Suffolk Tories spread health message

CONSERVATIVES across Suffolk took their message to save the health service on to the streets at the weekend.Around the county, Tory activists and MPs set up stalls and invited members of the public to join the campaign to save the NHS.

CONSERVATIVES across Suffolk took their message to save the health service on to the streets at the weekend.

Around the county, Tory activists and MPs set up stalls and invited members of the public to join the campaign to save the NHS.

Their campaigning was part of a national weekend of action by the party on the health service which was launched on Friday when senior Conservatives visited hospitals around the country.

The Ipswich campaign was kick-started by a visit to Heath Road by shadow environment minister Peter Ainsworth.


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A Tory stall on Ipswich Cornhill attracted much interest during the day.

Ipswich Conservative Association chairman Gavin Maclure said: “I really didn't know how people would react. I had heard that a similar event in Peterborough had attracted a great deal of interest, but I didn't know if that would happen here to.

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“But we've had people very keen to come and sign the petition - including a number of health workers who are very concerned about the future.

“It's clearly quite emotional for them because they don't want to talk about what is happening and the uncertainty they feel - but they do want to put their name on our petition.”

There was a similar story in the neighbouring constituency of Central Suffolk and North Ipswich where Conservatives set up a stall in the Meredith Road shopping centre, between Whitton and Whitehouse estates.

In three hours at Meredith Road 270 members of the public signed the petition. Organisers believed this was the majority of the people who visited the Meredith Rd shopping parade.

They were joined by their MP, Sir Michael Lord, for part of the time who joined the campaigners after his constituency surgery.

Borough councillor Steven Wells said: “Common comments and questions from those we spoke with were - How can any organisation cope when it is continuously being restructured?

“Why did Ipswich hospital get fined millions for performing well? How can it be justified that Nurses jobs are under threat at Ipswich hospital, yet there are adverts for management positions?

“During the time that I was with people who were signing the petition I met quite a few people who worked for the NHS and in particular Ipswich hospital. Every single one of them said that their job was under threat or at least 'under review' pending reorganization.

“One of the ladies I spoke with has been told that she is likely to lose her job, yet that she may be offered one in Cambridge or Norwich.

“She told me that it was impossible for her to travel to these places everyday and that she thought it was just another way to make staff redundant without having to pay full redundancy pay - as alternative employment had been offered.”

David Ruffley, whose constituency includes Needham Market and Stowmarket, joined party activists in Bury St Edmunds for the day of action while West Suffolk MP Richard Spring joined activists in Haverhill and Newmarket for the event.

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