Ambulance cleanliness issue shows new inspections working

pb316Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said she is concerned after alarms were raised about the standards of cleanliness of some ambulance stations and vehicles.

The Ambulance Service will bring in a health professional to advise about better hygiene after visits to 21 stations by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority last month. At least 50 per cent of the stations had issues in regards to unsatisfactory hygiene in relation to infection prevention, hygiene and cleanliness.

However, Ms Bradshaw said the outcome shows the inspection system is working.

“It is a matter of record, and has been for a frustratingly long time, the Ambulance Service is understaffed and front-line ambulance staff are operating under extraordinary pressure. The cleanliness issues arising are in many ways an inevitable consequence.

“What we are seeing here is the penalty for inaction – the Ambulance Service should have been prioritised far sooner. There is now an opportunity to do this under new leadership.

“While cleanliness issues are clearly a serious matter and of profound public concern, as well as for the workers themselves, what we do see here is the new inspection system working. It is important visits are carried out at random, at least occasionally, to see stations in regular and normal use.

“I have no doubt the Ambulance Service will work hard to address the issues, but we do need to reflect it continues to be an under-resourced part of the overall health system.”

Bradshaw backs new District Nursing Framework

PB APNI shotAlliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has endorsed a new District Nursing Framework which will see nursing care available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The South Belfast MLA said she warmly welcomed the Northern Ireland launch of the Nursing Now campaign, which is designed to ensure everyone has access to nursing care wherever they need it.

“This comes with the endorsement of the World Health Organisation and the International Council for Nurses, and fits perfectly with our own overall health and social care transformation programme here in Northern Ireland.

“The Framework focuses on the patient and takes a broader ‘population health’ approach, which enable staff to be better supported and patients to be better and more appropriately cared for as soon as they access the service.

“I welcome the work of the Chief Nursing Officer and others in making this a reality despite the lack of clear Ministerial direction. This does demonstrate, however, the need for those with the biggest mandates to take more seriously their responsibilities with regards to taking on the management of the reform of our healthcare system for everyone in Northern Ireland.”


Waiting lists show need to move forward with transformation

PB APNI shotAlliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has warned further missed targets on waiting lists demonstrate the need to move forward with transformation of the system.

The South Belfast MLA was speaking after a progress report on waiting lists showed a key commitment had not yet been met. The Department of Health’s aim that no-one should wait more than one year for a first outpatient appointment was made under the Elective Care Plan.

“It was notable health reform was seen as a top priority in the recent draft agreement to restore the Executive and with good reason. People on waiting lists are suffering, which is a direct consequence of political failure and inaction on behalf of the two biggest parties,” said Ms Bradshaw.

“In particular, the Department’s own Health and Wellbeing: Delivering Together plan, which had addressing delays in accessing elective care as a key target, has missed its target and clearly needs a Health Minister in place to work.

“Health transformation is in large part about enabling investment in and resourcing of primary care to the extent people access the system more appropriately, with the result fewer people end up on waiting lists to start with.

“This shifting of the focus in the system, accompanied by a greater emphasis on prevention of illness and promotion of wellbeing, is essential and it must be carried through immediately.

“At present, in the current political vacuum, there are far too many aspects to the health and social care sector requiring attention and improvement, and it is long gone time the Executive was re-established to deal with these.”

Bradshaw welcomes Β£8 million investment in South Belfast

28Alliance South Belfast MLA Paula Bradshaw has welcomed a multi-million pound investment in her constituency, as it is expected to create up to 480 jobs in the south of the city.

Work is set to be completed on the expansion at Weavers Court business park, bringing in larger occupiers and potentially foreign direct investment.

“Weavers Court is rapidly establishing itself as the major technology park in Northern Ireland, and this investment and potential job creation is a major vote of confidence in Belfast,” Ms Bradshaw said.

“We know to grow the city’s economy we need to develop our indigenous private sector, attract talent, and provide opportunities for our citizens.

“At a time when Brexit-related uncertainty is dampening private sector investment, this news is particularly welcome and shows Belfast continues to experience substantial demand for grade A office space.”

Lack of compensation for abuse victims underlines need for Executive

pb316Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw has said the lack of movement on obtaining compensation for the victims and survivors of institutional abuse underlines the need for the restoration of the Executive.

South Belfast MLA Ms Bradshaw was speaking following a briefing from the Executive Office on the implementation of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry findings, which recommended compensation among other measures.

“Last week, Alliance once again raised the issue of redress for the victims and survivors of institutional abuse with the Secretary of State. We want to see justice done and the recommendations of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry implemented without any further delay.

“While instigating those recommendations won’t erase the suffering people have endured in the past, it will go some way to delivering what was promised and acknowledging the long campaign for justice by many. All parties must recognise they too have fundamental rights.
“There are now workable recommendations on the table. We want to see them fulfilled by a local Executive. However, the ongoing political impasse means people are literally dying while the matter rumbles on. We need recognition and redress given to the victims and survivors, and no more delays.”

Bradshaw expresses concern over community group funding news

28Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw has expressed concern at news grassroots community and voluntary groups are being asked to trim up to 15 per cent of their income from funding allocations.

The South Belfast MLA said the groups are being told to assess their projects to see where savings could be made from their funding from the Department for Communities. She said the political impasse was making things more difficult for the organisations.

“As someone who worked in the community and voluntary sector for 19 years before entering politics full-time, I am acutely aware of the year-on-year, contract after contract, request from funders to look for ways in which ‘fat could be removed’ from project, revenue or salary budget lines.

“The reality is the community and voluntary groups, delivering to the most deprived and vulnerable across Northern Ireland, really have nothing left to offer up by way of cost savings. On the contrary, utility costs are rising, the introduction of employers’ pensions contributions, and inflationary pressures on the cost of materials for project delivery have all contributed to this point where the amount of funding received does not even cover current costs, let alone reduced future allocations.

“Without a functioning Executive at Stormont to get to grips with the dire situation around the Budget and introduce measures to protect funding for frontline projects, it seems inconceivable valuable community groups will not have to drastically reduce what services and programmes they can deliver, or worse, close altogether.”

Nurse recruitment shows need for proper workforce planning in health service

28Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said the planned recruitment of 600 Filipino nurses demonstrates the need for proper workforce planning in the health and social care service.

The South Belfast MLA was speaking after it was revealed the nurses would be recruited due to the shortage of nurses, which is currently estimated to be around 10 per cent below capacity.

“We are fortunate in Northern Ireland we have already recruited hundreds of workers from the Philippines and elsewhere, without which our health and social care service would simply collapse. There is little doubt this new planned recruitment is needed.

“What this demonstrates, however, is a proper and comprehensive workforce plan is needed, not least given the potential limitations on recruitment if the UK proceeds to leave the EU. We need to consider more fundamentally what needs the service will have as people continue to live longer and have more complex conditions, whether more investment is needed in training nurses and other health professionals here in Northern Ireland, and how we will plan for a time the UK becomes potentially less attractive as a location to foreign professionals if there are restrictions on movement of labour around the EU.

“As ever, this is just a further demonstration of the urgency of transformation of the service, and the need to have a Minister in post making key decisions for future planning to ensure we have the workforce necessary to meet demand into the next decade.”