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Vicky Foxcroft MP

Member of Parliament for Lewisham Deptford

Health

I recently received a large number of campaign cards from RCN members contacting me about the cap on nursing pay. I know this is an issue a lot of people in the constituency care about so I thought I would share my latest response here.

Nurses do a fantastic job in extremely difficult circumstances, yet they have now faced years of pay restraint.  The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) estimates that since 2010 there has been a real-terms drop in earnings of 14%.

In Autumn Budget on November 22nd Chancellor Philip Hammond agreed to fund pay awards for NHS staff, but he did not specify how much new money is to be made available. The Government also said that any pay increase would be “on the condition that the pay award enabled improved productivity in the NHS”, a move which has been criticised by the Chief Executive of NHS England.

I believe the Government has been taking NHS staff for granted for far too long. Nurses are being asked to do more for less, which has resulted in a recruitment and retention crisis. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service recently confirmed that applications to study nursing fell by 23% this year and the Nursing and Midwifery Council has also found an increase in the number of nurses and midwives leaving their professions

The 2017 Labour manifesto pledged to end the public sector pay cap and make a return to public sector pay being agreed through collective bargaining and the evidence of independent pay review bodies. I also supported an Opposition amendment in the House of Commons which called on the Government to give public sector workers a fair pay rise. Unfortunately, the Government voted against the amendment and it was defeated.

My Labour colleagues and I will continue to do all we can to ensure that nurses and other public sector workers are paid at a level which recognises the skill and dedication they bring to their jobs.

You might also be interested to see the blog I wrote on this subject back in February.

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Nursing Pay Cap

I recently received a large number of campaign cards from RCN members contacting me about the cap on nursing pay. I know this is an issue a lot of people...

Many of my constituents have contacted me recently about the Capped Expenditure Process (CEP). I share these concerns and believe that the Government should cancel the CEP immediately.

In June this year, various NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups, as well as the Health Service Journal, reported that a number of health regions have been placed into a CEP. The British Medical Association has described the CEP as a new regulatory intervention “designed to radically and rapidly cut spending in geographical areas with the largest budget deficits.”

I am very concerned over the lack of transparency provided by the Government on these plans – despite having been going on since at least April, there has been no announcement from the Health Secretary, and full details remain unpublished. The Government has also confirmed that no consultation has taken place regarding the process.

Worryingly, the CEP appears to be another example of hidden cuts. The House of Commons Library published a report in September discovering that, in addition to reviewing existing financial plans, CEP areas were also asked to consider closing or redesigning services and restricting access.

As we approach winter, I am aware of concerns over how our health service will cope – I wrote previously about this issue here. Further spending reductions will inevitably result in waiting times drawn out, wards closed, staff numbers cut, units shut and treatments rationed or restricted.

However, I can assure that, should our health services come under threat in Lewisham Deptford (as with Lewisham Hospital), I am prepared to fight hard against this.  

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NHS - Capped Expenditure Process

Many of my constituents have contacted me recently about the Capped Expenditure Process (CEP). I share these concerns and believe that the Government should cancel the CEP immediately. In June...

A number of constituents have contacted me recently asking me to support the lowering of the bowel cancer screening age to 50.

Early diagnosis is of course critical to improving cancer survival. The UK National Screening Committee, which advises ministers and the NHS about all aspects of population screening, recommended faecal occult blood testing should be extended to those aged 50 to 74. I know the Government has already received Parliamentary Questions on this issue, and a related online petition has been signed by more than 274,000 people. I hope the Government considers this carefully when responding. 

I believe investment in local screening programmes can make a real difference to the nation’s health. However, the Government has pushed ahead with short-sighted cuts to public health budgets without considering the impact on people’s health. This is a false economy and I believe the NHS and social care sector must be provided with the funding that is desperately needed.

I wrote to the Department of Health about this issue back in February and received the below response from David Mowat MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health (the response has been edited to remove a constituent's personal details).

