Conservatives Fail to Deal With NHS Blackhole


The autumn statement shows a Brexit blackhole at the centre of government finance. Parliament has heard that hundreds of billions will be taken out of the economy just when we need it most.

Liberal Democrats across our area and the country have been pushing the government to put their money where their mouth – with an immediate £4 billion cash injection to stop the impending winter NHS funding crisis.

Commenting on the Autumn Statement, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said:

“Figures forecast a rise in unemployment and a fall in living standards.

“We are seeing a drop in tax receipts of £8.2 billion over the next two years alone. That’s enough to fund over 330,000 nurses. In response the Chancellor offered nothing but reheated headlines and recycled announcements.

“He and his Government are not competent to deal with the challenges ahead. They are going to hit people in the pocket through their hapless handling of Brexit, and Labour can offer no opposition, having backed them on Brexit.

“Yet, the Liberal Democrats have consistently campaigned for more funding for the NHS as we are on the edge of another winter crisis and our health service is at breaking point but yet the government has turned a deaf ear to these calls.

“Sadly now patients will pay the price. There is also nothing for public sector workers, our doctors, teachers and armed forces, who deserve a proper pay rise.”

Councillor James Baker leader of Calderdale Liberal Democrats said:

“Before the referendum we were promised £350 million a week for the NHS.”

“I know the Conservatives have never really backed the NHS, but I did think they might be good enough to at least live up to their word. ”


It is a mistake to force a new contract on junior doctors – Norman Lamb

“It is a mistake to force a new contract on junior doctors when there is clearly still such strong opposition to its terms. There is a serious risk that large numbers of junior doctors will leave the NHS to go and work abroad, which will have serious consequences for the health service and patient safety.

“Growing demand for services, coupled with a funding settlement which doesn’t keep up, are the fundamental problems facing health and care and yet the Government is refusing to take real action to address this.

“What we need is a cross party commission to fundamentally review  NHS and care funding, to ensure we can give a fair deal to both patients and NHS staff in years to come.

“Forcing changes to the junior doctors contract is completely the wrong thing for the Government to be focussing on at this critical time in the future of the NHS”.

Lamb comments on suspension of Junior Doctors strike

Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Norman Lamb said:

“This suspension of the strike is welcome and it shows how serious the Junior Doctors are to resolve the issues at stake, it is now up to the Government to step up to the plate and do their part too.
“The Government now need to come back, really negotiate and take the threat of imposing a new contract away.

“We need a cross party commission to look at the future of NHS and social care funding. It is crucial we come up with a new settlement to ensure stability in the years to come and a fair deal for patients and NHS staff”.

Norman Lamb to call for a commission into the health and social care crisis

Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Norman Lamb will today (Wednesday) launch proposals for an unprecedented cross party commission into health and social care.

Norman Lamb, who has received the backing from Conservative and Labour former Health Secretaries Stephen Dorrell and Alan Milburn, believes that only a full non-partisan commission will properly deal with the crisis in health and social care.

They have been joined in this call by NHS survival – a group of 8,000 doctors, patients and and members of the public committed to ensuring the survival of the health service.

The former care minister believes the commission would be a ‘Beveridge Report’ for the 21st Century, and be the first of its kind since the creation of the NHS and welfare state. Its aim is to engage with the public, staff in the NHS and care services and civic society on the massive challenge the NHS and care services face.

To mark his call for the commission Norman Lamb will use a 10 minute rule bill in Parliament, and will call for an investigation into the crisis being faced by the health and social care sectors.
The NHS funding gap is expected to be £30bn

NHS and Foundation Trusts are facing a projected £2.2bn deficit

The Health Foundation has estimated that there will be a £6bn funding gap in Social Care by 2020

Norman Lamb said: “The NHS and social care face an existential crisis. Demand for services continues to rise year on year but funding is failing to keep up. The position in social care is perhaps even more serious.

“Growing pressures on services are so severe that all parties must come together to fundamentally re-think how we can guarantee the future of the NHS and social care services.

“The Government cannot avoid this issue any longer. Establishing this commission will show they are serious about protecting these vital public services.”

Victory – Here is the People’s Commission Report to Download

Calderdale Liberal Democrats have been arguing over this past week that the People’s Commission report be released to the public before the Council meeting on the 9th February. Our argument is that people should have a right to let their Councillors know what they think of the report before that meeting, so the Council debate can be informed by public opinion.

We have also argued that as the People’s Commission is a report to a public meeting it is covered by access to information rules contained within the 1985 local government act. This law stipulates that non-confidential reports must be made available to the public before the meeting. We think there was a strong legal argument in addition to the morale argument as to why it should be published.

Today we have been informed that a copy of the report has been leaked to the press. We are not aware who leaked the report to the press, and ours was a point of principle that it should have been made freely available. In light of the press obtaining a copy a decision has now finally been made that the report will be released to the public. It’s a shame this has only arisen due to the report having been leaked, the Council should have published the report it’self on principle.

