Friend lodges complaint with party after Birmingham councillor Barbara Dring taken to urgent care with ‘suspected stroke’ after two MPs accuse her of spreading false information about local NHS closure
A complaint has been lodged with the Labour party about the behaviour of two Labour MPs toward an 89yo Labour councillor, after they accused her and local NHS campaigner Lorraine Donnally of ‘lying’ about the potential closure of a vital local NHS facility.
Birmingham City Councillor Barbara Dring was taken to hospital with a suspected stroke shortly after she and Ms Donnally were accused by right-wing Labour MPs Khalid Mahmood and Paulette Hamilton of spreading false information (Mahmood) and spreading ‘gossip and hear say’ [sic] in their campaign against the closure of the Warren Farm urgent care centre in Cllr Dring’s Oscott ward.
Both MPs claimed to have been told that there were no plans to change services at the centre and that it was never at risk of closure:
However, local press had already reported the potential closure of the centre – and obtained a comment from NHS Birmingham and Solihull that it was considering ‘options’ for the ‘sub-standard’ building it claimed was putting patients at risk – and it is clear from the comment that closure is among the ‘options’:
After weeks of speculation involving its future, NHS bosses have since confirmed that a consultation is underway to retain the facility.
A spokesperson for NHS Birmingham and Solihull said: “No decision has been made at this point. However, Warren Farm Urgent Care Centre in Kingstanding is currently housed in a building which is of a sub-standard quality, with significant patient safety concerns arising as a result.
“It’s important to us that our patients receive the best possible care in the most appropriate and safest facilities, which is why we are working through options for the future of the service. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be talking to patients and staff about any proposals in order to ensure the service can adapt to meet the needs of its local population and teams.”Birmingham Mail’s report contains a statement from the local NHS making clear the centre may close
In response to the MPs’ comments, Lorraine Donnally put in a complaint to the party about the MPs ‘insinuat[ing] that she and Cllr Dring were ‘gossips’ and ‘liars’:
Shortly afterward, Cllr Dring was taken to hospital with what friends believed was a possible stroke but which was subsequently diagnosed as a panic attack. She was not sent by the NHS 111 service to the nearby Warren Farm, but to a different urgent care centre some miles away.
Ms Donnally told Skwawkbox that the MPs’ conduct amounted to ‘bullying’:
This was definitely public bullying of Barbara Dring and me by two MPs who clearly hadn’t checked the background to everything, although I don’t know why they seem to have an agenda to rubbish the possibility of Warren Farm closing – and for them to behave that way toward an 89-year-old woman is terrible. Paulette Hamilton is a nurse, so she should know better.
We rang 111 for Barbara but they didn’t send her to Warren Farm. Instead they sent her to another one out of the area. As far as I’m concerned that shows that they’re not sending patients to Warren Farm because they want to be able to say nobody is using it so they can justify shutting it.
Both MPs were asked for comment. Neither responded. The Labour party does not comment on specific complaints.
Khalid Mahmood’s awful record as Birmingham Perry Barr MP includes wrongfully sacking former staffer Elaina Cohen for blowing the whistle on ‘criminal’ and ‘sadistic’ abuse of vulnerable domestic violence victims by another Mahmood staffer who was also his lover. Sworn testimony by one of the victims to an employment tribunal in the wrongful dismissal case was not challenged by either Mahmood or his legal team.
The right-winger has also been accused by Bangladeshi media of accepting a bribe from a convicted Bangladeshi fugitive seeking help with his asylum case – and by Elaina Cohen of accepting cash from the Kuwait embassy. He has denied any wrongdoing.
At no point has Keir Starmer or his sidekick David Evans taken action against Mahmood, even to suspend him to protect alleged victims while Mahmood was on Starmer’s front bench. The whistleblower’s emails to Starmer and Evan, as well as Mahmood’s own sworn testimony, make clear that Starmer and Evans were fully aware of the allegations and covered them up.
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