Queen Mary’s Hospital Q&A

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?
A. No.

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.

15 responses to “Queen Mary’s Hospital Q&A

  1. You ignored this:

    “What exactly have you done, week by week, to get the A&E facility re-opened now that there is a Conservative regime? You were relentless on this when it involved an attack on Labour.”

    For completeness, an answer please laying out what steps you have taken, who you have contacted, their responses and your plans to ensure that this facility that you and Boris demanded people show 'relentless public displeasure' over is reinstated. It would be great to see your work on this after you campaigned so diligently – just before the election. You were asked about this some months back but refused to answer.

    By the way – that bit about intimidating other people who want to comment. If you go back over your comments it's easy to see that you didn't even get into double figures for comments once you tried to stop people talking about QMH. In fact there were very few comments on anything before this cropped up. And honestly, people are asking for their A&E back! Not a festival of anarchy in Sidcup High Street.

    This is a real local issue, that involves real people. Help get us back the facility you were so keen to save pre-election.

  2. Oh dear, oh dear! I was under the impression you worked for us! What have you done to bring back A&E to Queen Mary's now there is not an election on the horizon? You ignored that.

  3. Now that we have a Conservative government I have spoken to a number of people who I believe can have a positive influence on the issue, I'm not going to risk undermining that by listing them or the discussions here.

    I have also formally written to the Secretary of State about the hospital and it's services.

    Now about your allegations about me.

    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.

  4. Funny you never said that before. Is the answer really: 'not a lot'?

    For the record, my belief is that local Conservatives jumped on an emotive local issue in order to gain votes. Subsequently, either they actually had no power to do anything about it in the first place or their HQ did not have the same objectives – or they had no intention of keeping the A&E facility open, it was just a nice campaign.

    You were the most visible to me through all this and you have either refused to answer questions, thrown out insults or done your best to stop anyone asking about it.

    You should step down.

  5. Coulda woulda shoulda.

    Its all largely historic now isnt it James? The inevitable has happened. QMH A&E will never re-open no matter what number of people “who have a positive influence on the issue” you talk to behind closed doors.

    What you are doing is and will not have any affect (are you willing to gamble your career and publicly state you will step down if QMH A&E does not re-open for business? I doubt it), but in typical Political rhetoric you still want to be a man of the people and pretend that you care, utter tripe.

    I cannot wait for the next mayoral or general election, I believe there are many people who cannot wait to say the immortal words –

    “dont let the door hit you on the way out”.

    And yes I will post anonymously as I am not being paid by the public to make this comment, unlike your self.

    (and in case you start trying the usual tactics of blaming this on one individual, think again I suspect I am one of many.

  6. I have gained some enjoyment reading your posts and how you have attempted to slur opponents to the Tory cause, it has come across as a fairly transparent attempt at paying lip service to your Conservative Club masters. For my sins I voted for Boris and am wishing I hadnt because of QMH.

    I have to address the one question which is still not being addressed, the big kahuna-

    — Will the A&E at QMH return? —

    Its a nice simple question that really does not need a load of smoke screens about what you wish, want, trying to achieve.
    Believe it or not your answer must start with the words (because its my question not one you have carefully chosen for your own needs):

    1) Yes…
    2) No…
    3) I dont know I am only a member of Bexley council, and am not privvy to important information…

    Lets see some good old British backbone and see you step up to the mark and be counted. Remember your answer can be as long winded and full of as much political piffle as you like but everyone wants the answer to start with one of the 3 above (the Clever-ly money is on answer 3).

    Over to you Jimbo.

  7. “Q. Did you use local people, passionate about Queen Mary's, in order to gain votes?
    A. No.”

    are you talking generally as Tory policy or in your current position as councilor for refuse?

    Only because a local tory mp has been Googled on:

    http://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/8131924.VOTE_2010__Tories_pledge_to_save_999_services_at_Queen_Mary_s/

    I quote verbatim—
    “THE Tories have thrown the election race in Bexley into uproar, after promising a Conservative government would keep Queen Mary’s Sidcup, as an acute hospital.”

    And

    “Mr Brokenshire says a Tory government would immediately freeze plans to strip the Sidcup hospital of its A&E department in September.”

    So in closing your last question should read:

    “The Tories have had many months to make commitments about the future of Queen Mary’s, so why have they waited until a week before polling day to say this, and what precisely does it mean?”

    I think we all know why, don`t we Mr Cleverly wink wink nod nod.

  8. Found these quotes online as well regarding QMH, it gave me a giggle when Politicians are wriggling out of what they have stated or what their Policy has stated:

    “We will stop the forced closure of A&E and maternity wards, so that people have better access to local services, and give mothers a real choice over where to have their baby, with NHS funding following their decisions.” Conservative Party Manifesto 2010, page 47

    “However the Department of Health (18th May) said it was “too early to corroborate the claims by James Brokenshire”.

    A spokesperson said: “That promise was made on behalf of the shadow health secretary in a pre-election promise. That promise is not made on behalf of the government. We are only a week into a new government.”

    They then go on to state that:

    “So, already the Conservatives are back-peddling. The people of Old Bexley & Sidcup voted James Brokenshire, Conservative because he said that he would halt the closures. The shadow health secretary is now the health secretary.”

    Lies Lies Lies, it was all about gaining votes, not about keeping essential services.

  9. James, please test the IP adresses you've had visit today and tell us there's only one person posting. I must say that your statement about doing that is slightly frightening, you must be very concerned about this being made public.

    I know a number of people had mentioned Brokenshire but everything I've seen on this involve Boris and James. Until after the election of course, then neither of them seemed to want to talk about it. Until now, although I suspect that will stop shortly.

    Tell us how you're going to fix this or step down.

  10. Hey! Welcome back James!
    You've hit 'the nail on the head; thousands must have got a life back from that accident and emergency department. We don't have it anymore though.

    On a scale of 1-10, how obsessive is expressing 'constant public displeasure' (as ordered by Boris) as against, say, comparing brown shoes with a congestion charge?

    You're right, I for one am extremely obsessive about getting back an essential local facility that was there for us all and saved so many lives. I am also obsessive about stopping politicians using it as a tool for gaining votes.

  11. FYI to anyone who reads the answers above. The report referred to by Mr Cleverly that gave him the idea to get involved in all this is based on a study carried out by that well-known independent think tank, The Daily Mail. Only just noticed that. This is looking even more awful.

  12. Awful is the start of it.

    To coin a phrase re Marcellus:

    “THERE`S SOMETHING ROTTEN IN THE STATE OF DENMARK”

  13. As a local resident (in Crayford), I don't want QM to stay open – its A&E and maternity wards were closed because they were killing people. I don't want my family members being forced (as my GP tried to do) to go to such facilities. The main problem is that all of the NHS facilities in the area are, frankly, not up to the job, reflecting in part the problems of recruiting good staff in outer London. It's this wider NHS problem that you need to address James – most people will be ok with change provided what replaces the existing services is better – this isn't the case at the moment (e.g. the maternity services at Darent Valley, where my wife gave birth, did their best to kill my wife and son – they have admitted they made a number of mistakes, yet I have little confidence that they will improve things, especially given the continuing presence of – 'former' Communist – David Nicholson at the head of the NHS (at the behest of David Cameron, overruling Andrew Lansley), and the financial problems facing all of our local services.

    What are you going to do about these problems?

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