Dewsbury Member of Parliament, Paula Sherriff, has written to the Chief Executive of the Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust, to express her grave concerns surrounding the Trust's decision to bring forward the reconfiguration of Dewsbury and District Hospital.
The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust is planning to speed up a shakeup of services after being warned by the Care Quality Commission over staffing levels. These changes will see critically injured and ill patients be taken to Pinderfields, while Dewsbury and District Hospital deals with minor ailments. These changes were planning for spring 2017, but have been brought forward to September of this year.
Paula Sherriff comments,
“The NHS is currently being placed under immense financial pressure by the Government, and my primary concern remains the welfare of my constituents. It is not clear yet whether there has been sufficient research to demonstrate the safety of these proposals, and we certainly shouldn’t be talking about bringing forward this change until that time.
“Previously the Trust has not met the 95%, 4 hour wait target for A&E patients in the last 12 months, so I have also asked for information on how this will be alleviated following the reconfiguration.
“This reconfiguration could potentially lead to patients in Dewsbury and the surrounding areas being unable to access vital medical services - I have therefore written to the Chief Executive of the Trust to ask that we work together in the best interests of the all patients of the Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust.”
As the nights draw in ever earlier, shops play Wizzard, Chris Rea and Mariah Carey on loop, and supermarkets try to outdo each other with their adverts, we know that Christmas is fast approaching.
Over the Christmas period, it’s important to remember those for whom Christmas may be a difficult time of year, or who may be alone, or working. Our armed forces abroad, spending time away from family, those who may have nobody to spend Christmas Day with, or our emergency services, still on call as we tuck into our Christmas Dinners.
This will be my first Christmas as a Member of Parliament, and I have had the honour of meeting so many people in the past seven months, in Dewsbury, Mirfield and across the constituency, that make our area great.
The NHS and health is something which, as many of you will know, I feel passionately about and will always campaign to defend. It is those NHS workers, working over Christmas I want to pay particular tribute to in my column today. I know that our health service staff will be working tirelessly to keep us safe and healthy, sacrificing their own Christmases for the sake of our own.
Recently, I spoke in the House of Commons about mental health, about how it affects us, problems encountered in treatment and how early intervention is so vital in ensuring that the conditions effects are minimised. It is over the Christmas period that many of these mental health conditions may be exacerbated and it’s vital that we look out for one another.
I know too that many of you have faced particular challenges and so please always do get in touch with me or my office and we will always try our upmost to assist you. I look forward to continuing working for all of the Dewsbury constituency as we head into 2016.
Over the Christmas period it’s so important that we enjoy those things that are truly important in life; our families, friends, neighbours and communities. I know this will be a special time for many, both Christians and non-Christians alike. So I’d like to thank you, at this special time of year, for everything that you do to make our area such a special place to live.
I wish you and all of those closest to you, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Earlier this year I wrote to Iain Duncan Smith, the Secretary of State for Work & Pensions, raising concerns over constituents who had to travel as far as Stockport and Manchester for their disability assessments.
I'm delighted to hear that my concerns have been listened to and the decision has been taken to open an assessment centre in Huddersfield.
Whilst there are still a lot of issues to be resolved around the implementation of Personal Independence Payments I welcome the news that at least constituents will no longer have to travel impossible distances to attend their assessments.
Today I have written to constituents to set out my position on Syria. You can read my letter here:Read more
Six months in Parliament speaking up for you!Read more
Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff addressed the board of the Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust on Thursday morning regarding the implementation of parking charges for disabled blue badge holders.
Sherriff, who sits on the Health Select Committee in parliament, launched a campaign against the proposed charges in July when the changes were first announced.
Addressing the board, Sherriff said she that she wanted to work with them and appreciated that they needed to make tough decisions, however she was immovable on her position on charging for disabled parking, saying:
“Whilst there are many users of the hospital that have been hit hard by the recent rise in parking charges, I feel it is the blue badge holders who will suffer the most. Able bodied patients have the option of walking or using public transport, many disabled patients do not have this choice and can only access their appointments by car. There is also an increased likelihood they are going to need to access the hospital services more frequently. These charges have a huge impact on the lives of people who are already suffering at the hands of their disabilities.
“One of my constituents contacted me distraught. Her and her husband are both pensioners and her husband is on many medications and has to attend Dewsbury Hospital weekly for blood tests. He has said he will not go to the hospital any more due to the charges being unaffordable. Obviously this is extremely worrying and she simply doesn’t know where to turn with this issue.
“Is this a unique case though? How many patients are missing appointments following the implementation of the new charges? Have DNA’s increased in the recent weeks?”
The Chair of Trust, Jules Preston admitted they had not considered missed appointments (DNA’S) as part of the parking charges and agreed the trust would look into monitoring the impact.
Sherriff challenged the trust on the spending of £15million on management consultants Ernst Young in recent years. Spending which was defended by the Finance Director as value for money. Sherriff responded that as Finance Director he had an ‘ulterior motive’.
Sherriff commented afterwards:
“When I was invited to speak to the board today I was under the illusion that the decision on blue badge parking charges was going to be reviewed. It came as a surprise to me when I was advised by the Chief Executive, Stephen Eames that this was not the case. It was certainly what he led me to believe at our meeting in September.
