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From April 1st 2018 up to 1 million children could be denied a free school meal and the school they attend denied extra funding. The date might suggest it's a cruel joke, but it's just plain cruel.

The free school meals debate: don't let the Tories fool you

From April 1st 2018 up to 1 million children could be denied a free school meal and the school they attend denied extra funding. The date might suggest it's a cruel... Read more

Last year North Somerset Council investigated the state of rented accommodation in Weston.

They found it is terrible. Hundreds of people are living in damp, squalid and cramped conditions in town centre properties owned by unscrupulous landlords.

Now, the council is asking you what you think.

Should landlords finally be regulated, the way doctors, dentists, childminders and taxi drivers are?

Or should families and children continue to live in slum-like conditions, lining the pockets of rogue landlords?

The Council wants to bring in a voluntary scheme to regulate those landlords. But ‘voluntary’ is NOT good enough.

Landlords shouldn’t have a choice about whether the properties they rent out are fit to live in or not. They should be forced to by law.

That’s why we’re asking as many people as possible to respond to the Council’s ongoing consultation (http://consult.n-somerset.gov.uk/consult.ti/PRS17/consultationHome) on this matter.

Frankly, it’s far from ideal. The consultation web page tries to force users to comment on its proposal for a voluntary scheme – it talks a lot about the ‘Action Area’, the part of Weston it wants the initiative to take place in.

But we encourage you to use the comment boxes to call for mandatory regulation.

You can visit the consultation website (http://consult.n-somerset.gov.uk/consult.ti/PRS17/consultationHome) now – it’s open until the 30th of January. Or, if you’d like advice on the best way to fill in the online form, you can come to Espresso Coffee Lounge opposite the Town Hall between 3-5pm any afternoon between 22nd - 26th January and we can help you complete it.

 

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The State of Rented Housing in Weston-super-Mare

Last year North Somerset Council investigated the state of rented accommodation in Weston. They found it is terrible. Hundreds of people are living in damp, squalid and cramped conditions in...

That there is no permanent Homeless shelter in North Somerset, is a disgraceful state of affairs; Conservative North Somerset Councillors should hang their heads in shame.

Did you know that the Police in Bristol have been sending homeless people from Bristol to Weston-super-Mare telling them there is a shelter for them to sleep at?  There is not, the only shelter that ever opens in Weston or North Somerset only operates for a few days over Christmas.

Could you imagine sleeping out in the gales and rain of the last few days? Do you imagine people do this through their own choice? No-one would voluntarily subject themselves to that sort of existence.

At our monthly meeting of the Weston Labour Party earlier this week some of our members when leaving to go home happened upon this very thing.  There was a man, who had been sent that very evening by the police from Cardiff to Bristol, then again by the Police from Bristol to Weston, just pushing this poor man along the tracks to become “someone else’s problem” 

This is just not acceptable

Most admirably, between them, our members from their own pockets, raised enough money for this man to stay in a B&B that evening, and provided his fare to get back to Bristol where there are several homeless shelters, and at least some infrastructure to assist someone in that situation.

The Conservatives keep throwing out the tired old line that the homeless on our streets are not really homeless and are “professional beggars” "travelling by train" to the town daily to fleece residents - this just is not the case.  If you go out around the town late in the evening you will see well over a dozen rough sleepers, in all weather conditions.

Cllr Ap Rees (Deputy Council Leader) when interviewed on Radio Bristol a few days ago mentioned the homeless man who sleeps outside a bank in Weston, I have personally spoken to this man, he is genuinely homeless and chooses that location to sleep in because it is well lit and so he feels safer there.  You can hear the Radio Bristol interview with Cllr. Ap Rees here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05qg9gy starting at 2h07m (available until 30th January 2018)

These people are some of our most vulnerable. It was Mahatma Ghandi who said “A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.”.  At this current time, under this government, and the previous, we do not measure up, we are not a great nation; we will not be until we properly address the issues facing the most vulnerable in our society.

For the Many Not the Few.

