£500 million funding boost set to benefit local hospitals

Lynne Featherstone MP outside the WhittingtonLynne Featherstone MP has today welcomed news that two local hospitals will receive a share of £500 million extra funding from the Coalition Government.

The London North Middlesex and Whittington hospitals are set to receive £3.8 million and £2.96 million respectively, to support their A&E services over the coming winter.

The money could go towards employing more consultants in order to increase A&E capacity; improving community and primary care services to prevent A&E admissions; and integrating health and social care teams to prevent re-admittance to A&E.

The extra money, which has been welcomed by NHS England and the Foundation Trust Network, will also be available next year.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green Lynne Featherstone said:

“Some hospitals are having to cope with more and more people in A&E, and admissions are set to increase further as winter draws closer.

“So I’m very glad to see the Coalition Government is acting now to make sure that the extra funding goes to the hospitals which need it most, and to ensure that patients receive a great, safe service even with the added pressures the cold weather brings.

“I will be contacting the two local Hospitals – the Whittington and North Mid – and finding out what they plan to spend the money on.”

Lynne Featherstone MP joins the fight against breast cancer

Lynne Featherstone MP supporting Breast Cancer Campaign's  ‘wear it pink’Lynne Featherstone, Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, has again joined the fight against breast cancer by taking part in Breast Cancer Campaign’s biggest fundraiser, ‘wear it pink’ day.

Over the last 10 years, ‘wear it pink’ has raised £23 million, and on Friday 25 October 2013 people will come together in schools, colleges and businesses throughout the country to raise funds for Breast Cancer Campaign’s lifesaving research.

The Breast Cancer Campaign will use the money raised from ‘wear it pink’ for its researchers, so they have the best possible chance to find the cure.

Fundraising packs, information and registration for ‘wear it pink’ are available here.

Lynne Featherstone MP commented:

“Every year in the UK around 50,000 women and around 400 men are diagnosed with breast cancer.

“In the past, I have fought hard to ensure all women in Haringey and North London have access to breast cancer screening.

“Sadly though, 12,000 women and 80 men die from this disease. This is why we need to support the Breast Cancer Campaign’s fundraising efforts – so they can continue to fund research which will one day lead to a cure. So join me, wear something pink and donate £2, it’s really as simple as that.

The latest on the Whittington

Here’s my most recent Ham and High column about the Whittington Hospital

Last week, the Whittington Hospital Board released their revised strategy for the Hospital’s future. And it is certainly an improvement on their first attempt!

The Whittington Hospital Board sure did give us a scare in January, when they announced that they would be selling hospital buildings and reducing staff and beds – without any public consultation .

As well as being a local MP, the Whittington is my local hospital, and has been for decades. Like everyone, I was concerned and fearful about the Hospital’s future.

The local Liberal Democrats, residents and I had campaigned hard back in 2010 to save the A&E – as the then Labour Government attempted to close it down. We thankfully saved it then, and I fully intended to do the same this time.

That’s why we launched a petition in January, calling on the Whittington Board to pause, listen to residents and assure us that there would be no loss of services without equal or better replacements in place.

Unlike some – we didn’t go out all guns blazing calling for no change at all. We recognise that the Hospital will have to make some changes to secure its long term future – but community consultation and no loss of hospital services are of paramount importance.

After meeting the Hospital Board regularly, and collecting a whopping 3,600 local resident signatures on our petition, they agreed to our demands. They assured us that there would be no loss of service, and agreed to pause and listen to residents.

Lynne Featherstone and Haringey Liberal Democrats celebrate Whittington success

This was a fantastic victory for local people power. The listening exercise gave us all a chance to tell the Whittington what we thought about their plans for our Hospital – and the result was a revised strategy! I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to every resident who signed our petition and made the Board see sense.

As for the strategy now – two buildings that were earmarked for sale have been saved, while two others will be subject to a community consultation. The Hospital’s maternity unit will still see a £10million investment, and plans for an ambulatory day care centre to support the A&E will go ahead. Beds will not be lost unless they are not needed, and there will be no significant reduction in staff.

And in other good news – the Hospital are now in no rush to push through any changes. Thanks to Lib Dem work in Government, the deadline for Hospitals to make changes and become Foundation Trusts – set by the previous Labour Government – has been removed. This means Hospitals like the Whittington can progress under considerably less pressure.

The Haringey Lib Dems and I will of course continue to push hard for high quality health services for our community as the details of these plans are worked out – and keep residents updated on any opportunities that arise for them to have their say.

