Politically Speaking in the Wakefield Express

It’s been a relatively mild winter so far. Nevertheless, at this time of year, the NHS is always under more pressure that at other times.

Last Friday I called in at the West Riding Nursing Home in Lofthouse to meet residents and learn about new measures introduced locally to help our NHS cope with winter pressures.

West Rising, a Bupa nursing home, now has had 15 new community beds funded by the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust. These beds are used by NHS patients who have been in Pinderfields but who aren’t yet well enough to come home.

Staff told me that by being able to recuperate in a home-from-home setting, instead of a hospital ward, patients are given a clear message that they’re getting better and on the road to recovery. And of course, extra beds in a local nursing home also frees-up acute beds at Pinderfields Hospital for people who need to be in hospital.

Among those I spoke to on Friday was a lady recovering from a badly broken leg and another with a broken wrist. They told me how much nicer it is to be able to recover away from hospital without the constraints of fixed visiting times but where there are still medical staff to keep an eye on them.

Those I spoke to had positive stories about their experience of our local health service.

This is one example of how our local NHS – the Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust and our GPs – is working hard to keep the show on the road at a time of significant change as a result of the controversial top-down reorganisation introduced by the Government. £3 billion was spent on a reorganisation programme and I’ve always said the money would have been better spent on care for patients.

So locally I’ve been asking people about their experiences since the changes came in a year ago. More than a third of people who responded to a recent survey from me said they were finding it harder to get an appointment to see their GP. Even more worryingly was the number telling me about their concerns about the quality of the care they have experienced since the reorganisation.  Almost half said they thought quality of the care was worse than a year ago. And people have raised particular concerns with me around delays in getting test results back and about longer waits for referrals for suspected cancer.

Our NHS is our proudest institution in this country. I’m extremely worried by what I’m hearing from people locally about the impact the changes are having. Anyone in my Morley and Outwood constituency who has particular concerns should get in touch ed@edballs.com<mailto:ed@edballs.com> / 0113 253 9466.

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Posted February 14th, 2014 by Ed