Felicity Owen column for 10th July 2019
Under the Tories our NHS is in crisis. Patients are waiting for hours in overcrowded A&Es, waiting lists are rising and hospitals are facing huge financial problems. Only Labour will stand up for the NHS. We will always give the NHS the money it needs and will join up services from home to hospital with a properly integrated health and social care service.
Hospitals are in financial crisis. Trusts ended the last year hundreds of millions of pounds in deficit.
Under the Tories, spending on mental health fell by £600m between 2010 and 2015 and there are over 5,000 fewer mental health nurses than in 2010.
They’ve got no plan to tackle the financial crisis facing the NHS and social care – their reorganisation of the NHS has put hospital units across the country at risk, while beds are cut, staff numbers reduced & treatments rationed to save money.
Labour will increase funding for the NHS by £30 billion per annum. Labour will halt and review the NHS sustainability and transformation plans, which are looking at closing health services across England, and ask local people to participate in the redrawing of plans with a focus on patient need rather than available finances.
We will create a new quality, safety and excellence regulator – to be called NHS Excellence. The next Labour government will reverse privatisation of our NHS and return our health service into expert public control.
Labour will boost capital funding for the NHS to ensure patients are cared for in buildings fit for the 21st Century.
Labour will stand up for patients’ rights to high quality care. We will treat one million people who are currently on growing waiting lists and guarantee that patients can be seen within four hours in A&E. Labour will put safe staffing levels into law. We will bring back the nursing bursary and train more doctors. We will make sure that mental health is given the same priority as physical health; Labour will ring-fence mental health budgets and ensure funding reaches the front-line.
NHS Kernow has finally got to a break-even position on its budget but still has an overhanging deficit of £87m from prior years. There is no current pressure to repay it but it is hanging over them. The CCG was told last week that the 3.4% annual increase in NHS funding for this financial year will come from the NHS capital budget and that their capital budget will reduce by 20% this year. The Conservatives have said they are increasing funding to the NHS by 20 billion pounds, but this is to be eked out over five years, and as the CCG has just found out, it is not new money but part of it will be coming from an already stretched budget. What a shameful con!
Treliske is struggling with workload and lack of funding. In month one of 2019 (April 2019) it is already in dire straits with funding. CQC ratings show it requires improvement, as does Derriford.
Three Community Hospitals have been closed, temporarily but all for 2 years or more and Edward Hain since March 2016. Will they ever reopen? Many are in a poor state of repair.
The real crisis, perhaps the worst of all, is in care home provision, especially for Dementia sufferers. Shortage of places and staff mean owners can change thresholds, so they often only take the people requiring less care. It is scandalous to treat our older people like this. The Conservative cuts have led to £4.6 billion lost from social care budgets despite rising demand. Around 1.2 million older people have care needs that are going unmet. Care in the community has become a cover for unseen neglect.
People living in St Austell are voicing concerns about St Austell Healthcare, the GP practice serving St Austell and nearby villages. If you are experiencing problems with accessing services with them, as many people have told me they are, I would encourage you to let them know as they want to provide a good service and would want to know. You can feedback direct to the practice both positive and negative views anonymously, to the patient participation group email@example.com or use the practices complaints procedure firstname.lastname@example.org or to the independent body Cornwall Healthwatch on 08000 381281.
Let’s return the NHS to Labour safe hands at the next election.
This blog will be created by members of the Exec committee on topics of interest to the St Austell & Newquay Labour Party