Lynne Featherstone MP reacts to revised Whittington strategy

Lynne Featherstone MP outside the WhittingtonLynne Featherstone MP has today commented on the Whittington Hospital’s revised estate and clinical strategy. Two buildings earmarked for sale have been saved, while two others will now be subject to a community consultation. The hospital’s maternity unit will still see a £10million investment.

The Board still plan to integrate care into the community – where it is ‘in patients’ best interests based on clinical evidence.’

The Hospital Board first announced their future plans in January without consultation. The estate strategy, which involved sale of buildings and land at the north of the site, caused particular concern among local residents and trust members.

Lynne Featherstone MP launched a petition calling for the Whittington to listen to residents and give assurances that no services will be lost until equal or better are in place.  The Liberal Democrat MP also held a public meeting.

The Board agreed to the Liberal Democrat petition demands – assuring there would be no loss of service, and agreeing to enter into a listening exercise. The results of this listening exercise are reflected in the revised strategy.

Haringey Lib Dem health spokesperson, Cllr David Winskill commented:

“The direction of travel in the revised document is right. Integrated care will produce a better outcome but only with the proper support of social care agencies.

“We still have questions regarding where Haringey is with designating services, and we need to know a bit more regarding health services that the Whittington proposes to place in the community.”

Hornsey and Wood Green MP Lynne Featherstone commented:

“It is vital that the Board take the necessary steps to secure the long term future of the hospital – but community involvement and consultation is paramount when any change is made.

“Over 3000 local residents signed the Liberal Democrat petition calling on the Whittington Board to pause their plans, listen to residents, and ensure that no services are lost.  I’m glad that the Board heeded these calls by undertaking the listening exercise and giving us assurances that no services will be lost until equal or better are in place.

“As a result of the listening exercise, two buildings have been saved and the sale of the other two is now subject to further community consultation. The revised strategy also incorporates a welcome £10 million investment in maternity to improve the Hospital’s service and increase their capacity.

“My Haringey Lib Dem colleagues and I will continue to monitor the situation closely – particularly in regard to the implementation of integrated community care.”

See the revised strategy here: http://ourfuture.whittington.nhs.uk/changes-to-plans/

Whittington Hospital set to announce a rethink..?

News has broken about the Whittington Hospital. At a Camden Council meeting last night, the Hospital’s medical director Dr Greg Battle told councillors that there has been a ‘complete rethink’ of their strategy.

The controversial hospital strategy – announced in January without consultation – would have seen hospital buildings sold and money reinvested in other services. It also included a reduction in hospital staff and beds, as more care is moved into the community.

Understandably this caused great concern. That’s why the Lib Dems and I campaigned for months to get the hospital to listen to residents – and for no loss of services. After presenting our petition signatures, the hospital agreed to engage residents in their plans, take their views on board and amend their strategy accordingly.

Dr Battle’s comments indicate that this has happened – and in that respect, a rethink is welcome – and potentially a great success for the Lib Dems and local residents.

However, I would urge everyone to err on the side of caution at the moment. Dr Battle has pre-empted the hospital’s official announcement – and we do not know the full details yet. I am meeting the board on Friday, and will be sure to get confirmation and assurances then.

I have also contacted the acting Chairman and Chief Executive of the hospital to attempt to get concrete information more quickly.

Watch this space.

Lynne Featherstone MP presents 3,600 strong petition to Whittington Board

Lynne Featherstone MP and Cllr David Winskill (Haringey Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Health) outside the Whittington hospital with the Liberal Democrat petition. Local MP Lynne Featherstone has today formally presented a 3,600 strong petition to the Whittington Board, as their ‘listening exercise’ comes to an end.

The petition calls for Whittington Hospital to ensure that no hospital services are lost and no property sold without first conducting proper public consultation and putting equal or better local replacement services in place.

The MP for Hornsey and Green launched the petition in January, after the Hospital Board announced that they would be selling off buildings in the north of the site and reinvesting money in existing services. The Board were heavily criticised for their lack of consultation on the plans.

Following pressure from local residents and the Liberal Democrats, the Hospital Board paused their plans and entered into a period of public engagement. The Board will now consider the responses before rereleasing their plans for the future of the hospital.

Lynne Featherstone MP said:

“3,600 residents have made their voices loud and clear – there should be no property sold or services lost without equal or better services being in place.

