Louise Baldock

Standing up for Stockton South

Louise Baldock, Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Stockton South

Recent Activity

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North Tees and Hartlepool Trust bosses have made a disappointing announcement today on the mothballing of plans for a new super hospital.

They have been put in an impossible position. Ever since the Coalition Government came into power in 2010 they have been playing games with the hospital. Andy Burnham formally agreed to build the new hospital in the last months of the Labour Government in 2010 whereas one of the first acts of the new Coalition Government was to abandon this and other projects.

There was clearly never any intention to build a new one and they should have been honest enough to say so at the outset. There have been endless, expensive reviews demanded by the Government over the last four years, each costing our NHS vital cash but never with any result.

It is very convenient that the Tories have forced the latest postponement with new demands from the Treasury for further reviews, just in time for the next General Election so it can become a campaign issue. It is a disgrace that local and national political interference and expediency has been allowed to dictate the future of health care in our area.

There has been wide spread support for the new hospital from GPs and health providers who know what their patients need.  At the moment the trust struggles to find or afford enough doctors and consultants to provide the range of specialist care, currently having to deliver two of everything on two sites. We have already seen how the haematology unit is under threat of closure for instance, as are the children’s nurseries. The Government is also consulting on closing the GP practice on the site in Hardwick. North Tees, whilst performing strongly, is clearly not offering everything it could.

A new state of the art hospital would have brought together the best doctors and nurses in the best possible facilities; fantastic patient support with ensuite single rooms instead of big wards, bigger and better operating theatres with enhanced recovery areas, the best of modern technology, better disabled facilities, dementia friendly, less walking down long corridors... the list is endless.

It’s not just that we have lost the chance for a new hospital because the Government won’t make a reasonably small investment, it’s all the vital jobs that we would have had across Teesside during the construction too.  Jobs we desperately need.

It is clear that what has concerned people is how they would get to Wynyard if the hospital moved there. This is quite understandable but the hospital was working on solutions and plans for how that could have been resolved to patients’ satisfaction.

I have personally secured a promise from the Trust that they would consider the possibility of being able to provide free or subsidised parking at the new hospital and they have been in talks with bus companies about putting on a full range of services right across the area. The hospital has also been looking at extending volunteer passenger transport for those on low incomes and a variety of other ideas. All of this would have been brought forward for the public to consider and help shape, at the time that any real hospital building plans came forward.

Patients, staff and visitors could have been reassured that they could confidently welcome a new hospital but they have not been given the chance to do so.

You simply cannot trust the Tories on the NHS.

Statement on future of hospital services for North Tees and Hartlepool

North Tees and Hartlepool Trust bosses have made a disappointing announcement today on the mothballing of plans for a new super hospital.

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I was invited to the Riding of the Fair in Yarm today - the civic event that marks many hundreds of years of a charter fair on the High Street. 

We began with prayers, the singing of Jerusalem and a blessing on the dodgems, as you do. 

The civic party was drawn by a steam engine around the centre of the town, stopping at key points for a proclamation to be read by Cllr Peter Monck, Chairman of the Town Council, accompanied by bailiff and horn blower.

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Finally there was a lovely lunch in the Fellowship Hall where we were addressed by a great range of dignitaries including office holders from the Showmen's Guild.

Throughout my teens Yarm Fair was unquestionably the highlight of the year; the rides, the crowds, the lights, the music and the fortune telling. We looked forward to it more than anything else.

It was a privilege to see it from another and different angle today. Thanks so much to Yarm Town councillors for the invitation and to Marjorie Simpson for her warm words.

Riding of the Fair in Yarm

I was invited to the Riding of the Fair in Yarm today - the civic event that marks many hundreds of years of a charter fair on the High Street. ...

Tories admit NHS reforms "our worst mistake"

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This week David Cameron has admitted that his Government has made severe mistakes with the NHS. Despite all the raised voices at the time of the reorganisation (which he promised in opposition not to carry out), only now has the penny dropped for the Tories about the damage that has been done.

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Kailash Chand, Deputy Chairman of the BMA has written a devastating critique of the state of the NHS after just four years of a Conservative and Liberal Democrat Government.

It makes terrible reading but I know how important our NHS is to residents so I wanted to share some of his thoughts with you.

