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action_day_steve1.jpgJust over 200 Labour campaigners gathered in High Park today to protest against the "scandalous and dangerous" problems at Southport Hospital and the current crisis in the NHS. 

 

The activists were addressed by Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram, as well as Sefton MP and Shadow Minister for Small Business, Bill Esterston, and local Parliamentary Candidate, Liz Savage, before setting out to brave the rain to leaflet and canvass in Norwood and Kew wards and set up a street stall in the town centre. 

 

The campaigners were told how eight years of underfunding under the Conservatives has resulted in the worst winter crisis on record with over 1 in 8 patients across NHS England having to wait in ambulances for treatment for over half an hour, 25,000 of them for over an hour; while average bed occupancy hit 93.9%, substantially above the recommended safe rate of 85%. 

 

Labour's Southport Parliamentary Candidate, Liz Savage, also described the local situation:

 

"Just a fortnight ago we raised concerns about what was happening at Southport Hospital and its A&E and were falsely accused of "scaremongering" by the local Tory MP, who claimed all was well at the hospital." action_day_liz_.jpg 

 

"Since then we've discovered that it is very nearly 15% below the four-hour treatment target and one of its A&E consultants felt compelled along with 67 others from across NHS England to write to Theresa May warning of chronic underfunding, systematic failure and patients dying in corridors. " 

 

"Only yesterday the local trust had to put out an urgent appeal for nurses over Twitter due to the pressure it was under. It's a scandalous and dangerous situation but Southport's MP and his party colleagues are dangerously complacent about it. We will not be. "   

 

Other MP's from the region also turned out with Bootle's Peter Dowd, Walton's Dan Carden and Wirral West's Margaret Greenwood joining local campaigners and activists from across Merseyside and Lancashire.action_day_dan___margaret.jpg

 

The event was one of two in the North West organised as part of a nationwide "Action Day" highlighting the difficulties the NHS is facing. Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour's Shadow Health Secretary, said:

 

 “Action Saturday is an opportunity for our passionate network of activists and supporters to mobilise in defence of our NHS. This unprecedented winter crisis has united our Labour movement around the shared goal of fighting together to safeguard the future of our NHS .

 

“Under the Tories, our NHS has been left underfunded, understaffed and overstretched. Despite the heroic efforts of our NHS staff, thousands of vulnerable patients have been left languishing on trolleys, stuck in the backs of ambulances and unable to receive the social care packages they urgently need.

 

“Labour founded the NHS, our proudest achievement, and on the year of its 70th anniversary we will fight to save the NHS from Tory underfunding, cuts and privatisation.”  

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Hundreds of Labour supporters protest in Southport against Tories' "scandalous and dangerous" NHS Winter Crisis

Just over 200 Labour campaigners gathered in High Park today to protest against the "scandalous and dangerous" problems at Southport Hospital and the current crisis in the NHS.    The activists...

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Liz Savage, Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Southport, explains why she believes local MP Damien Moore has revealed a staggering lack of understanding about one of the biggest issues in his constituency and a dangerous level of complacency... 

Southport Hospital is struggling to cope and the NHS is creaking at the seams. Across England, staff are being pushed to the very brink, while patients are being "managed in corridors, some dying".
 
Make no mistake, for all the denials by some, our NHS is in crisis. It's a crisis of complacency, one that could threaten its very existence.  liz_profile_pic.jpg
 
When Southport Hospital's figures for Christmas Week were released at the start of the month, we raised concerns that 133 patients had to wait for between 30-60 minutes in the back of an ambulance, 60 of them for over an hour. We also expressed concern over the 100% bed occupancy rates that were revealed.
  
Our local Conservative MP, Damien Moore, then took it upon himself to attack us for speaking out. He falsely claimed we were trying to undermine the hospital; he talked of patients being seen to efficiently; he proclaimed his confidence and he boasted how "Southport hospital and the wider health system has prepared earlier and more extensively than ever before for Winter this year". He then accused us of "scaremongering".  
 
Just days later the truth of the matter became abundantly clear. 
 
