Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Labour Shadow Health Minister pledges support for local hospital trust

Shadow Secretary for Health Andy Burnham outside the RLI
with local Labour candidates Cat Smith and Amina Lone and supporters

Less than a week after local parliamentary candidates received the local 38 Degrees petition to stop NHS privatisation and to allow the NHS adequate funding, Labour’s Shadow Secretary for Health, Andy Burnham, visited Lancaster and Morecambe today on a General Election campaign stop, setting out Labour’s  plan for local NHS services in the Morecambe Bay Trust.

In Lancaster he was joined by Cat Smith, Labour's local parliamentary candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood, outside the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI) where he made five pledges to help improve the hospital:
  1.     Recognise the special circumstances of Morecambe Bay Trust in relation to funding
  2.     Work with our brilliant NHS staff to make the Royal Lancaster Infirmary a better hospital
  3.     More doctors and nurses for the RLI
  4.     Guarantee a GP appointment in 48 hours across the Morecambe Bay
  5.     Repeal the Tory Health Act that opened up our NHS services to privatisation
As we have reported previously, Morecambe Bay Hospitals Trust is caught in a financial trap. It is committed to special measures imposed following a series of inspection failures, which mean extra costs. At the same time it must reduce overall expenditure to meet budget targets, whilst simultaneously reorganising to meet the demands of new commissioning structures imposed by the Health Act.

Cat Smith said, "It's fantastic that after years of work from Labour candidates like myself and Amina Lone in Morecambe, as well John Woodcock MP in Barrow, we've got a pledge from the Labour Party that Morecambe Bay's special circumstances will be recognised under a Labour government when it comes to funding.  We have fantastic NHS staff locally, but the current funding doesn't meet local need or recognise the challenging geography of the Trust.

"It was a pleasure to introduce Andy Burnham to staff from the Infirmary so they could share their experiences too."

Andy Burnham, Labour's Shadow Health Minister, said:

“Five years ago, David Cameron stood on a promise to protect the NHS. He has broken that promise and the NHS as we know it can’t survive five more years of the Tories. They pushed through a damaging reorganisation without the consent of the public and the NHS has gone downhill ever since. Thursday 7th May is shaping up to be David Cameron's day of reckoning on the NHS.

“In 2010, Cameron said he would cut the deficit, not the NHS. He is on course to create a large deficit in the NHS. It is scandalous that he spent £3 billion on a reorganisation that has left the NHS worse off. Hospitals are now trapped in a financial vicious circle with bills for agency staff running out of control and staff failing to keep pace with demand.

“What is clear is that the fragile NHS we now have can't take five more years like the five it has just had. It can't afford the Tories' plan for deeper care cuts in the next Parliament. It urgently needs new leadership and a change of course. Labour has set out a better plan to restore the NHS, rebuild it as a national health and care service and invest £2.5 billion extra a year - on top of Tory spending plans - to fund 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs.”

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