May I respond to the recent article ‘Councillor faces backlash for boobs and babies comment’.

Before NICE was set up patients were finding it hard to get some treatments and whilst the newspapers talked of a ‘post code lottery’ such as you may get a drug in Solihull but not in Shrewsbury.

The other major problem was that people with the skills to lobby for their NHS needs like educated confident people were doing much better than those in more deprived circumstances who struggled to understand what they were entitled to and how to go about getting it.

Papers were published in the medical press in England on these matters and I wrote one citing the case of Child B in the law courts unable to gain cancer treatment set against for example the continuation of some poor quality prescriptions for wound healing.

The Labour government from 1997 worked to rectify the unfairness and established NICE with the full involvement of the medical profession in 1999. John Major’s government had started a small amount of work. NICE is already an integral part of the NHS.

Bolton Council works in the first devolved NHS system in England where £6 billion pounds of NHS finance was devolved down to Greater Manchester.

The motion was in fact only repeating how the NHS works in Bolton today. The Public Health Minister in Parliament in May reminded us “NHS organisations are legally required to make funding available for NICE recommended treatments, usually within three months of final guidance”.

Any support Bolton Council may have for NICE does in no way remove any councillor’s ability to assist local residents to act if the resident feels a NICE guideline is not right for them or a family member.

There are other areas of the Council where this principle explains this. Politicians at Bolton Council work positively with Greater Manchester Police and on committees.

As a ward councillor I have assisted families who have made complaints to the Independent Police Complaints Commission and also families who wanted police non charge decisions reviewed at GMP. Politicians at Bolton Council work positively with the Environment Agency and on committees yet local councillors have assisted residents with major complaints about flood protection issues.

Councillor Sue Haworth

Bolton MBC