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Jo spoke at a rally in Kingswood Park this morning with dozens of residents gathered once again to show the frustration and anger at the decision by NHS bosses not to provide a Minor Injuries Unit at Cossham Hospital.

Jo then made a statement at the Council's Health Scrutiny meeting, explaining why over the winter months residents have become increasingly frustrated and angry.

Jo said: “With every week and every month that the CCG considers and drafts and evaluates, we go without the urgent care services we were promised… Residents have not been given the answers they need to be convinced that the CCG’s alternative plans will work… People have become increasingly concerned about the clear strain local A&E departments have been under in recent weeks... On top of all this, there is the anxiety that comes from the decision to downgrade plans for the community hospital promised at Frenchay, despite local Tory MPs claiming it was already saved. The fear is that once again local services are being downgraded.”

The CCG reported that their plans are still being developed, so they were unable to set out the details or give the reassurances Jo and the Save Cossham Group had asked for.

Many residents left the meeting early because they felt the CCG still wasn't listening, and councillors voted unanimously to refer the CCG's decision not to provide the Minor Injuries Unit to the Government, to be reviewed by the Health Secretary.

The full text of Jo's statement is below.

* * *

"My name is Jo McCarron - and I am here once again to support residents who feel worried about the future of emergency health care in this area.

I'm out speaking to hundreds of residents every week across the constituency and I have to say the strength of feeling about the MIU has only intensified over the winter months.

I have attended a number of meetings to hear from the Clinical Commissioning Group how they intend to provide effective urgent care close to home.

I have said consistently that if the CCG could demonstrate clearly to residents how their proposed alternative plans either match or exceed the promised Minor Injuries Unit at Cossham, then we would support that alternative. 

But we have made it absolutely clear throughout that we will not accept yet another downgraded service.

I fully understand the pressure the CCG themselves are under – but the fact is, residents have still not been convinced. They are increasingly frustrated and angry. 

Why is that?

Firstly, because not only do we have no Minor Injuries Unit – but the CCG’s alternative plans are still only being drawn up.

Patience wore thin long ago. With every week and every month that the CCG considers and drafts and evaluates, we go without the urgent care services we were promised.

Secondly, because residents have not been given the answers they need to be convinced that the alternative plans will work.

Take the last scrutiny meeting.

Residents attended hoping that the most basic questions would be answered. We knew that there wouldn't be fine detail, but they hoped for some proper insight into the CCG’s alternative.

I left that meeting wondering if the CCG thought they has succeeded with their communications strategy when hordes of people walked out?

People had come for answers – and instead they got a slideshow. If there is one sure way to upset an already disgruntled crowd, it is by feeding them useless PR which they'll see straight through.

They just want you - the CCG - to talk to them and be straight, not show them slides. It's this kind of thing which has already caused distrust and anger - and perhaps that was not the intention, but it's most certainly the outcome.

The CCG has now given written answers to questions put to them by local councillors, but I’m afraid there are still big holes. For example: 

We still don’t know where the new urgent care services will be delivered.

We don’t know what level of additional staffing will be provided. 

We do know they are hoping to provide an urgent care service on evenings, weekends and bank holidays – but the wording shows that even that isn't concrete. 

Finally, people have become increasingly concerned about the clear strain local A&E departments have been under in recent weeks.

People are not stupid – they can see what is happening nationally.

The Government has piled pressure on our NHS, with nurses’ jobs cut, funding for social care slashed, and billions wasted on a top-down reorganisation to create Clinical Commissioning Groups such as this one – money that could have been spent on frontline care.  

Walk-in centres have been closed.

Waiting times have hit their worst level in 10 years. 

Hospitals have declared “major incidents” because their A&E departments couldn’t cope.

So it's no wonder people feel more insecure than ever about the provision of local emergency healthcare.

On top of all this, there is the anxiety that comes from the decision to downgrade plans for the community hospital promised at Frenchay, despite local Tory MPs claiming it was already saved. The fear is that once again local services are being downgraded.

People feel let down. Trust has been diminished.

So residents need reassurance today that decision-makers understand how important it is for them to have effective urgent care services close to home.

Today is crunch time, and I hope the the CCG can shed more light on the questions we have raised, because for residents this is the last straw."

Jo speaks at Cossham rally before councillors force Government to review MIU decision

Jo spoke at a rally in Kingswood Park this morning with dozens of residents gathered once again to show the frustration and anger at the decision by NHS bosses not...

