Labour pledges to pull NHS back from the brink in first 100 days

With MRI scanners unfit for purpose, hospitals unable to afford maintenance of priority medical equipment, theatres with unclean air – NHS boards warn of “extreme” risks across South East hospitals Labour pledges a relentless focus on the NHS in its first 100 days in government as new research reveals hundreds of “extreme” risks to patient and staff safety in hospitals across England.

The long-term impact that Tory and Liberal Democrat underfunding is having on our health service is exposed in official NHS Trust documents.

Analysis of more than 120 Trust board papers shows NHS Trusts are faced with hundreds of risks to patient safety classed as “catastrophic” or “extreme”, with the majority linked to lack of spending, staffing shortages or the failures of privatisation.

In government, Labour will immediately undertake a full audit of risks revealed by the research and prioritise capital spending – which Labour has already allocated – ensuring people and buildings are made safe.

Surrey And Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust’s board reports extreme risks due to two ultra clean air (“laminar flow”) theatres which have had to be shut down after their  ventilation systems and fire dampers failed standards, a third has failed tests and so can no longer be used as an ultra-clean air theatre. Consequently, the hospital has been unable to operate on a large range of orthopaedic procedures and its overall capacity has been significantly reduced. https://www.surreyandsussex.nhs.uk/boardpapers/2019-board-papers/

Last year (2018/19), across the NHS, there were 15,844 patient incidents “directly” related to estates and facilities services (an average of 70 incidents per acute, mental health and ambulance Trust) and 4,810 clinical incidents caused by estate and infrastructure failure. In 2018/19 there were also 1,541 fires recorded by NHS Trusts, with 34 people injured as a result. The cost of eliminating the maintenance repairs backlog in NHS Trusts is now £6.5 billion. £1.1 billion of this is high-risk maintenance and repairs.

NHS leaders have already warned this year that lack of investment in facilities was impacting patient safety. And last month GPs warned that winter pressures were likely to have an impact on patient safety, and 9 out of 10 hospital bosses felt staffing pressures were putting patient’s health at risk.

Earlier this year the Chief Inspector of Hospitals at the CQC warned that the NHS had made little progress in improving patient safety over the past 20 years, and NHS Providers published research that showed 8 out of 10 trust leaders felt that reduced investment in NHS facilities was compromising patient safety.

Peter Lamb, Labour Leader at Crawley: Council and Parliamentary Candidate has said:

“There can be few who now doubt that our NHS is in crisis and on the brink of collapse.

“If clinicians know what needs fixing but there is no money then clearly things have to change. The Tories have had nine years, we need a Labour government that will crack on and do it.

“The choice at this election is clear: we simply cannot afford five more years of the Tories running our health service into the ground. I’ve heard that time and again from local doctors here in Crawley during this campaign, they have been out on the streets supporting us. They see people in Crawley waiting longer for cancer treatment and operations, and more young people are unable to access the mental health care they need. It cannot go on and only a Labour government on the side of patients and staff, with a real rescue plan for our NHS can turn things around.

“So I welcome this pledge to address the issue within the first 100 days of a Labour government – because
people’s health and saving our NHS has to be an absolute priority.”

Sir Keir Starmer visits Crawley to launch Labour’s Manifesto for the South East

Following Shadow Brexit Secretary, Keir Starmer’s visit to Crawley to launch Labour’s Manifesto for the South East, Leader of Crawley Council and Labour’s Candidate for Crawley, Peter Lamb has welcomed Labour’s focus on individual regions across the UK and on the plan for our region specifically.

Speaking about the South East Manifesto, Peter said: “This region by region focus is exactly what Britain needs to rebuild after years of Conservative austerity.

“The poor levels of growth, low pay, and in-work poverty here in the South East are simply unacceptable. When work is no longer a certain route out of poverty and public services are at breaking point it is clearly time for real change.

“This manifesto sets out Labour’s priorities for the South East. They will kick start a Green Industrial Revolution to tackle the climate crisis while creating 110,000 good jobs for local people.

“Only Labour will rebuild our public services so that once again they are the best and most extensive in the world.

“Like Labour’s national manifesto these plans are all costed. They will be paid for by creating a fairer taxation system in which those with the broadest shoulders pay a little more and everyone pays what they owe. We need a South East for the many, not the few. This is the plan to make that happen.”

During the launch, Shadow Brexit Secretary, Keir Starmer said: “The South East has been held back by Tory and Lib Dem cuts for ten years.

“Since 2010, the South East has grown 40 per cent slower than London, and weekly wages are now £120 less than in the capital.

“Lib Dem and Tory cuts are why so many of us, or the people we love, have had to wait weeks in pain and worry for cancer treatment. They are why every Christmas, more and more people are sleeping on the pavements in the cold.

