The difference between Conservative and Labour

June 13, 2012

A constituent boldly asked me if there is a difference between Conservative and Labour. Of course there is. The Conservative-led coalition government has put in place a vital deficit reduction plan and cut the deficit by a quarter in two years. The previous Government had left the largest deficit in the G20 and a doubled national debt. Unemployment is now falling.

The Coalition has tightened up in all areas:

– capped immigration
– improved school discipline powers
– ordered new nuclear capacity
– increased NHS spending and efficiency
– introduced measures to ensure work always pays better than benefits, which have been capped
– reviewed all overseas aid to focus it on poor countries not the emerging Eastern powers

The UK had the worst deficit in the G20. We were spoken of in the same group as Greece! Not now!

These are important achievements with much more to come.

So, yes, there is a difference between those who are saving the country from the brink of bankruptcy and making a start on improving our damaged and dependant society and those who brought us close to disaster.

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Hunger Crisis in West Africa

June 13, 2012

Constituents are rightly worried about the West Africa crisis and Britain will help a further million people survive the food crisis.

The Minister, Andrew Mitchell has warned that up to 1.5 million children are facing imminent starvation in the next month if the world does not take urgent action. He called on donors with strong links to the drought-stricken region of the Sahel – to step up their efforts to avert this looming catastrophe.
I am sure Andrew is right and it is good to have the Minister giving the World a push. Rainy season makes vast swathes of West Africa inaccessible for aid workers in as little as four weeks’ time.
So, what is Britain doing to help?

Latest support includes nutritional treatment, health, water and sanitation for a further 31,000 children, and food for a further 170,000 people for six months.
Animal feed and vaccinations will keep over 280,000 farmers’ livestock alive and seeds and tools for 470,000 families so they will be able to feed themselves next year as well.
Britain is now helping a total of more than 1.4 million people at risk of hunger across Mali, Niger, Chad, Mauritania and Burkina Faso. More than 100,000 children at risk of starvation in these countries will receive immediate lifesaving treatment.


Good news down on the farm!

June 13, 2012

Well, some good news has come from the Rural Payments Agency – not before time! They are ahead of target in paying farmers. In the bad years, I can remember farmers in North East Herts waiting years to be paid, even though I was pressing for action.

The Agency pays the Common Agricultural policy money to farmers and has been very poor in its performance since 2005. The EU has fined it £300million. However, this year they had met their June target in March, paying out over 95 per cent. I do give the credit to Minister Jim Paice, who has really pushed for better efforts, and obviously succeeded.

Jim’s plan for the future is at http://www.rpa.defra.gov.uk


Consultation on Royston Hospital

June 13, 2012

CONSULTATION RESPONSE TO ‘A VISION AND STRATEGY FOR INTERMEDIATE CARE SERVICES IN HERTFORDSHIRE’

 

JOINT RESPONSE FROM

ROYSTON AND DISTRICT AREA COMMITTEE

 (NORTH HERTFORDSHIRE DISTRICT COUNCIL)

 AND COUNTY COUNCILLORS FOR ROYSTON (FIONA HILL)

 AND NORTH HERTFORDSHIRE RURAL (TONY HUNTER)

 

 

ENGAGEMENT QUESTIONS

 

Question 1 –  Intermediate Care Vision and Strategy

 

a)         Opportunities/Advantages

 

The new strategy allows for a purpose built, modern community facility to accommodate the needs for intermediate care, with medical, nursing and therapy support, in Royston and the surrounding area.

 

b)         Challenges/Concerns

 

            These relate to the logistics of continuous intermediate care during the period of development of the new facility.  Other concerns relate to the consistency of outpatient services and clinics currently situated atRoystonHospital, together with the Royston and District Volunteer Centre and Royston and District Community Transport offices.  Both organisations are very important in the community, have close links withRoystonHospitaland are currently located on the Hospital site.

 

Question 2 – Royston Proposals

 

v)         Procure an independent care home provider to redevelop the hospital site to provide purpose-built facilities for intermediate care and residential/nursing home care to serve the local population.