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Bowel Cancer Screening

A number of constituents have contacted me recently asking me to support the lowering of the bowel cancer screening age to 50. Early diagnosis is of course critical to improving...

Lots of people have been writing to me about Government's decision to scrap bursaries for nursing, midwifery and allied health professions and replace them with a loan system. It's something I strongly oppose and therefore have decided to write to Jeremy Hunt. 

Removal of Student Bursaries

Lots of people have been writing to me about Government's decision to scrap bursaries for nursing, midwifery and allied health professions and replace them with a loan system. It's something I strongly... Read more

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On Monday 13th March Diana Johnson MP introduced a ten minute rule bill to decriminalise abortion. The bill was successfully voted through by 170 votes to 142 and will now be brought forward by a cross-party group of MPs.

A large number of constituents contacted me ahead of the bill, the vast majority of them asking me to support it but a few asking me to oppose it. I was in the Commons to vote in favour and would like to take this opportunity to explain my reasons.

In England and Wales, abortion remains a criminal act punishable by a maximum sentence of life imprisonment under the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861. The Abortion Act 1967 set out conditions under which a woman could have a legal abortion (i.e. by obtaining the signatures of two doctors and meeting specified conditions, which are much stricter after 24 weeks’ gestation) but did nothing to change the criminality of procedures which did not meet those conditions.

Evidence suggests that some vulnerable women are potentially committing a criminal offence because they are unable to access legal abortions and instead buy pills online. Practitioners are also deterred from working in the field by the threat of legal action.

I firmly agree with Ms Johnson’s proposal that abortion should be taken out of criminal law. The existing safeguards (including those mentioned above, as well as the banning of sex-selective abortion and the fact the procedure can only be carried out by licensed practitioners) can be retained by Parliament. There is no evidence from countries such as Sweden, Canada and Luxembourg which have already decriminalised abortion to suggest that this has led to an increase in late-term abortions. The UK currently has the harshest penalty of any country in Europe and it is time that this was addressed by Parliament. 

Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill

On Monday 13th March Diana Johnson MP introduced a ten minute rule bill to decriminalise abortion. The bill was successfully voted through by 170 votes to 142 and will now be...

Recently I’ve had dozens of people getting in touch about nurses pay. People are rightly outraged that nurses, who are doing an incredibly demanding job and working anti-social hours in increasing difficult circumstances, have seen a real terms drop in earnings of up to 14%.
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Nursing Pay

Recently I’ve had dozens of people getting in touch about nurses pay. People are rightly outraged that nurses, who are doing an incredibly demanding job and working anti-social hours in... Read more

There is a huge level of concern from the public and NHS staff about the crisis we are seeing and it’s insulting that Government aren’t taking it seriously. C2sBWV4W8AQnxoG.jpg

NHS Winter Crisis

There is a huge level of concern from the public and NHS staff about the crisis we are seeing and it’s insulting that Government aren’t taking it seriously.  Read more

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The proposals by NHS England to close the congenital heart disease services at the Royal Brompton Hospital have caused concern for a number of my constituents whose families and friends are under the care of the department. It is, of course, absolutely vital that everything possible is done to ensure that every child has the best quality care and that parents and the local community have confidence in the health services we all rely on.

Royal Brompton Congenital Heart Services

The proposals by NHS England to close the congenital heart disease services at the Royal Brompton Hospital have caused concern for a number of my constituents whose families and friends... Read more

Recently, I have received a lot of emails from people voicing concerns about healthcare funding. I know a lot of people have read about the sustainability and transformation plans in the media and are worried about the lack of transparency. This is a deeply important issue and we are right to be concerned about the lack of information.

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 Signing the petition to Save Lewisham Hospital when our A&E department was under threat.

NHS - Sustainability and Transformation Plans

Recently, I have received a lot of emails from people voicing concerns about healthcare funding. I know a lot of people have read about the sustainability and transformation plans in... Read more

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