Advanced search

WEBCHAT GUIDELINES 1. One question per member plus one follow-up. 2. Keep your question brief. 3. Don't moan if your question doesn't get answered. 4. Do be civil/polite. More here.

Got any thoughts about the NHS and the way it is changing? Come and talk to shadow health minister Diane Abbott in our live webchat today (Tues 15 March), 1.15pm - 2.15pm

(124 Posts)
KatieMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 14-Mar-11 11:38:48

Diane Abbott will be popping (back) to MNHQ for a webchat this Tuesday.

Diane was the first black woman ever elected to the British Parliament in 1987 and has been MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington ever since, building a career as a parliamentarian, broadcaster and standing for Labour's leadership in the election last year.

Following the leadership election she was appointed Shadow Minister for Public Health, covering a range of issues, including alcohol, children's health, fertility and embryology, maternity services, nursing and midwifery.

If you have a question you'd like to put to Diane, please join the webchat this Tuesday lunchtime, 1.15pm - 2.15pm. If you won't be around then, please post your question here.

Jacquois Mon 14-Mar-11 12:12:51

I will be in the classroom on Tuesday so won't be able to follow the webchat live. Could you please Diane the following question:

Will you be taking any action to stop the Education department from abandoning cooking from the secondary school curriculum?

Although this may seem a question for education the issue has huge implications for public health. Unless we teach young people practical food preparation and cooking skills we deny them the opportunities to make informed choices with their own diet.

Money has already been spent over the last 3 years to re train teachers and equip classrooms which will be wasted unless schools are asked to retain this vital piece of the curriculum which only takes 24 hours in key stage 3.

Will the shadow health team support D&T teachers who teach these food skills - many of who are now facing redundancies?

Crumblemum Mon 14-Mar-11 15:41:34

A bit of a more trivial question.

I loved seeing you on Come Dine with Me (a bit of a guilty pleasure), thought you came across like a really fun dinner party guest. But how difficult do you find it to square stuff like this (which I think is really good way of letting people see politicians are normal people) with your policy brief - ie healthy eating/ drinking.

Is it possible to be a really open and successful politician, or do you have to become more bland to prevent being attacked by opponents or the media?

dawntigga Mon 14-Mar-11 15:42:57

Marking my place as I can't think of a good question, except to say. Well done on raising womens issues in the leadership race. If you'd won I might think about voting at a national level again.


DamnYouAutocorrect Mon 14-Mar-11 17:08:12

Hello Diane. I'm guessing you're not a big fan of Andrew Lansley's plans for destroying reforming the NHS, but do you think that the last Labour government opened the door for him in some ways by allowing creeping privatization within the NHS? If you were in charge, what would you do to the NHS right now: keep it exactly as it is, roll back the New Labour changes, or introduce a different set of reforms?

SpeedyGonzalez Mon 14-Mar-11 22:11:15

Diane, though i don't always agree with what you say, I have always admired the way you combine forthrightness with a cheeky twinkle. As a black woman with a long career in politics I imagine that this can't always have been easy, and perhaps still isn't! What have been your most significant career challenges over the course of your career?

My2 Mon 14-Mar-11 22:54:25

health is obviously a devolved for us in scotland - however, why do you think your scottish labour colleagues voted against the introduction of minimum pricing? any chance you could have a word with jackie baillie....

unfortunately i will be working - so can't join in.

My2 Mon 14-Mar-11 22:55:30

sorry - that should be 'minimum pricing of alcohol'

LindsayWagner Mon 14-Mar-11 23:06:09

What DamnYouAutocorrect said.

Also, do you think that the amendments made by the LibDems at conference have even the slightest chance of impacting Lansley's NHS massacre reforms? Is there any possibility that Clegg will act to represent the radical middle, or whatever he calls it - or is he already thinking of the warm, well-upholstered, and (crucially) safe Surrey seat he'll be offered if/when he defects to team Tory?

And what impact, if any, do you perceive Ed M to be having on the national debate on these and other matters? Are you pleased with how things are going for Labour? What would your strategy have been if you'd got the leadership?

