Lib Dem Health Spokesperson calls for action on NHS in visit to Cambridgeshire

6 Jul 2023
A nurse at Addenbrookes Hospital demonstrates something on a screen to Pippa Heylings, Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for South Cambs. Daisy Cooper MP,  the national Liberal Democrat Health and Social Care spokesperson, sits behind Pippa looking at the same screen.

At a visit to Addenbrookes and the Rosie Hospital to mark 75 years of the NHS, Daisy Cooper MP,  the national Liberal Democrat Health and Social Care spokesperson, and Pippa Heylings, Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for South Cambs, learned how staff are using innovative approaches to reduce waiting lists.

I have such admiration for the absolute dedication of NHS staff at Addenbrookes and for the groundbreaking new approaches they are trialling in the face of the disastrous impact the social care crisis is having on our local health services. There is critically important work being done to join up the different services through the Integrated Care System in Cambridgeshire, together with the local authorities. But the government has cut funding to social care and these worrying figures show that far too many elderly and vulnerable people are ending up stuck in hospital when they are ready to leave, because there simply isn’t the care available for them at home or in the community. This is causing unneeded pain and distress while piling even more pressure on our already overstretched hospitals.

Pippa Heylings

Daisy Cooper MP and Pippa Heylings met with Claire Stoneham, Director of Strategy at Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH), to discuss the challenges facing the local health service and how staff at Addenbrookes and the Rosie Hospital are pioneering new approaches to reduce pressures on the system. This includes a new Virtual Ward, which enables patients to leave hospital safely sooner and receive the care they need from their own home in a ward staffed 24 hours a day by a dedicated team of doctors and nurses. The Virtual Ward can also help some patients avoid needing to come into hospital in the first place, freeing up hospital beds for all those on the long waiting lists.

These innovations are groundbreaking but are being developed in the face of staff shortages, increasing need and an escalating social care crisis. New research published by the Liberal Democrats has revealed the impact of the social crisis in Cambridgeshire with 797 bed days lost to delayed discharges from hospital in May this year. Of these, the majority of bed days lost involved patients who had been stuck in hospital for three weeks or more. 

Delayed discharges take place when medically fit patients are unable to leave hospital, often due to a lack of social care. Across the country, the NHS lost over 128,800 bed days to delayed discharges from hospital, up 32% on the same period last year.

The pioneering work I was shown at Addenbrookes is so inspiring. Staff also recognised that you can’t fix the crisis in the NHS without fixing the crisis in social care. We want to see the Government start valuing carers properly by bringing in a Carer’s Minimum Wage. This would help reduce soaring vacancies in social care and tackle the crisis facing the NHS

Daisy Cooper