Full refund within 30 days if you're not completely satisfied.
THURSDAY, 28th APRIL, 2011.
Slice of the action
Wedding fever Readers'ViewsPages23-26 Page 9
What’s on... What’s gone...
Win a mowe
1,000 sign petition in support of NHS
Almost 1,000 people in the Congleton area have signed a petition in protest at Government plans to shake up the NHS.
It comes as the group ehind the petition awaits a response from the town’s GPs to the changes which would mean doctors taking responsibility for how primary health care is funded.
The Congleton branch of the Keep Our NHS Public claims the Government ushed through the formation of GP consortia, which would help to implement the changes, without legislation being assed in Parliament. The Government has said it will listen more to concerns about its proposals before making a final decision.
The fear is that giving GPs responsibility for healthcare udgets would be another step towards privatisation of the NHS.
The protest group has been pleased with the response so far to its petition, which can be signed at the British Heart Foundation charity shop on Bridge Street, Congleton.
Group spokesman Jane Knowles, of Howey Lane, Congleton said: “We have had lots of positive support and really good responses from people. Most of our signatures came from Congleton although we are planning on collecting more.
The group’s letter to Congleton’s doctors said: “We do not accept that doctors alone should be able to commission health services from any willing provider that includes private health care companies who are very likely to take over the administration of the consortia. We support a not-for-profit NHS free at the point of use, paid for by taxpayers and run in the interests of patients.
“The Government has placed GPs in a very undemocratic position where consortia have already been formed before the Health and Social Care Bill has been passed in Parliament. Instead of careful trials the change has been sprung on an unsuspecting
to include FREE HEALTH CHECK with a qualified vehicle technician
Contact our service department
OPENING HOURS Mon-Fri ............... 8.30-7.00 Sat ...................... 9.00-5.00 Sun ................... 10.30-4.30
public who have no idea that a National Health Service will become a local health service. So far the public has not been officially informed and are expected to accept this great change without discussion.”
The letter added that although the group respects its local GPs, as taxpayers its members are opposed to GPs having total responsibility for £80billion of the NHS budget with little scrutiny.
It went on: “How far will this influence clinical decisions? Will we be customers for whom you will buy medical services or will we be your patients? Surely this will affect the patientdoctor relationship? The issue will be this: will we be patients or consortia costs? The new system, as proposed, raises our concern as your patients. You will be in charge of health economies. We appreciate the integrity and care of all our local doctors so we would like to hear your views on these matters.”
In response to receiving the letter Kate Brown, practice manager from Meadowside Medical Centre, on Mountbatten Way, said: “We will respond to this letter but whether it is directly from the partners here, or all three surgeries together or through the consortium itself, it is too early to say.”
Mrs Knowles added: “There is so much strong feeling about this here. These are big questions. We have generally found Congleton doctors to be extremely good but we need to know how things are going to change. They will be dealing with enormous amounts of money and we want to know what structures they will be putting in place to deal with the money.”
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
Brickhill’s brickbats for leader of council
The leader of Cheshire East Council faced a barrage of questions regarding a multimillion pound property deal, council tax and a £26m bill for redundancy payments on Thursday.
At that meeting, the last one before the 5th May elections, Coun Wesley Fitzgerald defended a decision to purchase the former Royal Mail sorting office in Crewe and explained why council tax had not fallen, despite claims the council would be cheaper to run than the authorities it took over in April 2009.
Coun David Brickhill, a former Conservative Cabinet member who resigned from his position last year and defected to the independents, asked questions that appeared to challenge the leader’s performance. Coun Brickhill had been in charge of introducing parking charges to Congleton and Sandbach.
One of the arguments for the re-organisation, in which Cheshire East absorbed Congleton, Crewe and Macclesfield borough councils and Cheshire County Council, was that services would be streamlined and costs would fall — so Coun Brickhill asked why council tax was not less.
Coun Fitzgerald replied: “That is a very complex question. Council tax has not fallen but it has remained static. This was at a time when central government support has been falling and inflation has been rising and there are rising adult care costs.”
Coun Brickhill was not satisfied, saying: “Every council has had their tax unchanged this year. Residents have a right to expect council tax to have fallen, why hasn’t it?”
Coun Fitzgerald responded: “I have given an answer to your question. The people of Cheshire East are grateful that we have managed the situation very well.”
Coun Brickhill then asked what the total cost of redundancies had been since the council came into being.
Cabinet member Coun Peter Mason, representing Congleton, told him that £26m had been paid or committed in redundancy payments, adding: “It is estimated £11.7m was due to local government review and £14.3m through on-going efficiencies.”
Coun Brickhill asked why, with so many redundancies, tax had not fallen. He then claimed that the council employed 50 office staff on a wage higher than £100,000 a year. • —Turn to back page.
The cross is carried along Duke Street. (“Chronicle”photo 1708b/11).
Pictured above are participants in the Good Friday Churches Together procession of witness through the streets of Congleton.
Following the procession, complete with cross, an Easter service was held on the pedestrianised area of High
Street. There were readings from Congleton Town Mayor Coun David Brown and Fiona Bruce MP and prayers were said.
For a full report on the event that was attended by worshippers from all of the town’s churches and for more photographs, see next week’s “Chronicle”.
Browns of Congleton
Q u a l i t y J e w e l l e r s 62 High Street
Congleton CW12 1BA
Tel. 01260 291332
London taxi 35.95 Crown 35.95 Blue stone 35.95
STERLING SILVER WITH C7