 

We support the concept of involving an independent care home provider to redevelop the hospital site in order to accommodate intermediate care and residential/nursing home care for Royston and the surrounding area.

 

            Should any of the land be sold (careful consideration should be given as to whether a lease is a better option), Royston must receive a legacy, whether through planning gain, or other means, for future health provision, bearing in mind the expansion of the town and surrounding area.  Planning conditions/clauses should also be applied to safeguard community health services in Royston, in the future.  It is vital that as much land as possible is retained in the ownership of the NHS.

 

 

vi)        Provide space to run outpatient clinics, community services and other services currently delivered in the Royston Hospital site, either:-

 

            To the new facility on the hospital site

 

            This is an ideal rural location for residential/nursing home care and intermediate care beds, with appropriate supporting services.  The new facility is essential for Royston and the surrounding villages. 

 

            Any development should allow for future expansion if more beds and further space for additional supporting services and clinics are required.

 

            In an extension to the Royston Health Centre

 

            Given the existing timescale and funding currently available, we support the proposal for an extension to Royston Health Centre to locate outpatient clinics, community services and other services, whilst the development of theRoystonHospital site is in progress.

 

No outpatient clinics and services currently held atRoystonHospitalshould be ceased until a new location has been identified and is operational.

 

There should be a long term vision for health services in Royston and the surrounding area.  The style of any new extension should be such that there is room for future phased modular expansion, should it be required (possibly medical, nursing, therapy services and meeting/conference rooms).  It has been stated that there is currently a shortage of space at Royston Health Centre and that any additional space from an extension could be used in the long term, following development of the current Hospital site.

 

Any plans relating to Royston Health Centre also need to take into account and not put in jeopardy any possible future development of the Civic Centre/Town Hall site.

 

Consideration should also be given to the fact that parking is currently free for employees, patients and visitors atRoystonHospitalbut charges exist in the car park nearest the Royston Health Centre. 

 

            In an alternative local location

 

We have concerns that this would become a permanent solution. In our opinion, the sites which have been investigated, for example, Lumen House, are totally unsuitable (insufficient parking, transport links, vehicular accessibility, financially unviable).  Services would become fragmented and would be costly, confusing and inconsistent if they were put in more than one location.  It is imperative that the services remain together.

 

 

vii)        During the planning and development of the new facility, close Royston Hospital and commission an appropriate number of NHS-funded intermediate care beds from local care home providers in the town and make local arrangements to accommodate other services.

 

            We support temporary commissioning of an appropriate number of NHS funded intermediate care beds from local care home providers in the town.  However, no beds should be removed fromRoystonHospital until appropriate arrangements and agreements have been confirmed and local providers have agreed to accommodate patients. 

 

GENERAL

 

Future health requirements in Royston will need to include capacity for the 4,000 patients currently using the Market Hill Surgery when the lease expires in three years’ time.

 

There is currently a strong, committed and professional team of employees employed at Royston Hospital and it is vital that patients continue to be served in this way and there is consistency in the service provided.

 

We would stress again that theRoystonHospitalshould remain open for intermediate care beds and all outpatient clinics and services currently situated at the site until suitable alternative local provision is available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONSULTATION RESPONSE TO ‘A VISION AND STRATEGY FOR INTERMEDIATE CARE SERVICES IN HERTFORDSHIRE’

 

 

 

JOINT RESPONSE FROM

 

ROYSTON AND DISTRICT AREA COMMITTEE

 

 (NORTH HERTFORDSHIRE DISTRICT COUNCIL)

 

 AND COUNTY COUNCILLORS FOR ROYSTON (FIONA HILL)

 

 AND NORTH HERTFORDSHIRE RURAL (TONY HUNTER)

 

 

 

 

 

ENGAGEMENT QUESTIONS

 

 

 

Question 1 –  Intermediate Care Vision and Strategy

 

 

 

a)         Opportunities/Advantages

 

 

 

The new strategy allows for a purpose built, modern community facility to accommodate the needs for intermediate care, with medical, nursing and therapy support, in Royston and the surrounding area.

