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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" 

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.

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.”


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...



Southport Labour have announced that their candidate for the Dukes By-Election is Frank Hanley, a former senior local government officer and community relations expert.

Labour's surge of support in Southport since 2015 meant it came second for the first time in Dukes Ward in June's general election.
The former Head of Services at Bradford Council now lives in Ainsdale with his wife Anne and is very actively involved in the local community. He's also Southport Labour's observer to Sefton Council.
Frank says this experience helps him to understand the huge strain the local authority is operating under due to Government cuts to Sefton's budget and the need to work cooperatively with it for the good of Southport: 
"Sefton has lost some £200m in funding since 2010, that is a devastating amount and I'm amazed that it manages to do what it does working under that type of restraint. It deserves a lot more credit than it gets in these circumstances but others in Southport just want to constantly attack it rather than acknowledge the constraints it operates under and try to work with it for the good of our town."  
He believes this goes to the heart of a major problem in Southport's current political landscape: 
"There's simply too much hypocrisy at present. The Lib-Dems and Tories are pretty shameless. John Pugh while MP voted for those cuts, Ann Pearmain as a Tory activist supported them, then they carp and criticise and try and score cheap political points." 
"Our town has suffered as a result of those cuts. Our community has suffered too. We have endured cutbacks to vital services for children, for the elderly, for all of us. To what end? Drive around our town, on our roads, past our parks and playgrounds, that's what those cuts look like. Does it feel like Southport has benefitted from their choice?"
"Issues like the red tarmac for Lord St. really highlight the problem. At double the cost it was simply unjustifiable at a time when childrens' centres are also having to be decommissioned and reorganised but the Tories and Lib-Dems jump up and down about it, even though they are the reason the cost can't be met. It's also important to remember they didn't oppose it when it was passed back in April. That is hypocrisy."  
"They loudly claim Sefton does nothing for Southport, quietly ignoring the near £100m investment in the town via projects such as The Atkinson and Southport Market redevelopments; conveniently ignoring its successes in areas like tourism, which brought in over £500m to the local economy in 2016. It's hypocrisy."  
frank_dukes_canvass-crop.jpg"Southport needs change, it needs Labour's message of hope not hypocrisy. It needs funding for local government; funding for Southport. We need Labour councillors here who will work for the good of the town within the local authority, we need cooperation not condemnation. We need those looking to build, not bluster. We need progress."
Frank hopes to use his experience of previously working for the Community Relations Council to help push forward an agenda of collaborative working with the council, local employers and other interested parties for the good of Southport: 
"No council is perfect but Sefton is doing the best it can with the increasingly meagre resources it has. There are issues, for instance, I intend to lobby the council over the parking charges but first and foremost is the fight for better funding for our local authority and an end to austerity."
"I also want to ensure that Southport has first-rate services for older people and to liaise with local business to help ensure economic growth. We also need to ensure that we have good standards of rented accommodation and the same for guest accommodation to help improve our tourism and economy. We have to tackle anti-social behaviour in the ward and I also support an increase in police officers and reversing the cuts in their numbers."
"We find solutions by working together, I spent my career doing that but at present Southport and Dukes are being sold short by hard-faced men and women who are not interested in Southport's progress, only their own progress in Southport."

Dukes Ward Candidate Frank Hanley Offers Message of "Hope not Hypocrisy"

  Southport Labour have announced that their candidate for the Dukes By-Election is Frank Hanley, a former senior local government officer and community relations expert. Labour's surge of support in...

 Ovington_Drive_park_protest.jpgIn an open letter to Kew Ward residents we are delighted to be able to announce a major development regarding the Ovington Drive Park playground closure. 

Photo - Liz Savage and Kew Ward members, Janis and Jim Blackburne and Linda Heap, with protestors.


 "Dear Kew Ward Resident,

We have an important update for you concerning Ovington Drive Park. 

