Lynne Featherstone MP announces local public meeting with Health Minister

Health Minister Norman Lamb will attend a public meeting in March, to discuss his work on the NHS, social care, and mental health with local residents.

The meeting – arranged by local MP Lynne Featherstone – will take place at 7:15pm on Wednesday 25th March at a venue in Hornsey.

Residents interested in attending should email Lynne Featherstone MP for details.

In Government, the Liberal Democrats have:

The Liberal Democrats are the only party to have pledged an extra £8bn in NHS funding if they are in Government after May.

Lynne Featherstone MP commented:

“Liberal Democrats believe that the NHS should always remain free at the point of delivery. In Government, Norman Lamb and his team have protected the NHS budget and put mental health on the agenda.

“I’m very much looking forward to welcoming Norman to the constituency, and hearing about the work he has done to protect the NHS, improve social care, and to ensure that mental health is on the same platform as physical health.

“The meeting is open to the public – if you’re interested in attending, please contact me!”

Breaking news – £23.5 million for local health services

Great news! Haringey’s health services are getting an extra £23.5 million this year – following our local fairer funding campaign.

It’s a massive 5% increase from last year, and it’s a huge step towards getting truly fair funding for our local services, residents, and health workers.

Take a look at this short video – featuring residents, midwives, a new mum and me. It’s about why I started the campaign, and the impact the extra money will have!

Thank you to everyone who supported the campaign for fairer funding. You can see from the video just how much it means.

And it won’t stop here – I’ll keep campaigning for more money, and the Lib Dems have pledged £8bn in NHS funding during the next parliament. 

Funding for Haringey health services rises by £23.5 million

Haringey’s health services – such as G.P.s, hospitals and walk-in centres – will receive an extra £23.5 million in funding this year.

The new funding, which is distributed to boroughs by NHS England, is a 5% rise from Haringey’s previous allocation.

This means that Haringey’s health services have received an extra £30 million in total since local MP Lynne Featherstone started her campaign for fairer health funding in 2012 – backed by over 500 local residents.

The increase also follows the extra £2 billion given to the NHS by the Coalition Government in the Autumn Statement last year.

The MP for Hornsey and Wood Green has welcomed the rise in funding – but has also said she will continue to push for even more money for local services.

Commenting, Lynne Featherstone MP said:

“I am delighted with the huge rise in funding for our local health services. The money will help our hard-working health professionals, and hopefully reduce waiting times and improve care for local residents.

“I’d like to thank the hundreds of residents who supported the campaign for fairer funding. Haringey health services now have more money – and we’re much closer to having the same funding levels as neighbouring boroughs like Camden and Islington.

“But there is still more that can be done – and I will keep putting the case forward for even more money for local health services – particularly our mental health services.”

Lynne Featherstone MP attends Whittington Ambulatory Care Centre opening

Lynne Featherstone MP discusses the new Whittington Ambulatory Centre with a nurse.Lynne Featherstone MP last week attended the official opening of the Whittington Hospital’s brand new Ambulatory Care Centre.

The £3 million same day treatment centre enables Whittington doctors and nurses to treat patients faster – avoiding unnecessary admission to hospital, and supporting the busy A&E.

The local MP was accompanied by the Liberal Democrat Health Minister, Norman Lamb MP, who cut the ribbon.

The opening happened the day after the Autumn Statement, where the chancellor announced an extra £2 billion for the NHS, following pressure from Lib Dem MPs. The Lib Dems in government have also introduced the first ever waiting time standards for mental health patients.

Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone is also campaigning for fairer funding for Haringey Borough’s health services – to bring local funding in line with that of Islington and Camden.

Lynne Featherstone MP commented:

“I’m so happy that the hospital is going from strength to strength. I’ve been a patient at the Whittington a few times myself – I just can’t imagine it not being there!

“I still remember back to late 2009, when I exposed the Labour Government’s plans to close the Whittington’s A&E. I raised questions in parliament and started a campaign – backed by thousands and thousands of residents – to save it.

“Now, we still have our A&E and this wonderful new Ambulatory Care Centre to support it – which is fantastic for the hospital and local residents alike.”

A Busy Start to Summer!

