Councillor appeals for NHS funding

A Berwick councillor has called for urgent Government funding to resolve the NHS '˜crisis' in Northumberland.

Thursday, 19th January 2017, 8:13 am
Cllr Gavin Jones

Cllr Gavin Jones believes a cross-party commitment to the adequate funding of the NHS, mental health services, the ambulance service and social care is required.

“We have a crisis,” he said. “The Government is denying the NHS ‘means’ so that people are being left on trolleys in hospital corridors and ambulances are failing to arrive on time. These issues are real and they are happening here in Northumberland.

“Further, these issues impact us all, rich and poor. Emergencies, accidents and illness do not select out those without ‘means’. We are all equal when waiting on emergency services to arrive and we are all equal when waiting on a hospital trolley in a corridor, including those taking decisions to under-fund the NHS.”

He is calling on Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan to help secure extra Government funding for health and care services in the county.

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Cllr Jones praises the front-line staff in the NHS and ambulance service, saying that they are clearly doing their very best.

“As a governor of the ambulance service, I was concerned that financial targets were being prioritised ahead of operational targets,” he continued. “It disappointed me that the trust did not have the appetite to prioritise operational targets over financial performance.

“Further, while forecasting a failure to meet performance targets, the ambulance service should have been drawing on third party support to assist.

“Instead, reliance on third party support was being scaled down. This seemed counter intuitive and has likely contributed to the significant under-performance of the service.”

He also drew on the words of the former Health Minister, Nye Bevan, who set up the NHS 70 years ago: ‘No society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means. The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with faith to fight for it’.

Cllr Jones said: “I am hoping that other trust leaders will reflect on the significance of these words, and their roles, and have sufficient courage and faith to join the call for immediate adequate funding of the NHS, mental health services, the ambulance service and social care.”