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Peter Lamb: “The NHS can be saved”

In his article this week, the leader of Crawley Borough Council talks about Labour’s plans to reverse ‘the Conservatives’ slow privatisation of our NHS’.

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Last Sunday, Jeremy Hunt became the longest-running Secretary of State for Health in UK history.

Given that when Theresa May tried to remove him in January he not only hung on but emerged with new responsibility for social care, his talent for survival really is impressive, it’s a pity his impact upon the survival of the NHS doesn’t look quite so rosy.

More news: Henry Smith MP – Fewer workless households means more security for Crawley families

Back in Summer 2017, Crawley’s Clinical Commissioning Group, the body responsible for paying for all local residents’ NHS treatment, fell into Special Measures as they were no longer able to afford the treatments people needed within the budget the Government had allocated them.

At the time we were told that there was ‘no clear plan’, a phrase we hear far too often about the Government, as to how they would close the funding gap with suggestions that Crawley patients would face a rationing of treatment. Unfortunately, almost a year later we seem no closer to a solution.

The idea of a loved one going without life-saving treatment because the Government has decided Crawley has already had its share of healthcare is heart-breaking, beyond that it’s just morally wrong.

This week, Labour announced its plans for reversing the Conservatives’ slow privatisation of our NHS, bringing the service back into public ownership and its financial resources fully-focused on delivering healthcare for those who need it. The NHS can be saved, you just need a Government which believes it’s worth saving.

It’s often claimed that Nye Bevan, the founder of the NHS, said it would survive for so long as there were those left with the faith to fight for it. We believe that healthcare isn’t an optional extra, it’s what makes us a decent society. We’re going to go on fighting for it, and with your support we’re going to win.

Cllr Peter Lamb
Leader, Crawley Borough Council

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Let’s just waste more money on imprisoning people for speeding and lying

One man was only six miles over the speed limit while the other was 12mph over.

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Sussex Police have published a press release where two men who lied about speeding were sent to prison. Initially when you read the story it appears two men have been given prison sentences for breaking the speed limit by so little BUT this is where you need to read past the initial report and see what is really going on.

First the background:

CASE ONE:

On 29 May 2017, a white Ford Focus activated a speed camera in Ditchling Road, Brighton – it was travelling at 36mph in a 30mph zone.

A Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) was sent to the registered keeper in Hove, but no response was received.

Therefore a new NIP was sent to Colin Drewitt-Barlow at an address in Sompting on the basis the vehicle was insured to him.

A reply was received stating Drewitt-Barlow no longer resided there, and further enquiries led to another NIP being sent to his new address in Coleman Avenue, Hove.

The 31-year-old, unemployed, and now of Downsway, Southwick, replied and nominated another person, however this proved to be a false name and address.

In police interview, Drewitt-Barlow denied driving the vehicle when the offence was committed or ever owning it. The case was then submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which authorised a charge of perverting the course of justice.

Drewitt-Barlow pleaded not guilty but later changed his plea to guilty at Lewes Crown Court on 12 December 2018, where he was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment. He was also ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge.

CASE TWO:

On 25 June 2017, a black BMW M3 activated two speed cameras in Sussex – it was caught travelling at 38mph in a 30mph zone on the A259 Marine Parade, Brighton, and at 72mph in a 60mph zone on the A24 at West Grinstead.

Two separate NIPs were sent to the registered keeper – Ozgur Uzum, 45, a fast food employee, of Salvington Road, Worthing, however they were both returned nominating another person from Hampshire.

Both NIPs were sent to the nominated driver but no response was received. Enquiries revealed this person had been nominated before, and it was confirmed the individual had been a victim of stolen identity.

In police interview, Uzum continued to deny the offences, however he later changed his plea to guilty after being shown an image from the A24 incident, which clearly showed him driving the vehicle in question.

The CPS authorised two charges of perverting the course of justice, and at Lewes Crown Court on 10 December, Uzum was sentenced to five months’ imprisonment. He was also ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge.

The CPS authorised two charges of perverting the course of justice, and at Lewes Crown Court on 10 December, Uzum was sentenced to five months’ imprisonment. He was also ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge.

So what is really happening is two people are going to prison for perverting the course of justice. Something which can actually hand out a life in prison term.

In-fact both men could have got away with a small fine and some points had they just admitted it was them.

Instead, by lying they have forced mountains of paper work, an appearance in court and now tax payers money to be wasted on sending them to prison.

Surely now sentencing needs to be examined so that rather than wasting tax payers money on putting people inside an already packed prison system they are forced to pay for the huge amount of cost that was allocated into chasing, charging and convicting them.

Sussex Police launched Operation Pinocchio in 2016 with the following aims:

  • To improve safety on Sussex’s roads by tracing and prosecuting offenders who provide false information in an attempt to avoid prosecution;
  • And to prevent law-abiding motorists, who have been badly advised, from committing serious criminal offences by attempting to avoid speeding or red light offences.

BUT unless sentencing changes are made all this is going to do is add even more financial pressure on a system that needs to reform urgently.

At a time when the police have never been under such pressure to perform and reduce crime figures perhaps more thought should have gone into whether publishing this outcome would have a positive or negative impact on them – even though they were only following the law.

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