, not the interests of Welsh people. In Wales they elect Welsh Assembly Members to deal with health as it's a devolved area and it is the Welsh government that has a responsibility to provide adequate health care in Wales, not the British government and not the NHS in Shropshire.

I'm not suggesting for a moment that someone from outside of Shropshire should be refused treatment at any of our Shropshire hospitals but there is a difference between treating someone from another English county, whose health provision is the responsibility of the same government that our own is in Shropshire and treating someone from another country whose health provision is the responsibility of another government - one that, crucially, is funded separately to the English NHS and given more money from the British Treasury to provide services.

This isn't a case of sour grapes or being anti-Welsh, it's simply that the provision of health services to Welsh people is the responsibility of the Welsh government and if services do need to be cut in Shropshire then those cuts should be made in such a way that it provides the least detriment to the people of Shropshire. If it leaves the Welsh with worse health provision then I'm afraid it is up to the Welsh people to petition the Welsh government to invest some of their health budget in building a hospital in Mid Wales.

The Welsh people asked for their own government and they got it. They have to live with the consequences of that decision and one of those consequences is that they can't keep relying on the English to pick up the pieces when their government makes the wrong decision. Not investing in health care in Mid Wales was a bad decision but fixing the consequences of that bad decision is up to the Welsh government, not the NHS in Shropshire.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Telford & Wrekin to fly English flag from all council offices

Telford & Wrekin Council voted last night to fly the Cross of St George outside all of their offices.

This is a very welcome move and leads the way for other, less patriotic local authorities in England.

The British establishment doesn't allow us to have many symbols of our nation because it undermines the Britification project. Our national flag is the most important symbol of our nation and the English people and Telford & Wrekin Council is to be congratulated on this move.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Shropshire Star: It's not too late to hear out English nationalists

It's been a while since I wrote a letter to the Shropshire Star. This one was published in tonight's Shropshire Star ...

It's not too late to hear out English nationalists

It's a little late for John Denham to be worrying about the emergence of white supremacists in England when he has served in a British government that has deliberately ignored moderate English nationalists for the last decade.

The effect of which has been the emergence of groups like the English and Welsh Defence League.

I have no interest in ethnic nationalism. But I really must point out that independent observers have said that the violence at the English and Welsh Defence League protests in Birmingham has been largely instigated by the thugs from Unite Against Fascism.

If the Government had spent the decade listening to the reasonable demands of ordinary people who want equal rights for English people instead of marginalising them, there would be no reason for white supremacist groups to exist.

We would have an English Parliament and English politicians elected by English people defending English interests, instead of anglophobic British nationalists at Westminster treating us like serfs.

John Denham and his colleagues have only themselves to blame for the emergence of racists like the English and Welsh Defence League because they are a product of their anti-English policies.

It's not too late for the Government to engage with moderate English nationalists like the Campaign for an English Parliament and promote an inclusive English civic nationalism, but I suspect they will be too busy navel gazing to realise it.

Stuart Parr

Welsh patients pushed down waiting list at Shropshire hospital

I was told last night on very good authority that the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt hospital in Gobowen (also known as Oswestry Opthopaedic) is bumping English patients up the waiting lists in protest at the Welsh government's refusal to pay the going rate for treatment.

The three main hospitals in Shropshire all lose money treating Welsh patients because the Welsh government doesn't pay the same amount for treatments as the British government does. More Welsh patients have to be treated to achieve the same income as they would receive if treating only English patients.

Added to this is the problem of the Welsh not paying their bills on time which resulted in at least two hospitals - Oswestry here in Shropshire and one in Bristol - threatening to refuse treatment to Welsh patients if they didn't hand over the cash.

An English patient's recent conversation with a consultant at Oswestry went something like ...
Patient: So when am I likely to get my operation?
Consultant: Probably around November unless you live in Wales
Patient: Why, what difference would it make if I lived in
Consultant: Well, with all the free prescriptions and free parking
they get and they don't pay us us enough for treatment, Welsh patients get
pushed down the waiting list

I'm not sure if this is official hospital policy or an unofficial protest by consultants but I expect it will annoy the Welsh immensely, especially given the number of letters recently in the Shropshire Star trying to defend the special treatment the Welsh are getting (including putting Welsh signs in Oswestry hospital). There is a simple solution if the Welsh do start getting shirty over being pushed down the waiting lists - they could spend some of the multi-billion pound annual subsidy they get from the English taxpayer building some of their own hospitals.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A startling discovery?

Phillip Dunne, the Tory MP for Ludlow in Shropshire, is demanding that the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) come clean about plans to revalue houses in England for council tax.

Mr Dunne has "discovered" that the VOA has been training up valuers and has been covertly inspecting and cataloguing properties in England for valuation purposes. Presumably he doesn't have a subscription to the Torygraph because they made a big thing of it back in 2007 and it was old news then.

