Tag Archives: NHS

Helen Morgan challenges PM on A and E waiting times in Shropshire

We reported earlier on Sarah Olney’s question to the Prime Minister today but she wasn’t the only Lib Dem called.

Helen Morgan has been pushing the Government to improve NHS services from ambulance waiting times to the time people spend in A and E.

Today, she questioned Rishi Sunak after learning that 10,000 pensioners had spent more than 24 hours waiting on trolleys and hard chairs, up from just 290 in 2019. That’s not to mention the 4200 adults who had the same fate.

She said:

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27 March 2024 – today’s press releases (part 1)

  • NHS satisfaction survey: Govt can’t be trusted with NHS
  • Sewage spills rise: Ed Davey calls for national environmental emergency to be declared
  • Lib Dem comment on E.coli in Thames
  • Scotland’s sewage crisis 40% worse than previously thought
  • Bus journeys plummet by 31%

NHS satisfaction survey: Govt can’t be trusted with NHS

Responding to the British Social Attitudes survey on NHS satisfaction, Liberal Democrat Health and Social Care spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said:

This is a damning assessment of the Government’s management of the NHS. Years and years of neglect and incompetence has run our NHS into the ground.

NHS staff work around the clock to see thousands and thousands of patients but the public are understandably frustrated that they’re often waiting too long to see a GP, or to get a hospital appointments for diagnosis and treatment.

The public know this Conservative Government cannot be trusted with our NHS, and they will want to deliver their verdict at the next general election.

Sewage spills rise: Ed Davey calls for national environmental emergency to be declared

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has called on the government to declare a national environmental emergency after the number of sewage spills in 2023 increased by 54% on the previous year, putting ecosystems already at breaking point on the brink of collapse.

As part of this national environmental emergency, the Liberal Democrats are calling for an urgent meeting of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) to review the impact of sewage spills on human health – for river and sea swimmers in particular. Campaign group Surfers Against Sewage released a report last year showing almost 2,000 people reported getting sick last year after swimming in the sea or rivers.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

The Liberal Democrats have been warning this Conservative government for years that the sewage scandal is ruining the country’s rivers and beaches and pushing ecosystems to the brink of collapse.

Rishi Sunak and the Conservative Party have failed to listen and as a result sewage spills are increasing, our precious countryside is being destroyed and swimmers are falling sick.

It is time for this Conservative government to finally deal with this disgraceful situation and declare a national environmental emergency. That must include convening an urgent SAGE meeting to look into the impact of sewage spills on people’s health.

Only by treating the sewage scandal with the urgency it demands can we save our rivers and beaches for future generations to enjoy.

Lib Dem comment on E.coli in Thames

Commenting on findings of high E.coli levels in the Thames by River Action today, Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Rob Blackie said:

This is the consequence of 72 billion litres of raw sewage pumped into the Thames in London since 2020.

It amounts to an environment catastrophe in the capital.

The Conservative government have let water companies get away with polluting for too long. It must crack down on Thames Water.

Instead of action, we have seen huge increases in sewage dumped into the river.

If elected I will work to stop sewage being dumped into our rivers and campaign to make water companies pay for the damage they’ve done.

Scotland’s sewage crisis 40% worse than previously thought

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today accused the Scottish Government of being “defenders of outdated sewage standards” as figures published by Scottish Water revealed that that there were an additional 5,668 sewage dumps in Scotland in 2022, on top of the initial 14,008 that were reported in March.

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19 March 2024 – today’s press releases (part 2)

  • Almost 20,000 older people waited over four hours for an ambulance after falls last year
  • Half of places on secondary postgrad teaching courses unfilled
  • Almost a third of pupils missing school and decline in support for teachers and pupils

Almost 20,000 older people waited over four hours for an ambulance after falls last year

  • The Liberal Democrats launch their local election campaign unveiling shocking new figures of elderly patients waiting too long for an ambulance
  • Ed Davey to visit Hertfordshire where he will declare this May “the chance to send this out of touch Conservative government a message”
  • Number of older patients waiting over 4 hours for an ambulance after falling has almost doubled since 2019/20
  • One patient waited close to three days for an ambulance to arrive after a fall

Almost 20,000 older people in England waited more than four hours for an ambulance to arrive after having a fall last year, more than double the number in 2019/20, figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats have revealed.

The Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey will visit the Blue Wall battleground of Hertfordshire to launch his party’s local election campaign. Ed Davey will focus his party’s campaign on local health services.

