March 3, 2014 by Protect Our NHS
Local Democracy and Public Health in Bristol
On 24th February we e mailed the Bristol / South West offices of the following political parties – Conservative, Green, Labour, LibDem, UKIP – asking for their responses to the following questions. To date only the Green Party and Labour have responded. If / when the other parties respond we will post their answers on this blog.
I am writing to you on behalf of Protect our NHS, a politically unaligned local campaigning organisation which represents a large group of residents of South Gloucestershire, Bristol and North Somerset, who are committed to the continuation of a publicly funded and operated NHS.
We have noted, with concern, the downgrading of the post of Director of Public Health in Bristol and the resignation of key personnel. In the light of this we would be very grateful if you would send us your current policy documents on the management of health and social care in Bristol.
We are writing to all political parties and will be circulating all responses widely via our blog, Twitter and Facebook accounts and in the local media.
We look forward to a response at your earliest convenience.
Protect our NHS
The Labour Party’s response was as follows:
RESTORING OUR NHS – NOT SAFE IN THEIR HANDS.
1 Bristol Labour Party believes that the NHS cannot survive another 5 years of the current Government.
Nationally, we fully support the commitment of Andy Burnham, in charge of Health in Labour’s Shadow Cabinet to introduce a Bill within the first week of a new Labour Government to REPEAL legally enforceable competitive tendering in our NHS. This is necessary in order to help produce a ‘seamless’ service for individuals and their families.
2 In Bristol we believe everyone has a RIGHT TO GOOD HEALTH with similar life expectancy and lower mortality rates no matter where you live.
Our ambition is to ELIMINATE inequalities in health, life expectancy and access to health resources; levelling up areas such as Lawrence Hill or Knowle West to levels in Clifton.
3 A strong and independent Director of Public Health (DPH) reporting into and serving the Bristol Health and Well-Being Board (HWB) is VITAL to achieving this ambition.
We deplore the action of the Mayor in reducing the power and influence of the DPH and driving experienced and committed people in the Public Health Directorate to leave and go elsewhere. All parts of the Council such as housing, transport etc must work on public health concerns using proper evidence-based actions.
We know that the DPH for Bristol is essential in assisting the HWB towards seamless care and integration for people in need across Health and Social Care. We want to create a culture of QUALITY CARE that both emphasises patients’ needs and preferences and also supports the staff in delivering that care. We must ensure in particular that mental health provision is of high quality and accessible for all when they need it.
To achieve this we will introduce a Bristol Charter of Rights for Individuals, easy to read and understand and applicable to public and staff in Health and Social Care.
4 A new DPH, appointed at a senior level will lead and direct the Better Care Fund, Public Health resources and other expenditure to effectively tackle inequalities and to raise life expectancy in communities.
We will concentrate on factors affecting those experiencing poorer health than others in our city – such as real and measurable differences in early diagnosis of Cancer, Dementia, tackling air pollution in key areas and ensuring Older People and those with Long Term conditions have appropriate regular individual health needs assessment.
5 We are committed to implementing the principles of the Marmot Report, particularly those that emphasises the importance of the best start in life for 0-5 year olds.
We will ensure support to parents on all aspects of child care from good nutrition to behaviour and the prevention of child abuse by effective and timely support by a network of CHILDRENS CENTRES across our city feeding into Primary schools.
The Green Party responded directing us to this page on their local website:
Green Party Policy for Bristol – Health & Social Care
Over and above the absence of illness and ailments, the health of our citizens is determined largely by access to meaningful work, support for active lives and access to good food. Healthy communities, which are inclusive and have a range of local facilities, also support individual health.
The Green Party would reverse the sale of NHS services and hospitals to private companies.
In the ever-changing world of NHS re-organisation what is important is that there is local and democratic accountability in the health service. Neighbourhood Partnerships should have a voice on health issues, and feed into the Health and Wellbeing Board. We oppose a target driven culture and the contracting of out-of-hours care to private enterprises.
Physical access to clinics and community hubs is an issue of major importance for many. Thus access to good, cheap public transport is a health issue.
Prioritise Children & Family Services
Sure Start and other children’s and family services perform a vital role. We will ensure that funding for these services is maintained.
Ensure resources go to promoting well-being and mental health both of individuals and communities
Services such as those that promote healthy diets and exercise, anger management courses and services related to substance misuse will also be given sufficient resources. Where they have been shown to be effective, complementary therapies will be supported.
Introduce Adult ‘playgrounds’
We recognise that that exercise and being outdoors should be free and fun. Where the opportunity arises we will build adult adventure playgrounds to encourage grown- ups to play and exercise.
Social care needs to be well integrated with the wider NHS. We will recognise the commitment and dedication of the staff providing these services, and promote the highest standards of care by ensuring that all care staff have full and appropriate training.