Two doctors campaigning to rescue the NHS from the Tories

Dr McGurk and Dr Subasinghe campaigning in Leigh ward this weekend

Dr McGurk and Dr Subasinghe campaigning in Leigh ward this weekend

As the local Labour candidate in Southend West I spend a great deal of time meeting with local people, listening to their hopes and concerns. Something I hear more and more about is the National Health Service.

I am told it’s getting harder to see the family doctor. David Cameron scrapped Labour’s guarantee of a GP appointment within 48 hours. Thousands of frontline staff have been lost from the NHS since David Cameron became Prime Minister and disturbingly, experts say that A&Es don’t have safe staffing levels.

It is becoming harder for patients to get the care they need, with growing waiting lists and treatments like cataract removals and knee operations being increasingly rationed.

David Cameron is responsible for this crisis. He has wasted £3 billion on a damaging NHS reorganisation he promised wouldn’t happen. And Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats have been too weak to stand up to David Cameron and have backed the Tories all the way.

Meanwhile cuts to elderly care are sending more elderly people to A&E and making it harder for them to get the care they need at home.

Labour rescued the NHS after years of Tory neglect before and we’ll do it again.

We will repeal David Cameron’s NHS changes that put private profit before patients so that NHS professionals can focus on your care. And we will get started by guaranteeing a GP appointment within 48 hours and on the same day for those who need it.

The NHS deserves better.

Labour rescued the NHS after years of Tory neglect before. We’ll do it again.
• A guaranteed GP appointment within 48 hours, and the same day for those who need it.
• Repeal David Cameron’s NHS changes that put private profit before patients, so that NHS professionals can focus on your care, not competition law.
• Give patients and the public a say when changes to local services are proposed. Bring together physical health, mental health and social care into a single service to meet all of a person’s care needs – whole person care, built around patients, not bureaucrats.

You can’t trust a word that Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats say. They are breaking all their promises and have been too weak to stand up to David Cameron.

Julian Ware-Lane pledges to become Arthritis Champion for Southend West

Julian Ware-Lane has today agreed to become an ‘Arthritis Champion’, supporting Arthritis Research UK in their efforts to find a cure for arthritis while calling for policy change to prevent its onset and transform the lives of people that have musculoskeletal conditions.

Musculoskeletal conditions include osteoarthritis, back pain and osteoporosis. People with these conditions often experience a great deal of pain and a loss of mobility. Over 10 million people in the UK have a musculoskeletal condition.

By agreeing to become an Arthritis Champion, Julian Ware-Lane has pledged to:

• campaign to make musculoskeletal conditions a public health priority
• fight to ensure that people with arthritis get high-quality care at the time that they need it
• champion the UK’s leadership role in medical research.

Speaking about the manifesto, Julian Ware-Lane said, “I have the early stages of osteoarthritis. Mine is caused by wear and tear thirty-five years on from a patellectomy following a motorcycle crash. It is pretty trivial in reality, compared to some anyway. But it does give me an insight into what arthritis means for some people.”

“I am delighted to have become an Arthritis Champion. Musculoskeletal conditions affect a huge number of people and are a significant cause of disability in the United Kingdom. These are painful conditions which can have a massive impact on every aspect of the lives of those affected. We need to see change that creates the best possible policy environment in which to prevent and cure these conditions. We also need an urgent transformation of the services available to those that are living with these conditions now.”

Dr Liam O’Toole, chief executive officer of Arthritis Research UK, said, “I’m delighted that Julian Ware-Lane has become an Arthritis Champion. We need their help to champion the needs of people with arthritis both nationally and locally.

“Our Arthritis Research UK manifesto sets out an exciting vision for the future of musculoskeletal conditions. We are calling for policy changes to support the prevention, transformation and cure of musculoskeletal conditions. There is much that can be done: but we can’t do it alone. We need to work in partnership to put the needs of people with arthritis on the political agenda and transform the lives of people living with arthritis.”

Supporting people affected by MS

I am no expert on Multiple Sclerosis, but I have known people close to me who have suffered with it.

I have been asked to support those people affected with MS in Southend, if elected, and of course I do; I would be amazed if any aspirant Parliamentarian would do otherwise.

I hope that so far I have been a positive and string voice for those with disabilities, and I am looking to continue this.

People with MS need access to first-class healthcare and the right medication. They also need a welfare regime that does not punish them for having the temerity to be struck down with a life-changing illness. A properly funded National Health Service is essential.