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Who cares for, or about, the homeless in Weston-super-Mare and North Somerset

That there is no permanent Homeless shelter in North Somerset, is a disgraceful state of affairs; Conservative North Somerset Councillors should hang their heads in shame. Did you know that...

GMB investigation on ‘Mad Friday’ reveals 900,000 ambulance emergency calls were answered without paramedics last year.

Information from GMB has exposed the critical shortage of ambulance staff as a result of government policy has resulted in almost one million ambiance calls responded to without trained  paramedics. As a result of austerity, lack of investment in public services, stress to public sector employees, pay-caps, and moves to privatise the NHS, evidence shows service levels are unsafe and wholly inadequate.

Police forced to take patients to hospital due to shortages in more than 1,000 incidents of 999 ambulance calls

On the day dubbed ‘Mad Friday’, an investigation by GMB, the union for ambulance staff, reveals at least 900,000 emergency calls for ambulances were not attended by a paramedic in England last year.

And in more than 1,000 confirmed cases trusts were forced to ask the police to take injured patients to hospital due to ambulance shortages. The real figure is likely to be as high as 5,000.

‘Mad Friday’ – the last Friday before Christmas – is one of the busiest days of the year for amulance staff as many people celebrate finishing work for the festive period.

GMB submitted a freedom of information (FoI) request to all 10 ambulance trusts in England asking: ‘How many 999 calls to your trust were attended only by emergency care assistants, or other non-fully qualified paramedics rather than with a fully-qualified paramedic in the financial year 2016/17?’

The nine responding trusts disclosed that there were a total of 882,465 incidents last year.

However, the true figure is likely to be significantly higher as East of England Ambulance Services refused to respond, claiming it would take them too long to find the information.

South East Coast Ambulance Service had the highest number of non-paramedic responses with 190,813 incidents.

North East ambulance service’s response revealed 155,902 incidents, of which 650 were in response to the most life-threatening ‘Red One’ calls.

The trust also revealed 887 incidents where the police took patients to hospital due to a shortage of ambulance staff.

Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, said:

  • It will send shockwaves through the country that hundreds of thousands of patients, some of them involved in life-threatening incidents, are not being attended by a trained paramedic.
  • Proper support for our overstretched ambulance services is literally a matter of life and death.
  • GMB members are performing miracles every day but the system is failing because funding just hasn’t kept pace with demand.
  • Paramedics and other ambulance staff regularly work 12-hour shifts or longer.
  • They have no more to give.
  • This must be a wake-up call for Jeremy Hunt. It is vital that our ambulance services are given the additional resources they desperately need.

Kevin Brandstatter, GMB National Officer for Ambulance Staff, said:

  • How many people will die this Christmas because the Chancellor refuses to properly fund our ambulance services?
  • Is anyone in this Government prepared to apologise to the patients given inadequate care by over stretched and under-trained staff?
  • Is anyone in this Government prepared to apologise to the families of those who die because of staff shortages? I bet not.

[1] Results of GMB Freedom of Information Request to NHS Ambulance Trusts in England:

[2] The National Audit Office found in January 2017 that in the 2010 – 2015 Parliament funding for ambulance services rose by 16 per cent but demand rose by 30 per cent:“Increased funding for urgent and emergency activity has not matched rising demand, and future settlements are likely to be tougher. Between 2011-12 and 2015-16, income for ambulance trusts’ urgent and emergency care activity increased by 16% from £1.53 billion to £1.78 billion. Over this period, activity (ambulance calls and NHS 111 transfers) rose by 30%. Commissioners have warned that, given current financial challenges in the wider health service, future funding settlements are likely to be tighter (paragraph 1.12).”National Audit Office, NHS Ambulance Services, 26 January 2017, page 7: https://www.nao.org.uk/report/nhs-ambulance-services/

No paramedic present in almost a million emergency ambulance call responses

GMB investigation on ‘Mad Friday’ reveals 900,000 ambulance emergency calls were answered without paramedics last year. Information from GMB has exposed the critical shortage of ambulance staff as a result...

Hello everyone, Thanks for supporting the rally today, Weston General’s A&E Department, and your NHS.  We estimate ther were in excess of 300 people today standing up for the A&E.