You may be aware that the playground has had to be temporarily closed on safety grounds. This is after a young girl broke her arm in Formby on equipment of a similar design and age.
The equipment, which is now 30 years old, had corroded internally and gave way, forcing Sefton Council to close the playgrounds in Formby and Ovington Drive to avoid the possibility of further injury.
This has caused a lot of concern locally, especially as it appears there was some confusing information surrounding the decision being circulated and a meeting with council officers and ward councillors had to be abandoned after details were leaked.
As a result, Liz Savage, Labour's local parliamentary candidate in 2015 and '17 and colleagues from Kew Ward of Southport Labour Party have spoken to local residents and the Chair of Governors at Kew Woods Primary School and subsequently made representations to Sefton Council.
With over £200m lost to Sefton since 2010 in budget cuts agreed by Conservatives and Liberal-Democrats, money to replace the equipment is obviously very tight. Liz and her Southport Labour colleagues, however, have discovered that there is over £20,000 in local ward funds unspent, which could be put towards the cost of refitting the playground.
Ward funds are council funds but spent at the discretion of your local ward councillors, so it needs the agreement of Kew Ward's Liberal Democrat councillors, Booth, Weavers and Pullin to use them.
The proposal will also mean a full consultation is carried out with local residents and Kew Woods Primary School to explore what facilities they would like to see re-installed.
The most expensive option is thought to be refurbishment on a like-for-like basis which is significantly higher than the ward funds at an estimated £50,000 or more.
If that was the option local residents decided upon, Sefton Council's Leader, Ian Maher, has agreed to put in the extra money to save the playground if the Kew Ward funds are also contributed to the project, after discussions between Liz Savage and Sefton's Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Ian Moncur.
In an email to her announcing the council's decision, Councillor Moncur stated: 
"Community involvement is fundamental to this development and I know from what we discussed there are lots of ideas which can be explored further... but the most important thing I did want to confirm to you and residents is that there will definitely be a play facility retained on site if the Kew Ward Councillors will cooperate with us on this matter."
This is a major step forward to save the playground.
We would ask that you contact your local ward councillors, Mike Booth, Fred Weavers and David Pullin and urge them to co-operate with Sefton Council to save the playground by agreeing to spend the ward funds on the Ovington Drive playground renovation. 
Yours faithfully, 
Southport Labour Party."

Major Lifeline Offered to Ovington Drive Park Playground

 In an open letter to Kew Ward residents we are delighted to be able to announce a major development regarding the Ovington Drive Park playground closure.  Photo - Liz Savage...

  (Cllrs Bill Welsh, 5th from left, and Marianne Welsh, 5th from right, join our canvassing team) 

Labour has sensationally gained two Sefton councillors in Southport, before they have even selected their candidates for next May's local elections.

Local councillors Bill and Marianne Welsh, who recently left the Liberal Democrats to initially go independent, have now "crossed the floor" after weeks of discussion with the council's Labour group.
The husband and wife team say they are in fact returning to their natural political roots as previously they were Labour Party members but had quit in protest after Tony Blair's Iraq War decision.
The pair, who both represent Norwood Ward, joined Southport Lib Dems after moving here in 2009 but left last month because they felt it had drifted further to the right and they were also increasingly unhappy with the way the local party was being run.
Bill Welsh explained:
"We found the Lib Dem's 2017 manifesto uninspiring and disagreed with a number of its policies, particularly their regressive income tax stance. By contrast, we were extremely impressed with the Labour manifesto and admired Jeremy Corbyn's performance in what was a strong Labour campaign."
As a result, the pair decided they wanted to rejoin the Labour Party, with their application recently accepted by Southport Labour.
The additions mean the local party is now just a few members away from the 1,000 mark says Secretary, Steve Jowett:
"We've gone from strength to strength in the last few years, it's a remarkable achievement and a vibrant, energetic group determined to see Labour win here. I'm sure all of Bill and Marianne's experience will only add to that."  
The news is the latest evidence of a surge in support for Labour in the town which in June came second in a general election here for the first time since 1966. Their candidate, Liz Savage, also recorded its highest ever vote share. Since then Southport has been declared a key marginal by Jeremy Corbyn who held a huge rally on its beachfront earlier this month.  
Marianne Welsh says they are delighted to be returning to the Labour fold:
"We will do all we can to ensure more Labour councillors are elected in Southport and believe it's vital for the town that it returns a Labour MP at the next general election. Only a Labour Government will act to rebalance the economy away from the overheated South East in order to help Northern towns like Southport."
Labour leader of Sefton Council, Ian Maher, commented:
"Marianne and Bill are a welcome addition to the Labour group of councillors on Sefton Council and hopefully we will have even more Labour colleagues from Southport joining us after the forthcoming May election." 

Southport's Former Lib-Dem Councillors Join Labour Party

      (Cllrs Bill Welsh, 5th from left, and Marianne Welsh, 5th from right, join our canvassing team)  Labour has sensationally gained two Sefton councillors in Southport, before they have...

hunt___moore_resize1.jpgJust a few weeks ago, those who like to keep a keen eye on the local press may have seen a very forthright article in the Visiter which in no uncertain terms declared the future of Southport Hospital and its A&E "safe" and "not under threat". 

