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Physio heads for Westminster as victorious MP

8 May 2015 - 12:14pm

Physiotherapist Rachael Maskell has been elected as a member of parliament for York Central representing the Labour party.

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Rachael Maskell: 'I believe I'm going to be the first physio MP'

Replacing Sir Hugh Bayley, who stood down after holding the seat since 1992, Ms Maskell increased Labour’s share of the vote at the last election by 2.4 per cent.

Trained at the University of East Anglia, she had various physiotherapy roles in the NHS for 20 years before taking posts with health trade unions.

Her clinical career included working in stroke rehabilitation and an intensive therapy unit, and during 17 years at Barnet general hospital in north London she was a CSP steward and regional steward.

Fresh from the 6am count at York’s Energise council-run leisure centre, Ms Maskell spoke with Frontline.

'First' physio MP

‘I believe I’m going to be the first physio MP,’ she said.

Health issues will be ‘very much at the forefront’ of her new job.

‘First of all, after today’s election result, we are going to have to fight like mad to save the NHS from privatisation.

‘Thanks to the Health and Social Care Act and privatisation we’re going to lose the NHS piece by piece.’

Employment issues will also be key, Ms Maskell said. She’ll be stepping down from her job as head of health at the trade union Unite, to be an MP.

Health will not only be a major focus nationally but also locally.

The historic city of York has, due to its demography, a lot of poverty, she said, and she will continue to push for better mental health facilities.

‘There’s a lot of poverty in my constituency and I’m very concerned about the inequality and resulting health inequality.’

Other physio candidates

Elsewhere, CSP Welsh Board chair Ruth Jones for Labour came second in Monmouth with 12,719 votes to David Davies (Conservative) who kept a 10,982 majority.

And in the East Midlands marginal of Ashfield, physiotherapist Helen Harrison increased the Tory vote by 0.2 per cent to come second to Labour.

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