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  • stroke unit pic
    Article: Aug 30, 2020
    By Alan Wells/Medway Liberal Democrats

    Responding to the news that the Court of Appeal has dismissed the appeal brought by Medway Council against the decision not to allow a Judicial Review, Medway Liberal Democrats are disappointed, but not surprised the Judicial Review had failed and we call on the Secretary of State to review the arguments before proceeding with this plan.

    Vivienne Parker, Chair of Liberal Democrats said "We are committed to ensuring the very highest quality health services for our residents and have continually voiced our concerns about the impact of the location of the new stroke units. We believe, that both the Joint CCG committee and the High Court have failed to consider health inequalities appropriately when making their decision. Liberal Democrats will continue to fight for the retention of this life saving service here in Medway.

    The review of stroke services across Kent and Medway established that Medway Maritime Hospital cares for more stroke patients than any other hospital in the county. Medway is the fastest growing urban area in the South East outside London but it suffers from significant deprivation and health inequalities. The same applies to Sittingbourne and Sheppey, with residents living on the Isle of Sheppey facing a hugely difficult journey to reach Maidstone Hospital, where time is of the essence in terms of suffering a stroke."

    Liberal Democrats have no confidence in the preferred three sites to deliver a realistic, workable health service for Medway residents and being sustainable due to capacity. We want a provision of services which best serves the health of our Towns and the health needs of our residents, with stroke services being secured for Medway's growing population. Medway demands better, Liberal Democrats demand better.


    Additional Text for Editors:

    Since the announcement in September 2018 of the decision not to place a 24/7 hyper acute stroke service here in Medway, Liberal Democrats have called for the service retained at Medway Maritime Hospital, and believe that the decision of having vital support services located an hour away as unacceptable. It impacts on over half-million people who use Medway Hospital and the availability of critical stroke care to the 400,000 people within the catchment of Medway Hospital. This is why we supported and welcomed Medway Council in appealing against the High Court's decision to find that the Joint Committee of CCGs had acted lawfully in assessing the impact closing three units would have on patients accessing treatment around the county.

    The five options discussed in early 2018 showed three sites as preferable for Hyper Acute Stroke Units - HASUs (Ashford, Tunbridge Wells and Medway), Darent Valley being less preferable and Maidstone as the worst, with Ashford, Tunbridge Wells and Medway providing the best geographical distribution to serve the population and quality of care. People are worried of the implications would have on the local community and their health, especially for those requiring urgent care as they would face significant delays in their treatment if the nearest vital stroke services are over an hour away.

    This ultimately resulted in a judicial review into the decision of the Joint Committee of CCGs in December 2019 with the High Court handing down its judgment in that case on 21 February 2020, to rule that the Joint Committee of CCGs had acted lawfully.

  • working from home
    Article: Aug 28, 2020
    By Medway Liberal Democrats/SB/AW

    The Government will be starting a campaign to encourage all workers to return to their offices and go back to the old life they led before COVID-19 and the lockdown.

    However Liberal Democrats have the recognised that the world has changed forever, and we have an opportunity to build back our country better.

  • doctors surgery
    Article: Aug 18, 2020
    By Medway Liberal Democrats/Alan Wells

    Responding to the news that NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and DMC Healthcare have agreed to mutually terminate care contracts at GP practices across Medway. Liberal Democrats stress that any new provider should have an extensive background in healthcare and an exceptional track record of realising high quality services for patients at the practices that DMC managed.

    We understand that in the meantime, emergency measures introduced by CCG mean the affected surgeries will remain open with Medway Practices Alliance (MPA) currently running GP services.
    Vivienne Parker, Chair of Medway Liberal Democrats said "These are very serious shortcomings, clearly people's care needs are not being met and there has been a lack of clinical leadership at the highest level, over seeing a serious decline.

    Patients should be assured that any new provider has extensive NHS experience and a track record that can deliver services at the affected practices. The priority now being to ensure continuity of care, with registered patients being able to continue to access GP services."

    In light after the Care & Quality Commission (CQC) found DMC services to be inadequate, Liberal Democrats want assurances that DMC Church View, Rainham, the remaining GP practice in Medway operated by DMC has management structures in place to provide patients with a high level of service with policies and procedures to securing its long-term future.

    There should be a focus on creating 'patient-centric' services at all practices in Medway, to dramatically improve patient outcomes and to make the improvements needed to protect patient safety. Medway demands better, Liberal Democrats demand better.


    Notes for Editors:

    The affected surgeries are: St Werburgh Medical Practice, Hoo, and its branch surgeries in Lower Stoke and Yellow Suite at Balmoral Gardens Healthy Living Centre; St Mary's Island Surgery, Chatham, and its branch surgeries at Green Suite at Balmoral Gardens Healthy Living Centre, Twydall, the Pentagon Centre and the Sunlight Centre Surgery; and Kings Family Practice, Chatham. to keep patients up-to-date with on the CCG's website and social media channels.

  • aerial shot chatham docks (Alamy Stock Photo)
    Article: Aug 18, 2020
    By Medway Liberal Democrats/Alan Wells

    Liberal Democrats are alarmed by the findings of a recent report produced by the University of Kent, on the economic impact on Medway of the closure of Chatham Docks.