Today we were there to let Weston Area Health Trust, Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire Care Commissioning Group, and the Government know that we will not stand for this ongoing threat to OUR Accident and Emergency Department.

We we’re pleased to take a stand with #SaveWestonAandE, Protect our NHS North Somerset, North Somerset and Weston Trades Council, Unite, Unison, USDAW, PCS, Weston Liberal Democrat Party, and The Green Party

I am sorry to say that despite being inviting our local Conservative MPs, Dr. Liam Fox and John Penrose, decided not to attend.

Analysis from The Labour Party shows that if Theresa May oversees a collapse on the same scale as last year, 10,000 people will be waiting more than 4 hours for A&E every day, with hundreds of operations cancelled and waiting lists growing.

Last year, Theresa May stuck her head in the sand and refused to give the NHS the money it needed to keep services running properly.

This decision has pushed NHS staff beyond their limits and caused misery for patients in every part of the country. It can’t be allowed to continue.

We are calling for OUR Accident and Emergency Department at Weston General Hospital to be re-opened as a 24/7 fully functioning department, able to cope with major trauma.

North Somerset and Weston-super Mare has a population of around 225,000 people, served by Weston General Hospital.  Estimates are that this area could see as many as 40 to 50, 000 people more living here in the next 25 years.  These new residents will mostly be young families with children and the elderly, two groups that rely on a good NHS service.

As a matter of comparison Bath and North East Somerset has a population of around 200,000, yet we don’t see the A and E at the Royal United Hospital being closed or threatened.

At the moment our A and E is not a 24/7 service it is a 14/7 service.  Our A and E is closed from 10pm to 8am.  Overnight our area is covered by just 2 Ambulances.

If you have the misfortune to be taken ill at night you will be transported to Southmead, the BRI, The Bristol Children’s Hospital or Musgrove Park.  These hospitals are themselves facing cuts and as a result the additional load the overnight closure of Weston’s A and E is placing on them is stretching their services to breaking point.

We have been told that the A and E in Weston closed due to safety concerns over the staffing levels in the department.  What has happened since the closure is that a senior Emergency Medicine Consultant and a significant number of specialist Emergency Department nurses have left the hospital, so staffing levels have deteriorated further due to the so called “temporary closure”  It is our very real fear that this closure is anything but temporary and that we may never see a fully operational 24/7 A and E in Weston General Hospital in the foreseeable future under the current Government.

We want the Health Trust and the CCG to provide the Emergency Medicine delivery that this area, the fastest growing in Europe, requires.

It is not acceptable for the Government, WHAT, and the CCG to stumble into crisis after crisis they’ve been well warned and need to take action now”.

 The underfunding of the NHS over the last 7 years has been catastrophic for both nurses and patients.

Our NHS, now faces a 40,000 shortfall of nurses because of reduction of training places, seven years of capped pay, and the scrapping of the nurses' bursary.

Our country must bring back the nurses’ training bursary and give nurses the pay rise they deserve, if we are to combat the current recruitment crisis.

Locally we have a serious shortage of GPs, and this area also suffers underfunding of Social Services.  These are two major pressure factors on our Accident and Emergency Service.  People who cannot see a GP are reporting to A and E as a first resort, and people being let down by Social Services are leaning on Accident and Emergency to try to get the help they need.

We must see a greater degree of cooperation between the NHS and Social Services, and an commensurate increase in the funding of Social Services to better allow the management of people flowing through our hospitals and to free up beds for acutely ill patients.

We must also see a complete change in how we approach mental health services in North Somerset, our local provision of Psychologists and Psychiatrists is well below what is required, this is especially true in Children’s Mental Health Care, as I said this puts extra pressure on the A&E and the already over stretched and underfunded Hospital

We must protect our country’s most precious of assets.

PEOPLE IN NORTH SOMERSET DESERVE BETTER
IT’S MINE, IT’S YOURS, IT’S OUR NHS.
LET’S SAVE WESTON A and E !

