Sunday, November 16, 2008

MP wants to see constituents bleed – health checks at West Ham Tea/Coffee morning

Yesterday I helped out our MP, Lyn Brown, at her “Coffee/Tea Morning” event at Forest Gate.

It was held in the fairly new Council building in Woodgrange Road near the junction with Romford Road called “The Gate” (the site once of a “Gate” to the start of Epping Forest).

It is a modern day mix of Library, internet cafe and Council services (One Stop Shop), all under one roof.

We had a room at the back. Lyn and her parliamentary team had invited local people in the Forest Gate South ward to attend this event to discuss the provision of health services. Lyn had also arranged with the local NHS PCT to provide a health team to take people's blood pressures, check for diabetes, height and weight checks (health MOT) etc.

Normally, local Councillors are present but there was an “away day” for all Labour Councillors in Newham, so party members were helping out taking details of any local case work for councillors to follow up.

One of the local Party members who turned up to help used to be my former head of HR many moons ago! We are now of course (as always) very good comrades. My own GP also came in (he had heard about it at the local newsagent). Even though he has been my GP for the best part of 20 years (ish) I did not recognise him even though he recognised me. You know how it is often difficult to recognise people you know well formally when you meet them for the first time in an different environment.

Usually, when I am about to meet him at the real surgery, I am trying desperately beforehand to remember what is the recommended maximum limit for the consumption of alcohol units. Since he always gives me a health check practically every time I see him (unlike most clinics). It doesn’t help that I read once about a GP who said when he asked a patient how much he drank, he always doubled the answer as being nearer the truth.

Anyway, I at least always come away from these events on a high. You can be a little bitter and cynical about politics. These sorts of events, which encourage local people to meet up, discuss problems and get involved with their elected representatives, are I think just brilliant. The provision of health services in our borough is so important. It is equally imperative that electors are able to meet up with their Parliamentary representative to discuss their experience as the consumers of local health services and hold them accountable.

In the afternoon I went off to fight the good fight in Mile End East. I had an encounter with the "evil one" on which I will post later.

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