Debbie Abrahams has warned of the increasing pressure A&E staff are facing from NHS budget cuts in an outburst of criticism against the government’s reaction to the winter crisis.
The comments from the MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth followed her visit to the Pennine Acute Trust’s Royal Oldham Hospital.
Ms Abrahams, who is the Parliamentary Private Secretary to shadow health secretary Andy Burnham, spoke to staff at all levels from the hospital and commended the work the staff were doing.
She said: “I was very impressed with the staff I met in A&E this week, especially the way they are coping with the increasing pressure, exacerbated by yet another winter crisis brought about by the government’s damaging health policies.
“Pressure was the word that I heard again and again from staff at all levels.”
The visit follows a week when more than a dozen hospitals across the country declared major incidents, closing their doors to all but the most acute cases.
The government’s response to the pressures facing hospitals was criticised by Ms Abrahams, who said: “It beggars belief that, on the day when hospitals were declaring major incidents, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt gave NHS hospital bosses a four hour deadline to provide four bullet points each about how to end the crisis in A&E departments.
“A move which simply highlights the astonishing lack of government planning.
“Labour has repeatedly warned David Cameron to get a grip on the growing crisis in A&E and ambulance services. He has failed to do so and has now left patients all over England exposed to unacceptable levels of risk.”
Many causes have been cited for the increase in patients accessing hospital A&E departments including the flu and norovirus, an aging population and patients heading straight to A&E without consulting their doctor.
NHS Trusts are asking patients to call 111 for all non-emergency health issues.
Image courtesy of Debbie Abrahams, via YouTube, with thanks