The new data was uncovered by the Liberal Democrats through Freedom of Information requests to ambulance trusts in England. It shows there were 19,904 incidents in 2022/23 where someone aged over 65 had a fall and had to wait more than four hours for an ambulance to arrive, or an average of 54 people a day.

This is a stark 96.5% rise since before the pandemic in 2019/20 for the trusts that provided data across the full four years.

Even more shockingly, 1,411 older patients waited over 12 hours for an ambulance to arrive after falling last year, a more than tenfold increase compared to 2019/20. The East of England Ambulance Trust had the worst record with nearly 8,000 incidents that took longer than four hours and 769 that took longer than 12 hours to respond last year.

The West Midlands had an average response time for elderly falls of one hour 54 minutes and in that region a patient waited close to three days after experiencing a fall.

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On a Virtual Ward

Last week my husband, Ian, was bluelighted into Kingston Hospital. He was very unwell, and eventually – not immediately – they diagnosed Covid. He is clinically vulnerable because of a number of medical conditions, and we shielded carefully through full and partial lockdowns. Neither of us has had Covid up until now. Given the way it attacked him this time we could see why shielding had been essential for him before vaccines became available.

The A&E staff at the hospital were brilliant and he was kept for 48 hours in the Resus unit, but what I want to tell you about is what happened next. Ian was sent home on Saturday, with an oxygen supply and lots of pills, to a Virtual Ward. He was given a kit consisting of an internet Home Hub, a tablet, a wearable monitoring device that sits on his arm, a blood pressure device (to be used 4 times a day), a bespoke charger and an oximeter.

We were left on our own to set it up – even though I am tech savvy I did find that a bit daunting at the end of a tiring and stressful day. However the instructions were crystal clear and it all worked perfectly. His kit was made by Current Health but there are other brands in use.

Ian’s health data is being followed for 24 hours a day at the Monitoring Hub, which covers several hospitals. We have a phone number that we can call at any time for advice or help. They also call us when, for example, his monitoring device fell off and they weren’t getting readings. They asked me to have my mobile by the bed so they can wake me if any readings are a cause for concern during the night.

The Virtual Ward team at Kingston Hospital is on duty between 8am and 6pm each day. Every day they have a case conference on each of the patients in the Virtual Ward. Someone from the team – usually a nurse, but sometimes a doctor – phones each day to discuss Ian’s progress. Usually we switch to a video call on the tablet for that.

The pharmacist phoned one day to explain a change in medication, and the new prescription was delivered to the door by the team physiotherapist. She is the only medical practitioner we have met in person throughout the whole process and she seemed pleased to meet one of her patients face-to-face.

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Make it known – we are a party of CAN-DO and Care

Liberal Democrats care about our country’s problems. We have solutions for them. And we know how to pay for them.

A new Labour Government coming this year? They are going to need our help. And what they failed to address in their manifesto; we will need to persuade them to fix.

Some of our country’s worst problems were brought home to me in a Guardian front-page story last Friday.  It was reporting on a survey from MDDUS, a medical defence organisation, of 1671 doctors from the four home nations. The survey found that 65% of doctors overall, including nearly four in five GPs, had been experiencing ‘moral distress’ because of the situations they had encountered in their NHS work. The leader of the BMA, Professor Philip Banfield said, “There’s barely a doctor at work in the NHS today who doesn’t see or experience this distress on a daily basis.” It is because the NHS is “impossibly overstretched”, with its thousands of vacancies for doctors and has a quarter fewer doctors per head of population than Germany. “In practice”, he continues, “that means we can almost never give the standard of care we would want, only ever the care we can manage.” This causes doctors the ‘moral distress’ described, and affects their own mental health.

The research shows that doctors are aware of how the cost of living crisis is damaging many patients’ health, with the long waits for treatment, and the facts of poverty or bad housing making people ill.

Backing this analysis up – as covered in the same Guardian edition – Citizens Advice has reported record numbers of people needing homeless services, food banks and energy bill support this past year. They referred more people to food banks and other charities between January and November this year – 208,000, more than in the whole of 2022 – and helped record numbers of people unable to top up their energy prepayment meters, together with record numbers of homeless people – 41,554 of them in 2023, up by 17% from the number in 2022.

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Earl Russell highlights lack of mental health support for children and young people

Improving mental health has been a priority for the Liberal Democrats long before it was fashionable.

Our elected representatives at every level raise it whenever they can. Norman Lamb as health minister did so much to improve access to services but it’s been a long 8 years since he was in office.

Recently, our Earl Russell secured a debate in the House of Lords to highlight how appalling provision is for children and young people. Waiting times are horrendous. Imagine the impact on your education if you have to wait a year to even be seen. It’s then a long recovery and before you know it, that’s half your secondary education gone. And imagine the suffering if, like too many, CAMHS won’t even accept your referral.

