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Southport A&E still at risk, says MP, privatisation adds to pressures

Sefton Central Labour MP, Bill Esterson praised staff at the hospital which serves many of his Formby and Crosby constituents but expressed “deep concern” for the future of the A&E department at Southport. He also said that the diversion of resources to private companies meant less for NHS care and that reduced the viability of A&E and other existing departments.

Bill Esterson met hospital chief executive, Karen Jackson, when he visited Southport and Formby hospital. During their conversation, Bill Esterson and Karen Jackson discussed their own first rate experiences of treatment at the hospital and both agreed just how hard staff are working at the hospital to deliver the care that patients need.

But Bill Esterson raised concerns about the future of the hospital and especially its A&E department. This followed the publication of the so-called “Sustainability and Transformation Plan” for Cheshire and Merseyside which included suggestions for downgrading A&E at Southport during an early draft.

During their meeting, Mr Esterson and Ms Jackson discussed the priorities for the NHS at Southport Hospital.

Bill Esterson MP said, “I was pleased that Karen Jackson and I were able to talk so openly about the challenges which the hospital faces. Karen has been chief executive for 4 months and it is good news that Southport now has a full time chief executive. But Karen Jackson faces a very challenging time. There were departments which closed and there has been privatisation of community services. Privatisation has a damaging knock on effect on the NHS, which still has to pick up the slack for more complicated care. Meanwhile resources and funds are diverted to more routine treatment, which is cherry picked in the private sector.

“The staff at Southport hospital are doing everything they can to deliver outstanding care to patients. I was admitted through A&E at Southport a few years ago and will always be grateful to staff for the care I received. But I want my constituents to have the high quality care that I received and I share the deep concern of many for the future of A&E at Southport. The plan for Cheshire and Merseyside suggested that A&E could be downgraded as one of three options. The top three priorities for the NHS at Southport are urgent care, frailty especially of older people and support for women and children. But the hospital faces significant challenges if it is to meet the needs of the my constituents, not least because of the cuts to funding which we have seen in the last 7 years under the Conservatives and Lib-Dems, cuts which are exacerbated by privatisation and the diversion of scarce resources to outside the NHS. Meanwhile of course staff have seen their living standards fall because of the pay cap imposed by this government.

“It is clear from my discussions with Karen Jackson that Southport Hospital is going to see significant changes. One of those changes is that A&E is more likely to be downgraded at Southport, if the Conservatives are allowed to continue with their plans. My Labour colleagues and I will be doing all we can to stand up for our NHS, not least to ensure the best possible urgent care in our area.”

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