 

 

 

b)         Challenges/Concerns

 

 

 

            These relate to the logistics of continuous intermediate care during the period of development of the new facility.  Other concerns relate to the consistency of outpatient services and clinics currently situated atRoystonHospital, together with the Royston and District Volunteer Centre and Royston and District Community Transport offices.  Both organisations are very important in the community, have close links withRoystonHospitaland are currently located on the Hospital site.

 

 

 

Question 2 – Royston Proposals

 

 

 

v)         Procure an independent care home provider to redevelop the hospital site to provide purpose-built facilities for intermediate care and residential/nursing home care to serve the local population.

 

 

 

We support the concept of involving an independent care home provider to redevelop the hospital site in order to accommodate intermediate care and residential/nursing home care for Royston and the surrounding area.

 

 

 

            Should any of the land be sold (careful consideration should be given as to whether a lease is a better option), Royston must receive a legacy, whether through planning gain, or other means, for future health provision, bearing in mind the expansion of the town and surrounding area.  Planning conditions/clauses should also be applied to safeguard community health services in Royston, in the future.  It is vital that as much land as possible is retained in the ownership of the NHS.

 

 

 

 

 

vi)        Provide space to run outpatient clinics, community services and other services currently delivered in the Royston Hospital site, either:-

 

 

 

            To the new facility on the hospital site

 

 

 

            This is an ideal rural location for residential/nursing home care and intermediate care beds, with appropriate supporting services.  The new facility is essential for Royston and the surrounding villages. 

 

 

 

            Any development should allow for future expansion if more beds and further space for additional supporting services and clinics are required.

 

 

 

            In an extension to the Royston Health Centre

 

 

 

            Given the existing timescale and funding currently available, we support the proposal for an extension to Royston Health Centre to locate outpatient clinics, community services and other services, whilst the development of theRoystonHospital site is in progress.

 

 

 

No outpatient clinics and services currently held atRoystonHospitalshould be ceased until a new location has been identified and is operational.

 

 

 

There should be a long term vision for health services in Royston and the surrounding area.  The style of any new extension should be such that there is room for future phased modular expansion, should it be required (possibly medical, nursing, therapy services and meeting/conference rooms).  It has been stated that there is currently a shortage of space at Royston Health Centre and that any additional space from an extension could be used in the long term, following development of the current Hospital site.

 

 

 

Any plans relating to Royston Health Centre also need to take into account and not put in jeopardy any possible future development of the Civic Centre/Town Hall site.

 

 

 

Consideration should also be given to the fact that parking is currently free for employees, patients and visitors atRoystonHospitalbut charges exist in the car park nearest the Royston Health Centre. 

 

 

 

            In an alternative local location

 

 

 

We have concerns that this would become a permanent solution. In our opinion, the sites which have been investigated, for example, Lumen House, are totally unsuitable (insufficient parking, transport links, vehicular accessibility, financially unviable).  Services would become fragmented and would be costly, confusing and inconsistent if they were put in more than one location.  It is imperative that the services remain together.

 

 

 

 

 

vii)        During the planning and development of the new facility, close Royston Hospital and commission an appropriate number of NHS-funded intermediate care beds from local care home providers in the town and make local arrangements to accommodate other services.

 

 

 

            We support temporary commissioning of an appropriate number of NHS funded intermediate care beds from local care home providers in the town.  However, no beds should be removed fromRoystonHospital until appropriate arrangements and agreements have been confirmed and local providers have agreed to accommodate patients. 

 

 

 

GENERAL

 

 

 

Future health requirements in Royston will need to include capacity for the 4,000 patients currently using the Market Hill Surgery when the lease expires in three years’ time.

 

 

 

There is currently a strong, committed and professional team of employees employed at Royston Hospital and it is vital that patients continue to be served in this way and there is consistency in the service provided.

 

 

 

We would stress again that theRoystonHospitalshould remain open for intermediate care beds and all outpatient clinics and services currently situated at the site until suitable alternative local provision is available.