The NHS is under massive pressure.
The 4 hour waiting time target for A&E is being increasingly missed.
Operations are being cancelled.
Patients can’t be discharged back home to recover, because the community services they need aren’t available.
And health secretary Jeremy Hunt blames the problem on too many patients.
Don’t be fooled when he says NHS spending’s increased under the Coalition government. At the same time, funding for local authorities to provide social care has suffered massive cuts – £3 million this year in Trafford alone.
People who need physiotherapy, or speech therapy after a stroke, or rehab and nursing at home when they come out of hospital, are waiting months for the support they need.
The government’s taking away with one hand from local authorities, and putting huge pressure on the NHS as a result.
At the same time, thanks to the Health and Social Care Act introduced by this government, more services are being privatised, put out to tender, and fragmented.
And that undermines the holistic care that patients and their families want.
This is particularly important for Trafford now, as we await the decision on changes to services at Trafford General. This week, the three Trafford MPs, Graham Brady, Paul Goggins and I, met Dan Poulter, the health minister, to highlight the concerns of local people.
We told the minister that people in Trafford won’t tolerate cuts to hospital provision when the services in the community to keep people out of hospital are either overstretched, or simply not in place.
We pointed out the pressures on capacity at other neighbouring hospitals, and asked how they’d cope with more patients.
We said people were worried the quality of healthcare locally would get worse.
We didn’t get any specific assurances from the minister, but he said he’d make sure Jeremy Hunt was aware of the concerns, before he takes a decision this summer.
Labour will be watching this very closely, and meanwhile we’ve set up a new email address for you to tell us about your experiences of the NHS. Please email us at email@example.com, we want to hear your stories, good and bad, to help us in our fight to protect our NHS.
More bad news for local campaigners this week, as Tory minister Eric Pickles gave the go-ahead to the proposed biomass plant at Davyhulme.
The vast majority of local people are opposed to this plant. It was turned down unanimously by Trafford Council’s planning committee.
The Breathe Clean Air group have fought an amazing campaign, highlighting the potential risks to air quality and public health.
Local residents have joined demonstrations, given evidence to the planning inquiry, and done a huge amount of research into the risks.
But, despite all the government promises that local people would get more of a say in planning decisions, the views of our community have been totally ignored by the government.
They couldn’t care less about Trafford.
On another matter, can I say an enormous thank you to everyone who came to my Road Safety Day last Saturday, and helped to make it such a success.
As well as all the fascinating displays and activities, I was really pleased to be able to present a dossier to Trafford Council and the police of all the concerns and issues about road safety that local people have raised with me in the past few months, as part of my Safer Trafford Streets campaign.
Already, the council have promised me that we will get a detailed response to the matters we’ve raised, and I’ll make sure to keep you updated.
Meantime, we’re already planning next year’s Road Safety event!
Member of Parliament for Stretford and Urmston Shadow Spokesperson for Equality