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March to Save Weston A&E

Hello everyone, Thanks for supporting the rally today, Weston General’s A&E Department, and your NHS.  We estimate ther were in excess of 300 people today standing up for the A&E....

In this blog post, kindly shared with us by Cassiobury Court, they unveil their latest infographic titled “cuts to addiction services in England and Wales since 2010”. Since 2010, successive Tory Governments have aimed to save public money by cutting addiction services. Since addiction is often stigmatised, perhaps these politicians feel justified in cutting these unarguably essential services.

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These cuts really started to take hold following the enactment of the Health and Social Care Act 2012. This Act meant addiction services is now solely commissioned by local authorities and not the NHS.

Before 2012, long term Government investment in addiction services saw year-on-year decreases in drug-related deaths. These improvements have now been utterly wiped out.

Why is this the case? Because under the NHS, local authorities’ spending on addiction treatment isn’t ring fenced. Most local authorities have seen their own budget reduced by the Government, and so addiction services have been chopped to help local authorities make savings required by these cuts.

An example of this injustice is in the City of Birmingham. Addiction services saw their budget cut from £26 to £19 in 2015-16.

Rises in Drug-Related Deaths since 2012

Following the enactment of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, drug-related deaths have sharply increased:

  • Deaths involving heroin and/or morphine doubled between 2012 and 2015 from 579 to 1,201.That’a 107% increase. The mortality rate for deaths involving heroin/morphine declined between 2008 and 2012, with a particularly sharp fall between 2009 and 2011. The recent reversal means the mortality rate in 2015 was the highest since records began in 1993
  • There were 2,479 drug related deaths involving both legal and illegal drugs registered in England and Wales in 2015. This was 48 per cent higher than 2005, and the highest since comparable records began in 1993

Sadly, these increases have occurred despite an overall decrease in the number of people using illicit drugs. In 2005/06, 10.5% of adults aged 16 to 59 had taken an illegal drug in the last year. This decreased to 8.4% in 2015/16.

Cuts in staffing

Staffing levels have been hit hardest by these cuts. Staffing cuts mean fewer psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses and clinical psychologists are available to assist people suffering from addiction issues. Addiction services are instead relying on doctors without specialist qualifications and volunteers.

The number of trainee addiction psychiatrists have reduced by 60% since 2006. In 2006, there were 52 trainee psychiatrists. In 2016, this number has decreased to 21. This means addiction services find it difficult to access sufficiently qualified staff members. This has decreased the quality of addiction services and diminished the safety of patient care.

Attacks on harm reduction treatment

Harm reduction is used to describe the methadone programme. This is when those addicted to heroin are given methadone as a ‘replacement’. Whilst the merits of this approach are debatable, thousands of people have come to depend on methadone to control their addiction to opiates, and going without really forces these people back onto street heroin.

Since 2012, local authorities have begun to limit the amount of time patients may stay on a methadone programme. Also, ‘payment by results’ contracts mean many local authorities are unwilling to offer the methadone programme to patients with complex mental health needs.

All this is putting strain on A&E services

The above state-of-affairs means many people are seeking out the assistance of A&E instead of specific addiction services. The number of hospital admissions in 2015/16 relating to drug poisoning was 15,074. This represents a 51% increase compared to 2005/05.

A solution to these problems

The Royal College of Psychiatrists proposes a three-part solution:

  1. A return to joint addiction service commissioning between the NHS and local authorities
  2. There must be at least 60 addictions psychiatrist training posts in England
  3. There can be no further cuts to local authorities’ budgets for these services

Now, finally for the infographic...

Below, we unveil the infographic visually representing the above facts. At the footer of the infographic, there is an embed code. You may copy this code to insert this infographic on to a blog post on your own website.



Addiction Services Infographic

Cuts To Addiction Services Since 2010 (an Infographic by Cassiobury Court)

In this blog post, kindly shared with us by Cassiobury Court, they unveil their latest infographic titled “cuts to addiction services in England and Wales since 2010”. Since 2010, successive...

How we Afford a Better Society - and How to Recognise it

When someone asks you , “How can we afford to spend more on our public services”, the simple answer is, “We can’t afford not to.”