Sadly, our fears were fully justified. The situation in our hospital and across the NHS is shocking and perhaps even worse than we thought.  
 
Further data released within days of Damien Moore's boasts revealed that across NHS England the A&E figures for the "Four Hour Treatment Rate" across December were the worst ever since records began, missing the 95% target by a fraction under 10%. Last year was also "the first time ever" in NHS history that all of its key targets for A&E, cancer and planned operations across the UK had been missed. Not exactly something worth crowing about.
  
Here in Southport it was painfully obvious that it wasn't just a one day blip that our hospital was enduring, as Damien Moore had claimed. Instead, the figures showed that for the whole of December the "4Hr Rate" was even worse, running at fractionally over 80% - very nearly 15% below target. That is truly troubling. It is patients suffering; local residents, suffering; your community, suffering.
 
photo_2.JPGStaff suffer too. From the strain of watching their patients' struggle, the frustration of not being to help in the way they want and from sheer overwork. Local paramedics have revealed how they spent 9 hours of a 12-hour shift simply waiting with patients waiting to be admitted. They got their first break 11 and a half hours into their shift. We have been told how nurses are having to be shipped in from Liverpool to help Southport Hospital cope.
 
The signs and stories were there, that's why we spoke out. Our local MP it seems either turned a deaf ear, preferring to parrot out the party line, or, has simply revealed a staggering lack of understanding of what is really going on in the hospital and his constituency.
  
Things are so bad that a few days ago one of the hospital's A&E Consultants, Dave Snow, felt compelled (along with 67 other Emergency Medicine Consultants from across NHS England) to write to the Prime Minister Theresa May and warn her of the dangers.  
  
The picture they paint of the situation is truly disturbing. Systematic failure; severe and chronic underfunding; staff in despair and patients dying in corridors.
 
Perhaps Damien Moore believes they are all "scaremongering" too?
 
As well as detailing the thousands of patients being kept waiting for treatment in ambulances ( just as we highlighted locally) and staff shortages, the consultants also gave a snapshot of what they have to deal with:

"Some of our own personal experiences range from

        Over 120 patients a day managed in corridors, some dying prematurely

        An average of 10-12 hours from decision to admit a patient until they are transferred to      a bed

        Over 50 patients at a time waiting (for) beds in the Emergency Department

        Patients sleeping in clinics as makeshift wards" 

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Whatever our local MP believes, or wants you to believe, it's clear that what's actually happening in the NHS actually is scary.  
 
Instead of falsely shouting "scaremongering", Damien Moore and his colleagues need to recognise this crisis and the dangers it presents. They also need to halt their planned multi-billion pound STP cuts to health services and dismiss the proposal to downgrade our hospital's A&E service and reduce its hours.
   
This crisis is not the fault of the hospital staff, although it may be causing a "crisis of faith" amongst some of them. Who could blame them if so? They face all this and yet have had their pay cut drastically in real terms too by the Conservatives, aided by the Liberal Democrats.
 
The Conservatives continued insistence on the pay cap is some thank you.
  
Facing a nursing shortage, the Tories decided to cut the bursary for nursing training and have overseen a 96% drop in EU nurses coming here, that's some solution.
 
This crisis is part of a wider malaise coming from the top. It is a crisis of funding. It is a crisis of recruitment. It is a crisis in caring for the NHS and staff. It's a crisis in caring for its patients. A crisis of once creeping now sweeping privatisation. It is a Conservative crisis in its making, backed by the Lib-Dems in their coalition but one that we are now all suffering.
 
It is now a crisis of dangerous complacency towards our hospital and the NHS by our Tory MP and his party colleagues... and we should all be fighting against it.
 
We can never be complacent when it comes to the NHS.
 
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Local MP reveals "dangerous complacency" over Southport Hospital and the NHS says Liz Savage

Liz Savage, Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Southport, explains why she believes local MP Damien Moore has revealed a staggering lack of understanding about one of the biggest issues in his...

police_back_(2).jpgThe Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside says she takes residents’ fears over crime in Southport “very seriously” after a meeting with local Labour representatives.