 Jack_Dromey_3.jpg

Jo McCarron was joined by Jack Dromey, Labour's Shadow Policing Minister, to meet with local councillors and residents at New Cheltenham Hall to discuss cuts being planned to the Council's Community Safety budget. Jo called for the Government to reinstate the funds and launched a petition to show residents' concerns about the threat to PCSOs, CCTV cameras and the Council team that tackles anti-social behaviour.

As a result of huge Government cuts to Council funding, South Gloucestershire Council is having to slash £277k per year from its Community Safety budget. Councillors deciding where those cuts will fall are having to choose between saving Community Support Officers, CCTV cameras, the anti-social behaviour team, or the team that work to prevent high risk sex offenders re-offending. That is no choice at all.

Jo said: "Yes the Government has to make cuts, but this Government is choosing to cut Council funding more than any other area of public spending, and it is cutting South Gloucestershire’s budget significantly more than other Councils in often wealthier areas.

“The Government could reinstate the £277k if it wanted to—look at the tens of thousands of pounds it’s given in tax cuts to everbody earning more than £1million a year. 

“And the fact is if it doesn’t reinstate this money, people’s fundamental right to feel safe in their community will be undermined."

Jo and the Labour team have delivered thousands of Community Safety surveys to residents across the constituency to ask about crime and antisocial behaviour problems in their local area, and whether they agree protecting the Community Safety budget must be a top priority. Dozens have already replied joining the call for the Government to reverse the £277k cut.

If you agree the Community Safety budget should be protected, please click here to join the campaign and help show how much people value the right to feel safe in our community.

Jo McCarron Launches Community Safety Campaign

  Jo McCarron was joined by Jack Dromey, Labour's Shadow Policing Minister, to meet with local councillors and residents at New Cheltenham Hall to discuss cuts being planned to the...

Jo McCarron has welcomed today’s decision by South Gloucestershire Council’s Policy & Resources Committee to allocate up to £150,000 towards improved traffic calming measures on Craven Way, in response to growing pressure from local residents who Jo has been working with over the last 10 months.

Jo joined with residents before plans for improved traffic calming had been drafted, and with the decision on whether to implement those plans – and exactly what those plans would involve – not due for another year. She and the local residents launched a petition, since signed by more than 400 people, calling for practical measures to address the traffic problems on Craven Way, and they submitted statements from residents about the traffic problems they experience on a daily basis.

Jo and the local residents are delighted that this pressure is paying off. The Policy and Resources Committee has now backed the campaign, enabling the Transport Committee to move ahead with the plans that have been drafted, and making resources available for it to do so.

The decision by the Committee today was seconded by Labour councillor Pat Rooney, leader of the Labour Group of Councillors, and was supported by Labour councillors on the Committee.

Jo McCarron said: “I have been working with residents in Barrs Court on this issue since early this year, building pressure firstly to make sure plans to replace the Craven Way chicanes actually address residents’ concerns, but also to make sure those plans ultimately get implemented. I’m really pleased that we’ve come a step closer today to that happening. I’d like to thank the Policy & Resources Committee for backing our call for improved traffic calming.”

Anne Sheppard, who has been leading the Barrs Court residents’ group, said: “I got in touch with Jo McCarron when it felt like very little progress was being made. We have been working together for many months now, getting more and more residents signed up to support the campaign and help deliver leaflets and get their views across in written statements, and it is great news that we are now a step closer to improvements actually being made. I’m very grateful to Jo for her help on the campaign so far, and to the councillors from both Parties who today backed the campaign.”

The Policy & Resources Committee voted in favour of the following motion:

“Policy and Resources Committee members agree in principle to allocate up to £150,000 towards improved traffic management measures on Craven Way , Barrs Court . The committee requests that the Planning, Transport and Strategic Environment Committee, if it is so minded, gives approval to this scheme on both the scheme details and for the scheme funding to be allocated from the surplus £600,000 corporate capital programme funding previously earmarked for the A4174 Wraxall Road roundabout signalisation.

The committee recognises the urgency of this scheme, noting that residents have flagged up numerous incidents of road rage, cars crashing into chicanes and the potential for local residents with visual impairments to be knocked down by cars, due to the lack of a suitable pedestrian crossing at the Tower Lane end of Craven Way.”

Jo McCarron and local residents welcome Council’s decision to back Craven Way campaign

Jo McCarron has welcomed today’s decision by South Gloucestershire Council’s Policy & Resources Committee to allocate up to £150,000 towards improved traffic calming measures on Craven Way, in response to...

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