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Horsham Liberal Democrats


March 29, 2018 11:32 AM
By Godfrey Newman in West Sussex County Times

Delays in ambulance responses to local emergencies this winter have been widely reported. Now the implications of the financial situation facing the Clinical Commissioning Groups that provide local medical services are becoming clearer, with the announcement that some surgical procedures will be rationed.

Everyone will be concerned that 1,443 emergency patients waited in ambulances this winter for 30 to 60 minutes outside A&E at Surrey & Sussex NHS Trust (with 471 waiting more than 60 minutes), before transfer to A&E staff (reported online by West Sussex County Times on 19th March).

However, I suspect that few of its readers will be surprised.

Early in the winter, the paper reported on people waiting three hours for ambulances. These included a gentleman who fell in East Street, and a lady whose bike skidded on ice in Kerves Lane. These people were both relatively elderly, and had fallen outside in cold weather. They could therefore have expected some priority, so their experiences suggest a service in crisis.

Such 'handover delays' are often due to problems at the hospital; staff or bed shortages, or some other problem. As a result, paramedics are delayed reaching subsequent emergencies. In addition, beds at the hospital were close to capacity for most of the winter, with every single available bed occupied on two days.

Last week's front page report covered rationing of some operations due to the financial difficulties currently affecting our local health services (Community Commissioning Groups).

All these stories demonstrate that our local services are at or close to crisis. They are likely to worsen due to the departure of many EU citizens currently working in local hospitals.

The NHS is suffering from underfunding - we all know that. But only the Lib Dems have a plan to put this right - which adds up and makes clear where the money comes from.

We would increase the income tax rate by 1p to provide reliable funding for the NHS. We would also establish a cross-party health and social care convention, bringing together stakeholders from all political parties, patients' groups, the public and professionals from within the health and social care system, to carry out a comprehensive review of the longer-term sustainability of the health and social care finances.

It is unclear what the other parties will do. Tories and Labour. in denial about NHS crisis