Regardless this is a victory for openness and transparency over the wishes of Conservative and Labour members of the Commission who sought to try and keep this report confidential and hidden from the public until after Councillors had debated it. We are now re-publishing the report on our website so it is freely available for everyone.


Liberal Democrats call for open publication of the report of the People’s Commission

Calderdale Liberal Democrats have expressed dismay that the report of the Council’s People’s Commission into health and social care services is being kept under wraps until a Special Council meeting on Monday February 9th.

Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Cllr Janet Battye said: “This has been a good piece of cross-party working and we’ve agreed on the findings and recommendations to the Council meeting, so I really don’t understand why the Conservative and Labour members of the Commission don’t seem to want it to be made available to the public at the same time as it’s sent to Councillors in advance of the Council meeting.”

“We’re all concerned about health and social care services, and the real worries about funding and whether there are enough services in the right place. The Commission examined these and has drawn what I think are some sensible well thought through conclusions and recommendations. I don’t think that there are any surprises in the report.”

“It seems to me to be sensible and helpful to the debate at the Special Committee and Council meeting that our colleagues in the Health Service and local people have an opportunity to read through the report so that they know what we’re thinking.”

“There is no confidential or commercially sensitive information in the report, so I fail to understand why people from other political parties don’t want the public to be able to see and read the report until after the Council meeting. I call on them to change their minds in the public interest”

Councillor James Baker Deputy Group leader said “It’s called the People’s Commission but Conservative and Labour Councillors don’t want the people to see it until after Councillors have had early access to the report and a chance to debated it themselves. Other parties talk the talk about openness and transparency, but they don’t walk the walk.”

NHS Funding

The Liberal Democrats have today set out how we will safeguard the NHS for the future. Under Liberal Democrat spending plans, NHS funding will be at least £8bn higher per year in real terms by 2020.

The Liberal Democrats are the only political party to set out a credible road map for how we will safeguard the NHS over the next parliament.

This is in response to the Five Year Forward View published by the Chief Executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens. In his report, Stevens called for a real term funding boost of £8bn per year by 2020/21 – on top of efficiency savings and further reforms to the NHS.

To achieve this increase in funding by 2020/21, we will do three things:

1. We will maintain the additional £2bn that the Liberal Democrats successfully secured in the Autumn Statement for 2015/16.

2. In addition to this funding, as we set out at our Autumn Conference, we will invest a further £1bn in real terms in 2016/17 which we will then also maintain in future budgets. This will be paid for by capping pensions tax relief for the very wealthiest (saving £500m); aligning dividend tax with income tax for those earning over £150,000 (saving £400m); and scrapping the Conservative shares for rights scheme (saving £100m).

3. Once we have finished the job of tackling the deficit in 2017/18, we will increase health spending in line with growth in the economy.

But, as the Stevens Report makes clear, additional funding in the NHS alone is not enough. That is why on top of injecting more funding in the NHS, we will also commission a non-partisan fundamental review of NHS and social care finances in 2015, before the next Spending Review, in order to assess the pressures on NHS budgets and the scope for efficiencies. This will allow us to set multi-year budgets that will be sufficient to maintain and improve the current standard of NHS services, including keeping waiting times down.
We will focus additional funding on two key priorities that will help reduce cost pressures in other areas to help NHS funding remain sustainable:

1. Mental Health. We want to end the discrimination against mental health which has existed for too long in the NHS and we have pledged £500m extra a year (from the £1bn mentioned above) to support this from 2015/16 onwards.

2. Prevention. Keeping people healthier for longer and supporting people (especially the growing number of people living with long term conditions like diabetes) to stay as healthy as possible, getting care closer to home.

By contrast, Labour have pledged £2.5bn only to be fully introduced by the third year of the next parliament and have not committed to additional real terms increases beyond that. The Conservatives have made no specific real terms funding commitments.

Neither Labour or the Tories have a credible response to the funding challenges that the NHS faces.

Labour’s running of the NHS in Wales is nothing short of a national scandal.

If English voters want to see what a Labour health service will look under Ed MIliband they should look no further than Wales. Under Labour A&E targets have never been met, budgets have been slashed and urgent cancer treatment target are routinely missed. They may be the party of Mid-Staffs but their record in Wales is just as shocking. Labour uses the language of equality but poor services do poor people down

Labour in Wales:

  • 8% cut to the health budget in Labour-run Wales.
  • A&E targets have never been met.
  • Over 40% of patients wait more than 6 weeks for their diagnostic test.
  • The last time the urgent cancer treatment target was met was in 2008.
  • Referral to treatment targets are routinely missed.
  • There’s no cancer drugs fund.
  • Four out of six health boards in Wales have a higher than average mortality rate.
  • Worst ambulance response times in UK.

