In a recent debate at Westminster I raised a number of our local issues. I said that Salford wanted to keep its neo-natal unit and I asked Health Ministers to listen to local people and resolve the future of our maternity services.
I was one of a number of MPs urging the Government to reverse their decision to close over 150 courts in this country, including our court in Salford. Keeping justice local is a key issue for us in Salford. MPs from all sides of the House of Commons have protested about these closures and Ministers should change this decision.
I also urged Transport Ministers to cancel the unpopular lane gain scheme on Junctions 12 to 15 of the M60, which could have such a negative impact on residents living near the motorway.
The Conservative Health Secretary plans to abolish the cap limiting the amount of money that NHS hospitals can earn from private patients. It seems that many of the best-performing hospitals want to bring in private patients from home and abroad. Now that the Conservative-led government has abolished waiting times there are real fears of a return to a two-tier Health service. Patients who can pay will be able to jump the queue for treatment while NHS patients suffer longer and longer waiting times.
The Conservative Liberal Democrat Government has also decided to scrap Labour’s plan to abolish parking charges for hospital patients and visitors. Scotland has already abolished the charges and Wales will abolish them next year. Now it will only be patients in England who continue to pay between 30p and £4 an hour in hospital car parks. Patients with cancer or chronic conditions are hardest hit by the charges. Research from Macmillan Cancer Support shows that, on average, cancer patients travel to hospital 53 times during their treatment costing them £325. I have been contacted by many constituents about what is effectively a tax on illness. I urge our hospital trust to stick with Labour’s plan to abolish parking fees and also to offer some concessions now.