Here is my latest Muswell Flyer article – about the start of summer in late June / July….

What a whirlwind the last few weeks have been. It has been so busy, but full of great events and finally some good weather too!

Thankfully, the weather picked up just in time for the grand finale of the independent shops competition. What a great day that was – celebrating our best local independent stores outside Hornsey Town Hall with a live band, hot food and free local beer! Congratulations again to the worthy winners: Brand New Start, Big Green Bookshop and Owen’s Food Store.

The week after, I had the great honour of being reselected as the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Hornsey and Wood Green. There was a huge turnout, and it was so heart-warming when the great Lib Dem members of this constituency put their faith in me again. And what a bonus to have my political heroine Shirley Williams at the event, supporting me and giving a fantastic speech.

Lynne Featherstone MP, Ed Davey MP and the Haringey Liberal Democrats celebrate Lynne's reselection

But there was no time for extended celebrations – the day after the reselection, the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg come to visit Highgate Wood, a school in the constituency.

Nick was here to see how the school is using its Pupil Premium money. The Pupil Premium is a Liberal Democrat flagship policy that is being delivered by the Coalition Government. It targets extra money to schools depending on the number of children from disadvantaged backgrounds they have.

Schools will receive £900 per eligible pupil. For Highgate Wood, this means a whopping £413,100 in extra funding for 2013/14.

Nick and me talking to Food Tech students!

Nick and me talking to Food Tech students!

Shortly after Nick’s visit – there was also good news about the Whittington Hospital. The Board released their revised strategy for the future of the hospital. They have u-turned on their plan to sell off buildings without consultation.

This is very welcome news. Whilst we recognise that some changes will have to be made to secure the future of the hospital – consulting with the public and protecting services is paramount. That’s why we launched a petition calling on the Whittington Board to consult local residents and guarantee that there will be no loss of services until equal or better were in place.

I’d like to thank all 3000 residents who signed the Lib Dem petition. Because of you, the Whittington Board agreed to the listening exercise and has consequently changed their plans.

Lynne Featherstone and Haringey Liberal Democrats celebrate Whittington success

This is why I’m so delighted to be reselected as the Lib Dem candidate for this area. I want to carry on campaigning with residents on the issues that matter – like Pinkham Way, the Whittington, and securing fairer funding for Haringey’s health and education services. I also want to run more competitions like the independent shops one – promoting and supporting our cherished local amenities.

And, I want to be in a position to keep implementing policies like the Pupil Premium – which is directly benefitting children in this area – and across the UK.

The road to the 2015 election starts here – and I will be keeping myself, and fellow Lib Dem activists and supporters, very busy!

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.

Female Genital Mutilation – new guidelines launched

Yesterday we (the Government) launched new guidelines to help front line professionals – nurses, doctors, teachers and social workers – know how to recognise and prevent Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The guidelines are being sent to chairs of Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards, Directors of Children’s Services and Regional Directors of Public Health, will help professionals:

* identify and prevent further incidents;
* ensure that victims and potential victims receive the response and support they need; and
* provide a step-by-step practical guide to sensitively handling cases of FGM

The guidelines have been developed across government departments in partnership with the Royal Colleges, FGM experts, charitable organisations and the Association of Chief Police Officers.

This is part of my Home Office domestic violence portfolio. FGM is a most brutal crime and has the most terrible and long lasting effects on women and girls. One of the challenges we face in putting an end to this practice is the lack of knowledge about how to recognise the signs and what to do when you do recognise the signs.

I attended a recent round table on FGM as a pre-launch event to set out just how – local teachers, nursing staff, police officers, community leaders and survivors of FGM can work together to end such a cruel practice.

If a teacher had a pupil come into class with a black eye – that teacher would surely and rightly be concerned and ask questions. We need teachers to be equally concerned if, for example, a girl keeps taking abnormally long times when she goes to the toilet (one of the signs of FGM).

This is what Hagir Ahmed, survivor of FGM and Manor Gardens advocate said:

“I had the experience at the age of five or six. When you are a child you usually don’t remember things at that age but I remember. I remember being at a party and the people holding me down. My legs. My hands. My knees. And then I remember the practitioner with the knife.

