Alan Johnson’s promise to make it easier for people to die at home has been criticised as an empty gimmick by local Liberal Democrats. “The essence of good care of the dying is a strong, local Primary Health Care team,” said Dr Charles West.
“Shropshire County PCT has just pulled district nurses out of the local Practices and they are steaming ahead with Alan Johnson’s plan to open Polyclinics and large Health Centres which will lead to the closure of small local Practices. Shropshire has had some of the best local healthcare teams in the country. The PCT has seriously damaged the teams by withdrawing district nurses, and Polyclinics will further damage local services. If Alan Johnson thinks that a new central initiative will undo the damage to local services he doesn’t understand the way healthcare works.”
“This is yet another initiative that ignores the needs of a rural county like Shropshire,” said local campaigner Heather Kidd. “If someone in my family were dying at home what they would want is a district nurse they know and a doctor they know. Now the district nurses are no longer based locally in the local Practice, and if the government has its way some of the local Practices will disappear altogether. It is time that we stand up for our local NHS: the doctors and nurses we know and trust. Any new money should be put into these vital services.”