It followed fears for the hospital after criticism of surgical standards and safety and also the privatisation of its community and urgent care services, which went to Virgin Care in a contract worth £65m.
The biggest question mark hanging over it though was the proposal to downgrade the A&E, contained in the Conservative Government's Sustainability and Transformation Plan project for the NHS, known as the STP.
The town's new Conservative MP, Damien Moore, featured heavily in the Visiter article and he firmly dismissed concerns about the hospital's future stating "the suggestion that Southport Hospital needs ‘saving’ is nonsensical and misleading".
Towards the end of his considerable contribution even the keen-eyed might have missed that he did not completely shut the door on the possibility of "considerable change" but as he soothed the readership by claiming that, if so, it would be a decision for "experienced medical professionals - not bureaucrats or politicians - and on the basis of patient safety", it might not have set alarms bells ringing. It certainly should have.
In any event, they might possibly have been drowned out by all the thundering reassurance on offer, given it was then immediately stated in the piece that "the future of the hospital has never been more clear".
With support from Health Minister Phillip Dunne and, apparently, Trust Chairman Richard Fraser, it appeared Southport's new MP was basically trying out his good beat cop routine for the first time, best paraphrased as, "All's fine, nothing to see here, move along now folks please."
It was a bold and confident move that deserved a "Bravo" for its bravura, perhaps it even earned him a Charlie, Lima, Alpha, Papa, back in the control room of Conservative HQ.
Contrast this then with the scenes at the hospital for this week's visit by Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt.
Over 100 protestors, the vast majority Mr. Moore's own constituents, had gathered at the main entrance to voice their concern for the hospital and their disapproval of Mr. Hunt and Conservative cuts.
Organised by Southport Labour and Liz Savage, the town's Parliamentary Candidate in 2015 and '17, the protest also involved the GMB, Royal College of Nursing, hospital staff and Sefton Central MP, Bill Esterson.
Attending the hospital as part of the Hunt entourage, the previously bold Mr Moore decided to avoid them all by taking a side entrance. It wasn't the only apparent change in attitude by him.
When interviewed on site by BBC North West Tonight's Health Correspondent, Gill Dummigan, he rightly pointed to the hospital's recent improvement in care standards. He also told her that the future of the hospital was secure. When the doughty Dummigan specifically asked about the future of the A&E, however, his response was described by the reporter as "less certain".
Indeed, it seemed the only thing Mr Moore was more certain of was his determination to give the hospital trust the old "hospital pass" on this one.
At present, there is a local review of service provision in process. This review comes after plans to downgrade the A&E were included in the local version of the STP, the vehicle by which Mrs May's Government are looking to make over £900m in cuts in Cheshire and Merseyside. Consequently, the review report is also a big part of the uncertainty hanging over the hospital's future capability.
When asked if he was confident that there would be an A&E at Southport Hospital in a couple of years time, the previously confident Mr Moore didn't seem so, well, confident. He replied:
 "What I'm waiting for is to see what that report says and to actually trust medical professionals to make the decisions based on Southport people"
The health correspondent then asked the MP "So you can't be certain?"
His repetitive response was anything but: 
"I'm waiting on to see what the report says but I'm positive about the work that's happening in Southport hospital at the moment."
We are all sure there is a lot of positive work happening in Southport Hospital every day Mr. Moore but the question was, is the future of the A&E safe?  
The problem for Southport Hospital, its NHS trust, and the people of Southport is that instead of actually being a good beat cop, Mr. Moore appears to be playing political "cups and ball" with the A&E issue.
"Cups" is the age-old game where you have to guess which of the three cups the ball is under. It's a favourite back alley hustle the world over and a classic of the art of misdirection.
In this case, the "ball" is the decision on the A&E and the cups are the supposed decision makers. Is it a clinical decision? Is it an administrative decision? Is it a joint decision after public consultation?
As he referred to specifically in the Visiter and by implication in his BBC interview, Mr Moore wants you to believe that the ball currently is with a clinical senate of the hospital trust and its "experienced medical professionals" but it is misdirection. The reality is that whichever "cup" it is actually under, what's important to understand is that it's the Conservative Government placing the ball and moving the cups.
During his visit to the hospital, we understand that Jeremy Hunt found himself unexpectedly confronted by medical staff who essentially gatecrashed the talk he was there for.
A junior doctor challenged him over his previous claims regarding the "Weekend Effect" on mortality rates so recently and publicly derided by Professor Stephen Hawking. Mr Hunt showed he's no slouch at misdirection himself by appearing to suggest to those assembled that HE was the one defending the NHS from Prof. Hawking! We certainly did not see that one coming.
He also said that due to the conflicting evidence on the issue he'd been advised to choose the side he did. It seems an oddly unscientific basis for such controversial claims, for his proposed changes to hospital working practices, and for subsequently getting into an argument with the world's most famous scientist and was one which led to claims of cherry-picking from the audience.
hunt___moore_resize_7.jpgIn addition to all this, we believe that the hospital chaplain no less asked him for reassurances about A&E. We suspect Mr Hunt did not earn himself any grace by refusing to give any.
A senior consultant meanwhile asked if the Secretary of State could reassure them that the STP would address the yawning gaps in recruitment, once more the ball was placed under a cup when Mr Hunt responded that this would be a matter for the local STP.
He did tell the meeting that he was fully committed to the NHS but then also said that as a Conservative he was opposed to publically owned services. This as he stood talking to public sector workers, on public sector land, in a public sector hospital.
It does not bode well but perhaps it's not so surprising from the man who literally co-wrote the book on how to dismantle the NHS and replace it with a US-style private medical insurance system. The man the Conservatives have put in charge of the NHS.
One can only assume that at this point in proceedings local MP Mr. Moore preferred to smile and shuffle his feet rather than the cups, it would prove much harder to fool the trained eye of the hospital doctors and staff after all. hunt___moore_resize_6.jpg
There is a significant and rather sad irony in all of this, as Southport actually has a strong claim to being the birthplace of the NHS.
Back in 1934 at the Garrick Theatre on Lord Street, it's now the town's bingo hall, the Labour Party held its annual conference. It was at that conference that the creation of a national health service was first adopted as party policy.
It took 14 years, a second world war and the resulting Labour Government for it to come into being. In the meantime, it has become the cornerstone of our welfare system, a point of national pride and an object of international envy.
Since 2010, however, it has also been under assault after austerity measures were introduced by the Coalition government of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.
The 2012 Health and Social Care Act they brought in also allowed the once creeping now sweeping privatisation that is currently undermining it. It's what enabled Virgin Care to take over those services from Southport Hospital this summer.
The Conservative's ramping up of the austerity programme has further hamstrung NHS funding; their 1% pay cap is further demoralising its staff.
Massively dependent on foreign staff, the huge uncertainty over Brexit has seen an equally massive 96% reduction in EU nationals applying to work in it. Meanwhile, the Tory backed Naylor Report means NHS trusts are being coerced into selling off the very land they stand on.
Against this background, make no mistake, the future of Southport Hospital and its A&E is not certain; it is not safe; nor confident; nor bold.
Most importantly, despite what Mr. Moore wants you to believe, the current decisions over service provision and the future of our town's A&E are not at their root actually a clinical matter, it is instead essentially a matter of choice made by a Conservative government hell-bent on further cuts, one that clinicians and administrators are struggling to do their best with.
If that ultimately means downgrading our A&E, Southport's residents will also struggle.
In such distressing circumstances, the people of Southport will not forget how their local MP and his party played a game with them and their hospital's future. That at least will be clear

