August 31: Administrative centre closures will threaten NHS healthcare

From: Dr Jillian Creasy, Clarke Street, Sheffield.

THE Green Party believes the NHS shouldn’t be privatised and neither should vital aspects of its work such as updating medical records or communicating with patients on behalf of doctors. But a document leaked last month shows that this is what is happening and it includes five NHS admin centres across Yorkshire slated for closure next year.

The Primary Care Support Service centres are a vital part of the back-up that GPs and patients need, keeping medical records up to date, sending out letters to patients, and providing payment services.

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This September 32 centres will be handed over to corporate giant Capita and the 150 or so people at the five centres in our region – two in York, and one each in Huddersfield, Doncaster and Hull – can expect to lose their jobs as their centres close next year.

Nationally, Capita plan to close 29 of the centres and keep only three. As far as we can make out, they’re going to be asset-stripped and 90 per cent of the people are going to lose their jobs. Meanwhile, Capita gets a huge contract worth about £400m over 10 years. General practice is the lynch pin of the NHS so major reductions in vital administrative support will threaten the whole of healthcare.

From: Miss Katy Barber, Blacksmith Mews, Wakefield.

The Off-patent Drugs Bill will be voted on in Parliament on November 6. I am campaigning in support of this Bill and hope that my local MP joins me and lends their support to this vital piece of legislation which could benefit hundreds of thousands of patients across the UK.

Supported by Breast Cancer Now, the UK’s largest breast cancer charity, the Bill is designed to address the problem of making drugs that have fallen out of patent, but have since proved effective for clinical uses outside of their original licence, routinely available on the NHS.

If it successfully enters UK law, it will improve access to low-cost treatments for a range of conditions including breast cancer, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s. In order for it to progress a step closer to becoming law, 100 MPs need to turn up and vote in its favour this November.

Neglecting the clinical benefits of off-patent drugs is a huge oversight, especially as these drugs tend to be very low-cost. Given the budgetary constraints on the NHS, surely this is exactly the type of opportunity that decision-makers should be embracing.