“They are why we are still not combatting the climate emergency. They’re even part of why our trains are crowded and late.

“This has to end. The South East, and the whole country, needs real change.”

Crawley’s Labour Council to deliver Ultrafast Gigabit Fibre technology to Crawley

There is an ever-increasing demand for high speed internet connectivity from both business and residents as additional demands are placed on our existing networks by improvements and changes in technology. Changes in working practices and increased use of technology produces particularly demanding requirements from Businesses for both high speed and high capacity networks. Gigabit Fibre technology can deliver this capability but is expensive to install and difficult to cost justify for individuals and businesses.

However, a solution is in hand as Crawley’s Labour run council propose to sign up for the installation of a gigabit fibre ‘backbone’ across the Town and Manor Royal providing both residents and businesses of all sizes the opportunity to keep up with the changing demands of their technology and delivering high speed networks to their door. This multi-million pound project will be managed and delivered by Crawley Borough Council working with a private sector partner and will attract both public and private investment. Once installed businesses and individuals will be able to sign-up for state-of-the-art fibre connections to the internet.

If all goes to plan the work to install the cabling will commence next year after completion of final contract negotiations.

Peter Lamb, Crawley Council Leader and Labour’s Candidate in Crawley, said: “The Council is determined to make sure that Crawley’s world class businesses are supported by the technology infrastructure they need to maintain their leading position in the region and globally. Public sector investment in the Ultrafast Gigabit Fibre backbone will deliver the underlying capacity to Crawley ahead of many other locations, giving our local companies a competitive advantage allowing them to prosper and continue providing high-quality well-paid employment for Crawley people. Residents will also benefit from the investment allowing them to have Ultrafast internet speeds directly into their home – whether for watching the latest movies or working from home – everyone will be a winner.”

Labour will boost Sussex Police’s gang unit to tackle surge in violence since Tory and Lib Dem cuts began

Diane Abbott, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary and Richard Burgon, Shadow Justice Secretary, have announced plans to expand Sussex Police’s Violence Reduction Unit. Sussex Police, which has seen a 76% rise in violent crime since 2014/5, will be given the extra staff to tackle its high rates of gang related violent crime.

In April 2018, Labour announced its support for Violence Reduction Units modelled on the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) in Glasgow, which is responsible for implementing the successful crime reduction initiative. Their approach of treating violence as a public health crisis has been widely credited for reducing violent crimes by around 40% over the last decade and murders reduced to their lowest level since 1976.

The expansion of Violence Reduction Units will be complemented by investment to tackle reoffending rates. Labour will fund innovative crime-busting pilot schemes with a £20m annual Justice Innovation Fund for Police and Crime Commissioners and local criminal justice boards. These schemes will develop and trial best practice in reducing re-offending.

Re-offending costs are estimated at £18bn per year with re-offending rates at 65% for those released following a short prison sentence.

Labour’s manifesto also commits to match in full the additional government resources announced for policing, after the Tories took 21,000 police off our streets.

Peter Lamb, Council Leader and Labour’s candidate in Crawley, said:  “We’ve all seen the impact of the Conservatives’ cuts in unleashing a wave of crime and antisocial behaviour in Crawley’s town centre and neighbourhoods.

“The Conservatives and the Lib Dems have spent a decade supporting brutal cuts to Sussex Police. There’s no way we can trust them to support our police officers in the future. It’s only by getting real officers back on the beat that we can tackle the problems residents are raising daily in our town.

Richard Burgon, Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary, said: “Under the Tories reoffending rates are far too high, meaning more victims of crimes and less safe communities. Labour will prioritise reducing the number of victims of crime and tackling the huge social and economic costs of offending.

“Our Criminal Justice Innovation Fund will help local experts invest in schemes that work best to tackle reoffending in their areas.”

Peter Meets with Crawley Surgical Consultant Mr Tim Campbell-Smith

After nearly 10 years of Tory austerity no organisation has been as impacted as our NHS. Swinging cuts to social care, the closure of children’s centres, the shortage of GPs has combined to result in an NHS on the brink of collapse.

On top of that, the impact of Brexit on the NHS’s ability to attract staff from other EU countries was causing grave concern as early as 2017, when the Nursing and Midwifery Council reported a 96% reduction in applications from other EU countries.

According to the government’s own figures, between 1 April 2019 – 30 June 2019 there were 90,992 advertised full-time equivalent vacancies in England, leaving the remaining workforce under extraordinary pressure, with doctors, nurses and allied professional groups facing a daily struggle to deliver the standard of care they were trained to.

In Crawley, registering with a GP in the town, let alone in your neighbourhood, is no longer a given.

