Questions to put to the Conservative health Minister on his visit
West Cornwall MP and Heath Select Committee member, Andrew George, made the following statement in advance of the visit by Junior health Minister, Dr Dan Poulter, to Cornwall tomorrow (25th February 2015).
“Welcome to Cornwall.
“Front line NHS staff have been fantastic. They’re dedicated and prepared to go the extra mile for patients to get the Trust out of a hole.
“While dedicated staff show loyalty, the Trust has been burdened with the revolving door of our ever-changing, highly paid hospital chiefs – nine in the last ten years!
- Will the Government now write off Cornwall’s inherited debt? For the last ten years, this multi-million pound legacy has hung like a weight around its neck. It’s not the fault of staff, patients or the community, but the failure of governments. The debt is but a fraction of the amount Cornwall has been underfunded over this time.
- Will you make sure that the local community is consulted before hospital services are privatised? Local GPs, who are 58% users of the pathology service, have not been informed nor consulted about the plan to put out to tender. The flogging off of the hospitals’ (hotel) services has been a disaster. Please make sure the Trust consults before letting private companies make profit from public services
- Will you make sure our NHS hospitals are not undermined by the cherry-picking of profit driven companies? Private healthcare companies are camped on the front lawns of our NHS hospitals, preying on the NHS to cream off the easy and profitable work, leaving the core of the NHS with the hardest work but with less money. Don’t you agree this is unfair?”
Mr George had asked a question to Health Minister, Dr Daniel Poulter in the Commons yesterday. He re-emphasised the campaign for safe registered nurse staffing levels on acute hospital wards.
As worded in Hansard (column 186, 24th February), Mr George asked, “Does my hon. Friend agree with me and with the nursing profession that if nurse staffing levels on acute hospital wards fall below one registered nurse to seven acutely ill patients, excluding the registered nurse in charge, it will significantly increase the risk to patient care and result in avoidable excess deaths?”
Dr Poulter said that he disagreed.
Mr George has consistently pressed the case in Parliament for safe staffing; echoing the work of the Safe Staffing Alliance. But he has continually met with Health Ministers’ dissent. He recently tabled an Early Day Motion pressing for a review of staffing levels in the light of the Safe Staffing Alliance’s January report which found present arrangements mean that 45% of wards nationally have unsafe staffing levels, putting lives at risk.