Jan 29

A 10-year plan to raise standards in our National Health Service

NHS pledgeLabour’s NHS blueprint to raise standards of care and ensure the health service is sustainable in the 21st century includes integrating care, placing a new emphasis on prevention, and ensuring better access to services.

Our third election pledge will mean that people do not end up in hospital unless they really need to be there and will ensure that everyone has the care and treatment that is right for them, when and where they need it.

Our 10-year plan will:

  • Invest in staff so the NHS has time to care;
  • Integrate care from home to hospital – physical, mental and social care;
  • Give patients new rights to access care;
  • End the neglect of mental health;
  • Help prevent ill-health;
  • Restore the right values to the NHS.

False economies in social care have increased pressure on the NHS. The number of avoidable hospital admissions soared last year to a record high of more than half a million.

This cost the NHS around £1 billion.

Labour’s plan to integrate services from home to hospital will help end 15-minute care slots through new year-of-care budgets, incentivising providers to improve social care and prevent vulnerable patients falling ill or injuring themselves.

The next Labour government will create a new arm of the NHS, with 5,000 homecare workers to help those with the greatest needs, including those who are leaving hospital who need extra help if they are to move back into their homes.

We will create a specific new route through an apprenticeship and technical degree for young people working as care assistants or healthcare assistants who want to move into nursing or other clinical roles.

All vulnerable older people will be offered a safety check to identify risks to their health like cold homes, loneliness and the likelihood of them falling, so that problems can be tackled and they avoid unnecessary hospital visits.

Our £2.5 billion Time to Care Fund will provide 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs.

We will join up services from home to hospital, guaranteeing GP appointments within 48 hours and cancer tests within one week.

You can out more about Labour 10-year plan by reading Andy Burnham’s speech here.

Jan 27

Marking Holocaust Memorial Day

Holocaust Mem Day 2015Today marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history.

I have signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment in support of today’s Holocaust Memorial Day.

Each year, Holocaust Memorial Day honours those who were murdered during the Holocaust as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary survivors.

Thousands of commemorative events are being arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. I will be at the national commemoration this afternoon.

I encourage all constituents to mark the day and to join members of the community in the fight against prejudice and intolerance.

Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity to remember the victims and survivors of the Holocaust and make sure they are not forgotten.

This year, the Holocaust Educational Trust has published ‘70 Voices: Victims, Perpetrators, Bystanders’, a free to download app, website and podcast which shares first-hand accounts of the victims, perpetrators, bystanders and others who witnessed the Holocaust.

The App is free and you can download it from Amazon, Google Play or iTunes.

Jan 23

Shop workers urged to seek union protection

membership-week-jan2015-437x290A shocking 241 shop workers are assaulted every day in Britain, new figures from the shopworkers’ union Usdaw reveal.

The union asked 5,000 of its 420,000 members about the extent of the problem and found that as well as assaults, 33 per cent – one in three – were threatened by customers. Over half – 56 per cent – were verbally abused.

Shopworkers across the country are being urged this week to seek the protection of their union and sign up with Usdaw during its membership week drive.

Usdaw’s 433,000 members work in a variety of occupations and industries including shops, factories and warehouses, call centres and offices.

Membership has increased by more than 17 per cent in the last five years and by nearly a third in the last decade

The union aims to secure the best possible terms and conditions and provide support and protection at work.

It promises to be an exciting week with a determination to make a real difference in workplaces across the UK.

Jan 21

Missing million voting scandal

Election_CrossI am backing a drive to register a missing million voters who have disappeared from the Electoral Register because of government reforms in the last 12 months.

It’s a national problem, but Liverpool, with its large student population is a hot spot, with over 20,000 people missing from the voting register.

As Labour Leader Ed Miliband explained today, this is the year when young voters are able not only to hold leaders to account for broken promises – like those on tuition fees – but also begin to shape a better future for their generation.

The sharp decline in numbers of young people registered to vote only amplifies a long-term problem which has seen turnout among young people fall dramatically in recent elections.

I have been working closely with young people, schools, youth organisations and colleges and universities across the constituency and city to listen to their priorities. You can add your views by clicking here. They will be addressed in our Young Britain manifesto that is being published before the General Election on May 7.

On February 5, Bite the Ballot, the charity that empowers young people to speak up and act, is holding a National Voter Registration Day.Labour ballot box

Today, 18 Labour staff members have begun work in university towns and cities as student vote activators ahead of the General Election.

The missing million scandal comes after the government’s decision to override safeguards and ignore warnings from electoral watchdogs about the hasty introduction of individual registration.