Waiting times, even for urgent cancer referrals, are up and the statistics on cancelled operations show where the real cost is being felt. Last year, 78,981 operations were cancelled nationally. In our local trust there has been a near 30% rise in cancelled operations affecting 3,397 local people. The number of operations cancelled because of staffing issues and/or equipment failures has gone up by a third in the last two years.

It’s clear to all that our NHS is in a funding and staffing crisis.

Labour Parliamentary Candidate Peter Lamb said: “There can be little doubt that a combination of underfunding and failed recruitment strategies, has bought our NHS to its knees.

“Hearing first hand from local Consultant Surgeon, Tim Campbell-Smith was enlightening. The facts and figures tell a story but Tim sees every day the impact that this is all having on people right here in Crawley.

“Another five years under Tory control, with future U.S. trade deals clearly circling like wolves, will surely take the NHS we have all grown up with and depended on, tipped over the edge.”

Mr Tim Campbell-Smith said: “The NHS is on its knees in terms of funding, staffing and infrastructure. In my 25 years of service, I have never known it so run down, and the staff so demoralised. It needs serious sustained investment to get it back on its feet & only Labour can be trusted to deliver on this.”

Labour pledges a “housing revolution” with biggest council house building programme for decades

With council housing lists in Crawley now 30 years long, Labour pledges a “housing revolution” with the biggest council house building programme for decades.

Labour’s manifesto launched today (Thursday) will include new plans for the biggest council and social housing programme in decades to transform the lives of millions of people struggling to afford a decent home because of the housing crisis.

The new plans will be paid for with funding from Labour’s Social Transformation Fund. Half of Labour’s Social Transformation Fund – around £75bn over five years – will be allocated to housing.

The homes will be built to cutting edge design and green standards, with Labour citing the new, award winning Goldsmith Street council development in Labour-led Norwich as an example of what Labour’s modern council housing could look like.

Labour Parliamentary Candidate and Council Leader, Peter Lamb has welcomed the proposals: “As Leader at Crawley Council, addressing the desperate need for truly affordable housing in Crawley has been an absolute priority. That’s why I was so proud to show the Shadow Secretary of State for Housing around the brand new truly affordable housing we have delivered in Crawley when he visited last week.

“But even working as hard as we can, without changes in central government policy it will take another 30 years to house the 1,329 people we currently have on our waiting list. Those changes are now a core part of Labour policy.”

“A vote for Labour on 12 December is a vote for real change to real lives.”

John Healey, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, said:  “The next Labour Government will kick-start a housing revolution, with the biggest investment in new council and social homes this country has seen for decades.

“Labour’s transformational housing plans will mean thousands more genuinely affordable homes for people on ordinary incomes in every area of the country.

“Our modern council and social housing will be built to cutting-edge design and green standards providing a long-term investment in our country’s future.”

Crawley Council Leader and Labour Parliamentary Candidate, Peter Lamb welcomes Labour’s proposals on adult retraining and study

Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Rayner has announced plans to ensure everyone has access to education and training throughout their life to end skills shortages and allow our economy to rise to the opportunities of the future.

Labour is pledging to put vocational education on a par with university degrees and deliver a radical expansion of lifelong learning to make sure no one is shut out of education. The plans will enable adults to return to study for free and ensure everyone has the time and support they need to study and retrain.

Peter Lamb, Crawley’s Council Leader and Parliamentary Candidate for Labour said; “The Centre for Cities has warned that Crawley’s jobs market is the most risk of automation in the UK. Under Labour, Crawley Borough Council has created the town’s first ever jobs and skills plan to help residents to access the training they need for the jobs of the future, but we can’t do it alone. Labour’s commitment to enabling adult access to retraining and study are a vital contribution to helping us to tackle one of the biggest issues facing our town.”

Angela Rayner, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said: “For many, adult education is too expensive, too time-consuming or too difficult to get into.

“People have been held back for too long. We will make free education a right to ensure we have the skills we need to allow our economy to rise to the opportunities of the future. We’ll make sure no one is shut out of education by giving people the support, time and funding they need to train so that we have the skills we need to meet the changing nature of work and tackle the climate emergency.”

Labour Council delivers for Town Centre Business

Town centres across the country are struggling with store closures and empty shops but Crawley Town centre is booming despite this, thanks to Crawley Council leader Peter Lamb’s delivery of the Councils ‘Town Centre Regeneration Programme’. The latest milestone has been achieved when Town Centre businesses voted to form a ‘Business Improvement District’.

Since taking control of the Council in 2014 Cllr Peter Lamb has overseen a continuous programme of delivery including investment in the public realm (e.g. Queens Square reworked and Queensway nearing completion) and encouraging private sector developers to bring forward schemes (e.g. Broadway residential development, Arora Station redevelopment, Crawley College STEM centre and more).

