As an MP in Salford I am grateful that our local hospital, Salford Royal, is one of the best and safest hospitals in the country. I know that Salford Royal has achieved this through working hard to improve safety and quality for patients. The hospital has a strong commitment to ensure that nurse to patient staffing ratios are at safe levels.
In my work on the Commons Health Select Committee I am concerned that other hospitals are not required to adopt the safe staffing levels used by Salford Royal. I have raised this issue repeatedly with Conservative Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, but he never agrees with me about this important issue.
Although we have safer staffing levels at Salford Royal, I know that we also need more staff in other parts of the NHS and in social care. A survey of patients in Salford has shown that a third of the patients replying had to wait a few days to get a GP appointment and one in seven Salford patients had to wait a week or more. In my view, longer waits to see a GP or in A & E departments are a sign of an NHS under pressure.
Constituents have also told me about care staff working locally who have too little time allocated to devote to the people in their care. I been told of a single care worker being sent out when two were needed to care safely. I have also been told of patients in nursing homes not being properly changed or helped to eat by care staff rushing to manage their workload.
As Labour leader, Ed Miliband, said at the Labour Party Conference we need to create an NHS with the time to care. Labour will do this through funding 5,000 more homecare workers and 3,000 more midwives, 8,000 more GPs and 20,000 more nurses in our NHS nationally.
I look forward to people in Salford being more confident that, when they need to see a GP or be cared for at home, doctors, nurses or care staff will have the time to care.