Archive for ‘Health’

May 28, 2017

Green party candidates slam unfair treatment of older people

adult-social-careGreen Party candidates, Sonia Hyner and Clive Gregory, have been highly critical of measures proposed by the Tory Party to pay for social care which they claim are a tax on illness.

The Tory Manifesto says that older people requiring care in their own homes would have to meet the costs out of the equity tied up in their homes but would be allowed to keep the first £100,000. This is a change from current arrangements in which the cut-off was lower at £23,250 but did not include the value of people’s homes.  Under the new proposal home owners would be able to continue living in their homes until the end of their lives at which point the social care payments and premiums owed to equity insurance companies would become payable.  As a result of public reaction, the Conservative party changed this policy on Monday, four days after it was included in their manifesto, to include a cap on how much individuals would pay in social care, but have not stated the level of the cap.

Sonia Hyner, Green Party candidate for Rochester and Strood, says:
“The Tories are really hitting vulnerable older people this time round.  These unfair proposals mean that those who are fortunate enough to live to a ripe old age without needing social care don’t have to pay anything into the system and get to pass on their homes to their children or grandchildren. However this is denied to others who need social care as the result of disabilities which could be the result of a stroke or having developed dementia. It is basically a tax on illness.  The panic induced change on Monday to include a cap on the amount paid offers no guarantee that people’s homes will be safe from this unfair policy.

“A much fairer way of contributing to the costs of social care would be one which spreads the risk such as an increase in inheritance tax or progressive taxation.  The NHS contains the principles of sharing costs across the population so that no one has to fear financial penalties from being ill and the same principles should be applied to social care.  The Green Party would ensure that social care for the over 65s is provided free at the point of delivery just like the NHS”.

Clive Gregory, Green Party candidate for Gillingham and Rainham, adds:
“This proposal is yet another in a long line of asset grabs by the financial and global corporate sectors facilitated by Tory and Tory led governments and the Blair led Labour government.  Whether it is selling off our public services, PFIs, bailing out the banks or arranging private financial “help” which will take away the modest assets we have worked for all our lives; they all end up with us having to work harder for less.  The only beneficiaries of these proposals would be the banks and equity firms”.

May 13, 2017

Cancel Trident and pay for the NHS instead say Medway Greens

nhsMedway Green Party’s three election candidates are calling for a shift in priorities towards greater investment in the NHS and away from privatisation.  This includes a reiteration of the Green Party’s ‘bold’ pledge to scrap the Trident nuclear weapons programme [1] and divert the estimated £204bn [2] cost to the NHS.

Sonia Hyner, Green Party candidate for Rochester and Strood, says:

“The Green party would rather focus on saving lives.  This means cancelling the multi-billion pound nuclear monstrosity that is Trident and adopting real measures to improve everybody’s health and well-being.  It is about having the right priorities.  That is why we are calling for the money which the other parties would waste on Trident to be spent on our NHS instead”.

Medway Green Party is also seeking to draw local people’s attention to the upcoming consultation on local health services which will be carried out in June. The Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Plan (‘STP’) [3] contains measures to redistribute funds from hospital to community care within a context of £22 billion in cuts to NHS funding nationally [4].

Bernard Hyde, Green Party candidate for Chatham and Aylesford comments:

“While we agree that improvements in our community services are long overdue this should not be at the expense of hospital care.  Rather than robbing Peter to pay Paul, we should be making greater investment into both community services and hospital care”.

According to Clive Gregory, Green Party candidate for Gillingham and Rainham, the proposed changes are part of a package of privatisation of the NHS.  Clive says that “as social care services are largely privately run, the recommendations in the STPs are likely to mean even more public funds being siphoned into boosting the profits of private companies rather than being spent directly on care.  This is on top of the disastrous PFIs which have brought the NHS to its knees and ongoing outsourcing.  Our NHS was once the flagship healthcare system of the world.  Sadly, the bankers and the greed of the corporate world seek to regain control of all of our public services.  This needs to be stopped before it is too late and we have no NHS left”.

The Green Party remains committed to the NHS Reinstatement Bill, and to the repeal of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 which forced a commercialised model on the NHS in England. [5] The Green Party would also deliver free social care for the over 65s in line with the recommendations of the Barker report. [6]






[6] (p22)



May 2, 2016

Medway Housing and Green Space – by Steve Dyke

It was very disappointing to read that Cllr Jarrett thinks Medway will “inevitably see many of our green spaces lost to development” (Party People, Medway Messenger, 22nd April).

Green spaces offer health, social and economic benefits to us all and provide important assistance in meeting the challenges we face from climate change.

