Statement by Dr Louise Irvine, following last Sunday’s hustings in Godalming:
At the Godalming Hustings on Sunday 26th April 2015, Jeremy Hunt shocked many of those present by claiming that Cobgates residential care home in Farnham was not closing. He said the residents were just being “moved”. This is a breathtaking piece of spin by any standards. Cobgates in Farnham is closing – it’s clearly stated here on Surrey County Council’s website. Residents will be dispersed, and staff will have to find other jobs, breaking vital relationships of care and friendship that have sustained residents for many years.
At the same hustings, Jeremy Hunt said we need to be robust in ensuring the standards in care homes everywhere are what we would want for our parents and grandparents. In the real world, where he had the chance to defend an excellent care home that provides very high standards of care including dementia care, he is not only not interested in the plight of its elderly residents, but actually deliberately misleading people by denying that it is closing.
He also made the absurd claim that his government had invested £7 billion extra per year into the NHS over the last parliament*. The real figure**, according to Treasury data, is only about £1 billion a year on average, and that was not enough to keep up with demographic change. That’s why so many services including A+E, general practice, district nursing, elderly care and mental health are really struggling – and we are seeing that here in SW Surrey.
If I am elected as MP, fighting to keep Cobgates open will be one of my top priorities, as part of defending and improving all our vital public services. But more than that, I hope I will practise a different kind of politics – one based on openness and honesty not spin and deceit.
* Godalming hustings, 26th April 2015, Question: Do you believe that homeopathy works and what place do you see for it in the NHS? Jeremy Hunt’s answer, where he misleads voters:
I don’t believe homeopathy works. I would though like to respond to an earlier comment because Louise talks about cuts. The NHS funding has gone up in real terms by £7bn a year in this parliament. What I never hear from Louise is any discussion about where the money is going to come from. I’ll answer that question. It comes from jobs. A thousand jobs created every single day, paying taxes. That’s how we get money for our NHS. If we really want to fund it properly, fund mental health, fund the needs of the growing elderly population then we have to protect funding. That is the choice on the NHS. There is a party, The Labour Party, that want to tear up the plan that has allowed us to put record sums into the NHS and that alone is the biggest single threat to the NHS at the moment.