Jonathan Ashworth, the Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, has warned the Government following the release of NHS statistics which showed worsening figures in Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments.
Ashworth said in a statement:
“Today’s figures reveal an NHS under continued, intense pressure with dismal consequences for patients. We are heading into winter on the back of the worst October on record for A&E and 12 hour waits for hospital admission from the summer onwards being around twice as high as 2017.
What’s more, with over 550,000 patients waiting longer than 18 weeks for treatment, often in pain and distress, ministers cannot continue ducking their responsibilities towards bringing constitutional waiting time standards back under control.
There wasn’t a penny extra for hospitals this winter in the Budget, yet ministers are quickly ratcheting up uncosted promises from the NHS budget over the next five years.
Patients waiting longer and longer in pain for treatment want action now and will expect the Secretary of State to outline a plan to reduce waiting lists and ensure the four hour target is met.”
Jonathan Ashworth, the Shadow Secretary of State for Health, has called on the Government to do more to eliminate same sex wards to meet promises which it had previously made. Figures released showed that there were 969 breaches of the rules in September, more than double the 2015 figure.
Ashworth said in a statement:
“In 2012 Jeremy Hunt said mixed sex wards had been “virtually eliminated”. The fact that mixed sex wards are now at their highest level for six years reveals a bigger picture of overcrowded and overstretched hospitals as a result of Tory underfunding and mismanagement.
Yet again we see patients cruelly let down by Theresa May. Ministers simply cannot carry on burying their heads in the sand about the scale of the problems facing the NHS. In the Budget, Theresa May must match Labour’s pledge to deliver an extra £6 billion for our NHS across the next financial year to ensure the best possible quality of care is sustained for years to come”.
The Liberal Democrats have called on the Government to provide tax breaks to employers who are able to show that they have improved mental health provision in the workplace.
Norman Lamb, the Shadow Health Secretary, said at the party’s conference today:
“We need to make a fundamental shift of focus to prevention. We now know that children who suffer trauma or neglect in early years have a higher risk of poor health, low educational attainment, worklessness and often fall into the criminal justice system”.
“As part of my work chairing a Commission on mental health in the West Midlands, I’ve proposed a ‘Wellbeing Premium’ – a temporary discount on your business rates if you take tangible steps to improve wellbeing at work. The evidence is there of what works”.
Jan Ditheridge, the Chief Executive of Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust, has caused controversy after turning down a £2,500 charitable donation. Ditheridge rejected the money as charity volunteers had dressed up as nursing staff, but the Trust has admitted that it has accepted the money for over twenty years.
A group of volunteers from the League of Friends of Ludlow Hospital had dressed as nurses in a bid to raise money for an ECG machine to benefit patients. Ditheridge said that the hospital would return the money as:
“The presentation of men dressed as female nurses in a highly-sexualised and demeaning way is wrong, very outdated and insulting to the profession”.
In a letter to the League of Friends she added:
“I was clear last year when we met, that Shropshire Community NHS Trust didn’t condone this activity and wanted no part in it”.
Peter Corfield, the chairman of the League of Friends, said:
“We have not had one single complaint about this event from members of the public. The bed push has over the years raised a substantial amount of money and the lads who do it are great supporters of the hospital”.
The Government has tonight won a vote in the House of Commons after an amendment was tabled by the Labour Party to end the cap on public sector pay increases. There had been confusion during the day over whether the Conservative Party would u-turn, but Downing Street confirmed that there had been no change in policy.
The Conservative Party, with the support of all DUP MPs, won the vote in the House of Commons by 323 votes to 309. During the debate some Conservative MPs, as well as former Ministers, argued that the cap should be reviewed.
Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, said during the debate in the Commons:
“People will recognise that in the very difficult period that we have just had, it would not have been possible to increase the number of doctors by nearly 12,000 and the number of nurses in our wards by nearly 13,000 if we had not taken difficult decisions on pay. What I can say is that we will not make our decision on public sector pay until the pay review body has reported. We will listen to what it says, and to what people in this House have said, before making a final decision”.
Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, said in a statement:
“You can’t have safety and security on the cheap. It is plain to see that seven years of cuts to our emergency services has made us less safe; it’s time to make a change. Our emergency service workers make us proud at the worst of times for our country, such as the Grenfell Tower Fire and the recent terrorist attacks, and deserve the pay rise they have been denied for seven years. Conservative cuts have failed. Labour has a different approach, which values those who look after us and will transform Britain for the many not the few”.
