Southport's Labour candidate, Formby's Labour MP and South Ribble's Labour candidate have all raised concerns about the financial difficulties at Southport and Formby Hospital.
This follows a letter sent by the Trust Chief Executive Jonathan Parry to staff, which says that the trust will make a loss of £900,000 this year. The letter tells staff that cost savings must be made including slowing down recruitment. The letter says that the loss is caused partly by increasing patient demand.
But Sefton Central, Labour MP, Bill Esterson claims that the real reasons for the financial problems at Southport are decisions taken by the government.
Bill Esterson said, "The government has cut social services. It has failed to make sure that there enough GPs. It has closed walk in centres. And it has closed the NHS Direct phone service. All of these cuts have put pressure on hospitals, including at Southport and Formby. The Trust management are doing what they can to cope and are trying to deal with a very difficult financial situation. But the increase in demand is a direct result of cuts in social services which mean that more patients, especially elderly patients are going to A&E as there is nowhere else for them to go. We are short of GPs and many GP surgeries like those Freshfield and Hightown are relying on locums. The hospital also has to use locums and agency staff, which cost more than full time staff. And the hospital has spent extra trying to hit targets for waiting times at A&E and elsewhere. The top down re-organisation of the NHS by the Tories and Lib Dems has wasted money that should have been spent on patient care. And the shortage of staff in social care, means there is no one to help patients to go home when they are ready, so they stay longer in hospital than necessary, at great cost to the hospital. The financial problems at Southport and Formby Hospital are typical of what has happened under this government and the direct result of the Tory and Lib Dem approach to our NHS. Labour would invest in a Time to Care Fund to recruit the nurses and doctors and midwives we need. The current government has put pressure on the management and on the hard working staff at Southport and Formby Hospital who do an outstanding job as I discovered when I was a patient there only last year. The staff are doing all they can but they and patients are being let down by the government."
Veronica Bennett, Labour's candidate for South Ribble constituency which includes Banks, Tarleton and Hesketh Bank, said, “The financial black hole the hospital faces, outlined in this leaked document, is a symptom of a crisis running right through our NHS. Hospitals are under growing pressure from all sides: increasing demand; staffing shortages; and budget cuts to health and social care services. We need to be training up the staff we need, but cuts to nursing posts mean an increasing reliance on expensive agency staff. We need to be investing in an NHS with time to care for patients, but David Cameron is inflicting year-on-year real terms cuts across the board. Our NHS staff are under enormous pressure and this document shows just how much the hospital is struggling. The British public never gave David Cameron and Nick Clegg permission to inflict real terms cuts to our NHS, and to privatise health services. Only a Labour government will get our NHS back on track"
Liz Savage, Labour’s candidate for Southport, said, "Hospitals across the country are increasingly finding it difficult to recruit staff and the use of agency staff is having an adverse effect on hospital budgets. Meanwhile the government have reduced training places for hospital staff. We've already seen that their failure to recruit radiologists has led to the closure of Breast Care Services for new patients at Southport. Now we are seeing that more and more strain is being put on the services and it's not just down to more demand but failure of government policies"