Category Archives: press releases

Community Hospitals

17 January, 2006

MPs and local activists come together to fight for community hospitals

Local hospital campaigners from across the country joined forces yesterday in an attempt to prevent a wave of community hospital cuts and closures. Many Primary Care Trusts are in deficit and are under intense pressure to balance their books by April.

The result is likely to be front line cuts to many local community hospitals. Representatives of Leagues of Friends, local campaign groups, MPs, Councillors, community leaders, and residents, attended a one day seminar to share campaigning tips, build alliances and develop strategies to reverse the cutbacks to such vital, local health services.

The seminar comes less than ten weeks after the launch of CHANT (Community Hospitals Acting Nationally Together), a cross-party umbrella organisation set up to lobby Ministers, and raise awareness of the nation-wide threat to community hospitals. The group is chaired by Graham Stuart MP and the vice-chair is Boris Johnson MP. CHANT is supported by more than 40 MPs including Labour, Liberal Democrat, Conservative and Independent members. Chairman of CHANT, Graham Stuart MP, said:

‘This joint conference between CHANT and the Community Hospitals Association aims to support all those who are concerned about the future of their community hospital services. It will develop a network of support for campaigners who are battling hard to save their local health services.’

Over 80 community hospitals, including Townlands hospital in Henley, are currently under threat. The seminar included sessions on potential legal challenges to cutbacks and allowed campaigners to share tips and advice on working with the press and lobbying politicians.

Vice Chairman, Boris Johnson MP, commented:

‘It is appalling to see these vital hospitals facing such an unprecedented threat. If the Government persists with this policy, it should have the decency to explain the logic of this frankly bizarre decision to the British public, rather than continuing to hold up its hands and pointing the blame at the PCT’s, who are after all, unelected and unaccountable.’

Practical Action Needed on Climate Change

23 November 2005

Boris Johnson MP: Practical Action Needed on Climate Change

Speaking in yesterdays Climate Change Opposition Day Debate, Boris Johnson MP called on the Government to match its climate change rhetoric with action by removing planning restrictions, unaltered since 1995, governing the installation of rooftop solar panels.

Arguing in favour of increasing the energy efficiency of our nation’s housing stock as one of the most cost effective ways of reducing our consumption of energy and carbon dioxide emissions Mr Johnson outlined:

A single policy initiative, which I am sure will meet universal approval among Labour Members and my hon. Friends …For an outlay of £3000 Mrs. Anley (of Sonning Common) can add to her roof a wonderful panel by which she can heat her water. It is a photovoltaic pump. She assures me – I have no reason to doubt her, since I have taken the trouble to look up her plans on the internet – that she can reduce her carbon emissions by half a tonne of Co2 a year and that she can supply up to 70 per cent of her hot water needs in doing so. The kicker is that she has to get planning permission …

Mr Johnson pointed out that:

The device that Mrs Anley seeks to install is only 2ft by 4ft and only 8cm thick, but to get planning permission, she must pay a non-negotiable flat fee of £135. She must then get an architectural artist to produce drawings of her house, which, as you will readily appreciate, Mr Deputy Speaker, will push her costs well over £200 … I look forward to hearing later that he (the Minister) is going to do a little bit more than set up a committee in the DTI to clarify matters, because this needs to be done urgently, and he is the man to do it.

Solar panels currently fall into Class C (roof alterations), of Schedule 2, Article 3, Part 1 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995.

Local Community Hospitals

15.11Community Hospitals in parliament.bmp

16 November 2005

Boris Johnson MP steps up campaign to save local Community Hospitals

Boris Johnson MP, attending yesterdays Westminster launch of the Community Hospitals Acting Nationally Together (CHANT) group , denounced the Government’s failure to investigate and halt what now appears to be a nationwide programme of community hospital closures. As Vice-Chairman of the group, Boris Johnson MP called on all those present to work together, along cross-party lines, to co-ordinate efforts at a national level to better fight the closure of community hospitals throughout the country.

At a meeting held beforehand and chaired by the Shadow Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley MP, to discuss the problems facing community hospitals, Boris Johnson MP lambasted the current lack of accountability of regional ‘health quangocrats’ to the needs and views of local people:

‘It is utterly infamous that the views of local communities are being ignored. In almost all these cases the move towards care in the community is being driven not by best practice or clinical need but by the desire to balance the books and write down Primary Care and Strategic Health Authority deficits. Community hospitals are at the front line of these cost cutting drives despite the fact they play a vital intermediate care and step-down role. Local people want them, District Hospitals need them, yet nationwide over 80 of these community hospitals are being threatened with closure. Worse, no-one is taking any responsibility for these decisions. Government passes the buck to the Health Authorities who in turn pass it to the Primary Care Trusts who then pass it right back to the Government. At the end of the day though, the Government appointed these unelected quangocrats to their posts and the Government must now explain their actions’.