For parents and carers, watching their young person struggle is one of the worst things to endure. And the anxiety of wondering if they will still be there in the morning, every day, takes its toll.

The debate is covered here on Today in Parliament, from about 20:10 in, and below are Earl Russell’s speeches. We’ll cover the contributions by Richard Allan, Claire Tyler and Mike Storey tomorrow.

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Back to Beveridge at Ballot Time

As the countdown to the General Election begins, people grow increasingly nervous. The spectres of triumph and disaster lurk hidden from view as we approach the electoral starting gate.

Some with long memories fear the false step – the promise to reverse Brexit without referendum, the trumpeted amnesty to illegal immigrants etc.

Some with equally long memories bemoan a lack of boldness and differentiation – where is the penny on income tax for education ?

Much my depend on your local political geography. In the leafier parts of the South saying ‘we are not the Tories’ may be sufficient.  In the Labour dominated north it’s certainly not.

This underlines the need to have a message that impacts in the North and does not startle the horses or the electors in the South.

There are such messages particularly in the field of health and education.

I think it is now accepted that the Coalition Health and Social Care Act 2012 was one of the most pointless, opportunity-squandering and ham-fisted pieces of legislation in modern times with most of its provisions (CCGs etc) now abandoned or reversed.

Parliamentarians persisted with it despite the concerns of nearly all health professionals, the Lib Dem conference, Baroness Williams and colleagues like Andrew George and other brave souls.

It was not a charter for privatisation but a definitive and conclusive expression of the market principle when applied to health which although rampant in the Blair years had to be toned down even then to get through the Commons. It proved unworkable in our NHS which still tries to cling to Beveridge principles.

What if though we were to revisit those principles and abandon the costly, bureaucratic internal market in the NHS – where the piled on overheads of administrators, defending as commissioners and providers their own silos, disappear ?  Arguably the necessary creation of the new Integrated Care Boards has already blurred the boundaries within the internal market. Commissioners and providers are now working together as the NHS to desperately husband scarce resources.

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Ed Davey tackles PM on hospital delays

Ed Davey used his question to the Prime Minister today to highlight hold-ups in the building of the mythical 40 new hospitals promised in the Government’s 2019 manifesto. Especially as the National Audit Office thinks it won’t meet that commitment.

Ed said:

Three years ago, the Government made a commitment to 40 new hospitals and significant upgrades to hospitals in most need, but today many schemes are badly delayed. The Royal Berkshire—stuck at the development stage, with not a single pound transferred for construction. Harrogate District Hospital—still waiting on £20 million for urgent upgrades after reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete was

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20 November 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Sunak removes NHS from top 5 pledges
  • Ethics advisor must investigate David Cameron’s appointment
  • Lib Dem Peer’s Bill to end conversion therapy

Sunak removes NHS from top 5 pledges

Responding to Rishi Sunak’s speech this morning, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey MP said:

By officially de-prioritising the NHS and omitting it from his top 5 priorities, Rishi Sunak has shown yet again just how out of touch he is.

The Prime Minister clearly doesn’t care about the millions of people across the country on hospital waiting lists or the families and pensioners struggling to get appointments with a GP or dentist.

Shockingly, the Prime Minister doesn’t even understand the link between a better health service and a stronger economy.

Any strategy for economic growth must have a strategy for better healthcare, yet the Conservatives clearly don’t understand that.

Ethics advisor must investigate David Cameron’s appointment

The Liberal Democrats have written to Rishi Sunak’s ethics adviser, calling on him to launch an investigation into David Cameron’s appointment as Foreign Secretary.

It comes as Cameron is set to officially take up his peerage in the House of Lords today.

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain has raised five key questions in a letter to the ethics adviser Laurie Magnus. These include whether David Cameron will be publishing a full list of ministerial interests as soon as he is appointed, and if he will be placing his investments into a blind trust to prevent conflicts of interest. Currently it is expected that David Cameron won’t have to publish his register of interests until January.

Failure to prevent any conflicts of interests would risk breaching the ministerial code, which requires ministers to be transparent about their private financial interests to avoid any real or perceived conflicts of interest.

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Let’s embrace being the party of the NHS

Following another year’s Federal Autumn Conference, it is important to reflect on the position of the party. This is especially the case given that we may be only 12 months away from a general election campaign. We may finally have an opportunity to help to get rid of this dreadful Conservative government, and in the process, get many new Liberal Democrat MPs elected.

