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People tell me about all sorts of things when I am out campaigning. But the NHS comes up the most often. Like the people I talk to, the NHS is something I care deeply about. 

It’s one of the main reasons I am standing for election. It’s why I go out most days to knock on doors, one of the main reasons so many volunteers join me. We believe in a world where everyone contributes according to their means, so that everyone is cared for when they need it. Our experience of speaking to people across Bristol is that most people agree that the NHS is the best way we know that this principle of fairness works.

Alex in Cotham, last week, said: “I’ve recently had an operation and got fantastic care.” And he linked this to immigration. “I get fed up of the stereotyping of immigrants– the care I got from the NHS shows just how hard people work when they come here.”

GPs and Practice Managers have been getting in touch with me in response to a survey Darren Jones (Labour’s candidate in Bristol North West) and I are doing.

One Practice Manager said: “it’s not commissioning as such that’s the problem, it’s the devastation of the Primary Care Trust and replacement by NHS England, who run roughshod over practices. Administration has been triplicated between CCG, NHS England and Public Health.”

Another Practice Manager adds: “GPs are now expected to be doctors, report fillers, audit clerks, pathway developers, commissioners of services, developers of services… GPs are expected to solve secondary care problems all of which are not our making or within our control.”

A GP told me: “Patient care isn’t suffering, we’re just working harder and longer hours.” This practice has invited me to come and see for myself how they are managing.

Another GP who has also invited me to meet up has welcomed the survey and also suggested some more questions to ask, about how demographic and organisational changes have affected workload and patient care. I’m really looking forward to spending time with them and learning more.

I’ve also been speaking to people as patients. Jeremy, a man suffering mental illness whose compassion for others leads him to talk to me often about his worries for others. He also links it to other policy problems.

“I’m really worried about suicides I think will happen because of the intolerable pressure put on profoundly mentally ill people. They’re being told they aren’t trying hard enough to look for work – if they keep on being rejected because they have to meet a target for job applications, how is that going to help their depression?” he asks.

Another neighbour of mine, a nurse, adds: “I am in despair over the waste of money on the reorganisation, but I know none of us wants to go through another massive re-organisation.”

What I am doing now, in Bristol, is speak to people who work in or owe their lives or the lives of someone dear to them to the NHS, campaign to reverse damaging changes but support NHS staff, campaign to tackle mental health care with urgency and to bring health care and social care together.

This article was published in Bristol 24-7 on 18 September 2014: read at the source

Fight is on to hold on to principles of NHS

People tell me about all sorts of things when I am out campaigning. But the NHS comes up the most often. Like the people I talk to, the NHS is...

LABOUR'S candidate for Bristol West has called for urgent action to help reduce air pollution, after it was claimed that city levels had regularly broken the legal limit.

 

As the Labour Party launched a new air pollution campaign, Thangam Debbonaire called on mayor George Ferguson to tackle air pollution "not just with words, but with action."

Ms Debbonaire said: "Last May, I welcomed the announcement of Bristol's status as European green capital in 2015 as a fantastic accolade that we can all look forward to.

"However, I called on Mayor Ferguson to use it as an opportunity to live up to all associated with it and invest in measures that can help tackle the increasing air pollution that is blighting our city."

She added: "I check the figures for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) in the city air each week and the measurements at the two stations in the city centre and M32 are worryingly breaking the legal limits regularly."

The campaign comes after new research for Bristol City Council conducted by Air Quality Consultants found that 188 deaths of Bristol residents in 2010 were a result of exposure to air pollution.

Twenty-four of those deaths were attributed to pollution from the city's road transport emissions.

Published in the Bristol Post on 16 September 2014 Read at the source

Candidate calls for action to cut air pollution

LABOUR'S candidate for Bristol West has called for urgent action to help reduce air pollution, after it was claimed that city levels had regularly broken the legal limit.  

Thangam Debbonaire welcomes air pollution campaign and calls on Bristol’s Mayor Ferguson to tackle air pollution “not just with words, but with action.”

29,000 people die prematurely in the UK each year because of poor air pollution in our towns and cities - including hundreds in Bristol. Scientists have warned that air pollution in Britain’s most polluted cities is stunting the development of children’s lungs.

 

The Labour Party, if successful in next year’s general election, have committed to deliver a national framework for Low Emission Zones to enable local authorities to encourage cleaner, greener, less-polluting vehicles to begin to tackle the problem.

 

The Coalition Government legislated in the Localism Act 2011 to force local authorities to pay large EU fines which are levied against the UK for missing European targets in their areas. Labour have said they will go further and devolve the power, not just the responsibility, to Local Authorities willing take action against air pollution.

 

Commenting on the plans, Thangam Debbonaire, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Bristol West, said:

 

“Last May I welcomed the announcement of Bristol’s status as European green capital in 2015 as a fantastic accolade that we can all look forward to. However, called on Mayor Ferguson to use it as an opportunity to live up to all associated with it and invest in measures that can help tackle the increasing air pollution that is blighting our city.  I check the figures for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) in the city air each week and the measurements at the two stations in the city centre and M32 are worryingly breaking the legal limits regularly. That is affecting our children’s ability to breathe properly, as recent research has shown.

 

“Unfortunately I didn’t get far – despite there being much that we can be doing now – making cycling a more attractive option, improving and expanding bus routes and making the buses on them affordable.

 

“A Labour Government will devolve the power, not just the responsibility, and support local authorities that want to tackle what could seriously become a future public health crisis. I call on Mayor Ferguson to support the recognition the Labour Party are giving to tackling air pollution, but crucially not just with words, but with action.”

 

Ends

 

Editor’s Notes:

 

  1. 1.   Thangam’s previous comments on this issue: - http://www.debbonaire.co.uk/air_pollution_in_bristol

 

  1. Public Health England: Estimating Local Mortality Burdens associated with Particulate Air Pollution- (April 2014)

http://www.hpa.org.uk/Publications/Environment/PHECRCEReportSeries/PHECRCE010/

 

  1. 3.   Air pollution is stunting lung development in children’s lungs in ways that will affect them for the rest of their livesDr Ian Mudway, College London- Oral evidence to Environmental Audit Committee (25thJune 2014)

 

‘The evidence over the last three or four years that children growing up near traffic in areas with high NO2 and primary particle emissions have stunted and impaired lung development is incredibly strong.’ - http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/environmental-audit-committee/action-on-air-quality/oral/11101.pdf

 

  1. The Government’s approach to tackling air pollution has been described by the ‘Healthy Air’ campaign (whose members include the British Heart Foundation and Asthma UK) as ‘designed to mask the true scale of England’s air quality crisis rather than make any real attempt to solve it.’ - http://healthyair.org.uk/consultation-response-local-air-quality-management-in-england-review/

Thangam Debbonaire welcomes air pollution campaign

Thangam Debbonaire welcomes air pollution campaign and calls on Bristol’s Mayor Ferguson to tackle air pollution “not just with words, but with action.”

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