While it is recognised that the unreasonable housing target imposed on Medway by the Conservative Government is huge, there are many established or innovative alternatives to building on green space in addition to using readily available brownfield sites.  For example empty houses could be brought back into use, redundant retail or office space could be converted to residential and accommodation built above car parks or even on the water.

We hope that Cllr Jarrett’s comments do not mean that there is a lack of ambition by his Conservative Council in developing the new Medway Local Plan. With this he has the chance to make Medway an example to other authorities of how to provide affordable, sustainable, energy efficient urban housing – will he take it?

Medway Greens urge him and his Cabinet colleagues to consider the development of green space in Medway not as inevitable, but as a last resort, to be used only after all alternative housing solutions have been pursued.

Steve Dyke

Medway Green Parry





May 1, 2015

Press release – Medway Green candidates support 38 Degrees NHS petition and call for a wider debate on health

rsz_p1040397 (1)Medway Green Party candidates support local 38 Degrees petitions to save the NHS and call for a wider debate on health.

Green Party candidates, Clive Gregory, PPC for Rochester and Strood and Luke Balnave, PPC for Chatham and Aylesford were among the candidates present to receive a petition to save the NHS at the weekend. This was organised by local members of the people-powered lobbyist group 38 Degrees and took place in all the Medway Towns on Saturday.

Clive Gregory comments:
“It is clear that the NHS has been a central issue this election and a focus of many hustings and interviews locally. The public are extremely concerned about the deterioration and potential demise of a service which we are all likely to depend on at some time in our lives.  We don’t seem to be seeing improvements either locally or nationally despite a massive reorganisation. This is because the reorganisation has involved a redirection of public funds into the pockets of shareholders. It stands to reason that this leaves less to spend on vital services. Furthermore, the funding of NHS investment through PFI’s has proven more expensive than had it been funded directly from taxation, sometimes seven times as much.  The NHS should be focused on providing good quality care rather than profit for private companies.  Profit has no place in the NHS”.

The Green Party manifesto contains a pledge to invest £20 billion in the NHS by 2020, a large proportion of the funds being dedicated to training and job creation.  It would be funded by a wealth tax on the top 1% of the population, closing tax loopholes and a small tax on banks known as the Robin Hood Tax.  Alongside this, the party has pledged to bring in an NHS Reinstatement Bill to return the NHS to its origins, as a publically resourced, publically provided service. This would restore the obligation upon the government to provide a comprehensive health service, removed by the NHS and Social Care Act 2012, and abolishi competition and the purchaser/provider split.

Clive Gregory also calls for a wider health debate.  He says:
“What we need is more joined up thinking. I visited a medical school in Sussex this week at the request of BBC South East, alongside candidates from other parties, and spoke to the students there.  Students were really on the case but the point they all made was that if there’s one reason that the NHS is struggling to attract staff it’s because of the impossible hours and working conditions. They don’t go into the profession for massive salaries, although they want respect and reward, but they want a high quality of life. Only the Green Party understands this.

“In the Green Party we believe that health for individuals is only possible in the context of a healthy environment and society. Our current profit before everything driven society is not only bad for our hard working health professionals, it is bad for all of us. It puts more strain on us and more strain on our vital services.  This is particularly so in relation to mental health, yet the mental health services are currently underfunded in comparison with other health services, an imbalance that the Green Party is keen to address. A high quality of life means rewarding work with shorter working hours so that we have time to spend with our families and pursue our interests; material security in the present and hope for the future; decent homes, access to quality education; accessible and affordable public transport; and a safe and clean environment free from pollution. We need a society that works for the common good. I believe that the Green Party can deliver that society. Please vote for us on May 7th”.

April 27, 2015

Last 10 days of Medway Greens General Election Campaign

It’s a busy time as we approach the last stretch of the campaign before polling day on Thursday 7th May.

At the weekend we had a further stall on Saturday in Rochester High Street, and door to door leafleting on Sunday, this time in the rain, which helped keep us cool.


Two of our candidates, Clive and Luke received the 38 degree petition to save the NHS in both Gilingham and Rochester High Streets on Saturday.  If Chatham 38 degrees members were looking for candidates, our Chatham and Aylesford candidate, Luke Balnave was there, he just couldn’t find you! As part of a party that has gone further than any other with its commitment to fully reinstate the NHS to its original purpose and remove market forces completely, our Green Party candidates were obviously very happy to receive the petition.


Clive and Luke with 38 degrees member (Luke on right)


Next week’s stall is likely to be in Strood. Further details to follow.