Britain cannot withstand five more years of the Conservatives. Nowhere is this clearer than with our National Health Service. The NHS is in turmoil. Years of Tory mismanagement and underfunding have led to our precious NHS struggling to cope. The morale of doctors, nurses and other NHS staff is at a severe low. While the number of vacancies in the NHS is at a “staggering” high. This is a time when the NHS funding gap continues to be wide and NHS dentistry has become dysfunctional, with people having to pull out their own teeth.

The NHS is of immense importance to us Liberal Democrats, not just because it is a vital public service in helping to advance individual freedom and social justice, but because we had a hand in its creation. The great Liberal social reformer, William Beveridge invented the idea of the NHS in his report into social services in 1942. The Beveridge Report became the blueprint for the post-war welfare state. A blueprint that was largely enacted by the post-war Labour government of Clement Attlee. While it was a socialist, Labour’s radical Health Secretary Aneurin Bevan who introduced an established the NHS in 1948, the original idea was that of a Liberal.

The NHS, health and social care have become of central importance for Liberal Democrats once again. It was incredibly moving to listen to Ed Davey, during his leader’s speech on Tuesday, talk about how he had to care for his mother while she was dying of cancer. Health and social care have become a hallmark of Ed Davey’s leadership, inspired by his personal experience of being a carer himself. Earlier in the Conference, our Deputy Leader and Health and Social Care Spokesperson, Daisy Cooper spoke passionately about the need to address the crisis in mental health provision.

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12 September 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Wage Figures: Sunak must commit to triple lock now
  • NHS staff cannot be left to suffer in silence
  • Government may have broken law over sewage: “Environmental vandalism on an industrial scale”
  • Liberal Democrats welcome TfL’s new road safety charter

Wage Figures: Sunak must commit to triple lock now

Responding to today’s wage figures which would be used to uprate pensions, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

Rishi Sunak must commit now to the triple lock to ensure the state pension rises in line with the cost of living.

His failure to commit to the triple lock earlier this week will have left a cloud of uncertainty hanging over struggling pensioners. We also need a guarantee that welfare payments won’t be slashed in real terms.

Families and pensioners should not be made to pay the price for years of economic mismanagement under the Conservatives.

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The NHS, doctors and government – it’s ideological, stupid

So here we are in the 8th month of the doctors’ dispute with the Conservative government for pay restoration of 35% to repair salary losses over the past decade plus.

We are not talking about a pay increase just restoration, not unreasonable. How did this happen? – well, in short, because doctors are excluded from any of the pay awards made to other NHS staff because doctors pay is the remit of a so-called independent pay review body which takes care of doctors (and dentists) pay, except it doesn’t, and when it finally made a recommendation, the government deemed it unaffordable, so ditched it.

To put this in context, the judiciary were given 15% in 2018 without so much as a shot fired in anger; the doctors got 1% that year. The justification for such a high settlement for judges and barristers? – recruitment and retention.

That rings a bell, oh yes, there’s a crisis of recruitment and retention in the NHS medical workforce too.

Could the fact that many MPs have a legal background and vanishingly few a medical one be a factor? – a case of us and them?

During the pandemic which followed soon after, I don’t remember the judiciary stepping up to the plate, in fact the courts more or less closed down, at least for the first year, and are now getting back up to speed.

No judges or barristers were called upon to help turn patients who were on ventilators in ITU every 2 hours, wearing inadequate protection, up close and personal face to face, day after day, week after week, month after month.  Doctors were going in to work every day, as was the whole health and care workforce, throughout that national nightmare, not working from the comfort of their homes on Zoom and in their pyjamas, too many paid the ultimate price in that first year.

Prime Minister Sunak recently stated, before he went off on holiday, that  ‘a generous offer of 6% is final and no further talks will take place’ – hmmm, that doesn’t quite do it, does it?

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Hospitals suffer chemical leaks and broken fire alarms as repair bills rise

  • More than 100 chemical leaks in hospitals last year, including in children’s wards, A&Es and delivery units.
  • Other hospitals suffering from broken fire alarms despite 1,159 fires recorded last year
  • Liberal Democrats demand urgent plan to fix England’s hospitals as repair bill tops £10bn

A Freedom of Information investigation by the Liberal Democrats has found that England’s hospitals are crumbling, with chemicals leaking in patient areas and others with multiple broken fire alarms.