Every day we see the effects of austerity policies, from boarded-up, depressing High Streets, poverty, and hungry children to decimated public services. We can’t go on like this.

Austerity was always a political ploy, unnecessary, and intentionally cruel, and it is a policy which propels us  further in a downward gloomy spiral. No one really benefits, no one is really happy in an increasingly divided society, where the only solution is to blame one another, where in reality we are all missing out, from what society could be.

And the only way out of this is to invest in our society towards better lives for us all. 

We are not short of labour, resources or land in order to invest in a society in which we can thrive, where people can live fulfilled lives. But people are without jobs, land and property is underused, held back by those in power, because it suits the Tory, capitalist philosophy, where it creates division, competition, greed - and ultimately war and hate too. And rich pickings for the very few.

We just need the political will to rebuild, to build a better society.

The government has the ability - and responsibility - to release money into the economy right now to get our economy moving efficiently again.  

 

As a sovereign state, the UK government controls its own currency, and can release as much as it needs, and so it should. It’s not like a household budget waiting for payday. I imagine the flow of currency like running a bath, you can run as much as you need, then turn off the tap when you’ve enough. And rather like a bath with an overflow, excess funds can be drawn off - and that’s where taxation comes in, preventing inflation, but in a fair, balanced way so that everyone is benefitting from the investment in the new and better society, and everyone is that bit happier. 

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The state’s currency is indeed the People’s money, but not ‘taxpayer’s’ because we don’t need to pay tax to use it. It’s there already. Money can be created by a computer keyboard whenever the government chooses to. Tax is not needed to pay for resources, because tax results from previous government spending, and is a way of ensuring a fair distribution. 

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When adequate money is circulating in the economy it doesn’t stay hidden away. People spend, and so it means more jobs, and so what comes around, is shared around. Like cycles in nature, water or carbon cycles, money circulates as it makes things happen. In a successful economy, no person or place is left behind. Poverty is unacceptable, and it is avoidable. 

  

A better society is one which puts people first, is sustainable, where every person can reach their potential, to learn, to enjoy leisure time, to enjoy good health and a good home.

We can envisage a society where everyone is caring for one another, everyone can contribute and participate, rather than blaming one another for the ills of a society caused by a flawed economy, backed only by the myth that funds are non existent. And this vision can be realised by a Labour government, determined to ensure an economy which really works for the many, not the few.

This was realised by the 1945 Labour government after the war, when despite the ravages of war, and rationing, there was investment in people, providing an NHS, homes for all and the welfare state, providing a safety net for all of us in times of misfortune. It was possible then because people came together with a strong will to build a better society. The people had seen the effects of divided people, greed, and mistrust. People came together by a united will for peace. And it worked. A whole generation benefitted from opportunities never seen before in their families. 

The right wing media frequently use a Shock Doctrine to keep people fearful and divided. Deprivation and fear can mean people look to blame each other rather than see it is caused by the flawed and unjust system and so hold back from change . This is why scare tactics are used by the wealthy establishment, reinforced by the right wing media who repeat the same adages so often they believe them to be true.

But as we have seen, out of adversity, out of fear and desperation, comes a determination to change society for the better for us all. We cannot afford to carry on with an economy which is leaving people homeless, dying on our streets, leaving children hungry. We cannot afford an economy which benefits the few, and not the many.

At Labour Party Conference 2017, Naomi Klein said:

“Moments of crisis do not have to go the Shock Doctrine route - they do not need to become opportunities for the already obscenely wealthy to grab still more.

They can also go the opposite way.

They can be moments when we find our best selves….. when we locate reserves of strength and focus we never knew we had.

We see it at the grassroots level every time disaster strikes.

We all witnessed it in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower catastrophe.” 

When we witness the potential of humanity, of hope and determination, we know we can achieve a better society.  We can afford a better society, and to make better use resources at our disposal.

There is so much potential in the people of Britain, and of the wider world.

We can’t afford not to use it. We can’t afford to waste any more lives.

