Three parliamentary candidates likely to take a strong interest in health if they’re elected on May 7th
In the reasonably safe Labour seat of Bristol South (the Lib Dems came second in 2010 but are likely to have lost ground given the demographics), the incumbent Dawn Primarolo, a former Health Minister, is standing down to be replaced by another Labour candidate with health pedigree – Karin Smyth. Karin’s current role as a manager at NHS Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group, and previous time serving as a Non-Executive director on Bristol North PCT (from 2002-2006) means that she is familiar with NHS policy and language. With a union background, Karin has called out the importance of improving terms and conditions for care workers in recent articles for Progress [http://www.progressonline.org.uk/2015/03/10/beyond-the-rhetoric/]
The Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate in North East Fife, Tim Brett, has a strong professional background spanning health and social care as well as public health in Scotland. A former Chief Executive of Ninewells Teaching Hospital in Dundee, he was also formerly Director of Health Protection Scotland, and served on the Ministerial Advisory group on Health and Social Care which developed plans for, “Reshaping Care For Older People in Scotland”. Elsewhere in Scotland Liberal Democrat MPs and candidates are looking precarious following the surge in support for the SNP that came with the referendum campaign. However, Fife North East is possibly Scotland’s safest seat for the party. The seat has a long liberal tradition stretching back to Herbert Asquith, but when the current highly popular MP Sir Menzies Campbell retires, the Lib Dem lead looks set to drop sharply. Still, the party won 44.3% of the vote share at the last General Election, with the Conservatives in second place taking 21.8% of votes, so Mr Brett has a good chance of holding on in May. An elder of the Church of Scotland, he was regarded as the safe, rather than particularly exciting, choice of candidate for the seat.
Incumbent MP Jo Swinson has a high profile as a Government Minister and a majority of 2,184, but faces tough competition in East Dunbartonshire from Labour’s Amanjit Jhund. Candidates who are doctors tend to go down well with the public, but since his medical training in Gastroeneterology and Hepatology, Mr Jhund has gone on to healthcare management consultancy at McKinsey. He describes himself as a ‘hospital transformation consultant’ rather than a doctor, but is nevertheless campaigning on local chemotherapy services, drawing on his medical background. Mr Jhund is not short of opinions on all matters healthcare, as his extensive writing on issues ranging from liver disease, to the NHS IT system, attest.