The frightening new revelations follow record repair costs, as the cost of eradicating the repair backlog at NHS hospitals and equipment hit £10bn for the first time last year. Last …

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5 July 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Ed Davey warns social care “avalanche” threatens to bury NHS as figures reveal hospitals hardest hit by delayed discharges
  • Ofwat chief exec admits water bills will go up: Time for a proper regulator with teeth
  • Sunak has “thrown in the towel” one year on after resigning from Johnson government

Ed Davey warns social care “avalanche” threatens to bury NHS as figures reveal hospitals hardest hit by delayed discharges

  • Ed Davey gives speech to LGA Conference warning of impending catastrophe for NHS unless government fixes social care crisis
  • New analysis reveals hospitals lost 128,000 bed days in May to delayed discharges, up 40% compared to last year
  • NHS trusts hardest hit by delayed discharges include Liverpool, Leeds, East Sussex and Surrey
  • Lib Dem Leader calls for a Carer’s Minimum Wage to fix social care staffing crisis

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey will tomorrow warn that a social care “avalanche” is “threatening to bury the NHS”, in a speech to the Local Government Association’s annual conference.

It comes as new research has revealed the hospitals hardest hit by delayed discharges, with thousands of bed days being lost because medically fit patients are stuck in hospital waiting for care.

The House of Commons Library analysis commissioned by the Liberal Democrats reveals the NHS lost over 128,800 bed days to delayed discharges from hospital in May, up 32% on the same period last year. The vast majority (82%) of bed days lost involved patients who been stuck in hospital for three weeks or more.

The NHS trusts with the highest number of bed days lost to delayed discharges were Liverpool University Hospitals (8,146), East Sussex (4,505), Leeds Teaching Hospitals (4,370), University Hospitals Sussex (4,450) and Frimley in Surrey (3,748).

Delayed discharges take place when medically fit patients are unable to leave hospital, often due to a lack of social care.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for the introduction of a Carer’s Minimum Wage, £2 above the minimum wage, to tackle huge shortages in the social care sector. This would help address the staggering 165,000 vacancies in social care, which are leaving far too many patients stranded in hospitals waiting for the care they need.

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Liberal Democrats celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the NHS

Today is the 75th birthday of our much beloved, but beleaguered, NHS.

Ed Davey said:

With parents who passed away when I was young, looking after my Gran, now caring for my disabled son, throughout my life the NHS has been there. Often through really tough times and the more joyful birth of my children.

I am fiercely proud that it remains one of the most iconic services we have in the UK free to everyone.

The best birthday gift of all would be to put the NHS back on a stable footing, by increasing the number of available GP appointments, ending the long waits for ambulances, and closing the growing divide between those that can access dental care and those who can’t.

Daisy Cooper is our spokesperson for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care and she has written a longer post here. In it she says:

High-quality healthcare, free at the point of use, is essential for individual freedom and good health gives people the freedom to live the lives they choose. And that’s why as Liberals we have always championed the NHS.

We were there at its founding, and helped forge this national institution on the proposals set out in the Beveridge report in 1942.

And we’re here now still fighting for those values across the country.

The next election will give us a real chance to show the country what the Conservative’s dereliction of duty means for their health, and what our plans are to do something about it.

The Liberal Democrats are proud to be champions of the NHS and we will always fight to ensure that the care everyone receives is based on their need, not their ability to pay.

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The hell that is A&E

At the weekend I spent far too long in an A&E department. Now my story is nothing special and it could be repeated by thousands of people around the country. The worrying thing is precisely that – my experience is now normal, rather than exceptional.

It was my husband Ian who needed medical care, complicated by the fact that he is 79, has some disability and uses a wheelchair outside our home. We didn’t think we needed to go to A&E but phoned 111 on Sunday afternoon for some advice. They sent us to the out-of-hours GP unit at a renowned teaching hospital some 40 minutes drive away. The GP there thought he needed to be seen by hospital staff, and possibly admitted, so sent him down the corridor to A&E.

We probably arrived at a bad time. Not only was it the weekend but junior doctors had been on strike earlier in the week so no doubt some people had held off until the Sunday evening. First we joined the queue to see the triage nurse, alongside a police officer with a prisoner. The small waiting room was already packed with around 50 people, at least half of whom were in some kind of distress, the others anxiously concerned about them.  These were in addition to the patients arriving by ambulance through a separate entrance. It was surprisingly quiet – each person silent in their own island of pain and worry.

We were sent straightaway to the Urgent Treatment Centre, which implied (correctly) that our need was actually less urgent than others. This waiting room was less packed and indeed some people were sitting outside the door in the cool of the garden area. The notice board announced a wait for adults of a rather precise 174 minutes. A vending machine dispensed chocolate bars and drinks, but all the catering facilities in the hospital were closed. We were grateful that we had eaten a meal before we left home.