Universities and colleges can no longer register students living in Halls of Residences in a block to vote.

Areas that have seen the number of registered voters fall by more than 10,000 include such university cities and towns as Cardiff, Liverpool, Newcastle, Southampton, Leicester, Nottingham, Brighton and Hull.

We need the government, the Electoral Commission, universities and local authorities to address this democratic scandal with urgent action by the end of this month so that people can get back on the register and have their voice heard at the election.

The deadline for people to register to take part in this year’s local and general elections is April 20.

You can register online or update your details if you have moved by clicking here. You will need your National Insurance number.

You can find out more about the new registration process by clicking here or by telephone: 0151 233 3028.

Jan 17

Labour pledges new support for family carers

Supporting Carers Week 2013

Supporting Carers Week 2013

Labour is determined to properly recognise the huge contribution made by the country’s five million unpaid family carers.

In government, we will place a new duty on the NHS to identify family carers, so they get the right help and support, and introduce a new right for carers to ask for an annual health check.

According to a Carers Week survey, health professionals only identify one in 10 carers, and GPs only identify 7 per cent of carers. Many family carers don’t even see themselves as being a carer – they’re just a son, daughter, grandparent, husband, wife or partner trying to look after the person they love.

We will make sure that there is a single point of contact with care services for families caring for people with the greatest needs, so they don’t have to battle different parts of the system.

A Labour government will ring-fence the money councils get from the NHS for carers’ breaks, to make sure all this money goes to family carers.

Employers, trade unions and carers organisations will be consulted on how to improve flexible working for family carers. This could include measures such as new ‘adjustment leave’ which would give people up to two weeks’ emergency leave off work to deal with family crises and to adjust to new caring roles

Family carers will also be included in the groups eligible for hospital car parking concessions.

We will also abolish the bedroom tax which hits 60,000 carers and penalises them for the extra facilities they need.

It cannot be right that people who contribute so much to the person they care for and society more widely get so little in return.

Labour wants a new deal for family carers. Our package of measures will make a real and practical difference to each carer’s life.

If you want to read more, please see this from Liz Kendall, Labour Shadow Minister for Care and Older People.

Jan 16

Help businesses become dementia friendly

Dementia-Friends-logoPeople living with dementia and their carers are being invited to an engagement session on Monday January 19 by the Alzheimer’s Society to share views on Liverpool businesses.

The engagement sessions are being held in the build up to Dementia Awareness Week in May, where a major event in Liverpool will bring together businesses based in the city to help them become more dementia friendly.

As a Dementia Friend, I know how important it is for businesses and services to think about the little changes that can make a huge difference to people’s lives.

Your experiences will help with the planning of the May event and encourage more businesses to sign up to Liverpool’s Dementia Action Alliance, all working towards Liverpool becoming a Dementia Friendly City.

Monday’s sessions are:

  • 10am-Noon at Liverpool Housing Trust, Stanley Terrace, 102 Upper Parliament Street, Liverpool L8 7LG
  • 2pm-4pm at Liverpool Housing Trust, Morley Court, Youens Way, East Prescot Road, Knotty Ash, Liverpool L14 2ER

If you would like to take part please contact Alzheimer’s Society Liverpool Office on 0151 298 2444.

Jan 15

Ensuring a sustainable NHS for the 21st century

Luciana Berger smilingLabour wants the next generation to be healthier than the last, so today Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, and I launched our new approach to public health which will help give all children a healthy start and empower adults to be able to make informed, healthy choices that are right for them.

Our new approach is part of a wider plan to improve health and ensure the NHS remains affordable and sustainable in the century of the ageing society.

The truth is that individuals and communities will need to be helped to take more responsibility for their health. Unless firm action is taken to halt the rise in obesity and diabetes, the cost of diabetes to the NHS will rise from £10 billion to £17 billion a year by 2035.

The Tory-led government has failed to get to grips with the scale of this challenge. Promised measures, such as on standardised cigarette packaging, have failed to materialise and it has been left to Labour to lead the debate in Opposition by winning the fight for a ban on smoking in cars with children.

Today, we kick-start public health policy back into life with a series of new measures to be implemented in government:

Placing the promotion of physical activity at the centre of public health policy with new, easily-understandable recommended levels of physical activity and a new national ambition. This will include a basic minimum that everyone who can should try to do, and a recommended level that we should aspire to get at least 50 per cent of people achieving by 2025;

Maximum limits will be set on levels of fat, salt and sugar in food marketed substantially to children. And to support the population as a whole, Labour will pursue improvements to food labelling to help people better understand what they are eating, including working at EU level to introduce traffic-light labelling of packaged food.