JustTryingToHelp Tue 15-Mar-11 04:00:31

Please call for a retention of the stability in the NHS that we currently have. I have been listening to the debate on rights to spinal anaesthesia in the UK (excellent Womans hr debate on this). Facts are that we have a great healthcare system (probably best in the world but one flaw is that statistics ,from salaries to safety, are difficult to find:UK figures below were published in late 1980s!). I am a scientist and the dated facts suggest that we have safe established procedures in UK: risks of (avoidable) anaesthetic related deaths are greater than 1 in 180,000 operations in the UK. In sub-saharan Africa the figures range between 1 death for every 500 obstetric operations to 1 in 100 maternal deaths (quite scary). A recent Ch4 newscast on Liberia suggests that 1 in 12 mothers die in childbirth involving anaesthetics. The UK anaesthetists/nurses and many other organisations (Mothers of Africa/WFSA/MSF) are selflessly helping with this (by going out to train nurse anaesthetists: they cant afford clinicians) but if we could lobby for more help it might be possible to turn it around more quickly (Liberia has a female president and she might be able to chip in with some support for the trainees, if Westminster can make her aware of the problem?). So try and appreciate what we have (and what we might loose with the free market experiment on the NHS).

saggarmakersbottomknocker Tue 15-Mar-11 09:05:42

Hi Diane.

What are your opinions on the Safe & Sustainable review of Children's Cardiac Services in England? Whilst I understand there is a need for change, as the parent of a young adult with CHD I am concerned about many aspects of the proposals. Particualrly the effect of ending surgery at the Brompton Hospital and the knock on effect that will have on their CF & PICU and GUCH services there. Also why is Southampton, having been graded by the S&S team as one of the best in the country been earmarked for closure? I'm am particularly concerned that children who are diagnosed late and in crisis as my own child was will be badly served by these changes.

It seems to many parents that the closures were a forgone conclusion and that the S&S team have only being paying lipservice to parental consultation.

painterlyswoosh Tue 15-Mar-11 09:31:17

Hi Diane, great to have you on here.

Did you enjoy the leadership race last year? It must have been really weird to be working 'against' the colleagues you're normally on the same side as! Did you ever think about doing something else after you didn't win?

DianeAbbott Tue 15-Mar-11 09:45:29


ethansmummy1981 Tue 15-Mar-11 10:05:22

Hi Diane,

Can you please give me your assurance, that the government will not bow down to pressure to stop the safe and sustainable review in Childrens Cardiac Surgery in the Uk. Understandably people do not want their unit closed (as I dont) but its what is required for the future of childrens heart surgery.

As a parent for one of the units earmarked for closure (the freeman) I want to see improvements in surgery but also to make sure that the government follow through with its promises of investment in the services to make them sustainable.

Thank you smile

Children in heart failure cannot afford to wait on a waiting list for surgery.

sfxmum Tue 15-Mar-11 10:22:58

Hello Diane

what I really expect from the opposition is honest talk both to the voters and in parliament (naive moi?)

so really what I want is when questions are asked and dejections are raised, they have a sounds basis backed up by sounds figures/ research

also I think Labour need to have a frank talk with voters being very clear on the limitations on the NHS and the need to ration resources in a fair way

what I expect from you is a sound defence of the NHS which I think is a wonderful institution despite its shortcomings

so what are Labours answers/ solutions regarding long term funding of the NHS?
how can we insure the procuring of resources is not bogged down in idiotic bureaucracy?
how can services be designed counting on the expertise of the staff and focusing on the needs of the users?

that might be cheating with the questions but would be so grateful if you could shed some light on the subject

(or in other words, make me want to vote Labour again)

many thanks

sfxmum Tue 15-Mar-11 10:24:08

that should be objections sorry not dejections although I guess there are plenty of thosehmm

LindsayWagner Tue 15-Mar-11 10:27:53

Can I have another question or six? What do you think of Lansley's public health proposals? Is it ever appropriate for commercial interests to be a 'partner' in this area, and is this another attempt to downgrade the very idea of statutory regulation?

How likely is it that the BMA will do as the alcohol bodies have done and simply refuse to participate - and would this be something from which Lansley could recover? Is it poss that Cameron has 'indicated' to the BMA that their protests wouldn't go unheard, in preparation for (another) u-turn?

I think that's six.

Is anyone from the opposition going to stand up and speak on behalf of the public who are so against these NHS proposals?

It feels like we're not being given any say in them whatsoever. I voted Tory on the strength of their assurances they would protect the NHS. I would now happily vote for Labour if they stepped in and prevented these outrageous proposals.

WreckoftheHesperus Tue 15-Mar-11 11:54:01

Hi Diane,

I'd be interested on your views on fertility and embryology in the NHS; do you think that, in these cash-strapped times, any government will be able to continue to provide treatments like IVF on the NHS?

These treatments are notoriously post-code dependent as well; if you were able to keep them, would you be in favour of standardising access, or leaving it as a location lottery?