“I am however pleased that they are to monitor the impact of DNA’s as a result of the charges if not slightly surprised that this was never considered at the time. I await with interest the results from any research carried out and, as I said in the meeting, I will not let this issue drop. I have many constituents that this is causing great distress to and my priorities lie with them”
Paula speaks out on proposed police cuts in opposition day debate. Read her full speech here:Read more
The government has embarked on a major climb-down as ministers desperately seek to avoid a double whammy of defeats in both Houses of Parliament.
As the Lords voted to delay tax credit changes, Treasury ministers in the Commons faced an amendment to the Finance Bill from Labour backbencher Paula Sherriff, which would have mandated the government to include a demand for a zero-rate of VAT on tampons and other female sanitary products in their EU re-negotiation package.
The amendment had been signed by a dozen Conservative backbenchers, and Conservatives for Britain had indicated that they had enough backbench support to put the government majority under serious threat. Every Tory MP who spoke in the debate indicated support for the Sherriff amendment.
Ministers sought to head off the revolt by agreeing to Sherriff’s demands that the government start negotiations at EU level, and pledged to start negotiations with the European Commission, requesting that they allow member states to zero-rate all female sanitary products. They had previously said that this would be too difficult to achieve.
The government did not, however, commit to a clear timeline or that this demand would be on the Prime Minister’s “shopping list” in the EU re-negotiation before a UK referendum.
Sherriff pledged to work with a cross-party group of backbenchers to bring forward a vote on backbench time clarifying these issues, which would not be subject to the same degree of control by government whips.
Moving her amendment in the Commons, Paula Sherriff said:
“It is time to end the tampon tax once and for all and today in this House we have the chance to take a step towards achieving that. It is absurd that tampons and sanitary towels are taxed as luxuries not essentials in Britain, and not treated as a ‘public service activity’ or medical provision by European law. Almost a quarter of a million people from the across the country have signed up to call for that to change, and it’s about time they were heard in Westminster and Brussels.
“Quite simply, a tax system that lets you dine on crocodile steak on your private jet without paying a penny, when we can’t survive a period without the Treasury taxing us for it, cannot be a fair one.
“Periods are a fact of life and it’s not like women have a choice. Many were shocked to see Kiran Ghandi run the London Marathon without a tampon to highlight that too many women around the world do not have access to sanitary products. But that’s the point – this is a basic matter of biology and it is time to end the taboo. Here in this country, we can buy tampons but we are taxed for it.
Frankly VAT on tampons is the Vagina Added Tax. A tax on women, pure and simple.”
Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff is to use her office in the former Dewsbury Reporter Building, Wellington Street as a drop-off point for food bank donations.
The MP visited the ‘The Pantry’ food bank at Fusion Housing in Dewsbury last week to learn more about the work they carry out from not just supplying food parcels but also providing housing advice for people all across north Kirklees.
Paula commented afterwards:
“It greatly saddens me that in 2015, the need for food banks in our country is growing exponentially.
“The staff and volunteers at ‘The Pantry’ are simply fantastic and it was great to meet and thank them for their incredible hard work, both supplying food for those in need and offering housing advice.
“I will personally be making regular donations to the food bank and I am delighted to announce that my constituency office will become a drop-off point for food donations.”
Ridhwan Nadat of ‘The Pantry’ food bank said:
“It was great to have Paula here to see first-hand the vital work we are doing to support the most vulnerable in North Kirklees. We are delighted that Paula has offered to use her office as a drop-off point for the food bank and we look forward to working with her. Hopefully, this will also encourage other individuals as well as organisations to do the same”
The MPs office are now accepting donations of food items such as tins of meat, fish and vegetables as well tea, coffee, coffee cereal and toiletries. For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 07467 323402.
Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff yesterday made a passionate speech attacking the government on their proposed cuts to tax credits.
The cuts will affect up to 13,000 children in Dewsbury & Mirfield whose families are currently receiving tax credits and are estimated to leave up to three million families nationwide worse off, with the average loss of £1300 per year.
Her opening lines were aimed at the privileged backgrounds of some on the government benches:
“I look at today’s debate as someone – perhaps unlike some of the Members opposite who have spoken – who did an ordinary job on an ordinary wage before I came to this House.”
She then went on to talk about her former work colleagues and constituents who stand to lose out through the government cuts:
"Many of the people I worked alongside in the NHS relied on tax credits to make work pay, and now find themselves caught in a pincer between the government’s pay cuts and the work penalty.
“There are more than thirteen thousand children in my constituency who are in families supported by tax credits. That is over two thirds of all families with children in Dewsbury and Mirfield.
“Literally thousands of the people I represent, now fearful for their future.”
The vote saw a victory for the government despite many of their own MP’s voicing concern over the cuts.
Sherriff commented afterwards:
“Despite many Labour MPs making passionate speeches in this debate, I am devastated that we lost the vote. But the fight will carry on, I will never give up standing up for the people in my constituency. I'm Labour; it's what we do.”