Richard meets Birmingham Nurses’ Representatives


On Monday March 14th, Richard met representatives of the Royal College of Nursing to discuss their manifesto “Health Priorities for the next UK Government”.

The manifesto calls for a ban on smoking in public places, safer workplaces, a stronger focus on measures to boost recruitment and retention of nurses, better funding for long term nursing care,  ensuring all children have access to a school nurse, and advocating the presence of a nurse on every NHS strategic decision making board.

Richard and the RCN representatives also discussed the investment that Labour has put into the NHS and the Government’s targets for reducing waiting times and improving patient care.

“We agreed that targets have been really important in driving up standards for the benefit of patients, “ said Richard, “ They need to be challenging but also applied in a way that allows those on the front line to determine what is best for patient care. That is why the RCN emphasise having a qualified nurse on every strategic NHS decision making board. That has already been shown to bring results at the University Hospital Birmingham NHS Trust where a senior nurse plays a key decision making role in the trust. It is also very much in line with the government’s thinking on how best to reduce rates of hospital acquired infections.”

“What was also very clear was that the nurses recognised that maintaining the extra investment which Labour is putting into the NHS, is vital for patient care.

In a Parliamentary Answer given to Richard this month, the Health Minister confirmed that in the QE and Selly Oak hospitals, the number of nurses has gone up by 564 since 1997. There are also 30 more family doctors in South Birmingham than when Labour came to power. In 2002 there were 620 patients waiting over 13 weeks for outpatient treatment within South Birmingham Primary Care Trust. In December last year there were just two.

“None of this could have happened without the money that Labour is putting in. That is why the Conservatives in Parliament were wrong to vote against that investment. It angers me that they are still at it today. Despite claiming to support the NHS, they want to take money out of the NHS to subsidize private operations – but only for people who have already got thousands to spend on those operations in the first place. Healthcare should be based on need, not ability to pay., and should be free to all at the point of delivery.

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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