Paula's open letter to Stephen Eames (Mid Yorks NHS Trust) regarding the closure of the Coronary Care Unit at Dewsbury Hospital
Last week Paula met with her local Dewsbury Barclays Bank branch to discuss a number of issues. Topics discussed were an apprenticeship scheme, paying the living wage, and investment in small and medium enterprises to help rejuvenate Dewsbury town centre.
Before the General Election, the Chancellor said that within 100 days of a Conservative Government, Dewsbury would become an Enterprise Zone. Dewsbury becoming an Enterprise Zone means that new businesses and businesses that choose to move premises will be exempt from paying business rates for 5 years.
Paula said, “It is now 90 days since the election, so the Government has 10 more days to fulfil this pledge, and yet there has been no sign of progress. The local Dewsbury branch of Barclays are ready and willing to help Dewsbury town centre, I just hope the government don’t let us down again. I will continue to push the Chancellor to make good on his promise.”
Paula has written an open letter to Stephen Eames, Chief Exec of Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust expressing her disappointment over the handling of the changes to parking charges.
The changes which came into force on Saturday 1 August will see parking charges rise, payment to be made on exit and most controversially the implementation of charges to disabled blue bade holders. Local MPs and the media were only alerted of the changes less than 48 hours before they came into force meaning that most patients would not have been aware prior to attending the hospital this weekend.
Paula commented: “I am extremely disappointed by the manner in which I was informed of these changes. To receive information such as this, which will have a huge impact on many of my constituents, with less than 48 hours’ notice is completely unacceptable.
“I have requested a meeting with the Chief Executive of the Trust and have let my feelings known on how the situation has been handled. I do not support the implementation of hospital parking charges for blue badge holders regardless of the Trust’s deficit.”
You can read the content of Paula’s letter to Stephen Eames here:
In the last few weeks we have seen another broken manifesto promise from the Government, this time a dramatic U-turn coming from Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt.
A key promise in the Conservative manifesto in May, to cap care costs for the elderly, has been shelved less than three months into the new Parliament.
On top of the disappointing and utter shameful treatment of the electorate, the fiasco is estimated to have cost tax payers £100 million. Not only money wasted on advertising agency fees, but it has been reported that countrywide, already cash strapped local authorities had been implementing new IT systems and training staff in anticipation of the now shelved reforms.
Having worked on the front line of the Health Service for over 13 years I was recently elected onto the Health Select Committee. The first committee meeting took place shortly before Parliament went into recess earlier this month where I was given the opportunity to question the NHS Chief Executive and Chief Nurse on the astronomical fees which have been spent using agency staff and management consultants. Since 2011 there has been an increase in spend on agency staff from £1.8bn to £3.3bn across the country, locally the spending has risen from £91,000 to £1,250,000 in the same time period within the Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust.
Furthermore there is also the scandal of the increase in the use of management consultancies. It is alleged that the Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust could have spent up to £11 million over the last five years on management consultants such as Ernst & Young. Upon questioning the Chief Executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, he informed me that whilst new contracts would be capped, existing contracts would have to be honoured.
The amount of money being spent on agencies and management consultancies is alarming. Serious questions need be asked as to why our NHS doesn’t have the nurses it needs and why we need to spend millions on external consultants to make decisions for us. Is a public sector pay freeze and stripping out the so called bureaucracy really saving tax payer money and providing a better value NHS?
Our NHS workers are amongst the hardest workers in society. Doctors, Nurses and other hospital staff work long hours under incredibly stressful conditions and their input should not go unrecognised. Since being elected as your MP I have undertaken ward walks at Dewsbury Hospital, day and night and have witnessed first-hand the great work being done often in pressurised circumstances. I have been heartened in recent weeks to see the overwhelming public support for them spread across social media including the #ImAtWorkJeremy campaign which went viral on twitter following the Health Secretary's misleading comments suggesting weekend hospital staffing levels lead to higher death rates.
Prior to the General Election I promised that I would always stand up for Dewsbury Hospital and the NHS and I will continue to hold this Government to account to ensure a better deal for all us within the Dewsbury constituency.
Voting against the wishes of my own party was not something I envisaged myself doing when I was elected as MP for Dewsbury 11 weeks ago. This was an incredibly difficult decision and not one that was taken lightly. The Dewsbury constituency has pockets of high levels of deprivation and child poverty and ultimately I had to make the choice to stand up for the people I was elected to represent. To abstain would have been letting many of my constituents down.
Tax Credits are in the main an ‘in work’ benefit. They were introduced by the last Labour government and have been proven to improve the lives of millions of families.
The Government are proposing multiple measures to cut tax credits, amongst them to limit child tax credits to two children only. Child Tax Credits as the title suggests are intended for the child and the costs incurred for raising that child. A child does not choose when to be born so why should a third or fourth child suffer as a result.