“Ever since the Board announced changes, the Haringey Lib Dems and I have been out on the doorstep, communicating with residents and asking for their support.

“We do not oppose change that will improve the hospital and secure its future – but it is vital that no services are lost and that residents get to have their say.

“I want to say a big thank you to everyone who signed our petition. I will be keeping a close eye on the Whittington and let residents know as and when I get any updates.”

Lynne Featherstone MP on mission to help save hearts in Hornsey and Wood Green

Curtis Rutter, Volunteer Community First Responder, Lynne Featherstone MP and Community Resuscitation Officer Sarah DaleTo learn how to save hearts if someone goes into cardiac arrest or has a heart attack, Lynne Featherstone MP on Friday did a ‘heartstart’ training course with the local ambulance service.

The Hornsey and Wood Green MP received comprehensive training in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation – the process of ‘restarting’ the heart – the only way to save a life if a person has gone into cardiac arrest.

The current survival rate for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in London is 21.5%, but in some cities, such as Seattle in the US, survival rates are as high as 46%.

The ‘heartstart’ training course, run by Sarah Dale, the Community Resuscitation Officer for the London Ambulance Service, aims to increase London survival rates by teaching CPR skills, and is available for members of the public.

MP Lynne now wants to encourage local residents to take the two hour course, and learn how to save lives.

Residents who want to sign up, shouldcall 020 7783 2534 or email resustraining@londonambulance.nhs.uk.

The Liberal Democrat MP is also writing to local schools to encourage them to run the course for their pupils.

Lynne Featherstone MP comments:

“It was really easy to learn how to save a life, by doing this two hour ‘heartstart’ course, and it can make all the difference to someone’s chances of survival if they collapse and stop breathing.

“The difference in survival rates between London and Seattle shows that we are still losing hearts in London that are too good to die, and the way to fight this is to help spread awareness about how to do CPR and use a defibrillator.

“I would encourage all residents to sign up for the ‘heartstart’ course, because if a loved one should suffer cardiac arrest or a heart-attack, your skills can be life-saving.”

Sarah Dale, Community Resuscitation Officer for the London Ambulance Service, adds:

“When a person suffers acardiac arrest, blood is no longer being pumped effectively around their body and oxygen is not reaching their brain. It’s vital that someone calls 999 for an ambulance and starts cardiopulmonary resuscitation straightaway.

“We are on hand to deliver ‘heartstart’ courses in London. Please do get in touch and help spread awareness.”

Labour failed to tackle health inequality in Hornsey and Wood Green says Lynne Featherstone MP

Labour’s stewardship of the NHS has left “a legacy of missed opportunities” according to local MP Lynne Featherstone, after research revealed that Haringey’s levels of childhood obesity are higher and life expectancy lower than the England average after 13 years of Labour government.
Despite announcing in 1997 that reducing health inequality would be a key priority for the new Labour government, figures show that in Haringey, childhood obesity and life expectancy still lag behind the national average.
A report from the Public Accounts Committee also found that the gap in life expectancy between the poorest areas and the national average grew by 7% for men and 14% for women over the last 13 years. The report also revealed that people living in the poorest neighbourhoods in England die almost two years before those in the rest of the country.
Under proposals put forward in the Health and Social Care Bill by the Coalition Government the responsibility for public health will be returned to local government. By giving Local Authorities the responsibility for commissioning the majority of public health services, local communities will be empowered to come together to tackle the challenges they face.
After 13 years of Labour Government:
o   Britain has amongst the worst levels of obesity in the world.
o   Smoking claims over 80,000 lives a year.
o   1.6 million people are dependent on alcohol.
o   Over half a million new sexually transmitted infections were diagnosed last year, and one in ten people getting an infection will be re-infected within a year.
Lynne Featherstone MP comments:
“New Labour entered government in 1997 and announced that they would put reducing health inequalities at the heart of tackling the root causes of ill-health. Instead after 13 years of government Labour’s real legacy is a story of missed opportunities.
“Tackling health inequality only became a NHS priority in 2006, and primary care trusts were not required to report back on them until 2007. That is why in Haringey we have among the highest levels of childhood obesity in the country.
“Councils are best placed to bring together all the local agencies who can work together to tackle public health challenges. The Coalition’s proposals to return the responsibility for public health to local government will ensure that tackling health inequalities and improving people’s health is given a local focus to fit local circumstances.
“As a result of these changes, local government won’t just be commentators on health but will instead have a new role shaping the direction of local health services.”