Regular readers will have noticed that over the last few months there has been a large number of comments about facilities being closed at Queen Mary’s Hospital Sidcup, these comments have been left on a posts about a wide range of subjects. It has become obvious that this makes it very difficult for people, other than the questioner and I, to follow the discussion, so I have decided to take the questions put to me and answer them in a dedicated post.
I’m sure that a discussion will follow and hopefully having it all in one place will enable other readers to keep track. Here are the questions and my answers:
Q. Why did you ‘campaign’ against the Labour government’s cuts at Queen Mary’s before the election?
A. Because it was an important local issue and I wanted to support the thousands of local people who wanted to send a message to government that they weren’t happy with the A Picture of Health (APOH) proposals and the sham consultation that went with it. I was particularly angry because, as this report highlights, I believe that services in Conservative areas were being targeted for service reductions by the Labour government.
Q. Why did you not only accept the subsequent Conservative cuts at Queen Mary’s but make up a feeble excuse about this occurring because of the Trust ‘not being able to find staff?’
A. They are not Conservative cuts. Andrew Lansley has made it clear that under the Conservatives there would be no closures forced on hospitals from central government, once this top down pressure was released it became clear that government pressure was a smoke screen for the trust management who clearly wanted to press on with the APOH proposals regardless.
While there was a question mark over the future of the hospital it became difficult to recruit and retain medical staff, once the SE London trusts merged there should have been possible to redeploy staff between hospitals to ensure that key services were maintained. This was not done and I feel that this is a failure of the trust management.
Q. Why were the cuts ‘Labour’s cuts’ pre-election yet, according to you, the Trust’s fault after the election?
A. As I said in the answer above, before the election the closure plans at QMH were driven by the hospital reorganisation proposed in the Darzi plan, which in SE London was the basis for the APOH proposals. After the election the Darzi plan was scrapped by Andrew Lansley and the central government drive to hospital closures and reorganisations was removed, the trust management are clearly looking to implement the APOH changes despite the central government requirement to do so being lifted.
Q. Why did you and Boris encourage people to show ‘relentless displays of public displeasure’ to stop the cuts pre-election, yet when the Conservatives followed up with the cuts you ridiculed those who asked you about them as ‘obsessive’.
A. I’m happy for people to protest and complain, which is why I have a comment facility on my blog. What I’m not happy about is for other people who wish to comment being intimidated off my site by the constant haranguing of one or two people.
Q. Why did you take great pains to say that hundreds of people joined the protest against Labour cuts pre-election, yet you are still claiming that only one person is badgering you about the A&E facility now? What happened to those hundreds of people and who are those writing comments on your blog?
A. Hundreds of people joined the marches, easily verifiable by anyone who was there. With regard to the number of people posting comments, my web traffic analysis software gives me a very good indication when the same visitor goes to the same page a number of times. Also the automated spam filter often stops posts with different author names but from the same IP address, a number of comments claiming to be from different people were initially stopped by the spam filter. This is why I’m confident that many of the comments purporting to be from different people are from one person, it is also telling that of the many ways that I am contactable e.g. email, telephone, letter, facebook, twitter, linked-in, etc. the alleged multitude of people that are angry with me about QMH all choose to use anonymous comments on my blog as their contact method of choice.
Q. Why did you turn off the anonymous facility on your blog when the public showed relentless displeasure at the fact that you would not answer questions about Queen Mary’s? The result of this was that you had no comments at all – apart from a Mr or Mrs ‘Excalibur’ who said that it was a marvellous policy!
A. Because I strongly believe, and still do, that the bulk of the comments posted about QMH were from one individual.
Q. Did you use local people, passionate about Queen Mary’s, in order to gain votes?
Having answered the question put forward I will, once again, ask of the anonymous questioner to address the allegations against me put forward in the comments section of other posts.
What did I say I would do that I didn’t do? What have I pretended happened that didn’t happen? And I’d especially like you to detail how I took away services at QMH.