UKIP National Conference – September 2014
Health Policy Presentation by UKIP Spokesperson Louise Bours MEP
It is an immense privilege and honour to be here today, presenting our new Health Policy, in a year which has seen our party change the political landscape in this country forever.
Since its founding in 1948, the NHS has often been hailed as a victory for working people. Quality healthcare, free at the point of delivery, funded by the tax-payer – sixty years on, the NHS has become a political football. It is often at the heart of political debate.
Once it was purely about doing the best it could to provide for the health needs of the nation – now it has been turned into a barometer of a government’s competence. Dysfunctional targets are imposed and dropped depending on what is best for the image of the government of the day, not what is best for improving patient outcomes. Continue reading Outlining UKIP health policy
Louise Bours MEP: More must be done to train nurses in this country
More must be done to train nurses in this country – and urgently, said UKIP Health spokesman Louise Bours today.
Her comments come in the wake of a shock report from the Health Service Journal showing almost three-quarters of hospital trusts have been driven to recruiting overseas.
“While we have always had some foreign nurses working in the NHS it is now getting out of control and we cannot go ignoring the situation,” said Ms Bours, North West MEP.
“This shortage of home grown registered nurses should never have been allowed to develop and cutting 10,000 training posts since the last General Election has plainly been a massive mistake. I believe one of the ways to address this is to scrap the insistence on university degrees.
“We need to go back to learning on the job backed up with classroom training which would help tackle this staffing crisis. Nursing is about caring and practical experience on the wards dealing with real patients is worth its weight in gold.
“A survey earlier this year revealed that more than half of nurses are so unhappy that they want to quit to work overseas for countries such as Australia where they can often earn at least £10,000 a year more.
“Morale among nursing staff is very low as they feel their essential work is undervalued so it is no wonder that we have staff shortages in this country. It is a crisis and swift action is needed,” she said.
Latest figures show in the 12 months ending in September last year 5,778 nurses from abroad were recruited compared with 1,360 the previous year.
“Recruiting staff from abroad carries the inherent risk that poor English skills could lead to misunderstandings and mistakes. It also adds to the costs of recruitment, money which should be spent on training and paying British nurses.
“Because our hands are tied by EU rules on freedom of labour about 75% of nurses from overseas are allowed to register to work here without any checks on their language or competence. That is plainly wrong and dangerous,” she said.
OUTRAGE AT NHS MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTS COSTS
Spending £640m a year on management consultants by the NHS has been described was “outrageous” by UKIP Health spokesman Louise Bours.
“This is dreadful, particularly given that after the 2010 general election Andrew Lansley, then health secretary, promised to cut such spending, which at the time was £313m.
“And lo and behold four years later the figure has more than doubled. This is money the NHS can ill afford and it should have been spent on providing services for patients,” said Ms Bours, North West MEP.
“The coalition has been hell-bent on restructuring the NHS and there is no doubt that some changes are needed but spending all this taxpayers cash on external consultants is outrageous.
“Surely there is sufficient experience and wisdom internally without lining the pockets of management consultants. The £640m could have been used to hire another 2,000 nurses, instead nurses have been denied a 1% pay rise through lack of money,” she added.
Life saving hospital care must be round-the-clock, said UKIP health spokesman Louise Bours today in the wake of a report about stroke care.
This report, commissioned on behalf of NHS England, shows a shortage of stroke doctors and nurses and worryingly there are not enough doctors being trained to fill vacancies.
The minimum recommended level of qualified nurses on duty per 10 stroke patient beds is three but only 50 out of 183 hospitals met that target.
“It also showed that the time of day and day of the week a patient was admitted affected their care, making it a lottery of care. In this day and age top class hospital care should be 24 hours seven days a week.
“With approximately 152,000 strokes every year in the UK it means roughly one stroke every three and a half minutes and this is plainly an area where there must be high staffing ratios to ensure the best possible treatment,” said Ms Bours, North West MEP.
“I know that great strides have been made in helping stroke victims and fast treatment has been shown to be essential in dealing with this life-threatening condition. With an ageing population the number of strokes is expected to rise so news of this report is very concerning.
“Another report showing that physiotherapists are assessing 99 per cent of patients who have had a stroke within a day of their hospital admission is good news.
“But there must be a joined-up service and a shortage of doctors and nurses will hinder this. The European Working Time Directive has caused terrible problems with doctor training by limiting their hours and while there is now a voluntary opt-out provision the damage still persists.
“We need more clinicians and less managers and that is where funds must be directed,” added Ms Bours.
George Osborne’s £2bn promised funding for frontline health services is just returning part of the money the Coalition government has taken away, said UKIP health spokesman Louise Bours.
“We are expected to be grateful for this cash but the reality is this is just restoring some of that taken in cuts imposed to meet the 2015 target of a £20bn reduction. The public should not be fooled into thinking this is extra money.
“There has been a deliberate underfunding for years and inordinate amounts of time and money have been wasted with interminable clinicians’ and managers’ meetings on how to save and how to cope.
“It seems clear that the financial strictures imposed on the NHS over the last few years have actually been counterproductive and have indeed contributed to the mess the NHS is in today,” said Ms Bours, North West MEP.
“Those who have been involved with the NHS for a long time are acutely aware that those on high tasked with ‘improving’ our health service just keep re-inventing the wheel with their organisational changes.
“These changes waste huge amounts of cash but fail to achieve the desired aims of improving heath services. The money Osborne has proudly announced is another smoke and mirrors trick which fools no one and is not going to solve our sick NHS,” she added.