We need decent integrated healthcare
Posted by Kate Green, MP for Stretford and Urmston, at 10:47, Fri 28 September 2012:
There have been problems with the consultation process on the proposed health changes in Trafford. Not all households have received the consultation document. The NHS is having to organise more deliveries to postcodes that missed out.
Although public meetings have taken place around the borough, many groups in our community have particular issues and health needs that aren’t being discussed at the meetings. Last week, I met the Trafford youth cabinet who told me about the important health priorities for young people. They highlighted work they’ve been doing on mental health and emotional wellbeing.
I also visited the Macmillan centre on Moorside Road to meet a group of people who are living with cancer, or who are the family or carers of those with cancer.
We talked a lot about the emotional impact of cancer, both for patients and their families. People got excellent specialist care in hospital, but said when they left hospital , they’d be left high and dry. Sometimes people were forced to stay in hospital because they couldn’t get the care and support they needed to look after them when they got back home. Some spoke about the need for a central point to help with organising the package of care they need, such as home nursing, medication, and information about benefits. And there was a need for support for carers.
I met a group of women in Old Trafford who told me that what they wanted was a community walk-in health centre which would offer a range of tests and treatments, and where all the information about their treatment could be accessed by the health professionals. They said that public transport to get to hospital could be a real problem.
Reorganising health services isn’t just about getting hospital services right, it’s about primary and community healthcare, and wider public services. I’m really passionate about getting the investment in frontline care that we need. For years, we’ve talked about this in Trafford, but there’s no sign of the necessary investment.
The Tories claim to be protecting the health service, but the savings they’re demanding can’t all be met by “efficiency” – according to the highly respected independent health think-tank, the Kings Fund, well over half of NHS finance managers who took part in an online questionnaire said there was now a high or very high risk that NHS would not meet its savings target of £20bn by 2015. So cuts are already biting. Since David Cameron came to power, we’ve lost 5000 nursing posts. His Government has let almost 500 GP surgeries close their doors earlier at the same time as popular NHS Walk-in centres are closing across the country. There are reports of random rationing and new restrictions on certain treatments.
Whenever government ministers are challenged, they say this is all a matter for the NHS locally. But that really isn’t good enough. A national health service means national standards, no postcode lotteries, and ministers taking responsibility. Instead we’re getting fragmentation of services, not the integrated care we need, and that I’ve repeatedly called for.