Health is a local issue:
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The NHS has again been centre stage this week following the announcement of a 1% pay rise for nurses.
Responding to the news Andy Symonds the Labour candidate for Clifton with Maidenway said, “I’m a regular user of our NHS – I’m diabetic, and the care I receive has been second to none. But with the news that Health Service unions are putting together a £35 million strike fund, there should be no doubt – if they voted for industrial action over this insulting pay rise, they would have my 100% support and I would join their picket lines.’
Andy went on to say, “The future of NHS services and care should be a key issue in the Clifton with Maidenway by-election. People think the NHS and the way we care for people is a national issue, but increasingly health and care is an issue for local councillors. The Council is a key partner alongside the NHS Trust, local providers and GPs. I want to make sure the new structures proposed by government in the last few weeks work for local people and those delivering services.
In January, Labour members working in the NHS told us about how difficult the last 12 months had been for them. They are professionals, so we only see the smiling, reassuring faces, but they told us that behind that mask, the staff are at breaking point, are feeling stressed, overworked and that they did not feel supported by the organisations they worked for.”
Andy went on to say, I warned then that, “If we do not see a considerable improvement in pay and conditions across the NHS we can expect a major exodus of nurses and other front line staff in the near future. This week the government offered just a 1% pay rise to nurses, a cut in real terms when you consider inflation and no increase in tax allowances. Nobody should have been surprised at how nurses and nursing unions have responded. They need all our support.
But my concerns go wide than nurses pay. Over recent years we have seen a major change in the way we access health services. The pandemic has also introduced changes that may not be reversed. For example, the way we contact our GP and increasingly consultants at the hospital, by telephone or online. We also know that the expectation is that people will have to travel more for treatment. It is not unusual to be asked to go to Newton Abbot or even as far as Dawlish for some clinics.
I am not against change, but change needs to be in the interests of patients and the workforce, not just a way of dealing with ever less money for the NHS. I am determined to give local people a voice about these issues. I want to speak for those who don’t have transport, those who find online and telephone services stressful or confusing and I want to give a voice to those within the workforce who are also affected by these changes but find their concerns being ignored. We live in an area with an ageing population. Some local families have had the most terrible year separated from their loved ones. As we come out of the pandemic, they will need someone to fight for the issues they will face.”
Andy would welcome the chance to meet media representatives and to put the case for Labour in Torbay.
Tel 07388 110571
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- Opposition to an increase in Council Tax at this very difficult time for local people. Additional funding must be found by Central Government. A rate rise will impact on young families, those on low incomes and the many older people who find themselves in the difficult position of being property rich but income poor.
- We need to make sure that support services for vulnerable people are properly funded and would call for a major benefits take-up campaign to ensure the £millions in unclaimed benefits make a difference to local families, the elderly and disabled. This would also support the economy of the Bay
- Support for projects which bring real investment in the Bay and reduces our dependence on low paid insecure employment
- Wil call for radical changes to help address climate change which will boost local jobs but also protect the natural environment
- Will ensure housing developments meet local need and campaign for “Affordable Rents” and an increase in social housing
- Will work with the unions to ensure health and care workers are treated with respect and are supported in the workplace
- Will give a voice to local people who are concerned about the changes taking place within local health and care services
- Reach out to young people who felt left out of the decision making process before the pandemic and who have had such a difficult time over the past year.