Scaremongering in the name of party politics

Sir - On the back page of the WHT (Aug 6) there was an article headed, dramatically, MP Shapps crusade to save GP surgeries (with photograph). Directly underneath was comment from Mr Hobday, the Labour parliamentary candidate, (no photograph) headed

Sir - On the back page of the WHT (Aug 6) there was an article headed, dramatically, MP Shapps' crusade to save GP surgeries (with photograph).

Directly underneath was comment from Mr Hobday, the Labour parliamentary candidate, (no photograph) headed Scaremongering of the very worst kind.

This week (WHT, Oct 22) we have a clutch of letters expressing support for Mr. Shapps, two with names and locations, two anonymous. Added to these we have a contribution from the MP, all studiously, whether by design, or oversight, avoiding the point which gives rise to the charge of scaremongering in the name of party politics.

To clarify, it is necessary to refer to the issue of the WHT, Aug 20, in which I offered my own comment. Then I quoted a paragraph of Mr Shapps' which read 'the concern is when these superclinics open, naturally there aren't more people so you will end up with GP surgeries closing'.


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I expressed my own difficulty in reconciling that bold statement, a contradictory and inconsistent claim, with his expressed views and dire warnings on previous local issues. It is markedly noticeable that his utterances have now moderated to such words as 'may, possible, could eventually'.

I asked Mr Shapps who would lead this general exodus that would threaten GP surgeries as patients deserted in their droves.

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Certainly not the MP whose local surgery, I would gauge is in either Brookmans Park, or adjoining Potters Bar.

Of the two letters of support mentioned earlier, with names, I would discount one who lives in Hatfield and the other who lives in Welwyn. A polyclinic at the QE2 hospital in WGC hardly poses a threat to their local surgeries.

I did suggest to Mr Shapps that hard facts to back up his claim would be the best bet before applying his usual recipe of website, petitions, press releases and all the other paraphernalia that he employs in pursuit of his various 'crusades'.

Hard facts, however, seem to be a commodity in very short supply. Hence his lack of response.

Now a further question. No one doubts his claim that he received letters of concern from every GP in Welwyn Hatfield, as he now tells us, last spring.

Were the GPs intending, or prepared, for the matter to be dealt with in such a party political manner?

Have they been put in the position of dealing with the genuine worries of their patients over hypothetical closures of surgeries?

Are such GPs surgeries, ethically, the correct or acceptable locations for Mr. Shapps to use as extensions of his party political campaign office, for the distribution of his leaflets and literature, an example of which I picked up from the reception counter, at my own GPs surgery?

Gordon Aitken, Harwood Hill, WGC.

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