But first I wanted to assure you that I am in the fight for its future. I have already met with Dr Paul Williams from our Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Mark Reilly from Public Health, the Chairman and Chief Executive of North Tees and Hartlepool Hospital Trust, local GPs, dentists, nurses, midwives, district nurses, care workers, speech therapists, paramedics, NHS trade union branches and many more....to hear first hand what their concerns are locally.

In the summer I walked a leg of the Jarrow to London People's March for the NHS. Here is a photo of the Stockton South contingent:

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And on Monday I was on the picket line with the dedicated workers at North Tees hospital who are calling for fair pay.

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The Independent Board recommended a 1% pay rise but the Government said it was not affordable. Mr Wharton called the strike "wrong"; but so far in an Evening Gazette poll around 86% of people disagree with him. (Do vote yourself)

But what does Dr Chand think? He is after all at the centre of the NHS.

The NHS is now on the brink of extinction. I’ve got 35 years’ experience of working in the NHS, from a junior doctor to a GP, and then chair of a Primary Care Trust. I’ve learned that most things can be made to work – even across organisational and local authority boundaries – if you have the right working relationships. Such relationships develop over time through honesty, openness, co-operation and trust.

This government’s management of the NHS is a stunning example of how not to do things. Letwin and Lansley’s roadmap is leading to the complete privatisation of the NHS. The first full year of the Health and Social Care Act is a bumper year for multinationals and their lawyers and accountants. A majority of new contracts to provide NHS services went to private companies.  

Few realise the extent of the rot, as most of these private companies hide behind the NHS logo whilst siphoning off a profit. Collectively, such providers received more than £10bn from the public coffers in 2013. And according to the Financial Times, around £5.8bn of NHS work is currently being advertised to the private sector, a 14% increase on a year earlier.

In the past two years, £11bn worth of our NHS has been put up for sale. 

Things are getting rapidly worse for patients as a result. 35,000 staff have been axed, including 5,600 nurses. Half of our 600 ambulance stations are earmarked for closure. One-third of NHS walk-in centres have been closed and 10% of A&E units have been shut. Waiting lists for operations are at their longest in years as hospitals are consumed by the crisis in A&E. 

Over one and half million admissions to private hospitals in England each year are funded by the NHS. That is approximately four hundred thousand patients a year, taking money out of the budget-stricken health service and lining the pockets and profits of the private sector.

Health spending is facing an almost unimaginable cut over the next five years. Every health think tank has done its best in recent months to sound the alarm. This isn’t shroud-waving – the figures show the NHS is at the brink of extinction.

The morale of the NHS family is at rock bottom. Their pay has been frozen for two years under the coalition, and they have been forced to accept a major downgrading of their pension benefits. Freezing and squeezing pay is heaping financial misery on more than one million NHS workers.

Do we really want an NHS that is obsessed with private companies tendering for the work? Or do we want a health service that is passionate about caring for the seriously ill and vulnerable? It doesn't have the ability to do both.

The Health and Social Care Act has created a schism that is causing turmoil. An organisation as vast and varied as the NHS will have imperfections, but the ethos that healthcare should be free at the point of use is one that I believe is worth defending. We need to fight for universal healthcare as a basic human right, regardless of whether we live in flourishing suburbs or inner-city deprived areas.

If I am elected to Parliament I will be proud and relieved to vote to repeal the 2012 Act.

It is not too late to save the NHS if we all pull together to defend it.

Is our NHS now on a life support machine?

Tories admit NHS reforms "our worst mistake"

There are still spaces left at the new Stockton Enterprise Arcade. A great opportunity to test-run your business in a primary High Street location. 

It would be good to encourage local people to consider this excellent arcade to showcase their budding businesses, I love to go in and see the great things people are selling.

To find out more contact the B-Supplied Team: 07851 085218 info@bsupplied.co.uk

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Do you know a budding entrepreneur?

There are still spaces left at the new Stockton Enterprise Arcade. A great opportunity to test-run your business in a primary High Street location. 

Making the voices of people with a learning disability heard in the general election

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I have signed up to support Mencap’s Hear my voice campaign.

The new campaign is about empowering people with a learning disability and their families to have their voices heard by their local MPs and candidates in the lead up to the May 2015 General Election.