Sanitation and international development policy

A few weeks back I wrote to Mary Creagh:


I have had a resident contact me, asking that I do the following:

I would really appreciate it if you could write to Shadow International Development Secretary Mary Creagh and ask her to both make sure sanitation features strongly in your party’s international development policy and openly support a dedicated goal on water and sanitation in the Sustainable Development Goals.

I do not recall seeing any announcement on this from our party, although it is entirely possible that I have missed one.

If you are able to respond I would be grateful.

Recently I got the following response:

Dear Julian,

Thank you for contacting me regarding access to clean and safe sanitation for people in developing countries.

I agree it is vital that the international community do everything possible to help improve access to clean water supplies and sanitation in the developing world and I share your concern that an estimated 2.5 billion people – 1 in 3 people across the globe – still lack access to improved sanitation facilities.

There has been some progress on this in the last two decades and, indeed, the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to halve the proportion of people without access to improved sources of water was met five years ahead of schedule.

I agree, however, that more needs to be done tackle this extremely serious problem and I know that campaigns by organisations such as WaterAid have been highly effective in drawing attention to this, including World Water Day (22nd March 2014) and World Toilet Day (19th November 2013).

I understand that the Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting, which was held on 11th April led to 265 new commitments being made by 44 countries. These will focus on helping improve the use of financial resources, building capacity to deliver water and sanitation services, and coordinating resources in developing countries.

I am also pleased that universal access to water and sanitation currently features in recommendations for the UN’s Post-2015 Development Agenda. Labour will continue to monitor the discussions around the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals closely, and we hope that the final proposals will serve to improve access to clean water and sanitation.

Thank you once again for writing to me and for sharing your views. I can assure you that I will continue to follow this issue closely and press the UK Government play a leading role in helping to improve access to sanitation in the developing world.

Yours sincerely,

Mary Creagh MP

Labour Shadow Secretary of State for Development

Pledged to help end mental health stigma

I signed the time to change pledge in 2010, and I have signed again, just now.


I think I must be pledge-maker number 76,411.

My pledge –



Julian : I will keep in touch and ask a friend or loved one how they are.


Southend West Labour Party parliamentary candidate supports charity’s call for better mental health provision

Julian_2014_headandshouldersSouthend West Labour Party parliamentary candidate has backed calls for better provision of support for local people in mental health crisis. Mind, the mental health charity, is calling for local services to deliver on their promise to improve the support for people who are suicidal, self-harming or in psychosis.

Last year, national and local governments, and leaders of key services in England, including health, police, and voluntary organisations, signed the Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat, an agreement that sets national standards for the care of people in mental health crisis. The Concordat aims to make sure that no matter where someone turns, they get the help they need and don’t fall through the cracks between different services.

Julian Ware-Lane said: “One in four constituents will experience a mental health problem this year and countless more will be affected through friends, family, work colleagues and other people in their lives. A growing number of people are accessing mental health services – services must be able to respond quickly and appropriately when someone reaches out and asks for help. I am supporting Mind’s campaign to improve crisis care.”

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said: “In a mental health crisis, your mind is at melting point. You may experience extreme anxiety, have suicidal thoughts or even a psychotic episode. It can happen to anyone. When you’re in crisis you need compassion and understanding, no matter who you turn to for help – whether it’s health and ambulance services, the police, social care or voluntary organisations.

“Signing a local Concordat is the first step in improving services but we need to see these good intentions translated into better services for everyone in crisis. We need the next government, and the next set of MPs, to provide clear leadership and resources to make sure the Concordat’s standards are achieved and local action plans delivered so that excellent crisis care is available everywhere.”

Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat: the joint statement
We commit to work together to improve the system of care and support so people in crisis because of a mental health condition are kept safe and helped to find the support they need – whatever the circumstances in which they first need help – and from whichever service they turn to first.

We will work together, and with local organisations, to prevent crises happening whenever possible through prevention and early intervention. We will make sure we meet the needs of vulnerable people in urgent situations. We will strive to make sure that all relevant public services support someone who appears to have a mental health problem to move towards Recovery.

Jointly, we hold ourselves accountable for enabling this commitment to be delivered across England.

• Mind has a confidential information and support line, Mind Infoline, available on 0300 123 3393 (lines open 9am – 6pm, Monday – Friday)

Raise a glass (of orange juice) to Dry January

As my Dry January comes to an end I can honestly say it has been easy. Easy, and strangely enjoyable.

Because I need to improve my health I am going for a Dry February, and March and April. In fact, I intend to abstain from alcohol until May 8th at the earliest, when I hope to be able to celebrate some Labour successes with a glass of bubbly.