The woman sitting next to me was clearly in a lot of pain, apparently from a broken arm. She was whimpering and praying with every breath. There was nothing I could do to help her, apart from offer to get her a cup of water. Over 3 hours later she was called in and I felt her relief. Eventually just Ian and one other patient were waiting to be seen. It was well after midnight when a nurse said the unit was closing and took us back to the main A&E waiting room. I was worried that we would have to start the wait period all over again, but was reassured that it wouldn’t be long.

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Guardian: “Tories fear blue wall will crumble at local elections over NHS crisis”

Today’s Guardian lays bare the opportunities for the Liberal Democrats at the local elections because of the failure of the Government to settle nurses’ and junior doctors’ pay claims.

Campaigners in the so-called blue wall seats – where affluent, liberal Tory voters have been drifting away from the party – have already reported their surprise at finding that the NHS has emerged as the main concern on the doorstep rather than more familiar issues in the seats, such as tax cuts.

“The NHS is the most salient issue on the doorstep for 2019 Tory voters, and now their failure to manage it will be on the front of newspapers day in, day out,” said a senior Lib Dem source. “My personal view is that the reason they keep going for immigration/asylum seekers is that they basically think anything is better than the story being the NHS.”

There is no sign that public support for the nurses and doctors is waning. It helps that that their union leaders, including the RCN’s Pat Cullen who has given a very good interview on Laura Kuenssberg, are calm, articulate and persuasive.  It’s a far cry from the angry union firebrands of the 70s and 80s.

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Four in ten NHS hospitals using outdated medical equipment including 37-year old X-ray machines

  • 541 pieces of medical equipment over a decade old with some X-ray machines up to 37 years old
  • Four in ten hospital trusts have outdated medical equipment at least a decade-old, despite NHS England advice
  • Lib Dem Leader Ed Davey calls for urgent investment in medical equipment at his party’s Spring Conference

NHS hospitals are using hundreds of outdated x-ray machines, CT scanners and radiotherapy machines, the Liberal Democrats have revealed, with some dating back to the 1980s.

541 X-ray machines, CT and MRI scanners and radiotherapy treatment machines are over a decade old, the figures show. It comes despite advice from NHS England …

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Hat-trick of Lib Dems hammer Tories on broken health pledges

There was another hat-trick of Lib Dems at PMQs yesterday, and this time they tag-teamed to show the Conservatives up for failing to keep key health pledges in their manifesto.

Watch here, with the text exchange after the video.

First up, Ed Davey on the missing 40 hospitals.

It was a pleasure to meet the delegation from Kyiv before Question Time and to confirm that hon. Members across the House are united in our support for Ukraine and its brave heroes. The Conservative manifesto promised 40 new hospitals, but after three years most do not even have planning permission yet. Communities feel betrayed and taken for granted. As ITV showed yesterday, St Helier Hospital in south London is literally crumbling, but there is still no plan to save it, and Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire has sewage leaking into its wards and a roof that could collapse at any moment. Does the Prime Minister agree that no patients, doctors or nurses should have to put up with those conditions?

The Prime Minister
I am proud that we are investing record sums into the NHS under this Government, including record sums into NHS capital, which are going on not only upgrading almost 100 hospitals and developing 40 large-scale developments, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, but investing in more scanners and more ambulances across the board so that we can deliver vital care to people. I am very pleased that the most recent statistics on urgent emergency care show considerable improvement from the challenges we faced in December, and we are now on a clear path to getting people the treatment they need in the time they need it.

Next up was by-election winner Richard Foord, who quizzed the PM on what was going on in the south west:

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3-5 February 2023 – the weekend’s press releases (part 1)

  • Lib Dem Bill to stop prepayment meter installations blocked by Govt
  • Strike Postponement is Welcome Progress
  • Just a quarter of the “40 new hospitals” have received planning permission

Lib Dem Bill to stop prepayment meter installations blocked by Govt

A Liberal Democrats Bill to end all installations of prepayment metres over the Winter has been effectively blocked by the Conservative Government.

This comes after Ofgem announced the suspension of forcible installations of prepayment meters yesterday following a Times investigation into British Gas.

Liberal Democrats have been campaigning on this issue for months; first presenting the Prepayment Meters (Temporary Prohibition) Bill on the 7th December and asking a PMQ to Rishi Sunak two weeks ago urging him to support the bill. But calls have fallen on deaf ears.

Today , the Government prevented the Bill’s progress to Second Reading – causing the legislation to fail.

