Over recent weeks there have been a few letters questioning my record on the NHS so I would like to take the opportunity to put the record straight.
I am proud of the work I did in the NHS primarily as a non-executive director and then as chairman of Burnley NHS Trust as well as currently chairing the Lancashire Health and Wellbeing board.
When I became chair we were rated as a one-star hospital trust and, under my leadership, we went to the highest rating of three stars with a record number of doctors and nurses, huge investment in infrastructure, including a new MRI scanner, and high staff morale.
When the new leadership of East Lancashire NHS Trust decided to close the Accident and Emergency facility at Burnley I led the campaign in Pendle holding public meetings and a public march against the closures.
I also led the campaign and fight to “save” Pendle Community Hospital from Tory cuts with over 8,000 signatures.
Our Tory MP was still living in the leafy suburbs of Cheshire and working out which seats he was going to apply while we were fighting for vital services locally.
So, instead of the MP hiding behind a Tory letter-writing campaign, I would challenge Mr Stephenson to a public debate on the “State of the NHS”.
All he has to do is name the place and time and let’s allow the public to decide whether the Tory agenda of privatising the NHS is the one they want, where you have to pay to see your GP or where you have an American-style insurance scheme.
Pendle’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate - Labour Party