There are a few hustings coming up this week. This evening (Tuesday 28th April).the Medway Greens will be represented by Luke Balnave, PPC for Chatham and Aylesford at a hustings organised by the Medway Muslim Community in the Gillingham Mosque, Canterbury Street, Gillingham. This hustings will have a Muslim focus with Q&A from that community. However, others are welcome to attend .

Please notify Green Party member Mike Phillips if you wish to attend (as he needs to provide the organisers with expected numbers of attendees). You can contact Mike by e-mail on :-

Or if you prefer to stay indoors, you could look out for Clive Gregory, our PPC for Rochester and Strood who is likely to be gracing our TV screens making the Green case for saving the NHS. The interview recorded today in Brighton is due to be broadcast this evening (Tuesday 28th April) on BBC South East Today at 6.30 pm on BBC1 . 

Clive BBC South East

Here is what Clive had to say about the experience:

Interview with Mark Norman from BBC SE today in Brighton’s NHS training suite – great to have the opportunity to put the Green Party’s case for taking the NHS back into public ownership, increasing funding in the meantime, ending the lunacy of PFI’s and the tax on sugar to subsidise fresh fruit and veg… this and more – although we’ll see what get’s left in on the edit. Also learned from the student how to do a resus’ properly – I can’t believe how hard you have to work. 30 chest compressions at 120 bpm then 2 breaths then repeat until the ambulance gets there – and compress the chest 5-6cm – you have to apply your full weight – unbelievable but amazing. Students were really on the case but the point they all made was that if there’s one reason that the NHS is struggling to attract staff it’s impossible hours and working conditions. They don’t go into the profession for massive salaries (although they want respect and reward) but they want a high quality of life and only the Green Party understand this and will fund the NHS so that the staff are rewarded with a great profession AND a high quality of life.

Further events this week so far are as follows:

Wednesday 29th April 
Clive will be attending a debate at King’s School, Rochester.
And later on, at 7.30 pm, Clive is due to be on Radio Kent  debating benefits for immigrants with a UKIP candidate.
Thursday 30th April at 7.30 pm
Hustings at St Mark’s Church, Gillingham – Our candidate for Gillingham and Rainham, Neil Williams, is on the panel,
April 14, 2015

Medway Greens on the General Election campaign trail

With less than four weeks to the General Election, Medway Greens have had a busy and eventful weekend. Starting with a bit of light relief on Friday evening -Green Party members were invited to a Green Jam fundraiser at the Beacon Court in Gillingham, where Neil Williams, Parliamentary Candidate for Gillingham and Rainham, and his fellow band members, entertained members and regulars.


Neil (on the right) at the Beacon Court

Clive Gregory, Parliamentary Candidate for Rochester and Strood,  had to nip away early as he had an early start, being interviewed by Radio Kent on Medway’s debt problem. Calls to a national debt line from people living in Chatham have been particularly high. Clive attributed the rising debt problem to the government’s transfer of our financial problems onto the poorest sections of our society, as well as difficulties in middle income families in adjusting to falling incomes fast enough, and suggested that greater publicity was needed for alternative, cheaper forms of credit, such as the Medway Credit Union.


It was then on to regular campaign work with our weekly stall in Rochester High Street on Saturday where, after a rainy start, the sun allowed us a few hours of leafletting and talking to local people.


Clive Gregory with Luke Balnave (centre) and Steve Dyke

This was followed by house to house leafletting on Sunday morning in the Rochester West constituency, which is good exercise and usually followed by a meet up over coffee! Still lots more to do! Anyone who would like to volunteer to help, please contact us on


Medway Greens prepare to leaflet

Meanwhile Hustings are getting into full swing.  Clive has been to a couple of school Hustings, at Walderslade Girls School and Chatham Grammar School for Boys. At Chatham Boys the Green Party pupil candidate won the debate! Whereas Luke Balnave, Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Chatham and Aylesford attended the Federation of Small Business hustings at the Corn Exchange in Rochester and polled second with the audience! Labour, Lib Dem and UKIP candidates were far behind. Clive has also attended a hustings on the subject of health organised by Radio Kent.  This will be broadcast on Friday at 7 pm. Luke is attending a Radio Kent hustings on health tonight.

Clive has also received press and media interest in his campaign, including an interview for the Daily Politics programme and with Meridian.

Additionally, local candidates have been selected for the Council elections which are on the same day as the General Election, May 7th. Candidates will be standing across the towns in twelve wards with thirteen candidates altogether, two in Rochester West. Details are on our website here.

Stalls will continue to be held in the coming weeks with details to follow, please feel free to come and meet us and our candidates, if you are passing.