How Damien Moore's promises may well mean less for Southport Hospital and our town

Just a few weeks ago, those who like to keep a keen eye on the local press may have seen a very forthright article in the Visiter which in no uncertain terms...



Over a hundred protestors gathered at Southport Hospital today to voice their anger at the current state of the NHS during a visit by Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt.

Despite recent reassurances from the town's Conservative MP, Damien Moore, that the hospital is safe, many people are unconvinced that it will remain untouched given the current local review of its services.
The review comes as a result of the Conservative Government's Sustainability and Transformation Plan, which is looking to make over £900 million worth of savings.
Another major reason for the scepticism is Jeremy Hunt himself who, despite his denials, is widely seen an advocate of privatisation and most recently was also severely criticised by world-renowned scientist, Professor Stephen Hawking, for his claims regarding increased mortality rates at weekends.
Amid shouts of "Ban the Hunt" and "Save the NHS" protestors demanded that Mr Hunt resign and claimed that he was deliberately underfunding and undermining the NHS in an effort to ease the path to privatisation.
As Mr Hunt's black Jaguar swept past there were loud boos and jeers. 
Southport Labour Party helped organise the demonstration and its Chair, Mhairi Doyle, said:
"No-one is fooled by Jeremy Hunt's claims to be a supporter of the NHS. He literally co-wrote the book calling for it to be dismantled and replaced with a US-style private insurance system. The Tories simply cannot be trusted with the NHS."
Local demonstrators were joined by hospital staff and trade union members from the GMB and Royal College of Nursing, as well as Sefton Central MP, Bill Esterson, and Southport's Labour Parliamentary Candidate in 2015 and '17, Liz Savage.
"It's a joint protest because we all need to come together to protect one of our most vital national resources," said  Mhairi Doyle, "The damage the Conservatives are causing is deliberate, it has to stop. Mr Hunt needs to realise that and realise it quickly.