Rejection of 90 Day Limit

10 November 2005

Boris Johnson MP hails Commons rejection of 90 day limit

Commenting on the defeat of the Government’s plans to extend detention without charge to 90 days, Boris Johnson MP today said:

It is vital that people are not fooled by the Government’s rhetoric. This measure was as much about party politics as about security. Tony Blair brought this extreme and unnecessary measure forward in the hope of dividing the Tory Party. He lost. Labour backbenchers have now tasted blood and like the man-eaters of Tsavo they will be coming back for more.

The 90 day proposal was defeated by a majority of 31 MPs, including some 49 Labour rebels, and was the first time such a Government backed motion has been rejected since Tony Blair came to power in 1997. A compromise motion, put forward by the backbench Labour MP David Winnick, to extend the police’s power of detention without charge of terrorist suspects from 14 days to 28 days was subsequently passed by 323 votes to 290.

Save Townlands Hospital, Henley-on-Thames

20 October 2005


Boris Johnson MP: Townlands Must Be Saved

townlands petition.jpg

Boris Johnson MP has today called on the Government to ensure the future of Townlands hospital.

Handing over a petition to 10 Downing Street containing some 10,000 signatures calling for Townlands to be saved, Mr Johnson said:

I believe Henley needs a hospital, but this is not just a question of clinical need, it is also a question of democracy. If Labour persists in its massacre of community hospitals then it should have the guts to explain the logic of this frankly bizarre decision to the British public rather than hiding behind the excuses of unaccountable, unelected officials.

In support of the petition, an Early Day Motion (number 798) has been tabled that seeks recognition for:

the valuable worked carried out by community and cottage hospitals in providing intermediate and step-down care.

and which notes that:

many community hospitals in Oxfordshire, such as Townlands hospital in Henley-on-Thames, are threatened with closure; and calls upon the Government to ensure that these proposed closures are forestalled and that community hospitals are placed back at the heart of community care.

townlands petition outside Downing St.jpg
EARLY DAY PARLIAMENTARY MOTION to follow:

EDM

Provision of Intermediate Care and Community Hospitals

That this house recognises the valuable work carried out by community and cottage hospitals in providing intermediate and step-down care; notes that the cost of treating a patient in a local community hospital is often significantly lower than the cost of treating one in a district general hospital; further notes that “delayed discharge” as a result of lack of capacity at the intermediate care level continues to plague the NHS leading to a shortage of acute beds; further notes too that many community hospitals in Oxfordshire, such as Townlands hospital in Henley-on-Thames, are threatened with closure; and calls upon the Government to ensure that these proposed closures are forestalled and that community hospitals are placed back at the heart of community care.

ID Cards

19 October 2005

Boris Johnson MP condemns Government’s ID Card scheme

Boris Johnson MP, commenting on yesterday’s vote in the Commons in favour of the Government’s ID Card Bill, has denounced the scheme as a costly and illiberal mistake:

“It is perfectly obvious that the Government intends these ID Cards to one day be made compulsory. I want to make it clear that I will in no circumstances carry one and even were I compelled to do so, I would take it out and destroy it on the spot were I ever asked to produce it. It is a plastic poll tax that will do nothing to assist the struggle against terrorists and will hugely expand the powers of the state over the individual”.

The Bill, which passed by a majority of just 25 votes, will now go to the Lords where it is expected to face further stiff opposition.

Oliver James Dommett
Parliamentary Researcher to Boris Johnson MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA

tel: 0207 219 8192
fax: 0207 219 1885

Foot and Mouth Disease Four Years On

boris_pigswill-1.jpg

Press Release on pig swill-feeding

Boris Johnson MP backs calls for Swill-feeder compensation

Boris Johnson MP, co-hosting a Country Land and Business Association sponsored video screening and discussion with George Howarth MP, last week denounced the Government’s handling of the 2001 Foot and Mouth crisis and the subsequent ban on swill-feeding. Mr Johnson branded this ban a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction designed to divert and distract attention away from the Government.

“The whole of a British industry was destroyed at the stroke of a bureaucrat’s pen. These people had their livelihoods snatched from them by a Government which had, up until a few months before the outbreak, been actively encouraging them to invest in MAFF approved swill processing equipment.

“This ban was the result of one farmer’s illegal swill-feeding practices, practices which the Government well knew about. Had the Government acted as it was obliged to under existing legislation, as set out by the Animal By Products Order 1999, then this horrendous episode would never have happened. Instead, our landfill sites pile ever ominously higher, our sewers clog ever thicker and ex swill-feeders such as my constituent Mick Eadle, victimized by a Government desperate to tar anyone and everyone but itself, have lost everything. At the very least I strongly believe the Government has a moral duty to compensate these people”.