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MP slams Government over crisis at Southport & Formby hospital

Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson has called on the Government to “stand aside to save the NHS”.

After dozens of patients were forced to wait for more than an hour in ambulances outside Southport & Formby and Ormskirk A&E departments over the Christmas period, and an NHS doctor described “third-world conditions”, the MP said enough was enough.

NHS bosses have taken the unprecedented step of cancelling all non-emergency operations for the month of January, and Mr Esterson said this proved the service was not safe in the hands of the Conservative Government.

“When we have A&E consultants apologising for ‘third-world conditions’ in the NHS we know something has to change or people’s lives will be at risk,” he said.

“It is not good enough for the Prime Minister Theresa May to appear on television and simply say ‘nothing’s perfect’.

“The NHS needs proper investment and it will only get that from a Labour Government. The Tories should apologise for the mess they have got the NHS into. They should stand aside and let Labour deliver the service the country needs, to save the NHS.”

The Cheshire & Merseyside “Sustainability and Transformation Plan” (STP) last year proposed that Southport’s A&E services could be merged or downgraded in order to save money in the future and Mr Esterson said this cannot be allowed to happen.

“The pressures over the Christmas period show that Southport and Formby desperately need this Emergency Department and it is wrong for the Government to cut NHS funding so far that commissioners are forced to look at downgrading or even closing this department. When it’s an emergency you don’t want to be forced to travel long distances for treatment.”

A total of 133 patients waited in ambulances for more than half an hour to be admitted to Southport & Ormskirk NHS Trust – an average of 19 per day ­- over Christmas week and, of those patients, 60 waited more than an hour.

On every day of the week from December 25 to 31, bed occupancy rates at the Trust were above the nationally accepted “safe” level of 85% - and incredibly, on December 28, every bed in Southport and Ormskirk hospitals was occupied.

At nearby Aintree hospital, in Mr Esterson's Walton constituency, a total of 62 patients waited between 30 and 60 minutes in ambulances during the week beginning on Christmas Day and, of those, 25 waited more than an hour.

In the week beginning December 25, bed occupancy levels were above 85% every day at Aintree hopsital, and reached 98.4% on December 30.

Mr Esterson added: “The pressures on our NHS have made the service unsafe and are putting lives at risk. It’s clear the NHS is not safe in the Conservatives’ hands.”

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