 

We can't Afford NOT to Invest in a Better Society

How we Afford a Better Society - and How to Recognise it When someone asks you , “How can we afford to spend more on our public services”, the simple... Read more

This month the Policy Focus for discussion will be Healthcare for all.  (Labour Party Manifesto)

Section 7 covers three main areas.

  1. The NHS
  2. Towards a National Care Service
  3. Mental Health

How does this impact on Weston-super-Mare?

  • Weston General Hospital is facing cuts to A and  Department, Maternity and GP services are also facing cuts.
  • Our demographic has a higher than average elderly population requiring personal care.
  • Cuts to CAMHS  and adult mental health leaves the most vulnerable in our society at risk. 

Please also refer to NHS Composite Motion which was passed unanimously at Conference , September 2017

 

What are our priorities? What are our targets which we can focus on at the next general election and deliver better health and care ?

Discussions are open and feedback welcome. Screen Shot 2017-10-07 at 07.32.08.png

 

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Policy Focus: Healthcare for All

This month the Policy Focus for discussion will be Healthcare for all.  (Labour Party Manifesto) Section 7 covers three main areas. The NHS Towards a National Care Service Mental Health How... Read more

On November 4th 2017 Weston-super-Mare Constituency Labour Party, North Somerset Protect Our NHS, and North Somerset & Weston Trades Council will be holding a March and Rally in Weston-super-Mare to support the full 24/7 reopening of our local hospital's A and E Department.  We have also invited the Liberal Democrats, Green Party, and Conservative Party to take part.

The March starts at 12 Noon. We are organising speakers now, and they will be announced as they are confirmed

Please if you can support our campaign, come and march with us, ask the organisations you are members of to support us.  They can get in touch via the FB page detailed below, or they can email us at chair@westonlabour.org.uk.

We will be out on Weston-super-Mare High Street this weekend with our partners to campaign for the A and E again and to distribute details of the Rally.

Download our poster Here 

Download our Flyer Here

The campaign Twitter details are @SaveWestonAandE and #SaveWestonAandE. The event is on FB at bit.ly/SaveWestonAandE 

The Accident and Emergency Department at Weston-super-Mare General Hospital is under threat. since July 4th 2017 it has been closed for 10 hours, from 10 pm to 8am, every night.

With a resident population of nearly 220,000 in North Somerset is reliant on the hospital. Our above average elderly population is being put at risk.

During the summer our increasing tourist trade brings a huge summer surge, surely it's madness to reduce our emergency facilities? We had 200,000 visitors over the Air Show weekend (17-18 June 2017) alone! 

Our population is greater than that of neighbouring Bath and North East Somerset, but there has been no threat to their Accident and Emergency Department, there is no logic to the persecution of our local population.

The Weston Area Health Trust claim that this is down to patient safety concerns raised by a Care Quality Commission inspection done in the last few weeks, but in reality this has been planned as part of the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) for well over 6 months.

The Hospital Executive flatly denied this Closure was going to happen, and not without a full public consultation, when approached by the Weston Mercury http://www.thewestonmercury.co.uk/news/weston-general-hospital-a-e-rumours-1-5051622 

Only 6 Days later without consultation they announced the closure http://www.thewestonmercury.co.uk/news/weston-general-hospital-a-e-to-close-overnight-1-5060288

Local Parents now face a 30 mile journey if their child falls ill at night.

Would you want an extra 30 mile journey to your nearest open A&E if you were taken seriously ill in the night?

....and this is complicated by the current lack of sufficient ambulance cover across the whole of the West of England.

Contrary to the claims made by James Rimmer, Chief Executive of Weston General Hospital it's obvious that the downgrading can do nothing but damage patient safety, and we are concerned that this, so called, temporary solution will quickly become a permanent situation.

Weston's Conservative MP, John Penrose, agrees with the closure, calling it "essential", yet he made no mention of the closure during the General Election Campaign, which concluded only days before, even though this was raised at the local hustings he attended. 
http://www.thewestonmercury.co.uk/news/weston-general-hospital-a-e-closure-reaction-1-5060981

We have invited Mr. Penrose to attend the march and to speak of he so wishes to the rally.