“I don’t remember any anaesthetic. I just remember crying, crying and pleading. I was completely shattered, emotionally and physically.”

Joy Clarke, Lead Specialist Midwife at Whittington Hospital:

“When people migrate they take their customs with them and FGM is practiced in communities to keep those communities together. Because they love their children they continue to do it.

“Organisations like the Manor Gardens Advocacy Project are already doing good work to educate communities. I work with Manor Gardens to go out and run workshops with social workers and teachers in practising communities so they can recognise if a child is at risk. And I talk to parents about the physical and mental health implications and the law. In 99 per cent of cases this makes a difference but we need to revisit the families to make sure they have understood.”

MP takes fight for accessible health information for Haringey’s blind and partially sighted to GPs

Stepping up her fight to improve access for blind and partially sighted people to information from local health services, Lynne Featherstone MP has this week written to all local GPs urging them to provide details of their services in Braille and audio formats.

This latest initiative follows a successful drive in February by the Hornsey and Wood Green MP to get the local Whittington Hospital to agree to produce information about their services in formats accessible to blind and partially sighted people. But to ensure the whole local healthcare system offers accessible formats, as required under law, and for the information to be included in referrals to the hospital, GPs need to follow suit too.

Lynne Featherstone MP comments:

“It’s great that the Whittington is continuing to extend the service of providing health information in accessible formats, but for the local health system to be fully accessible, GPs need to do the same.

“That’s why I am calling on them to act now to provide details of their services in Braille and audio formats. We all have the right to keep health information private, and I will continue fighting to make sure that is the reality for blind and partially sighted people locally too.”

Whittington A & E revisited

As I said at the rally to celebrate saving the Whittington A& E – we have to keep this in focus and remain eternally vigilant. The coalition government called a halt to the reconfiguration process (hurrah) virtually as soon as we were in Government but we need to be on the ball.

To this end I met with the Minister, Simon Burns (hospital finance and performance) yesterday to make sure we all know what’s happening. The Minister had brought in all the key players from the Chair of GP commissioning to Rachel Tyndall (who chaired the review and was key at the public meeting I organised during the campaign to save the A&E).

Ok – so the key things are that – phew – the review has started! The Minister assured me (and Cllrs Winskill and Butcher who accompanied me) that unlike under the last government who claimed closing the A&E was a local decision (whereas we know it had nothing to do with local peoples’ wishes) this time it would be genuinely local as the Government edict imposed that as a duty on the North London Sector Review panel. And there are clear lines of accountability.

For the first time I heard with my own ears North London Sector admit that there had been faults in the previous process – which is a start – given the continual denial of all the issues local people raised. The litany was clear: accessibility (no one can get to the Royal Free), the out of hours GP services to take the non-A&E cases that currently go to A&E don’t exist; the Royal Free couldn’t cope with an extra 35,000 people (even if they could get there) and so on and so on, no clinical evidence, etc – all the very good cases local people made.

Watch this space – and if you hear anything too – let me know immediately! 


The “right decision” for residents say Liberal Democrats as the Whittington is saved

Whittington Hospital celebrationIn response to the announcement by the government that the Whittington Accident and Emergency department will not face closure, Lynne Featherstone, Liberal Democrat candidate for Hornsey and Wood Green comments:

“This is fantastic news, and such a brilliant testament to the fact that the power of local people and our campaign has worked!

“This is the right decision for local residents. I have been fighting tooth and nail together with my Liberal Democrat colleagues and local residents to keep our vital health services open since the disastrous plans were leaked to me last October.

“I am ecstatic that we have been successful in forcing faceless health bureaucrats to back down.

“Nick Clegg has given cast iron guarantees that he will not close the Whittington, and I will certainly be holding Labour to their last minute promise – and make sure this is not just a hollow election pledge.

“Thanks so much to all local residents, campaigners and activists who have given so much to help save the Whittington.”

Robert Gorrie, Leader of Haringey Liberal Democrats adds:

“Local residents have forced the Labour Government to listen to them, but let’s not forget that it was a Labour government that let the faceless bureaucrats put these plans on the table in the first place.

“The plans to change health services in north London are still ongoing – NHS London need to come clean on what the remaining plans will mean for people in Haringey.”