Liberal Democrats have criticised the“poverty premium” paid by households with prepayment meters have higher energy bills simply because they use a prepayment meter.

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Energy, Wera Hobhouse MP, who tabled the Bill, said:

This Bill has been in front of Parliament since early December, but the Conservative Government chose to ignore it. Only after a scandal and shocking revelations about energy companies prying on vulnerable people did the regulator, Ofgem, finally act.

It is too little, too late. My Bill would go further than the Regulator, by banning the installation of prepayment meters for a period of time to get people through this difficult winter and to investigate any rogue practices.

With the Government shunning the fastest way to help these people who become victims of predatory energy firms, families and pensioners across the country will be worried about how they will keep the heating and lights on.

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Record 350,000 patients waited over 12 hours at A&E last year

  • Figures reveal 1,000 patients left waiting 12 hours or more in A&E every day in 2022
  • Analysis shows shocking rise in long A&E delays since 2015, when just 1,300 people waited 12 hours or more
  • Lib Dems set out plan to tackle NHS crisis including recruiting more GPs and allowing pharmacists to prescribe more medicines

A record 350,000 patients, equivalent to the population of Leicester, waited more than 12 hours to be admitted to hospital from A&E in 2022.

The figures were uncovered in new analysis by the Liberal Democrats showing a staggering rise in 12 hour delays at A&E since 2015.

Liberal …

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19 January 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Record ambulance delays reveal NHS “horror show”
  • Latest NHS figures on delayed discharges reveal “living nightmare”
  • Levelling up: Rural and coastal communities taken for granted

Record ambulance delays reveal NHS “horror show”

Ambulance response times in Wales have fallen to a record low in December with a staggering 60.5% of red calls (those deemed most life-threatening) being above the official target times. This figure is the highest on record and beats previous numbers in December 2021 and 2020, the latter of which was at the height of the pandemic.

Figures have also shown that a shocking 78% of amber calls, which include heart attacks and …

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We really must stand up for the NHS

The NHS is once again in the news and not in a good way. It is fast becoming a basket case with ambulances unable to deliver critically ill patients to hospital in anything like acceptable times, operations often delayed with unacceptable waiting times, people unable to make GP appointments and now a series of strikes because the Tory Government cries crocodile tears instead of funding the NHS and its staff properly.

There is a dangerous myth that has been around in our politics for far too long that the public sector is inefficient and that as much of it as possible …

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Davey: Sunak asleep at the wheel

Listening to Rishi Sunak speak today, you wouldn’t think that the country is in the grip of economic turmoil and crisis in the NHS. You don’t have to go far to read of NHS trusts and boards calling major incidents, or London Ambulance saying they will only wait 45 minutes before leaving patients in hospital corridors. Everywhere there are accounts of traumatised, stressed nurses, doctors and patients in A and E departments up and down the country.

It is all very grim.

Sunak’s five priorities would fail the SMART objective test on any work training day.

He could claim he had done them without alleviating much suffering. I mean what does “NHS waiting lists will fall” actually mean for someone who has been told that they can have an appointment for their hernia in mid 2024? What does “the economy will grow” mean? A tiny decimal point which makes no measurable difference? Reduce national debt – to what, how and what will that mean for public services? And a piece of red meat for the xenophobic right about getting rid of asylum seekers. The one specific pledge, to halve inflation, seems to be going to happen anyway according to the Bank of England forecasts.

It’s all very cynical.

Ed Davey was unimpressed, saying:

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Only 40 armed forces paramedics are qualified to work in the NHS

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There are only 40 paramedics in the armed forces who would be qualified to work in the NHS, figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats have revealed.

The government has admitted in response to a parliamentary question that the armed forces have 107 paramedics, of which 40 are confirmed as meeting the qualification requirements set out by the Health and Care Professions Council. These are the qualifications needed in order to practise as a paramedic in the UK.

The figures were uncovered through a parliamentary question tabled by Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP.

It comes as the government has set out plans to bring in military personnel to drive ambulances and support the NHS during the strikes due to take place this month.

Daisy Cooper said:

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NHS Strikes – view from the back of an ambulance

It is the season of goodwill, the season of health services being stretched to the limit and this year, the season of strikes, including amongst some of our most dedicated health professionals. Nurses and ambulance crews. The government having applauded nurses, health and care professionals on their doorsteps during the pandemic is spoiling for fight over wage increases. Promising no money.

That is one reason strikers are taking action. The need for some of them to go to food banks. The struggle to pay the rent or mortgage because pay has not caught up with the cost of living.

