January 13, 2015

Bill Esterson

When I was rushed to A&E last year at Southport Hospital, I saw for myself just how hard the staff work. I also saw just how much pressure they face. And I experienced just how difficult it can be to get an ambulance. 

I was lucky, if that is the right word, as my ambulance arrived after about an hour and a half. 

The reason for this was that I had a head injury and priority is given to people who have blacked out or who might black out. 

The care I received at Southport was excellent. 

But I heard the staff talking about just how hard it was for them to hit the target of treating people who go to A&E within four hours of arrival. 

The staff also really struggled to find enough nurses to provide the cover needed for A&E or for the critical care wards where I spent three days recovering from my accident. 

While I was waiting for a bed, I heard staff discussing the fact that one of their patients was an elderly woman, who was ready to leave hospital but there was no one available to make the arrangements for her to go home or to find a suitable residential care home for her to go to. 

The so-called bed blocking was clearly a big problem, caused by massive cuts to social services. 

None of this is the fault of the staff. 

But it is caused by very short term and highly dangerous decisions made by the government to cut social services. 

When my son visited me in Southport Hospital, he was really shocked to see me with wires attached to me as the staff monitored my health. 

But he was reassured by the staff, who saw that he was distressed and made a big fuss of him. 

The surgery that was carried out was done by one of the surgeons from the breast care unit and was a great success. 

So like many of you I have reason to be grateful to our wonderful NHS and to the staff who work in our NHS right here on Merseyside. 

Many of you have written to me about the difficulties that you have faced at Southport, at Aintree and in getting a GP appointment. 

Without question, you all say that the staff are doing a brilliant job, but they just cannot cope with the pressure which has been caused by the cuts by the government. 

That is why, I shall continue to champion our NHS and the wonderful people who look after us. 

And I shall also make sure that if Labour wins the election, we will make sure that fixing the crisis in our NHS and in social care is of the very highest priority.