I enjoy drinking, but there is no getting away from the health issues associated with alcohol. I am lucky, I really can take it or leave it; others cannot. However, if giving up is a step too far, then at least some reduction can be managed by all.

So, as bid adieu to January, and its dryness, I look forward to three months more of temperance.

Fred Nicholson writes, and I respond

Here is a letter in the local press; and I felt compelled to respond.


Fred Nicholson of Southbourne Grove, Westcliff may think that “people engaging in a particularly dangerous activities such as … trips to countries with wars or rampant disease” should pay “for the consequences of their reckless activity” – see his letter under ‘How much did Ebola cost us?

He was referring Pauline Cafferkey, who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone.

I wonder whether he wrote this on Tuesday, which was, of course, the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz. I wonder, too, whether this was also a ‘reckless activity’?

I hope Mr Nicholson will come to see that good deeds should not be rewarded with callous commentary.


Julian Ware-Lane

Julian Ware-Lane backs Labour’s pledge to support 9,454 caring for family members in Southend West

Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Southend West, Julian Ware-Lane, today backed Labour’s pledge to improve support for unpaid family carers.

There are 9,454 people in Southend West caring for elderly or disabled relatives. Unpaid carers make a huge contribution to their families and society as a whole, yet too many feel pushed to breaking point, seeing their own health and income suffer too.

That’s why Labour has pledged to help families who care by:

• Placing a new duty on the NHS to identify family carers, so they can get the right help and support, and giving carers a new right to ask for an annual health check – allowing problems to be identified earlier and prevent costs escalating
• Giving families caring for people with the greatest needs a single point of contact with care services, so they don’t have to battle different parts of the system
• Ensuring the funding currently identified for carers’ breaks is properly ring-fenced, to make sure all the money goes to family carers
• Consulting with employers, trade unions and carers organisations on how to improve flexible working for family carers, which could include measures such as a new period of ‘adjustment leave’ to help families cope with a short-term crisis
• Recognising the transport costs facing family carers, by including family carers in the groups who can be eligible for hospital car parking concessions
• Abolishing the bedroom tax – which hits 60,000 carers and penalises them for the extra facilities they need

Julian Ware-Lane said: “Families in Southend West do an incredible job looking after their loved ones, but from the conversations I’m having it’s clear that many family carers are struggling. Labour’s pledge to support the9,454 family carers here will make a huge difference. Caring for a loved one is physically and emotionally demanding, and families need a government that’s on their side. With Labour, Britain’s family carers will get the recognition and support they deserve.”

Liz Kendall, Shadow Minister for Care and Older People, said:
“Family life is changing and more of us are looking after elderly or disabled relatives. Yet too many family carers feel pushed to breaking point.

“Too often they have to battle all the different services to try and get the support they need. One in three family carers who are in paid work have to give up their job or reduce their hours because they can’t get the right help to care or flexible working hours.

“Most unpaid carers don’t have enough time to pay attention to their own health, and many don’t come forward for help or get any breaks. Often people don’t even see themselves as being a carer – they’re just a son, daughter, husband, wife or partner trying to look after the person they love.

“It’s not right that people who do so much get so little in return. We need to improve support for families, and Labour’s package of measures will make a real and practical difference to their lives.”

Black days, bad days, most days, days in the NHS

Two days ago the local daily summed it all up in a rather neat rhetorical question: Are our essential services at … BREAKING POINT?

We are witnessing some pretty awful headlines about the NHs, both nationally and locally.

In October I went to A&E because of a fractured foot, and I have to say the service I received was excellent. Clearly, it is not a universal story of poor service. Equally clearly, though, there are some problems. It says something that whilst I broke my metatarsal on a Sunday I did not attend A&E until more than five days later, on a Friday evening. In part this was due to me not wanting to make a fuss, but part of me was also reluctant to spend hours waiting to be seen.

I do not blame those that work in the NHS. I do not blame those that manage local services. The buck stops with the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt. Thousands of frontline staff have been lost since David Cameron became Prime Minister. A&E departments all over the country do not have safe staffing levels.

Conservative reforms have put private profit before patient care. The unwanted and unnecessary top-down reorganisation of the NHS has not only cost billions, it is a distracting those who should be caring for all of us.

We must not forget the role of Liberal Democrats in this sorry affair either; Nick Clegg has been far too weak to stand up to David Cameron, and his party have happily trotted through the lobbies to vote for all that has been inflicted on the NHS