SLP Protest At Jeremy Hunt's Southport Hospital Visit

  Over a hundred protestors gathered at Southport Hospital today to voice their anger at the current state of the NHS during a visit by Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt....


Southport felt the full Jeremy Corbyn effect last night, with the Labour Leader holding a big rally on the beach front.

Estimates claimed up to 6,000 people attended the event, despite the very poor weather which threatened it earlier in the day. 
The rally had a host of Labour party notables as speakers and guests with Liverpool City Region Mayor, Steve Rotherham, acting as compere.
Former Deputy Prime minister John Prescott, who until Liz Savage's result in June was the last Labour parliamentary candidate to come second in Southport back in 1966, was also well-received by an enthusiastic crowd. 
Local party chair, Mhairi Doyle, told them details of her experiences working for the DWP and the injustices she'd witnessed.
There was no doubting the main attraction, however, was Jeremy Corbyn. 
Earlier in a local media interview, he'd addressed the issue of Labour never having an MP in Southport by pointing to their recent first-ever wins in Kensington and Canterbury, telling Sandgrounder Radio:
"We are winning over people in all parts of the country and also areas are changing. We are on the way." 
During the rally, Liz Savage was also called up on stage by the Labour leader who warmly congratulated her on nearly quadrupling Labour's vote in Southport since 2015. jc_rally_group.jpg
Talking without the aid of cue cards or autocue, he addressed the crowd for around half an hour telling them he didn't want to live in "foodbank Britain" and slamming what he described as "the arid economic nonsense that the Tories and the Lib Dems practised since 2010.” 
He also talked of how proud he was of his party's manifesto which he said was now in its third reprint. To the crowd's cheers, he contrasted this with the Conservative manifesto which he said was removed from their website the day after the election. 
After his speech, he spent as long talking to members of the crowd, stopping for selfies and signing t-shirts and memorabilia.
Southport Labour Party Chair, Mhairi Doyle, summed up the visit as "a stunning success" and claimed:
"This is supposed to be a Tory town but look at all these people, do you think any Conservative politician could come here and draw a crowd this big? There is huge support for Labour here and we will fight austerity and we will fight for Southport."  

Jeremy Corbyn's Southport Rally "a stunning success".

Southport felt the full Jeremy Corbyn effect last night, with the Labour Leader holding a big rally on the beach front. Estimates claimed up to 6,000 people attended the event,...



It's finally confirmed! Southport Labour is delighted to announce that our party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, will be here to hold a rally on the beach!

Jeremy's visit is part of a tour of key marginal seats and reflects the remarkable rise of Labour within the town in the last two years or so.
In 2015, Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Southport, Liz Savage, doubled the party's vote and then almost repeated the feat again this year when Labour came second for the first time since John Prescott stood here in 1966. In June we also went one better and achieved our highest ever vote in Southport. 
Another 837 votes would have seen a quadrupling of the 2010 result for Labour, which in two elections in just over two years is a fantastic achievement.
Jeremy will be here to recognise that and talk about much more on August 18th. He'll be addressing the beachfront crowd at 6pm so people are advised to arrive by 5.30pm to avoid any difficulties. jc_west_kirby1.jpg
The rally will take place at Southport Beach car park on the front at the southern end of Marine Drive behind Pleasureland.
There are various car parks nearby but Southport Flower Show is also taking place on the day so if at all possible it's recommended to take public transport or make suitable arrangements.
As you can see from the photos of his visit to West Kirby, Jeremy's rallies are very popular, it gets busy so please bear that in mind when planning your visit.
We look forward to seeing you and Jeremy there!
Cut and paste this link into your browser for further details:
Photo credit Liverpool Echo unless otherwise stated.

Jeremy Corbyn Visit Confirmed!

  It's finally confirmed! Southport Labour is delighted to announce that our party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, will be here to hold a rally on the beach! Jeremy's visit is part of...

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