Berwick North Lib Dem councillor's NHS funding call



Berwick North Councillor calls for the Government to increase NHS funding

Lib Dem Northumberland County Councillor for Berwick North, Gavin Jones, welcomes the Chief Executive of Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust's call for the Prime Minister to tackle the crisis in health and social care funding, adding that a cross-party commitment to the adequate funding of the NHS, Mental Health Services, and Social Care is required.

However, he is concerned that the current crisis needs urgent action and calls on the Government to provide an immediate funding boost to the NHS.

Cllr Jones says the under-funding of the NHS is a choice made by the Government. It was Berwick Liberal MP, Sir William Beveridge, whose ideas led to the creation of the NHS. He will be writing to one of Beveridge's successors, Berwick MP, Mrs Trevelyan, calling on her to focus on getting Government support to increase NHS funding in Northumberland, given we are doubly hit by both the under-funding and the distance to services.

Cllr Jones says: “As a Governor of the Ambulance Service I was concerned that Financial Targets were being prioritised ahead of operational targets. It disappointed me that the Trust did not have the appetite to prioritise operational targets over financial performance. Further, while forecasting a failure to meet performance targets, the Ambulance service should have been drawing on third party support to assist. Instead, reliance on third party support was being scaled down. This seemed counter intuitive and has likely contributed to the significant under-performance of the service.”

Cllr Jones praises the front line staff in the NHS and Ambulance Service, saying that they are clearly doing their very best to compensate for the Government's failure to ensure adequate funding. However, he criticises the Government, drawing on the words of the former Health Minister, Nye Bevan, who set up the NHS seventy years ago:

No society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means”

We have a crisis: the Government is denying the NHS “means” so that people are being left on trolleys in hospital corridors and ambulances are failing to arrive on time. These issues are real and they are happening here in Northumberland. Further, these issues impact us all, rich and poor. Emergencies, accidents and illness do not select out those without “means”. We are all equal when waiting on emergency services to arrive and we are all equal when waiting on a hospital trolley in a corridor, including those taking decisions to under-fund the NHS."

Returning to Bevan's wor The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with faith to fight for it.”
I am hoping that other Trust leaders will reflect on the significance of these words, and their roles, and have sufficient faith in their influence to join the call for immediate adequate funding of the NHS and Ambulance Service. I urge the region's MPs to support Lib Dem Health spokesman Norman Lamb's efforts to establish a cross-party commission to tackle the financial crisis facing the NHS.

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