There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK but many feel they are not listened to by those in power and the issues they that are important to them – like hate crime, better healthcare and education – are often not talked about.

People with a learning disability and their families are as much a part of our society as anyone else and deserve to have their voices heard on the issues that matter to them. I am listening and I hope that many more MPs and potential candidates will do the same by getting on board with Mencap’s Hear my voice campaign.

A host of other MPs and candidates have signed-up to say they are listening to the voices of people with a learning disability on the new Hear my voice website: www.hear-my-voice-org-uk

Through the website, people with a learning disability and their families have a space to share their experiences with their local MP and, in return, MPs and candidates can show their support by signing-up to say they are listening.

Jan Tregelles, Mencap’s chief executive, said:

“It is encouraging to see so many MPs listening to people with a learning disability and their families about the problems they face and the change they want to see in the next Parliament. They are the experts in what matters to them, so candidates should be listening to what they have to say when they are out on the campaign trail.”

Lord Brian Rix, Mencap President, said:

“There are 1.4 million people in the UK with a learning disability and 6 million more family members and carers connected to them. However they often tell us they feel they are not listened to by politicians and subsequently many of the challenges they face go unheard and unresolved. We are asking Members of Parliament and candidates to listen to what people with a learning disability and their families have to say.”

The campaign has also given rise to a Manifesto, which explores the issues that matter most to people with a learning disability and their families and on which they want to see action from the next UK government. These include improving healthcare for people with a learning disability, ending disability hate crime and improving support in education.

Mencap Young Ambassador Aaron, who is 19-years-old, didn’t get the extra support he needed with reading and writing when he was at school. He said:

“If I’d had more support I could have got better grades and my life could be very different. I think there should be more training for teachers and people who work in schools so they recognise people who need support and understand people’s needs. I’m talking to you today because I hope you, as MPs, want to make a difference and stand up for people with as well.We want to go forwards, not backwards.”

To find out more about the Hear my voice campaign and Manifesto, visit: www.hear-my-voice.org.uk

Hear My Voice

Making the voices of people with a learning disability heard in the general election

Join the army of 1106 local bone marrow donors.

Anthony Nolan has recruited Stockton South superheroes to save lives.

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The charity Anthony Nolan is searching for more local heroes in Stockton South to join their bone marrow register in the fight against blood cancer.

The charity has revealed that, in Stockton South, there are now more than 1106 selfless people willing to donate their stem cells, or bone marrow, to save the life of a stranger. More than 540,000 people are currently on the Anthony Nolan register and the average per constituency is 819.

Anthony Nolan, now in its 40th anniversary year, was the world’s first bone marrow register. The blood cancer charity has been saving lives for four decades by matching remarkable people willing to donate their bone marrow or stem cells to patients in desperate need of a transplant. Two thirds of UK patients will not find a matching donor from within their families; instead they turn to Anthony Nolan to find them an unrelated donor. Anthony Nolan wants to give people the very best chance of life by finding the best possible match for them. But the charity can currently only find a perfect match for 60 per cent of transplant recipients, so they still urgently need more people to come forward.

I am delighted that 1106 people in Stockton South are registered on the Anthony Nolan bone marrow register. These young people, aged from 16 to 30 are doing something very special by offering a chance of life to others.

I am asking Stockton Borough Council and our Youth Parliament representatives to encourage our local sixth forms and colleges to take up this challenge and help to recruit more potential lifesavers for people in desperate need.

Ann O’Leary, Head of Register Development at Anthony Nolan, said: ‘We are delighted that so many people have signed up as potential donors in Stockton South. Donating is an incredibly selfless thing to do and will give someone with blood cancer the best possible chance of survival. What many people don’t realise is that it is also surprisingly simple.’

To join the Anthony Nolan register you must be 16-30 and in good health. It involves filling out a simple online form and spitting into a tube. About 90% of people who are asked to donate will do so through a process similar to giving blood.

The charity needs heroes of all ages to champion the register at a local level and help us spread the word – from schools, communities and workplaces to your own friends and family. Be a hero - find out how you can help by going to www.anthonynolan.org/superhero

Could you be a superhero for Anthony Nolan?

Join the army of 1106 local bone marrow donors. Anthony Nolan has recruited Stockton South superheroes to save lives.


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