Alistair Carmichael, the Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, said in a statement:
“The government must listen to the overwhelming tide of public opinion and give our police, firefighters and nurses a pay rise. But Labour must be honest and admit we won’t be able to pay for strong public services by crashing the economy through an extreme Brexit. Labour MPs who want to protect funding for our police, schools and hospitals should back amendments calling for Britain to stay in the single market. This is a unique chance to force Theresa May to rethink her extreme approach to Brexit, Labour must not be on the wrong side of history”.
Andrew Lansley, who served as the Conservative Party’s Health Secretary from 2010 until 2012, has said that the Government must honour the promise from the Leave Campaign of more money for the NHS.
The Leave campaign promised that £18 billion a year could be spent on NHS if the UK voted to leave the EU. The Government has since not yet confirmed how much extra funding will be made available to the NHS following the vote to leave.
Speaking at the NHS Providers annual lecture the former Health Secretary said:
“For political reasons, both campaigns told the public that whatever was going to happen in the future, there would be more money for the NHS. So the public have a right to expect it. They have a right to expect a Brexit bonus for the NHS. It frankly should be no less than £5bn a year”.
“We need to face the hard truth that the NHS needs more money – a lot more money – not just to stop it lurching from crisis to crisis but so that it can meet the needs and the challenges it will face in the years ahead”.
He is expected to add:
“If the only way to fund a health service that meets the needs of everyone is to raise taxes, Liberal Democrats will raise taxes”.
“I am pleased to inform the House that after 10 days of intensive discussion under the auspices of ACAS, the dispute was resolved yesterday with a historic agreement between the government, NHS Employers (acting on behalf of the employers of junior doctors) and the BMA that will modernise the contract making it better for both doctors and patients”.
Dr. Johann Malawana, a spokesman for the BMA, said:
“Junior doctors have always wanted to agree a safe and fair contract, one that recognises and values the contribution junior doctors make to the NHS, addresses the recruitment and retention crisis in parts of the NHS and provides the basis for delivering a world-class health service. What has been agreed today delivers on these principles, is a good deal for junior doctors and will ensure that they can continue to deliver high-quality care for patients”.
The agreement still has to be approved by doctors in a vote to take place in June, but the BMA is recommending approval.
Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, has rejected a proposal from Heidi Alexander, the Shadow Secretary of State for Health, to trial the proposed junior doctors’ contracts before a full implementation.
Alexander’s proposal was also supported by Dan Poulter, a Conservative MP who is a former Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health, and Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat MP who was the Minister of State for Care and Support in the Coalition Government.
Hunt said on Twitter that the contracts were already being staged, and said:
“Labour ‘plan’ is opportunism – only 11% of junior docs go onto new contracts in August”.
Hunt wrote to Dr Mark Porter, the Chairman of the BMA council, on 23 April 2016 in a final bid to avoid the strike. The letter included the final paragraph:
“The extreme action planned will be deeply worrying for patients, and place enormous additional strain on our NHS at a time of intense pressure. I therefore appeal to you one final time to call off strike action that will see doctors withdraw potentially life-saving care, and to meet with me on Monday to discuss a better way forward”.
The two-day strike of junior doctors will take place from 08.00 until 17.00 on Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 April 2016. The strikes will also involve accident and emergency departments for the first times.
A spokesman for the NHS said:
“Essential care will be provided by senior staff. You can help the NHS cope by choosing the right service and attending A&E only if it is essential”.
The British Medical Association (BMA) has rejected the Government’s final pay offer to junior doctors. The decision is likely to mean that a new pay contract will be imposed by Ministers.
The final offer was made by Sir David Dalton on behalf of the Government and in a letter to the BMA he wrote:
“As you will know from my previous letter, I have gone on record in saying that the service needs certainty on the contract by the middle of February at the very latest. The issues under discussion are not new, and it is absolutely vital that the service has resolution and clarity of these issues as soon as possible. I therefore believe that it is crucial that I have a clearer understanding of the endorsement you will give to this final offer if I am to be able to recommend to Government that it proceeds in the way that you have suggested”.
Johann Malawana, the chair of the BMA junior doctors’ committee said in a statement:
“With thousands of junior doctors attending more than 160 pickets and ‘meet the doctor’ events across England, today’s action is a resounding rejection of the Government’s threat to impose an unfair contract, in which junior doctors have no confidence.
We deeply regret the disruption caused to patients, but this is a fight for the long-term delivery of high-quality patient care, for junior doctors’ working lives and for ability of the NHS to rise to the enormous challenges facing it”.
Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, denied allegations that the Government hadn’t been listening to the BMA. He said:
“There has been no rejection of any proposals and plans that would deal with this weekend effect that is of such concern to patients and the public”.