Daniel Zeichner, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Cambridge, has said that the proposals from Cambridgeshire County County to transfer services for older people and occupational therapy back to the County Council are to be welcomed but has raised concerns about the future of other services delivered by Cambridgeshire Community Services across the County, including Brookfields Hospital in Cambridge. The County Cabinet is meeting on Tuesday 5 March to consider the proposals which would mean those services being brought back into the public sector and the direct control of the County Council.
Speaking after Britains leading medical organisation, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges representing over 200,000 doctors, has written to the coalition Health Minister expressing their ‘grave concern’ that the government is planning a backdoor privatisation of the Health Service, Mr Zeichner said: “ Services such as day care, support for frail elderly people in sheltered housing and for those with disabilities or occupational therapy are hugely important in enabling people to stay in their homes, jobs and communities and I welcome the plans by the County Council to take them back inhouse following the failure of Cambridgeshire Community Services to become a Foundation Trust. The transfer will need to be carefully managed to avoid disruption and a loss of staff with expertise and to maintain high care standards but I think that it provides the best solution for these services.”
“However Cambridgeshire Community Services manages over 80 health and social care services in Cambridgeshire alone and I am very concerned that its break-up could lead to many of those being privatised ‘by stealth ’ following the changes to the NHS made by the Health and Social Care Bill last year and the requirement for time-consuming, disruptive and unnecessary tendering processes. In many vital service areas competition is unnecessary and may well destabilise them.”
Daniel also expressed a particular concern about Brookfields Hospital in Mill Road, saying: “ The future for Brookfields remains unclear. The ambitious plans of a few years ago haven’t been realised and with wards lying empty for a long time, this is a serious waste of valuable NHS resources. Now that the future of Cambridgeshire Community Services is in doubt, the public has a right to know what the future holds for Brookfields.”