The following article was published by the Barking and Dagenham Post on 18th April 2012. You can view the original here: www.bdpost.co.uk/home/e-edition
Local healthcare services here in Dagenham and Rainham are seriously overburdened. There's no getting away from that fact.
Every week I hear accounts of the pressures Queen's Hospital is under and the problems its patients face. The Tory-led government's threatened plans to close key services at King George refuse to go away. And across the board our hospitals and health centres are severely overstretched and underfunded.
There are signs that things are moving in the right direction. I'm hopeful for example, that the next CQC report on Queen's Hospital will show improvements in its maternity and A&E departments. But there is a real danger that any improvements made at Queen's will come at the expense of King George Hospital.
Those in charge of local healthcare provision are now being forced to make choices about where seriously limited resources are sent. These are choices which they simply should not have to make.
We desperately need the government to increase funding to all of our local health services, not to simply force bureaucrats to shift scarce resources around locally.
We need to see some radical improvements in our local healthcare over the coming months and years if we're to avoid sleep-walking into a crisis of health.
So the fight goes on. I personally will be focusing my efforts over the next 12 months on trying to secure a better deal for Dagenham and Rainham on local health provision.
Firstly, we need to keep up the pressure to get a polyclinic or urgent care centre on the Dagenham East site. Secondly, we need to fight tooth and nail to keep King George from closing. And finally, we've got to press for more central funding for Queen's and a radical improvement in its maternity and A&E facilities.
Please stay involved in our campaigns and help us keep the pressure on.
We won't stand for a second rate health system.
Jon Cruddas MP
Labour Member of Parliament for Dagenham and Rainham