Ellesmere Port MP demands action over NHS winter crisis

Reporter:

David Triggs

Justin Madders has demanded action from the Government over the NHS winter crisis. 

Short-staffed hospitals are struggling to cope with the surge in patients, and more than 50,000 non-urgent operations have been cancelled. 

Ellesmere Port & Neston MP Mr Madders, a shadow health minister, says the situation has "deteriorated beyond recognition" since he worked a winter shift at the Countess of Chester two years ago.

The Labour MP, who has previously challenged health secretary Jeremy Hunt in Parliament over his handling of the crisis, said: “When I worked a shift at the Countess, I saw a service where the staff worked incredibly hard with no breathing space, but were just about coping thanks to their incredible efforts.  

"The situation that our hospitals are now facing has deteriorated beyond recognition and I am deeply concerned about the impact on patients.

“The worst part is that all of this could have been prevented if the Conservative government had listened to what thousands of staff, the Labour Party and independent experts across the NHS have been telling them for the past seven years.

“We have known for years that more people are attending A&E because they are not getting the treatment that they need from elsewhere in the system, due to a squeeze on funding. We also know that people are being kept in hospital for too long, because cuts to the Social Care system mean that they cannot be safely discharged.  

“Above all else, we cannot forget the human cost of this crisis.  Behind every statistic that we hear about a cancelled operation or someone being treated in a corridor, there is a person with a family and friends facing what is already often a deeply distressing situation.  

"Thousands of people in this area are being left in potentially unsafe situations and I hold this Conservative government responsible.”

Cheshire West & Chester Council cabinet member for health, councillor Paul Dolan, backed Mr Madders calls. 

He said: “Despite the best efforts of our tireless NHS staff, patients in this area are being badly let down by a system that is completely unable to cope with the demand that is being placed upon it.  

“The sight of patients being treated on hospital corridors used to be something we would only see in the event of a disaster, but this winter it has been a routine situation. This is unsafe and unacceptable.  

“We have been warning this Conservative government for years that we would reach crisis point if they failed to change course, but they have not taken any meaningful action. It is clear that the responsibility for the deeply concerning situation that we are now facing lies squarely at the door of Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt. 

“The Government has slashed social care budgets time and time again, while clinicians and experts were warning of what the consequences would be for our hospitals. Combined with a continued reduction in the number of acute beds, we have reached a perfect storm, where the NHS simply does not have the capacity to cope.” 

Nick Laundy and David Matthews, the senior consultants running the A&E departments at the Countess of Chester and Mid Cheshire Hospitals, wrote to the Prime Minister last week warning of “the very serious concerns we have for the safety of our patients". The letter, signed by senior clinicians from a total of 68 hospitals, added: "This current level of safety compromise is at times intolerable, despite the best efforts of staff.”

Email:

david.triggs@nwn.co.uk

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