The other reason is the working conditions. The constant pressure in an understaffed, poorly managed health service. It never copes with demand. It is forever being reorganised but never seems to get out of crisis mode. It never has enough money.

Let me illustrate the issue through the case of Susan. Obviously not her real name.

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NHS workers will strike to protect patients not harm them

LDV editor Charley Hasted writes in a personal capacity on the reasons that dedicated NHS workers have voted to strike and the pressures that have led them to vote for industrial action.

Tuesday brought the news that Unison Members in North East, North West, London, Yorkshire and South West Ambulance Service Trusts have voted for industrial action. They were joined by their colleagues in the GMB Union where members in South West, South East Coast, North West, South Central, North East, East Midlands, West Midlands, Welsh and Yorkshire Ambulance Service Trusts. Unite the Union members in Ambulance trusts have also voted to join Unison, GMB and our colleagues from the RCN in threatening industrial action.

As an Ambulance Dispatcher and Unison member I spent a lot of time thinking about how to vote. I didn’t sign up to stop people getting help when they need it after all. Nor did any of my colleagues. The NHS has spent years being staffed on goodwill and our desire to help people. We’ve put up with underfunding, insulting pay rises and being alternately sainted and damned by the government depending on which way the wind is blowing on any given day.

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19-20 November 2022 – the weekend’s press release

Barclay interview: Jumble of jargon can’t hide Conservative failures

Responding to Health Secretary Steve Barclay’s interview on the Laura Kuenssberg show this morning, Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said:

This Conservative Government cannot continue to blame the coronavirus pandemic for years of neglect and mismanagement of our NHS.

Patients are being failed as waiting times skyrocket and hospitals crumble. Health workers are on their knees struggling to keep up with growing pressures and shrinking budgets.

Social care is in dire need of drastic reform and consecutive Conservative Governments have proved time and time again that they will not deliver it.

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9-10 November 2022 – the press releases…

Apologies, press release fans, as I got rather caught up in the drama of the US midterms yesterday. So, without further ado…

  • Gavin Williamson anti-bullying video exposes ‘rank hypocrisy’ of Conservative Government
  • Lib Dems: Strip Gavin Williamson of his knighthood if found guilty of bullying
  • Sunak failing the next generation as he refuses to protect education budgets
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats respond to Nurse Strike Action
  • The Government have failed cancer patients
  • Home repossessions increase significantly as budget sets off a mortgage ticking time bomb

Gavin Williamson anti-bullying video exposes ‘rank hypocrisy’ of Conservative Government

Responding to the resurfaced Government anti-bullying video recorded by Gavin Williamson MP during his time as Secretary of State for Education, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Education, Munira Wilson MP, said:

This exposes the rank hypocrisy and double standards at the heart of this Conservative government.

Gavin Williamson himself admitted that bullying is never acceptable.

Schools rightly have a zero tolerance approach to bullying. But once again it seems it’s one rule for Conservative ministers and another for everyone else.

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Ed Davey calls for legal right to see GP within 7 days

Getting a doctor’s appointment is becoming more and more of a challenge. Whether it means explaining in detail to a non-qualified receptionist who triages requests, or having to grapple with an inflexible online booking system, or having to join a phone queue at 8am exactly, or even filling in an online form just to be put in another triage queue – the processes seem designed to make you think it’s not worth it. They are particularly trying for anyone who is elderly, sick or in pain, or who has a chronic medical condition, and these, after all, take up a large proportion of appointments.

During the pandemic we got used to phone and video consultations, but we all knew these were not the most effective way to make a diagnosis, and there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that serious conditions were missed. It may still make sense for a doctor to hold an initial remote conversation, but only if an in-person appointment can be made speedily if needed.

But the delays in getting appointments is very real. Years ago no-one would have been offered a GP appointment in two weeks’ time for a new condition, and yet that is what is happening now.

Ed Davey is announcing plans to give us all the legal right to see a GP within a week (or 24 hours if urgent). It is certainly an indicator of the stresses within the NHS if a week’s delay is seen as an improvement. He has unearthed data which shows that 25% of people in some areas have to wait over two weeks for an appointment.  This is in the context of the two week target for suspected cancer cases to be seen by a specialist, where the clock only starts once someone has actually seen their GP. That wait could be doubled if they can’t get a GP appointment immediately.

The proposal is that this right would be enshrined in law, thus putting a duty on the Government to ensure that it happens.  Of course, it can only be achieved if the recruitment and retention of GPs is improved, and that requires action at the highest level.

So watch out for the announcement in Ed’s major speech at the weekend – designed to replace the missed Conference speech. Ahead of that he has said:

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