Category Archives: Health

Suffolk County Council unanimously backs Autism support motion

A motion to investigate how the council can improve diagnostics and support for those suffering with Autism/ ADHD spectrum disorders has been unanimously passed at the Suffolk County Council meeting on 7th December 2017.

The motion called on the County Council to refresh its autism strategy and explore ways of improving the diagnosis times for those suffering from the condition as well as providing more support for those who need it.

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Punitive cuts to care ‘make no sense’

Labour Shadow Spokesperson for Adult Care, Cllr Sarah Adams has called on the Conservative administration on Suffolk County Council to think again over the punitive cuts of £12m to the Adult and Community care budget that will be presented to the Council’s Scrutiny Committee on Thursday 23rd November.

Budget Scrutiny papers show that the bulk of the Council’s cuts next year will fall on care purchasing. This means that older people will undoubtedly be left to fend for themselves in their old age as the council looks to ‘mitigate care purchasing demand increases’, or in plain English cut services for older people.

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How Can We Help Our NHS?

There are a few political decisions which virtually every person in our country now supports – Council Houses, the Minimum Wage, Pensions, and above all the National Health Service.

In 1948, Nye Bevan said “Despite our financial and economic anxieties we are still able to do the most civilised thing in the world – put the welfare of the sick in front of every other consideration.”

There were people then who said the NHS would bankrupt the nation and would not produce better health.  Well, the NHS is not cheap, but it costs us a lot less than the insurance based system in the USA and (for the average person) it keeps us healthier than the Americans too.

Some bad decisions have been taken recently – in particular, reducing the training places and bursaries for young people to become doctors and nurses.  And although the Government claims to have increased funding for the Health Service, in many cases that money has actually been taken from another part of the health and care system, or absorbed in the top-down reorganisations the government has imposed.

We now need to do two things to help our health service and make ourselves healthier at the same time.

First, we must reduce the number of people going into A&E.  The County Council can help here, promoting health education especially through Children’s Centres, ensuring Care Homes take measures to avoid injuries, and supporting charities dealing with mental health, drink and drug addiction.

And then we need to make sure that as soon as people are ready to leave hospital, they have somewhere safe and healthy to go.

It is absurd that someone who no longer requires hospital treatment should be stuck in a hospital bed, at risk of picking up infections from the other patients and gradually losing the ability and motivation to do things for themselves.  And of course it doesn’t help anyone else either, costing the NHS thousands, using valuable nursing resources, preventing serious medical conditions from being treated because there aren’t enough beds.

We need more home carers, more residential care homes, more care home staff.  We need more support and help for families who want to care for their relatives at home, but need respite care time, and day-care centres, and adaptations at home.

There has been a lot of unhelpful argument about exactly what is being paid to whom.  The fact is, we all know that people are being stuck in hospital beds, we can see it with our own eyes, and no amount of clever statistics are going to cover that up.

And we know that Care Homes are closing because they can’t afford the trained staff, and we know that Age UK Suffolk and others are closing Day Care Centres because the County Council has slashed their grants.

After 1948 this country picked itself up, went back to work, paid off its debts, and became the sixth biggest economy in the world, partly because we were also one of the healthiest nations in the world.

People need the security of knowing that, if they do become sick, they will get the treatment they need.  They also need to know that, if they need care in their old age, that will be available too, and it will be safe and supportive.

I don’t believe that we have to make a choice between enabling people to get the most out of life and saving money.

If the people of Suffolk are secure and healthy and can get the education they need and can travel to work or college on good roads or decent public transport, then our County will thrive and the County Council will get the money it needs.

If the Council cuts away the support people need to pursue their lives, then I don’t think the residents will forgive them.

Labour Leader, Sandy Martin


Labour calls for protection for care workers

Labour councillors on Suffolk County Council today called on the Conservative administration to change their procurement processes to ensure that any company who forces employees to waive their rights under the Working Time Regulations will not be given county council contracts.
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Cllr Sandy Martin Budget amendment speech

This budget is about the money that this Council has to spend and the ways in which it decides to spend it or not spend it. But the important issue is not the money itself but the effect that it has on people’s lives. We are not bringing this amendment because we have a pathological hatred of financial reserves, but because we have a deep-seated hatred of ill health, and poor education, and unsafe situations for children, and freezing homes for elderly people, and the despair that goes with a life where everything seems to be getting worse. And we resent seeing the Council sit on the financial means to deal with those issues, but do less and less each year.
Continue reading Cllr Sandy Martin Budget amendment speech

Labour concerned over NSFT rating

Labour Councillors are deeply concerned with the damning findings of the Care Quality Commission report into mental health services in Suffolk, which labels them ‘inadequate’.

Ten service areas delivered by the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) have been reviewed with the very distressing news that many of the areas are underperforming and not giving patients the best possible service.
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County Council services at threat of collapse

Vital help for elderly, disabled and young people will go by the wayside if Suffolk County Council makes its proposed £30 million of cuts, Labour Councillors warned today.

Services hardest hit will be Adult Care, and Children & Young People, which between them lose around £18 million from their budgets.
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Response to home care procurement

Dear Suffolk County Councillors,

With regard to commissioning for Home Care Services in Suffolk it is vital that specialist services currently providing care are able to continue to bid to do so. If the tendering process is done geographically as currently proposed, rather than by provider specialisation, then most of the charities currently providing the services will not be able to compete as it will be against their charitable purposes. We believe that yet again some of the huge multinationals (generics) will bid to run all of the proposed 33 geographic areas for profit. Experience tells us the wages needed to provide good care will be undercut yet again and experienced and qualified staff will leave the sector – see SERCO handling of Suffolk Community Health Care. If lower wages are paid the quality of care declines, if the best staff leave the quality of care will decline and as we all know continuity of care is hugely important.
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