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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...

IMG_8215.jpgNew figures released for Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust are "a real cause for concern" says Labour's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Southport, Liz Savage. 

Latest statistics covering the period from Christmas Day to New Year's Eve reveal that local bed occupancy rates ran as high as 100% and also significantly outstripped the national average.

During the same period over a hundred patients were forced to wait outside in ambulances for treatment at A&E for over 30 minutes, with nearly half of them waiting for over an hour.

The figures reveal just how stretched local services currently are claims Labour's Liz Savage: 

"These figures are shocking and a real cause for concern. No-one can justify 133 people waiting outside A&E for over half an hour before they are treated and even more worryingly, 60 of them had to wait over an hour which also means ambulances are tied up for that time. Given the probable changes to our A&E service under the Tory STP plans this will only mean further restrictions to an already overstretched service." 

While nationally for NHS England average bed occupancy was up nearly 1 percent on the week before Christmas to 91.7% for Christmas Week, locally it shot up to just over 95% peaking at fully occupied on December 28th.

The figures are well over the recommended safe rate of 85% bed occupancy above which hospital infections and bed crisis problems become more common. liz_profile_pic_(Sam).jpg

Liz Savage is worried not only by the problems that the high bed rates can cause but also by what they might represent:

"My concern is that local demands may not be being met properly because of a lack of funding. The Winter Crisis isn't a local phenomenon but it is something we can feel more keenly here due to our large number of older residents. We need further investment in the NHS and not the estimated £26 billion in cuts to health services that the BMA says are involved in the Tory STP plans." 

Labour’s analysis of NHS England’s Weekly Winter Statistics also revealed that between 25th and 31st December 16,893 patients were left waiting longer than 30 minutes in ambulances outside A&E departments.

Jonathan_Ashworth_MP.jpgJonathan Ashworth MP, Labour's Shadow Health Secretary, responding to the data said:


"These figures reveal the shocking scale of the crisis in our NHS this winter. Over 75,000 patients have been left languishing in the back of ambulances this winter, something the Government should be deeply ashamed of.

“Labour and clinicians have warned Ministers for months to prepare for this winter, but concerns were casually dismissed out of hand. Theresa May’s boast that the NHS is the best prepared it’s ever been has now been entirely discredited.

“The truth is we are now approaching the 8th year of desperate underfunding and cuts to our health and social care services by the Tories. We've seen thousands of beds cut from the NHS and the numbers of days lost to delayed discharge are up by 50% since 2010.

“The NHS is being pushed to the brink under Theresa May and it is patients suffering as a consequence.”

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Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust figures “shocking” says Liz Savage

New figures released for Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust are "a real cause for concern" says Labour's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Southport, Liz Savage. Latest statistics covering the period from...

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