Councillor Emily Spurrell visited the town after a request to discuss recent events, such as the shooting on Eastbank Street, several acts of vandalism and a spate of shoplifting in the area.

Talking to Liz Savage, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Southport with Norwood Councillor’s Bill and Marianne Welsh and local election candidates Mhairi Doyle (Norwood) and Janis Blackburne (Kew), Cllr Spurrell gave an overview of the current situation in the town and the wider problems facing Merseyside Police.

The Deputy Police Commissioner highlighted that Merseyside Police has been forced to make savings of more than £103m since 2010, with the loss of over 1,500 police officers and staff. This has forced the Commissioner and Chief Constable to review every area of business and has led to Merseyside Police undergoing a major restructure which moves away from a local command unit approach. 

Cllr Spurrell said: “Sadly, we are now seeing the results of years of cutbacks to the police budget. Our police service is under significant strain. Merseyside Police has lost more than 1,000 police officers in the last seven years, with further cuts a possibility, yet calls for help continue to increase and the crimes our teams face are increasingly complex.

“I know the Commissioner and the Chief Constable are still absolutely committed to community policing and our local policing teams are responsible for maintaining that local touch. High profile incidents, such as the recent shooting on Eastbank St. are thankfully still incredibly rare in Southport and when crimes like this do occur I know everything possible is done by the police to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Liz___Emily_Spurrell.jpgConcerns from residents that there also appears to be a wave of lower-level crimes and anti-social behaviour sweeping the town recently were also raised by the Labour group.

Liz Savage explained:

“Residents are worried by recent events and want reassurance. Merseyside Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office are in an unenviable position given the scale of the cuts forced on policing by both the Lib-Dems and Conservatives while in government. We’ve lost 20,000 officers nationally and sadly it seems we are reaping the rewards of it now.”

{Photo- Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Cllr Emily Spurrell (2nd from right) with Cllr Liz Savage (centre front) Cllrs Bill and Marianne Welsh (centre rear and 1st left) and Labour's Norwood candidate, Mhairi Doyle (last on right) and Kew candidate Janis Blackburne(3rd from left) with local supermarket staff.}        

The Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office is aware of the issue, said Cllr Spurrell:

“We understand that there are local concerns and it’s something we take very seriously. There’s a lot of good work going on, such as the recent guns and knives amnesty. Locally, officers are trying to target anti-social behaviour such as the rise in scrambler bikes on the beaches and the recent ‘community concern’ survey by Merseyside Police shows how the force is listening to the concerns of residents and acting on them. ”

The group also took Cllr Spurrell to a local supermarket on Bispham Rd which has been
forced to employ a security guard after losing around £500 a week through shoplifting, an amount described as “significant to a small store” by staff. Shoplifting has become a major problem for many retail outlets across the country and last month there was outrage as some police forces admitted they did not have the resources to pursue lower-level crimes.

Merseyside Police Federation chairman, Peter Singleton, who was also contacted by Southport Labour, explained that:

“We can still concentrate resources on incidents such as the recent shooting in the town but across the force area, the difficulty now lies with not having the resources to properly deal with the lower level incidents. By not addressing those minor incidents, we are missing the opportunity of intervening at an early stage of potential criminality, as it’s these relatively low level anti-social behaviours and minor crimes that are the avenue that can take some youths into more serious criminal behaviour. We were getting very good at stopping that flow of criminality and that type of policing pays for itself tenfold. Sadly, we are not even seeing the full effects of the cuts yet.”

For Liz Savage it’s time more resources were put back into local policing:

“Those who voted for these cuts or support them such as Southport’s previous MP, John Pugh, and his successor Damien Moore, have put a tremendous strain on our police force and its officers and it is starting to show. We need to back our police officers and emergency services, not cut them or keep their pay capped. We also need the 10,000 extra officers that Labour has promised in its manifesto back on our streets, that would be a great start.”

eastbank_st.jpg                                               Image - Colin Lane/Visiter

Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner acknowledges concerns during meeting with Southport Labour

The Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside says she takes residents’ fears over crime in Southport “very seriously” after a meeting with local Labour representatives. Councillor Emily Spurrell visited...

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