Local MP for Denton and Reddish, Andrew Gwynne, has today backed the Labour Party’s new pledges for NHS staff; on pay, bursaries and safe staffing levels.
Widespread shortages of paediatric doctors and nurses, as well as on general admission wards, has meant that care for children and patients more widely has been put under increasing risk according to independent research by Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
According to a RCPCH report, in the year ending 2015 around one third – 31% – of the UK’s 195 NHS trusts and health boards said they had temporarily closed paediatric wards due to staff shortages. Forty-one per cent of neonatal units had to refuse new patients. There is currently an estimated deficit of more than 200 child health specialists across the NHS, including 133 consultants, according to the RCPCH.
Outlining Labour’s promise to NHS staff while speaking at a UNISON Health Conference in Liverpool (26 April), Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, Jonathan Ashworth MP, pledged to:
- Lift the 1% pay cap on NHS staff (in place since 2010).
- Re-introduce training bursaries for nurses, abolished under the Tories.
- Introduce legislation to ensure safe staffing levels in all hospitals across England.
Labour pledged it would introduce safe staffing measures including legislation requiring trusts to have regard for patient safety when setting staff levels and would ask NICE to consider legally enforceable staffing ratios. Labour would also introduce laws to ensure patient safety takes priority over financial considerations.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“NHS staff have been taken for granted for too long by the Tories. Deep cuts to pay, year in, year out has meant hard working staff are leaving the NHS in their droves with young people being put off before they have even started.”
“On top of that you have the scandal of nurses and midwives having to apply for pay day loans and visit food banks just to make ends meet.”
“We created the NHS and only Labour can it.”