Column by Labour’s Charmaine Morgan: ‘Charging for food in hospitals? Is that a sign of things to come?’

Charmaine Morgan
Charmaine Morgan

Thank you to all of the people in Grantham and surrounding villages who voted Labour in the last election.

For Labour people this is a time for reflection and re-building.

There are no doubt a number of reasons Labour did not make the election gains we anticipated. It is the view of some people that the Labour Party leadership were poor at rebutting constant accusations from the opposition about being responsible for the worldwide economic collapse during our last term in office.

Despite public corrections by a number of prominent key economic players, such as Sir Mervyn King, former Governor of the Bank of England, the wider media did not reflect these views, and nor did the Labour Party leadership.

The fact that the economy was improving under Labour before the Coalition Government stepped in also fell by the wayside. The Conservatives never declared how they would find the missing £12 billion prior to the election. We will soon find out.

Looking at the news here in Grantham, at Grantham College, the threat to the skilled jobs there is extremely concerning.

At a recent review of the Lincolnshire County Council highways work plan for the forthcoming year, I was told that, whilst the St Anne’s School crossing will be installed this summer, my request for a new zebra crossing outside Little Gonerby School would be pushed into the future, despite evidence it is needed. LCC Highways officers have no idea what budget they will have to use in the future.

It was also concerning that a presentation at SKDC of Lincolnshire hospital’s Clinical Strategy started with the current NHS Lincolnshire funding deficit of £25m, which is forecast to increase significantly by 2018 to £350m.

The restructure by United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust is reliant on a number of key factors, including the recruitment and retention of more staff, increased support from GPs (who are actually reducing their working 
hours if they can) and reduction in bed blocking through Care in the Community. Whilst it was encouraging to hear, the provision of ‘convalescent homes’ is an option being considered, this proposal like the others, requires further investment. Just what funds will be available we are yet to see.

It was hardly encouraging to hear a Conservative SKDC member propose that hospitals start charging for food when patients are staying in hospital to save money.

Is that a sign of things to come?