George Osborne has appealed to, in his words, ‘progressive’ Labour MPs to vote with the government on the Welfare Bill. I however do not see anything progressive about taking away from low paid working families at the same time as cutting taxes for large corporations.
I agree that we need to bring down the deficit and national debt. However I don’t agree that it is a fair or responsible to transfer the nation’s debt onto that of a low paid household. It also doesn’t make economic sense when trying to grow an economy, that working people have less money to spend in it.
Paula has won £315 for charity after placing a bet on the winner of the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket, Amazing Maria, which came in at 17/2.
Paula was given a free £50 charity bet when she visited her local Ladbrokes shop in Mirfield recently to learn more about the industry, the customer experience and meet some of the colleagues.
She placed a canny bet of £25 each way on the winning horse, mainly, like so many betting punters, because she liked the name. Amazing Maria was not the front runner in the field but Sherriff’s beginners luck clearly paid off when the horse was able to see off its international rivals and cross the line first.
The winnings have been donated to Kirkwood Hospice who provide specialist care free of charge to adults in Kirklees with advanced, progressive illnesses.
As she presented her winnings to charity representatives at her local Ladbrokes shop, Paula Sherriff said, “I’m delighted my first flutter on the races has paid off and enabled me to donate my winnings to Kirkwood Hospice, who are my chosen charity throughout the course of this parliament. They do some fantastic work locally and really make a difference to the local residents they help”.
Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff has hit out at the Chancellors budget delivered on Wednesday afternoon. The first budget delivered by a majority Conservative government in over 18 years saw deep cuts to welfare payments, including tax credits, whilst giving a tax break that will benefit wealthier people.
Sherriff said: “What is clear following this brutal budget is that it is going to be a long and painful five years for working people. Thousands of my constituents will be hit in the pocket whilst the Chancellor once again dishes out tax cuts to the most wealthy in society.”
As announced prior to the budget, the Chancellor raised the inheritance tax threshold to £1 million meaning those with wealthy parents stand to be rewarded.
Sherriff continued: “10,000 families in the Dewsbury constituency are reliant on tax credits, most of whom are in work. Unfortunately most of them will not stand to inherit £1million properties. While I welcome the Chancellor's commitment to a higher minimum wage, people in low paid work will still be worse off - he's giving with one hand while he takes away with the other. How is it fair to punish people who are working hard while giving away something for nothing to others who will benefit from a tax cut on unearned wealth?”
It is near enough impossible for new patients to get an appointment with an NHS Dentist in Dewsbury constituency, it has been revealed.
During a health questions session in parliament on Tuesday, MP for Dewsbury, Paula Sherriff asked the Health Minister Alistair Burt:
“A vast number of my constituents have advised that they are unable to obtain a dental appointment. Enquiries reveal that there is not a single NHS dentist in the Dewsbury constituency which is accepting new patients.”
“Will the Minister agree to meet with me as soon as possible to discuss how we can resolve this unacceptable situation?”
The minister accepted Sherriff’s request.
Sherriff later commented: “It isn’t acceptable that in this day and age so many people are struggling to get access to dental care. I am pleased the minister has agreed to meet with me and intend to push them for answers on how we move forward on this issue.”
Do you know of any young person (or group) within the Dewsbury constituency who you feel has made a real difference and should be recognised?
Each year the British Red Cross runs the Humanitarian Citizen Award. This scheme is open to anyone aged 25 or under and celebrates the achievements of young people in one of four categories; first aid, volunteering, community action and fundraising.
As MP for Dewsbury Paula would like to nominate one of her young constituents. If you know someone who you would like Paula to nominate then please email firstname.lastname@example.org or if you would like to nominate a family member yourself then do so online at www.redcross.org.uk/theaward.
Nominations close on 2 August with the award ceremony taking place on 24 November at the House of Commons.
Paula has been elected as one of four Labour MPs onto the House of Commons Heath Select Committee. The result was announced on Wednesday evening following the ballot of Labour MPs.
In her approach to fellow MPs Paula said:
“Though I am a newly elected MP, I bring 13 years' experience on the front line delivering healthcare, and representing my fellow health workers as a trade union shop steward. I signed up to work for the NHS but the final two years of my time in the service were with Virgin Care, following the forced privatisation and transfer of staff to the private sector under the Coalition.”
“During this time I gained a particular insight in the internal (and often carefully hidden) policies and practices of a private health provider delivering public services with public money, and I would be well placed to scrutinise such companies, as well as their commissioners and of course the ministers ultimately responsible. “
“Similarly, as a former councillor I am well aware of the challenges faced by local authorities whose role in health policy is growing more important, and the particular importance of integrating health and social care.”
Paula commented afterwards: “I am delighted that as a new member of parliament I have been elected onto the Health Select Committee. Many will know the health service is an issue I am passionate about. I look forward to using my knowledge and experience to scrutinise decisions effectively.”