Sunday, January 16, 2022
HomeCommentColumnistsVIEW FROM WESTMINSTER: Helen Hayes


I’ll admit I’m a bit squeamish about needles, but last week I had a flu jab as part of a publicity campaign to encourage local people in Southwark and across the country to get themselves protected before the winter weather kicks in.

Local residents who are 65 or older, pregnant women, people with certain medical conditions, health workers and carers are all encouraged to visit their GP for a free flu jab. The uptake for carers is particularly low, so if you help to look after a loved one then please do remember to help protect yourself as well as the person you care for. The jab really isn’t too bad, and it is definitely worth being protected!

Our hospitals come under more pressure during the winter months and this year looks like it may be a very challenging one for our hard working doctors, nurses and support workers in the NHS. The Tory-Lib Dem government from 2010-2015 left King’s College Hospital in a perilous financial state by the time of May’s general election and the Tories seem only to be making things worse. The chart below shows that this pattern was reflected across the country, with the NHS expected to end the current financial year more than £2billion in debt.

I’ve got nothing but admiration for the hard working staff at King’s College Hospital, but a recent report by the Care Quality Commission shows just how badly they’ve been let down by the Tories and Lib Dems.  I’m pressing the government to train more nurses, rather than hospitals paying astronomical agency fees competing against each other because there are too few qualified staff, for proper investment in the Accident and Emergency department and for a fair financial deal for King’s which was forced to take on two hospitals in Bromley without the money to run them effectively. I’m proud of our NHS and I’m determined not to let the Tories finish off what the Lib Dems help them to start – running down our hospitals, fragmenting and privatising our precious health services, at the expense of patients and our hardworking NHS staff.


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