The £60 million Crawley Growth Programme – a partnership between CBC, West Sussex County Council, the Coast to Capital LEP, Manor Royal Business District and Metrobus – is also delivering for Crawley Town Centre with a programme of highway and sustainable transport improvements underway. In fact, Cllr Peter Lamb was the first council leader in West Sussex to sign a growth deal with WSCC.

And now Town Centre Businesses have voted to form a Business Improvement District designed to raise a further £2.5 million of levy funding to be used for the benefit of Town Centre businesses and to create a formal body to represent the diverse interests of Town Centre business. The Town Centre BID has an ambitious programme of work in front of it when it starts in April next year including:

  • A year long calendar of Town Centre events
  • A Food and Farmers market
  • Promoting Business in the Town Centre and Historic High Street
  • Showcasing Town centre businesses
  • Dedicated Town Centre focussed Social Media and website
  • Business networking facilities
  • And more!

The Town Centre BID will be the second BID in Crawley after the highly successful Manor Royal Business District presenting opportunities for joint working and promotion of a ‘Crawley Business Offer’.

Peter Lamb, Crawley Council Leader and Labour’s Candidate in Crawley, said: “The Council has supported the creation of the new Town Centre BID as it will further improve the Business environment in Crawley and help to maintain and grow a successful Crawley economy. Under my leadership we have a track record of delivering for Crawley businesses across the Town helping to maintain a strong retail offer for both residents and visitors alike and to provide good, well paid jobs for Crawley people.

This is our latest step towards making Crawley ‘the place for Business’ in the South East providing good jobs and opportunities for Crawley residents young and old. We plan to continue to roll out further initiatives in the future so ‘watch this space’!”

Peter Lamb condemns impact on Crawley people of Tory underfunding for our NHS

New data obtained by Labour under the Freedom of Information Act has revealed a huge increase in the number of cancelled operations caused by staffing issues and equipment failures – in other words for non-clinical reasons.

Last year, 78,981 operations were cancelled nationally. These operations, some classed as urgent, were cancelled at the last minute often after the patient had already arrived at hospital. The number of operations cancelled because of staffing issues and equipment failures have each increased by a third in the last two years.

Figures for Surrey and Sussex NHS Trust show that there has been close to a 30% increase in these cancelled operations over the past three years affecting a total of 3397 local people.

Commenting on the findings, Labour Parliamentary Candidate Peter Lamb said: “The simple truth is that under the Tories, patients always wait longer for vital care, but when you see really local figures like these you realise it is a price being paid by way too many decent people right here in Crawley.

“This is about the lack of proper funding for our NHS. With over 100,000 staff vacancies nationally and increasing cuts to the Capital Budgets the staff that remain come under enormous pressure. It’s only thanks to our amazing NHS staff that these figures aren’t worse. They are clearly doing their best every day, but without adequate funding their hands are tied.

“That’s why this general election is about the future of the NHS and ensuring quality care for all.  Only Labour will fully fund our NHS and safeguard it from a Trump deal sell off that could cost the NHS millions every week.”

Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, said: “That so many more people in pain and distress are forced to endure cancelled operations, including increasingly on the day they were supposed to have treatment, is a shameful indictment of a decade of Tory cutbacks running our NHS into the ground.”

Peter Lamb welcomes Labour’s Broadband announcement which would benefit 45,875 homes and businesses in Crawley

In a major announcement Labour has set out plans to deliver free full fibre broadband for all by bringing parts of BT into public ownership and creating a new British Broadband public service. In Crawley, 45,875 households and businesses (98.8 per cent of all premises) will get a stronger, more reliable internet connection.

The announcement is central to Labour’s plans to transform our country and economy and bring communities together in an inclusive and connected society.

Leader of Crawley Council and Labour Parliamentary Candidate, Peter Lamb said; “This is an important announcement and a welcome one for businesses and people in Crawley. By creating this new public service a Labour Government will deliver the fastest broadband free to everyone. That will transform the future of
our economy and society.

“The internet is no longer a luxury, it is a central part of our lives, an essential utility. It brings opportunities for work, creativity, entertainment and friendship and those unable to afford or access broadband find themselves excluded from an important part of 21 st century life.

“That’s why it makes complete sense to make superfast broadband a public service, because it will help create the more inclusive and connected society we all want to see.”

Rebecca Long-Bailey, Labour’s Shadow BEIS Secretary has said: “As Shadow Business Secretary, I know all too well the importance of strong digital infrastructure for businesses and industry across the UK.”

“Imagine if all those currently shut out of the labour market, such as those with childcare or caring responsibilities, those unfairly disadvantaged due to disability or older people, could participate fully through free, fast internet access from wherever they are.”

“If we are to be at forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and a global economic player, we must speed up the adoption of technologies across our economy.”

“But this can only be done if the best possible digital infrastructure is in place.”