We are all still suffering from a cost of living crisis, and whilst inflation is falling, it is still high compared to recent decades. The Conservative government is reportedly set to break the triple lock introduced by the Liberal Democrats once more ..
We are all still suffering from a cost of living crisis, and whilst inflation is falling, it is still high compared to recent decades. The Conservative government is reportedly set to break the triple lock introduced by the Liberal Democrats once more by not uprating fully in line with earnings. Instead, they will exclude bonuses meaning that pensioners will receive a 7.8% rise in the state pension, not the 8.5% the triple lock should guarantee them.
How will this affect pensioners in our local constituency of North West Hampshire? Lib Dem analysis suggests that failing to properly implement the triple lock in 2024 could result in a hit of around £1,296,581 for our pensioners next year alone. This comes after pensioners suffered a major cut in 2022 when the government opted not to uprate the state pension in line with earnings, instead using CPI. The effect of both cuts since 2022 could result in an eye-watering hit of £11,858,901 for North West Hants pensioners alone. That equates to a £550 raid on each pensioner. It comes as the Liberal Democrats have been the only major party to commit to the triple lock in full ahead of the next General Election.
To row back on the triple lock would be another in a long list of callous Conservative party broken promises. Pensioners have contributed for decades to our society. This Conservative government should not turn their back on them once again during a cost of living crisis. The triple lock must be maintained. Instead, this out of touch Prime Minister looks set to punish them for his own party crashing the economy.
Cllr Luigi Gregori
Since I last wrote on our local Hampshire hospitals’ inability to meet their targets, I have been approached by a number of people highlighting the misery and concern thrown up by the long delays in treatment.
Since I last wrote on our local Hampshire hospitals’ inability to meet their targets, I have been approached by a number of people highlighting the misery and concern thrown up by the long delays in treatment. One couple in their 70s who paid their taxes and worked in the public sector all their lives find that a much needed operation is not available within the foreseeable future under the NHS. At this stage of their lives, while some discomfort may be acceptable, the level of pain is unacceptable and so is the poor quality of life. The solution to maintaining a reasonable quality of life in their mature years is to go private. In another case, an elderly male with cancer cannot get the necessary appointments or drugs. I am sure that Mr Sunak has no such issues. But of course, Mr Sunak does not use the NHS.
One indication of the current situation within the NHS is the waiting lists for diagnostic tests like MRI or CT scans. We all know that diagnostic tests are a key tool for our doctors. Yet within the NHS there are shortages in both the machines and technicians to use them. Within our Hampshire hospitals NHS trust, the waiting lists rose from 6,142 in June 2019 to 12,563 in July 2023. The NHS target is that less than 1% of people should be waiting more than six weeks for these important tests. In July, 29% of patients in our area waited six weeks or longer. Therefore, not only do we get major delays seeing the doctors and specialists, but then we get further delays before getting treatment as we have to join another queue for diagnostic tests. When Mr Sunak tells us the NHS is in good hands and healthy, we know better.
Cllr Luigi Gregori
Our NHS is just not working for us. We have all seen the recent reports over our local Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) which is nearly £28 million in deficit. This makes it one of the worst in the country for its size.
Our NHS is just not working for us. We have all seen the recent reports over our local Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) which is nearly £28 million in deficit. This makes it one of the worst in the country for its size. Meanwhile, the backlog in referrals let alone treatment increases. The situation is in reality worse as many are going private, if they can afford it.
One area of particular concern is cancer treatment. The latest NHS figures show that, in the last year, 637 cancer patients in HHFT waited more than 62 days to start treatment after being referred. This means only 65.5% of patients in our area were treated within two months, below the government target of 85%. In short HHFT is missing a key target and causing untold misery. Note that a referral needs a doctor’s appointment first which can be problematic. The shame is that once we enter the treatment pipeline, the actual service provided can be excellent.
With the NHS there is no easy fix. We need to move forward on getting a proper work force plan in place and we need to pay people fairly. The hospital estate needs to be upgraded as too much money is being spent on maintenance or vanity projects. We also need to invest in new radiotherapy machines, cut the time for new medicines to reach patients, and better support for cancer patients and their families. This will all cost money, The Liberal Democrats suggest £1 billion a year for England alone. However, spending money on cancer not only reduces human misery, but also makes economic sense.
Cllr Luigi Gregori