Thanks smile

WreckoftheHesperus Tue 15-Mar-11 12:04:21

<surreptitiously sneaks another question in and hopes that no-one notices>

Also, how would you go about getting more women interested in becoming MPs?
What are the changes that you would like to see made to the job to make it more likely to attract female candidates, and more family-friendly full stop?

Thanks smile

KurriKurri Tue 15-Mar-11 12:14:37

Hello Diane and thank you for coming to answer questions,

My question is about the Welfare Reform Bill. What is your opinion about the effects of this Bill on people living with cancer?

I believe it shows a woeful lack of understanding about the physical and psychological effects of cancer and cancer treatment. The length of time cancer treatment can take, and the time it takes to recover from those treatments.

It seems that people who receive their chemo orally will be penalised in terms of benefits. As will people who take more than a year to recover enough to return to work.

Not only will this affect the choices people have to make about their treatment, but will also affect people's willingness to take part in drugs/treatment trials.

Also I have yet to hear anything but woolliness from David Cameron when it comes to matters such as the guaranteed 2 weeks referral time for suspected cancer. I suspect our position as having one of the lowest survival rates for cancer in Europe is not going to improve.

What do you think about the prospects for cancer patients under this coalition? And what would be Labour's concerns in this area if they were in power?

GORGEOUSX Tue 15-Mar-11 12:15:04

Do you think you lost all credibility as a Labour MP when you sent your DCs to private school?

You were very keen to scrap grammar schools, thereby ensuring bright DCs whose parents couldn't afford private school fees, would have to go to the local comp.

The only message I can take from that, is that state schools are good enough for us 'little people' and good enough for our DC, but not good enough for yours.

You say you'd like a good education for ALL children - surely a good start would have been to build more grammar schools - not get rid of them? You would like everybody else's DC to be the sacrificial lambs at state schools - to raise standards, but not your DCs, hey Diane?

Did you not realise, when you stood for the Labour leadership contest, that the public can't bear hypocrisy? angry

Rowerc5 Tue 15-Mar-11 12:17:41

Hi Diane.

The Childrens Cardiac Safe and Sustainable review, from the outset, stated that this review was all about QUALITY. So how can it be that centres that were ranked highly by the review, and especially Southampton who came 2nd in the rankings has a high risk of losing Childrens Cardiac Surgery.

Southampton is working to all the standards set by the review NOW, especially since the John Radcliffe lost surgery and its taken on their patients, so how can they even consider moving surgery from this unit when for years its the model for which this review is based around.

If this centre does lose this, many childrens lives will be at risk. Also if it does close I am expected to travel further to a centre which hasn't been ranked as high as the one my son is currently treated at.

Also the mapping detailed in the reviews documents do not fairly show the correct flow of patients into hospitals. As Bristol is seen to take all of devon etc, yet alot of these patients from these areas CHOOSE to be treated at Southampton even with extra travelling time because of the EXCELLENT care that they receive.

I sincerly hope the government will ensure that this review does not close units that would cause the service to be detrimental to the care our children receive now and in the future.

Also it assumes alot of the surgeons etc will want to relocate. If they don't want to we lose surgeons and therefore expertise to the service.


SparkleRainbow Tue 15-Mar-11 12:23:22

Hello Diane

I would like to know what you think about the way the NHS is letting my ds down. He has a dx medical condition, which amongst main other symptoms causes himk to dislocate his cervical vertbrae, namely C2 and C3. Dislocation of these vertebrae can cause permanent quadriplegic paralysis and even death. Yet despite my ds' rheumatologists admitting they do not know how to support my ds, and despite them admitting that no ortho surgeon at the hospital has the knowledge and experience to help him, it took them 2.5 months to actually send out a referral to a specialist at the Royal Ortho Hospital in Birmingham, less than a month for that consulatnt to refuse the referral, but my ds's rheumatogolists negelected to find ouit why or indeed tell me or out GP. My ds has now been without a knowkedgeable ortho suregon for 19 months, and without any ortho surgeon at all for 7 months. Our GP is tearing his hair out, we are desperate, and no-one is doing anything. I have written to the consultants concerned and had no reply. What to do next.....write to PCT, your counterpart in Government, the press.........? Wouldn't the changes to the NHS mean my gp who actually cares about my child could get them the help they need?
Mn this really is just one question..... Promise.

GORGEOUSX Tue 15-Mar-11 12:25:01

Diane, I am guessing you have private healthcare for your DCs who attend private schools, so do you think it's farcical a bit silly hypocritical for you to be discussing the NHS shadow Health? grin

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now