Targeted action on high-strength, low-cost alcohol which fuels binge drinking and does most harm to health, with a range of options on both price and bottle-size being explored;

Standardised packaging of tobacco to be introduced immediately to halt the industry’s increasingly sophisticated methods of recruiting new, young smokers; and a goal that children born in 2015 will become the first ‘smoke-free generation’.

As well as supporting more personal responsibility, Labour’s new public health approach places a new emphasis on community resilience and helping people look after each other, starting with cardiac arrest.

Through the plans we have announced today, by the time they leave school, all young people will have had access to emergency first aid training including Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and the use of defibrillators. Alongside that, Labour will propose a new plan to locate Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in major public places – shopping centres, airports, rail stations and sports stadia – and a new national open register of AEDs (available via digital apps) to give people instant information on where to find the nearest AED in an emergency situation.

Labour has traditionally led the way on public health and the plans we have announced today will chart a new course towards a healthier nation in the 21st Century.

Jan 12

Free cookery classes to cut waste

Love foodThe Love Food Hate Waste campaign is offering free training to individuals and organisations who want to learn how to reduce food waste and support others to do the same.

Free cookery classes will also run throughout the year designed to help people find new inspiration and gain practical help on reducing food waste at home.

The training promises tips on understanding the significance of food waste, what to do with the food you can’t eat, finding useful information and sharing tips with others.

People who attend the training can join a Food Champions network to tackle food waste across the city.

To find out more or to sign up for free training, email: julie.hesmondhalgh@wrap.org.uk or visit: www.lovefoodhatewaste.com

Jan 09

Labour will act on rip-off rail fare rises

Wavertree_Technology_Park_railway_station_sign_(1)New fare rises that came into effect on January 2 this year mean that the cost of train travel has rocketed by over 20 per cent since 2010.

For instance, a Warrington Central-Liverpool season ticket that cost £1,356 in 2010, now costs £1,676. That’s an increase of £320, or 24 per cent. A Liverpool-Manchester season ticket has leapt from £2,396 to £2,960 over the same period – another 24 per cent hike.

I’ve had many complaints from constituents about these exorbitant fares.

The Tory led government is presiding over a rip-off railway. People are being forced to pay thousands of pounds more to commute to work on increasingly overcrowded trains.

We need a better deal for passengers and taxpayers. We need to reform the railways, simplify ticketing and enforce a strict cap on fares on every route.

In government, Labour will give passengers a voice in how the railways are run and stop passengers getting fleeced at ticket machines by making it a legal right for passengers to be sold the cheapest available ticket for their journey.

Jan 02

Happy New Year to everyone

I believe that it is going to be year full of hope and promise.Luciana-Logo New Year (2)

On Thursday May 7, we will have the chance to take part in a General Election.

We will be faced with a choice between a return to the 1930s or the chance to rebuild our country in the interests of the many and not just the few.

It is sometimes said that there is little to choose between the political parties, but I believe that the differences are stark and the choices are becoming clearer by the day.

The Tories want to cut support for the most vulnerable, slash vital resources for our local councils and return us to a level of government last seen in the 1930s.

The Liberal Democrats can’t be trusted. Having sat next to the Tories for five years in government agreeing with every harmful cut and hurtful policy, they now want to claim that the pain of the cost-of-living crisis is nothing to do with them.

The coalition government would have you believe the economy was fixed but it has failed every test and broken every promise. That’s why it’s left to the next Labour government to build the strong economic foundations we need by getting the deficit down and balancing the books in a fairer way.

Labour will face up to the tough choices, but make sure that the broadest shoulders carry the greatest burden.

Our vision is of a country that works for the many, with public services we can rely on. We’ll achieve this by putting people first so we can earn our way out of the cost of living crisis and create a Britain built on strong economic foundations.

For instance, we will create a £2.5 billion Time to Care fund for the NHS through a Mansion Tax on the highest-value properties over £2 million, tackling tax avoidance and a new levy on tobacco companies.

We will use the money to return the NHS to good health. That includes recruiting 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GPs, 5,000 more care workers and 3,000 more midwives. They will help to deliver our integrated, whole-person care approach and make sure that people can get to see their GP within 48 hours.

We will tackle the deficit that has ballooned under the Tories by making sure more people are in stable jobs that pay decent wages and so are able to contribute through their taxes.

We will balance the books and get the national debt falling as soon as possible within the next Parliament by helping our economy to grow.

2015 is the year we can change Britain for the better. It is the year in which we can come together for the many and not just the few.

It is a year that I am looking forward to with much anticipation.

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