I’m Chris Matheson and I’m the MP for the City of Chester.
The latest threat to the NHS locally is the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) for Cheshire and Merseyside. This is a new process that is being forced on the NHS by the government to save money through the re-organisation of local services, but increasingly STPs seem more like a vehicle to drive through cuts and closures.
I will fight any proposed closure of the Countess of Chester Hospital, now or in the future.
STPs are shrouded in secrecy and will likely lead to service mergers and more sharing. Towards the end of 2016, I was passed emails reporting the possibility of a long-term plan to close our own Countess of Chester Hospital and Arrow Park on the Wirral, and then merge these into a new super-hospital near Ellesmere Port. I was pleased to be told at the time that these plans were not formal, but more recent reports in the local media suggest otherwise. That's why I remain vigilant about the threats to local NHS services in Chester.
These recent articles from The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian illustrate the threat to our NHS from these STPs as identified by the leading thinktank The Kings Fund. My colleague Justin Madders (MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston) submitted Freedom of Information requests on each of these STPs and every request has been refused. Clearly there is something to hide.
I have launched a new campaign to demonstrate support for our local hospital.
My fear is that things may yet get worse and I believe we will need a change of government to get the NHS we want, but I can assure you that for now I will not stop fighting for our NHS locally and nationally.
I want to build a network of like-minded residents so I can coordinate a large-scale public response to any plans that could harm our local health services in the future. Please sign up below to show your support, to get future updates and tick the box if you want to volunteer for the campaign. Also, please share this information with friends, family, neighbours and colleagues.
Help reverse the tide of cuts and privatisation in our local NHS.
- We support Labour in Cheshire West and Chester with their opposition to the government's secretive NHS plans.
- We demand full disclosure of any proposed changes to hospital and community health services in the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) for Cheshire and Merseyside.
- We believe patients, local residents and elected councillors should have an opportunity to scrutinise the STP proposals and consider the impact on our local NHS.