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DUP-Tory deal putting English patients' lives at risk, says MP doctor

By Staff Reporter

A Conservative MP has attacked the billion pound deal for Northern Ireland that her party leader Theresa May made with the DUP.

Sarah Wollaston, who represents the Totnes constituency in the south west of England, spoke out about the deal as she attacked huge cuts to the NHS in Britain.

The politician, who is also a GP, has warned the health service in England was being forced into "draconian measures" that would damage both public health and patient safety.

The DUP/Tory government 'confidence and supply' deal is set to deliver £1bn in added spending for Northern Ireland, with enhanced budgetary flexibility over £500m already committed by Government.

Dr Wollaston linked the cuts directly to this deal signed with the DUP to deliver the Conservatives a majority in the Commons.

It comes after it was revealed that patients at risk of a heart attack could be denied vital tests and potentially lifesaving operations as part of £55m of budget cuts in Surrey and Sussex.

"I don't think these extra cuts are reasonable. You can't justify £500m to the Democratic Unionist party while taking another £500m out of the English NHS," Dr Wollaston told The Guardian.

The head of the health committee called for the CEP (Capped Expenditure Process), ordered by NHS England and the overview body, NHS Improvement, to be scrapped.

"The kind of issues that are being discussed would involve draconian measures that would have an impact on public health and services. I do have concerns about, ultimately, patient safety," she added.

Meanwhile Labour MP Sir David Crausby has claimed his constituency is being "short-changed" by the DUP/Tory deal and said the disparity between what those who live in his constituency receive with those in Northern Ireland is "simply unfair".

The Bolton North East representative said: "Our infrastructure needs to be improved, our public services need to be protected. We should not be short-changed just because the Tories need to have their Government propped up. Our region could thrive with the right investment but the Conservatives have repeatedly shown that they will not deliver."

DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has defended the deal. In a letter to a Belfast newspaper on Saturday he wrote that, following the money for Northern Ireland his party agreed with the Conservatives, he hopes those on local waiting lists for medical procedures may now be able to have them sooner, and that pressures on the health service in NI will be eased.

He wrote that the extra money will include an additional £50m per year for five years to improve local mental health services, extra millions to ease pressures on school budgets and £400m for infrastructure projects, and that the DUP has also secured a commitment that farmers in NI will continue to receive their farm payments at current cash fund levels.

"The DUP will seek to use its influence at Westminster to deliver the lifting of the cap on public sector pay and a fair pay rise for public sector workers. However, the budget should also ensure support for the private sector as even more of our constituents work in that sector," he added.

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