November 19, 2014

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett urges Rochester and Strood voters to vote for hope not fear

On the eve of the Rochester and Strood by-election, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett has today urged Rochester and Strood voters to vote for the positive choice of Green Party candidate Clive Gregory.

Bennett said:

“Clive has been saying clearly to the voters that he understands they are struggling in our economy of low wages and insecure employment, with high housing costs and NHS facilities that are struggling to cope.

“But while other parties have been scapegoating immigrants and immigration, Clive has been identifying the reasons why so many are struggling: the failure to curb our fraud-ridden, risk-taking, overly large financial sector, the loss of council homes to Right to Buy and failure to build the affordable housing we need, the underfunding of the NHS and the disruption caused to it by this government’s privatisation agenda.

“And I know from my visit to the constituency how many voters have valued Clive and the Green Party’s consistent resistance to the Lodge Hill development.”

Commenting on recent campaign events, Bennett added:

“It was frankly hypocritical of Yvette Cooper to complain about the ‘arms race of rhetoric’ on immigration yesterday, while making a speech focused on tightening up control of borders.

“A couple of days before the Rochester and Strood by-election, the Labour party could have been announcing plans to make the minimum wage a Living Wage, or to end ‘right to buy’ to stop the bleeding away of the public resource of social housing. Or they could have been announcing their abandonment of the Work Capability Assessment that has plagued the lives of so many disabled and ill people.

“Instead, like the Tory candidate in Rochester and Strood by-election, who listed ‘immigration’ as her top issue, Ms Cooper has chosen to chase after Ukip and try to out-do it, rather than tackle the real causes of the struggle and insecurity faced by so many millions of households in Britain today.

“Only the Green Party candidate, Clive Gregory, with the ballot paper strap line ‘say no to racism’, is taking on Ukip head-on, exposing its damaging, dangerous misinformation.”

October 22, 2014

Saving the NHS for the Common Good and Clive Gregory on Radio Kent

Clive Gregory, our Rochester and Strood by-election candidate, was in Rochester yesterday speaking to voters. A report and cameo of Clive’s conversations with voters can be heard on today’s BBC Radio Kent Breakfast Listen Again at 06:24,  07:31 and 08:34 approximately.

According to Clive and the report, the most crucial issue for the people of Rochester and Strood is the unravelling of the NHS. Some information about what is happening to the NHS can be found below in this Green Party video. More to follow.

October 21, 2014

Voices of Mind Speak Out About Stigma

The Green Party recognises that there is much stigma surrounding mental health difficulties, and this adversely affects those experiencing these issues. Working alongside charities and organisations that work to challenge stigma, we would encourage several measures, including mental health awareness training within the public sector, workplace mentorship frameworks in order to support employees experiencing mental health difficulties, and would support people with lived experience of mental health difficulties sharing their experiences, encouraging a more open dialogue on the issue in wider society.


May 15, 2013

Press Release: Get Medway Cycling

Medway Green Party supports the recommendations of the ‘Get Britain Cycling’ report (1).

Trish Marchant, Medway Green Party Co-ordinator explains:

“The Get Britain Cycling report of the All Party Cycling Group in Parliament offers many important recommendations of relevance to Medway. Health, education, sport, business and the environment all benefit from increasing levels of cycling. Investment is needed in Medway to reduce ill-health and obesity. We need to help people live healthier lives and cut down on costly medical attention. Making cycling more attractive and accessible to people would contribute to this”.

Trish adds:

“It should also be noted that carbon dioxide in the planet’s atmosphere has now reached 400 parts per million, the highest level for over 3 million years. This makes it urgent that greater efforts must be made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or radical increases in temperature and climate instability will make life in Medway far more difficult than we have ever experienced”.

The Report recommends more 20 mph limits; increasing cycling from 2% of all journeys in 2011 to 10% by 2025; and improved access and availability to training to enhance cycling skills. Medway Green Party supports extending cycle routes to help this process and creating cycling networks throughout the town.

Trish comments:

“It is not enough to simply put cycle lanes here and there which don’t allow people to complete the journey. Not only is this less safe and less convenient for cyclists, but cycle journeys that compete with cars are likely to make climate change worse, not improve it (2). What we need is dedicated lanes for cyclists to be incorporated into every road improvement programme. The report recommends that its recommendations can be achieved by a sustained public investment of a mere £10-20 per year, per head.”

Medway Green Party also urges the public to sign the epetition calling for the recommendations of the Get Britain Cycling report to be implemented. This can be found at: Signatures stand at about 57,000 already and the petition closes on 23rd April 2014.



1. Summary and recommendations from the report:

2. Car versus bike: road design to cut pollution