The closure has shifted additional load onto our nearest neighbouring A&Es at Taunton Musgrove Park Hospital, and The Bristol Royal Infirmary; both of these hospitals are facing their own cuts in A&E services under the Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire Sustainability and Transformation Plan.

Why should the residents of Weston-super-Mare be collateral damage to this Government's unnecessary austerity cuts? Regardless of your political persuasion this must leave a nasty taste in teh mouth.  We need our A and E fully operational.

Our latest information suggests that the Health Trust is considering a plan to completely downgrade all A and E operations at our hospital leaving almost a quarter of a million people with nothing more than a Minor Injuries Unit and a walk in GP clinic.

Stand up on November 4th and show that you support the restoration of our needed hospital services in Weston-super-Mare.

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November 4th March and Rally for Weston A & E

On November 4th 2017 Weston-super-Mare Constituency Labour Party, North Somerset Protect Our NHS, and North Somerset & Weston Trades Council will be holding a March and Rally in Weston-super-Mare to...

In view of the overnight closure of the A & E department at Weston General Hospital, and reports of patients waiting up to two hours for an ambulance, these latest reports from GMB can only add to concerns. With reductions to public sector workers, now reported to be the lowest for seventy years, the Conservative government is neglecting staff and patients. 

 

GMB INVESTIGATION REVEALS OVERWORKED FRONTLINE AMBULANCE STAFF FORCED TO TAKE 80,000 SICK DAYS DUE TO STRESS
Twelve per cent of all paramedics and ambulance health care assistants in England were sick due to stress or anxiety last year.
GMB, the union for ambulance staff, has revealed 12 per cent of all ambulance staff were forced to take a total of more than 80,000 sick days due to stress last year. A total of 2,468 paramedics and health care assistants – or one in eight workers – had to take time off due to stress. The total number of days lost across England was 81,668 on the financial year 2016/17.
The shocking figures come from a series of Freedom of Information requests sent by GMB to all ten Ambulance Trusts in England. In two of the trusts – East Midlands Ambulance and North East Ambulance – a shocking 23 per cent and 22 per cent of frontline staff took sick days due to stress. [See note 1 for regional breakdown].
GMB is campaigning for the paramedic retirement age to be equalised with other physically demanding front-line emergency service roles, such as police officers and firefighters who are able to retire at 60. 

Kevin Brandstatter, GMB National Officer, said:
“These disturbing figures once again prove what we already know – that our frontline ambulance workers are in the midst a stress and anxiety epidemic.

“They are consistently overworked, underpaid and expected to do incredibly difficult jobs – such as dealing with the aftermath of the Grenfell disaster or Manchester bombings – without adequate staff or resources. “It’s no wonder almost 12 per cent of the whole workforce is sick with stress.

“Theresa May needs to stop buying her head in the sand and start listening to front-line ambulance workers.

“Workforce numbers haven’t kept pace with sharply rising demand.

“Forcing ambulance staff to work up to the age of 68 is another major cause of stress. There’s no justification for treating paramedics differently to comparable physically demanding front-line roles.

"The absences caused by staff shortages and overwork are already contributing to potential delays in the attending incidents.

“The absence of staff due to stress will only compound this situation.

“If any patients lose their lives as a result, the blame falls fairly and squarely on an uncaring Tory Government for not dealing with stress and anxiety of our frontline emergency staff.

“It’s time paramedics and other ambulance staff workers got the support they deserve.” 

[1] Paramedic and other ambulance staff absences due to stress, anxiety and related conditions in 2016/17 

 

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iGMB asked Ambulance Trusts to provide “details of how many of your paramedics and emergency care assistants have taken time of work due to stress in the financial year 2016 – 2017.”
Employment totals for the financial year 2016/17 are taken from the March 2017 ‘Organisation Tables’ of NHS England’s NHS Workforce Statistics - March 2017 publication: http://www.content.digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB24214

Stressed and Overworked Ambulance Staff forced to take 80,000 sick days

In view of the overnight closure of the A & E department at Weston General Hospital, and reports of patients waiting up to two hours for an ambulance, these latest... Read more

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