Whilst the government says that the NHS will become a seven-day service, we know that many areas do operate seven days a week service for many health services.
Given the underinvestment from the Conservative government we have staff, nurses and doctors who are demotivated. The Liberal Democrats say to ensure we can cope with increasing some of the services such as Accident and Emergency care this will cost more money since there are not enough staff at the moment.
The waiting times in our hospitals are getting worse and many ill patients are left in corridors suffering unnecessarily.
Ealing Hospital which serves some of Acton’s residents, has had its maternity unit closed meaning that mothers and relatives are travelling longer to give birth and then being asked to visit Ealing Hospital for an out-patients’ appointment, where they can see the closed maternity unit not being used!
With a greater birth rate over the past few years and expected in the future it seems strange that we are reducing the number of beds, as well as forcing more mothers-to-be to travel greater distances to give birth.
Many government PR statements label the plans to change Charing Cross hospital into a local hospital as a positive thing. It is only positive if you are the Chancellor of the Exchequer; patients are the losers here.
When consulted people did not want this as a local hospital, Charing Cross would be downgraded meaning many ill residents in the area having to be taken in ambulances to other hospitals further afield – perhaps Hillingdon.
We have seen other services like the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) service being moved from Ealing Hospital to others in the area. This may seem a small change but it will mean a lot of disruption of many patients having to travel to different hospitals, which are sometimes not on a single bus route.
One important area of heath care that has been mainly ignored, apart from the Liberal Democrats, is that of mental health. Most of us with either suffer from a mental health issue in our lives or know someone who has done so. Many people will not have had the confidence to tell others and may have suffered in silence.
We need to ensure that government does not shun those with mental illnesses. They need our help and support. Lib Dem Norman Lamb MP is a magnificent example of a campaigner for greater mental health services.
In summary, the plans appear to mean more people are travelling longer to either receive healthcare or visit a friend or relative. This cannot be good.
As a Liberal Democrat, I know that making cuts now will lead to more expensive treatment later on down the line.