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Tom Brake

Liberal Democrat MP for Carshalton and Wallington


St Helier Hospital - Campaign Gathers Pace - Brake

March 5, 2007 11:28 AM

Tom Brake MP and Lib Dem Councillors Dave Callaghan, David Theobald and Paddy Kane joined hundreds of campaigners outside St Helier Hospital on Saturday morning in the latest of a series of rallies to Save St Helier Hospital. The future of the hospital now hangs in the balance as the review of the 'Better Healthcare Closer to Home' programme has been completed and is being considered by NHS London.

Before the rally, Tom Brake met with hospital staff to hear first hand the impact cuts were having on patients and staff in the hospital. The changes that have been pushed through by management at the hospital include; no longer supplying pyjamas to patients with the result that some patients are having to rely on surgical gowns which often do not preserve a patient's dignity, a tougher policy on staff sickness which has been introduced retrospectively, not filling staff vacancies or providing temporary cover when nurses are off sick, issuing letters to part-time bed managers that suggest their jobs may be at risk, early closure of the canteen during the weekend and increased parking charges for staff.

Mr Brake said, "It is clear the Trust's Financial Recovery Plan is now beginning to bite. And there is growing evidence that the plan is affecting patient care. I am seeking an urgent meeting to discuss with Trust Managers a couple of cases brought to my attention in the last few weeks that suggest staffing levels on some wards may be inadequate."

Cllr David Theobald, who also spoke at the rally said, "Both my family and I rely on this hospital. We live just a few yards away and will fight to safeguard its future."

Mr Brake is writing to the Health Secretary to request that she consider introducing a national standard for the ratio of patients to nurses to ensure wards are always adequately staffed.