Anne Milton as Health Secretary would have been a setback for the NHS

January 12, 2018 5:40 PM

Earlier this week as the nation waited for the results of Theresa May's much-discussed cabinet reshuffled excitement grew that our very own Anne Milton MP would be promoted Secretary of State for Health. At first sight one would have thought that appointing a former nurse to the role would have been a welcome appointment. But scratch the surface and sadly we find a track record that doesn't stack up for nurses and begs some serious questions. Perhaps this explains why May backed Jeremy Hunt in spite of his own multitude of failings.

Most recently (June 2017) Anne Milton astonishingly voted against scrapping the pay cap of 1% on the public sector. Nurses' pay has been frozen for nearly a decade while the salaries of MPs increased under this government. Anne didn't think that her former colleagues were worthy of a salary increase - in fact in real terms their salaries have decreased year-on-year making them worse off than they were 10 years ago. A one-off, perhaps? No: In May 2016 Milton voted against reinstating nursing bursaries too, hardly a move in line with her 'deep passion' for the NHS that she highlights at every public meeting.

The list goes on…

In January 2017 Anne Milton voted against immediate extra social care funding and against better NHS and social care funding in the March 2017 budget. As member for Guildford we are sure that Anne knows there are no longer any care homes run by Surrey County Council; that a shambolic attempt was made in 2017 by the conservative leaders of Surrey County Council to raise council tax by 15% in order to rectify their budget mismanagement and attribute some of that to the dwindling social care budget.

Then of course there's the fact that immediately after being elected as Guildford's MP and while she was a member of the Parliamentary Health Select Committee Anne Milton hired her husband Graham Henderson as a researcher for two successive years at a cost of £12,000 during which time he was a director of public health for East Surrey Primary Care Trust. To this day we are unclear what research work was carried out at public expense.

Interestingly, as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Public Health Anne voted in September 2011 in favour of the Health & Social Care Bill that, to all intents and purposes, opened the door to the privatisation of the NHS. Coincidentally her husband Graham Henderson was at the time a medical director for Surrey Primary Care Trust whose work was in April 2012 transferred to Virgin Care Ltd. Henderson moved to a medical director role at Virgin Care in the same month.

Perhaps just these issues alone were enough for May to back Hunt. To quote an age old phrase 'the devil you know is better than the devil you don't!"