Commenting on the new Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary candidate for Halifax Mohammad ILYAS said:

Health is another big issue in the area.Ensure that everyone can access to NHS services in shortest time. Liberal Democrats support to provide these services on local level. We understand the importance of family and how relatives help take care of one another, looking after each other,so that ‘s why Liberal democrats announced plans to help support, who cares for sick or disabled family members.Under lib dem, government around one million carers in the UK would benefit from an annual bonus.
Liberal Democrats recognise the invaluable work of carers and understand how important respite is to them.The bonus, which would be worth £250 by the end of the next parliament ,will be made as an annual payment and can be spent on whatever the carer chooses.It would put extra money in the hands of those who needs it,leaving them free to make there own decision on how best to spend it.

A £7.million investment by NHS England to creat 50 new inpatient beds for children and young people and better case management ,so that children with with specialist needs get the right care in the right place as close as possible to their homes and families.
Recently calderdale Lib Dem had campaigned to keep A&E in Halifax .so local people can have access to A&E easily in shortest time whenever they needed.

To build a fair society health has got to be a priority for everyone .


People’s Commission: nearly there ?

Councillor Janet Battye reports on her work on the People’s Commission: 

We’ve spent most of the last two days working on this: yesterday, we visited the local hospitals. I was only able to go on the visit to Huddersfield hospital in the morning (I know Calderdale Royal Infirmary rather better). We started with a guided tour of A and E, and a discussion with the consultant who explains how it works and what the dilemnas are. At 10.00am on a Wednesday morning, it seemed fairly calm and quiet. There seem to be two routes through: either accident or illness. The most acutely ill or injured are taken elsewhere – primarily to Leeds. Apparently with different sizes of population in Greater Huddersfield (240,000) and Calderdale (200,000), Calderdale people make greater use of A and E. The major problem is that of recruiting sufficient senior medical staff to run two A and E Departments (although they’re managed together by the Senior consultant we talked with). We were also taken to see the Paediatric Assessment Unit: both hospitals provide A and E services for children although the main paediatric services are in Halifax.

We started talking with the hospital Managers about the proposals in the Strategic Review and this carried on in the formal meetings of the People’s Commission. First up was a discussion with the GPs from the Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS England. They emphasised to us the importance of getting community services integrated and right first. In their view, there are other ways of providing hospital services other than the Acute Trust’s proposals which is why more work needs doing on them before any action is taken. The CCG purchase 90% of their hospital services from the Acute Trust (the rest are the most specialist services) so their relationship with the Acute Trust is important.

And then we spent an afternoon in the People’s Commission talking with the Acute Trust’s Chief Executive and Senior Managers. The question about whether we can see the “Outline Business Case” (ie their more detailed proposals about how they would like to provide services). It felt difficult (to me) to get clear answers from the Trust and I tried to press them on what their core business is. I think that their answer was District General hospital-type services and community health services (District Nurses, Schools Nurses etc). They had some visionary ideas about how health services can develop and be much more integrated with social care. A key question for us was about the future of Calderdale RI (and the PFI) and I’m not sure that was really answered. There was constant reference to no decisions having been taken about the Strategic Review, but their highest priority is patient safety.

We’re meeting next for two days in mid-November when we’re expecting to talk with Healthwatch, look at some information that local people have sent us, talk with more GPs, begin to pull issues out about health and social care in Calderdale, and shape recommendations.



Labour party attempt to exclude Liberal Democrats from local parliamentary debates

The Calderdale Labour party is attempting to exclude Liberal Democrats from a series of debates on the future of the NHS and the General Election in 2015. When these debates were proposed, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate Alisdair Calder McGregor immediately requested a full, open and honest debate from all sides. Labour say they want debate on the future of the NHS but then seek to exclude other political parties, and views. That’s not how democracy should work.

In an email to other participants of the event Labour party organiser Adam Wilkinson states “We do not feel it would be right or fair for there to be two people representing the government – both of whom support the Health and Social Care Act. We therefore do not agree to the inclusion of the Liberal Democrats on this occasion.”

Commenting Alisdair Calder McGregor Liberal Democrat PPC for Calder Valley said “The Liberal Democrats have a very different view from both the Conservative Party and Labour about how the NHS should operate. In Government we have ensured an extra 6,000 new Doctors have started work since 2010. It was Liberal Democrats who stopped Conservative privatisation plans and reversed some of Labour’s policies which meant private health companies got special favours. Perhaps Labour are scared we will draw attention to their own record of privatisation and their disastrous PFI deal that has cost Calderdale Royal Hospital millions and puts services at risk.

We will happily debate any selected parliamentary candidates from any party. As soon as the Green Party, UKIP or anyone else select a candidate, we would like them to be included too.”