Hundreds of concerned residents from the Berwick constituency and beyond have signed an open letter expressing fears for the NHS.
The petition, which was launched in Alnwick last month, is addressed to Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan and the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt.
It reads: ‘We the undersigned are appalled by the present state of the NHS and social care.
‘We call upon you to do all in your power to press the Government to recognise that there is a crisis, to listen to those on the front line about what is needed and, most importantly, to increase funding for health and social care.’
Signatories from the Berwick Constituency:
DM Laren; E Goose; L Brown; GE Simpson; C Naples; J Smith; S MacPhee; DMoss; J Harper; D Denton; SB Hedley; J Wilkinson; S Ayling; S Lockley; L Curry; P Hynes; S McVey; KBrunton; C Thompson; J Paxton; R Bowden; J Frank; M Armstrong; N Webb; S Bowie: C Jones; A Jones; A Mellor; K Bagenal-Lowe; S Ainsworth; T Somerville; K Gattens; V Shell; M Sheilds; A McDougal; PW Bagenal-Lowe; Sara Walton: W Angus; B Cassar; Holly Cassar,; D Allsop; A Ingleton; E Ross; M Sugarnan: K Baston, N Stevenson; Craig Warburton; PW Edridge; M Farrar; D Wright; I Brown; J Inglis-Jones; N Leigh, J McMullen; J Goodfellow; V Walker; M Gair; L Mitchell; P McEwan; E McEwan; I Warbrick; A Tempest; PT Tempest; H Eames, R Stent; J Stent; R Jewitt; D Middleton; LHogg; K Hogg; S Henderson; C Emery; K Emery; P Agan; L Ternent; JC Wilson; J Robertson; E Wass; M Graham; B Graham; RK Anderson; A Waddle; P Shell; SE Simpson; P Dickinson; H Paxton; J Swordy; D Tate; J Snaith; BP Brand; P Brand; A McKuwon: P Taylor; S Purvis; G Arthur; T Hann; E Dodds; B Murphy; K Murphy; MC Murphy; V Murphy: H L Miller; K McFall; P Boyle; F Wells; E Corbitt; A Corbitt; M Mabon; MJ Mabon; P Bellamy; P Snaith; P Biggars; W Walker; A Douglas; JA Thompson; R Turner; R McConnell; J Pickard; S Bickmore; J Letch; J McMahon; J Bell; M Horsbrough; Allan Quean; A Fleming, J Coward; K Turnbull; S Wilkinson; L Park; P Johnson; G Johnson; JG Spears; ME Spears; D Wilson; B Kinloch; J Burrow; F Wright; Ch Roper; Cl Roper; E Thompson; D Thompson; GK Bolton; E J Ramsay; G Ramsey; A Barnes; K Chowdhury; C Davidson; P Horsley; J Hepburn; S Smith; E Stevens; L Murdoch; B Murdoch; C Gattens; B Davies; M Allan; R Egdell; D Rhodes; M Davison; T Edwards; P Edwards; E Eyers; A Robertson; K Robertson; J Marshall; G Powell; A Powell; J Lyford; J Batchelor; B Winstanley; M Love; M Fyall; S McLaren; A Corbett; S Corbett; L Balmbra; M Buchanan; L Hopper; P Simpson; N Prongle; S French; T French; S Catch; T Jones; A M Mason; J Stephenson; CP Wager-Bradley; K Hopper; O Charlton; P Charlton; I Kitson; L Edridge; R Jones; WH Read; A Anderson; J Waton; Debbie Muers; David Muers; R Jones; A Cunliffe; L Wood-Mitchell; Suzy Kerry; Stephen Kerry; J Maddison; M Hindmarsh; D Calvert; L Calvert; N Paxon; N Rose; W Rose; F Barker; G Athey; M Aegan; J Sproull; P Penman; S Atkinson; E Scott; J Stewart; JC Wilson; MD Miller; S McKewon; J Siswick; M Green; D Robertson; W Mole; J Morrison; GM Pollard; H MIlham; C Vint; C Caner; C Annison; L Ramsden; G Mitcheson; M Thompson; M Walton; C Jackson; C Watters; M Ryder; N Halliburton; C Taylor; M Greshon; M Bell; G Thornton; A MacDonald; S Whiting; Z Enser; S Enser; TC Cumming: L Moir; K Elliott; L Weatherston; E Conway; J Appleby; C Alexander; K Johnston; A Graham; NJ Pemberton; J Pringel; D Pringle; M Elliott; K Moore; M Moore; C Crowther; K Gray; J Matthewson; T Smith; P Atkinson; R Ashton; J Davidson; J White; B Say; H Shaw; D Paul; R Arckless; P Pendrich; Jim Pendrich; A Pendrich; G Castle; S Bowden; S Wilson; W Mickleburgh; W Scott; E Read; T Robson; J Watling; E Prentice; L Maddison; D Read; W Read; J McEwan, G McEwan; J Read; Y Williams; L Martin; C Williams; L Rogerson; S Rogerson; M Askew; K McDonald; Lynn McRae; S Trafford; L Ingledew; M McCarthy.