The VOA is part of HM Revenue & Customs which is itself a part of the Treasury, the government department run by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and yep, you've guess it, the VOA has no involvement in valuations in Alistair Darling's constituency. The VOA only operates in England and Wales and although a revaluation of Welsh homes has already taken place, the Welsh government uses public money to subsidise council tax bills, effectively capping them.

So, will Mr Dunne be drawing any of this to the attention of his constituents? Will he point out the unfairness of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, elected in Scotland, running the VOA even though the people affected by the decisions taken by the VOA can't hold him to account for his department's actions through the ballot box? Will he be drawing attention to the fact that the Welsh government is using English money to subsidise Welsh council tax bills while the British government sits back and watches English council tax demands increase by 3 or 4 times the rate of inflation? Will he point out to his constituents that an English Parliament would have the same ability to cushion English council tax payers from the increasing demands of public expenditure in the same was the Welsh government does now for Welsh council tax payers?

Perhaps he's changed his mind in the four years since he told CEP Shropshire chairman, Edward Higginbottom, that he prefered the unworkable English Votes on English Laws proposal his party has put forward than the English Parliament that the majority of English people want but I doubt it. Turkeys don't vote for Christmas after all.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Shropshire Star Letters

These two letters were in the Shropshire Star in the last few days:

Promote St George

As a patriotic English-woman and a proud Shrewsbury resident, I feel it's about time that my local council and the rest of the politically-correct establishment did more to promote England's patron saint.

The council uses taxpayers' money to promote multi-culturalism but does nothing to mark St George's day. This anti-English bias is an absolute disgrace.

Helen Foulkes

I'm English and proud

Isn't it strange how this year it's no longer racist to celebrate St Georges Day?

It couldn't possibly be because the main political parties are scared that they have pushed the English people too far, making them second class citizens in their own country?

All of a sudden the likes of Gordon Brown are saying it's OK to be English again, but we still have the usual rhetorical clap trap in the media.

Why are the English the only race who have to justify who they are? Why are we made to feel guilty about our culture and heritage?

Mike Amos

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sandwell St Georges Day Parade

Stone Cross St George Association, organisers of the Sandwell St Georges Day parade, have sent the following message to supporters …

Apologies for not giving much news of late but we’ve been working behind the scenes to try and move things forward.


The date of the parade WILL be the 19th April. Assembling in Westminster Road from 9:45am

Sandwell Council have allowed the fair to remain open on the Sunday and have given us permission to have a stage erected in the park so we can address the crowd of people. Obviously there will not be as much in the park as in previous years but a week ago we had nothing in going on in the park!


Some of the expenses for the parade are really high, Chris Kelly from Keltruck has very kindly offered to pay ‘the difference’ for the parade but as it stands at the moment we have very little in the way of donations from anywhere else! PLEASE try and help us financially, even if you could send a cheque for £1, All 3,400 of you all on this list will go a long way paying off just the insurance!

£1 will give you a mention on our website, £10 will give you a yearly membership, £100 a lifetime membership.


For more details, go to the Stone Cross St George Association website.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

St Georges Day in Telford

UKIP Telford & Wrekin

Celebrating St Georges Day

on the evening of the 23rd April


The Telford White House Hotel
Watling Street

Tickets £12.50 each

Arrival 7.00 – 7.15 Meal 7.30pm

Ends around 10.30pm

Brass Band

Fish & Chips and Mushy Peas
Apple Pie

This is the time to sing along let your hair down and have fun.

More importantly Fly the Flag

Please forward a cheque payable:

UKIP Telford & Wrekin
c/o Holly Cottage
30 The Fields
Please note: this is not a CEP event and the CEP doesn't support any political party

Friday, March 13, 2009

Shropshire man falls foul of the Nationality Lottery

A Shropshire man has fallen foul of the nationality lottery after Telford & Wrekin NHS Trust refused to treat him with Lucentis to try and save his sight.

Allan Farley has punctate inner choroidopathy and two consultants have told him that Lucentis will help to save the sight in his right eye. He is already blind in his left.

But the NHS Trust, acting on guidelines issued by the increasingly inaccurately named National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), have refused to fund a course of Lucentis. Honestly, someone really should complain to Trading Standards - they are neither "national" nor "nice".

Two years worth of Lucentis will cost about £18k, pocket money compared to the cost of paying benefits and providing services to a blind man and his family for the next 50 or 60 years. If you'll excuse the pun, the decision is more than a little short sighted.

Mr Farley says he's being refused Lucentis because of the cost. Yes, it's an expensive drug and the NHS Trust probably doesn't have £18k stuffed down the back of the Chief Exec's sofa to pay for it but finding the money for the drug is a secondary issue and the NHS Trust does have the money if it wants to spend it.

The real reason why Mr Farley is being refused Lucentis is because he lives in England. If he lived in Scotland he would have been treated by now and the sight of his left eye might have been saved. The Scottish Medical Consortium - the equivalent body to NICE north of the border - allows Lucentis to be provided on the NHS in Scotland, along with a host of other drugs such as cancer and alzheimers treatments that are unavailable to English people.