Blunt truth over NHS claims

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I have always believed you should give credit where it is due, to whoever that is, and have always tried to do so.

At the same time, I think that when people make false and foolish claims they should be challenged. On this basis I have reluctantly come to the view it is time to challenge Andrew Stephenson’s claims about the part he says he played in getting better health facilities for people in Pendle.

In leaflet after leaflet he is claiming his “fight” resulted in the new £9m. Urgent Care Centre at Burnley General. I’ve so far ignored this, since anyone who knows anything knows the person who led the fight for this, before he was elected to Parliament and since, was Burnley’s MP Gordon Birtwistle. Anyone who wants to know how much of a part Mr Stephenson played can ask Gordon.

Mr Stephenson is also claiming a role in getting the new £6.3m. A&E department at Airedale. Well I haven’t got the knowledge to comment on that, but I can comment on his third claim that the new Health Centre in Colne was a “result” of his “fight”. Sorry, but this is complete and very silly nonsense. Simply not true.

I was close enough to that issue over many years to be able to give a blow by blow account.

In the end, the new health centre as it stands today on the present site was a result of determined campaigning led by the Colne-based member of the former NHS Primary Care Trust, Mary Thomas, together with many others, including local councillors across the parties.

It was built with money the PCT had saved up in their reserves and its existence today is nothing to do with either Mr Stephenson or the national Governments previous and present.

For Mr Stephenson to claim these projects are the “results of his fight” is like a cheer leader in the stands claiming credit for his team’s victory.

Probably his main contribution in all three cases was turning up for his picture at the opening ceremonies.

I’m sorry to be so blunt but it’s about time for a bit of honesty in local politics.

Tony Greaves

Liberal Democrat Councillor, Colne