Signatories from outside the Berwick Constituency:
D Kidd; J Murray; A Sohimm; R Megahed; O Alshabrowy; S Whytock; D Whytock; K Sherwood; P Thompson; R Neill; LNeill; D Dale; JJose; BHolmes; MIrving; J Scott; M Scott; J Perrin; K Perrin; R Smit; S Proudlock; L Greensill; L Greensill; F Williams; V Hogg; F Major; G Major; B Varly; S Targar; J Targar; J Egdel; D Hamilton; J Bell; J Simpson; P York; LF Thompson; Christine Glendinning; Catherine Glendinning; G Haveron; M Slaughter; S Worth; J Brook; J Pendrich.
Response from MP for Berwick, Anne-Marie Trevelyan:
The annual winter pressures on A&Es across the country is challenging us all to consider how we use our healthcare services for best value for money to the taxpayer, who foots the enormous bill of over £100 billion per year. As a former governor of Northumbria NHS Healthcare Trust, I have seen at the sharp end the pressures which fall on the accident and emergency services, but too often this is with a caseload which should not be ending up at the acute end of the health provision spectrum. Some commentators declare that GPs are overworked or lazy, not working hard enough or filling in too many forms to be able to see patients – the war of words seems to fill the airwaves.
But a key part of the problem is demand management – and the best people to help expedite this and improve the access to the right care when patients need it is us. My challenge to everyone I meet is whether they are actually choosing the right level of care intervention for their needs, or have we lost our resilience and self-management skills to too great a degree?
Our pharmacists are hugely underused and undervalued, our GPs, with whom I am in regular contact, are seeing too many patients whose ailments could be managed through self-treatment and rest, and we need to find constructive ways to encourage all our citizens to reduce their reliance on getting someone else to make a decision for them, leaving more space in the NHS system we all value so much for those whose need requires highly-skilled medical intervention.
Here in Northumberland, we do not have the same crisis that has been reported elsewhere in the country. This is, in part, because we are trialling the Government’s new integrated health and social care model.
There is frequently a gap between health care – often provided in hospitals – and social care, which can lead to many people staying in hospital longer than they need to, which does not aid their recovery and increases pressures on the NHS.
This problem featured heavily in the Conservative manifesto at the 2015 general election, in which we pledged to integrate health and social care, with the aim of creating one smooth system, with no gaps, and no one left behind.
That system is now being piloted in five local authorities, the first of which is Northumberland. From April this year, health and social care in Northumberland will form England’s first accountable care organisation (ACO).
This new model in Northumberland aims to create a much more sustainable NHS for the future by breaking down organisational barriers and joining up services for patients.
This is extremely positive and I am delighted Northumberland has been chosen as one of the first areas to take on this new, sensible model. Northumberland is well ahead of the rest of the country with this drive towards an efficient system which will vastly improve the experience for patients and their families.