    The loss of the of this asset would affect more than 860 jobs and businesses unique not just to Chatham but to Kent. The report stresses the closure will cost Medway's economy £258 million worth of business every year, having a devastating impact on jobs in our towns, stating 'the Docks are the largest private sector single source of revenue in Medway, with existing jobs in the Docks representing a significant local, economic resource.' - Prof. Tim Strangleman, University of Kent

    Vivienne Parker, Chair of Medway Liberal Democrats said "Chatham Docks are a vital part of our town's infrastructure, where a wide variety of trades flourish and the Council does not want to go down in history being responsible for destroying businesses and jobs. The Docks, future employment and trades need to be safeguarded for Medway's future generations and closure is effectively economic vandalism by this Conservative administration."

    The Docks support 16 apprenticeships which are projected to grow to 30, and provides training opportunities for local colleges with skills and knowledge, which clearly benefits Medway's youth and future local skill base. With investment plans of more than £60 million, this would create a further 200 jobs from the current 860 to in excess of 1000 people in port and manufacturing jobs. Liberal Democrats have visited the site and seen for themselves how important the Docks are to Medway, all this would be lost if the closure were to go ahead.

    Economically, with so many businesses closing down as a result of the effects of COVID 19, our towns now face a critical stage and this is not the time to close a thriving enterprise. We strongly urge the Council to give assurance that these hundreds of jobs and apprenticeships are not at risk and to guarantee a firm commitment to protect the long-term future of the Docks.

    In these challenging times, Medway's recovery is going to depend on job creation and economic growth, Medway demands better, Liberal Democrats demand better.


  • police stock pic
    Article: Aug 13, 2020
    By Graham Colley/Alan Wells

    The Liberal Democrats are calling for action to increase diversity in the police force as new figures reveal that only 0.3% of police officers in Kent are Black.

    According to the Liberal Democrats' analysis, the statistics show the Government's new officer recruitment has failed to improve the situation. The number of Black officers in Kent has only risen by 2 since March 2019, even though the total size of the force has increased by246.

    Graham Colley, who has been selected to be the candidate for the Liberal Democrats in the Police and Crime Commissioner elections for Kent said: "Urgent action is needed to ensure that police forces actually reflect the makeup of communities like Medway. These figures show the Government is falling woefully short of that standard."

    "Building trust and confidence in the police among Black communities cannot happen without addressing the shocking lack of diversity, and bringing more Black people into this key profession."

    Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

    "It is appalling that in 2020 the Conservative Government's effort to recruit people to the police force is failing to bring in Black officers.

    "The Liberal Democrats are fighting to improve the representation of Black communities throughout our society, including in the police and the judiciary, as part of a proper Race Equality Strategy."


    Notes to editors:

    See here for the data used in this release and links to the relevant Government data sets.

  • youth day logo 2020
    Article: Aug 4, 2020
    By Medway Liberal Democrats - Alan Wells

    Medway Liberal Democrats are supporting World Youth Skills Day (WYSD) on the 12 August. WYSD is organised by UNESCO, and this year's theme "Youth Engagement for Global Action" highlights the ways in which young people engage at a local, national and global level and enriching national and multilateral institutions and processes.

    At a local level we strongly support the Medway Youth Council (MYC), which gives an opportunity for young people to participate in a forum, with representatives from all around our town's. Liberal Democrats have taken part in a number of local 'Political Question Time' panel discussions and found the breadth and quality of the questions asked, always impressive and reflects the civic-minded nature of participants.

    Representatives on the MYC have campaigned to raise awareness about our town's homeless community, volunteered at local shelters and campaigned to provide healthier food options in schools. MYC courses have been held on domestic abuse, and first aid to equip MYC members with life-saving skills with support from on Nucleus Arts on providing space for meetings.

    Vivienne Parker, Chair of Medway Liberal Democrats said "Our national policy is calling to extend the right to vote in all elections and referendums for 16 to 17 year olds.

    We recognise that local young people are taking a stand and want to shape the course of politics for the sake of their future and a forum that represents young people politically gives a much needed ivoice in the local decision-making process.

    Last year, a "Make Your Mark" named ballot, found that 40% of young people in Medway wanted "Protect The Environment" to be pushed as a national campaign. This clearly demonstrates that young people care passionately about our local environment and this should be reflected in any future policy by the Council.

    Liberal Democrats know that in these challenging times the work and role of the Youth Council has a clear mandate and voice for Medway's young people and will make a significant difference."

  • judicial review
    Article: Aug 1, 2020
    By Alan Wells/Graham Colley

    Graham Colley, who has been selected to be the candidate for the Liberal Democrats in the Police and Crime Commissioner elections for Kent has called on local Conservative MP for Rochester and Strood, Kelly Tohurst to "pledge to defend the rule of law against any attempts by Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings to undermine it."

    It follows the Conservative Government's announcement of an Independent Review of Administrative Law, with the aim of restricting the ability of individuals to seek judicial review of government actions.

    This could prevent people challenging the Government in the courts, as they did when the Ministry of Defence sent soldiers into combat in Iraq without the proper equipment; when excessive Home Office fees denied children their rights as citizens; and when patients died from substandard care at Stafford Hospital.

    Graham said, "With these plans, Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings are trying to enable the Government to run roughshod over people's rights and allow Ministers to break the law with impunity.

    "This should be incredibly alarming, no matter your political persuasion. Kelly Tolhurst must put party politics aside and pledge to defend the rule of law against any attempts by Johnson and Cummings to undermine it."

    Daisy Cooper, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson, said:

    "Threatening to weaken people's ability to challenge the Government because the courts sometimes rule against you is the act of dictators and despots, not democrats.

    "Liberal Democrats will always defend individuals' abilities to challenge the Government and uphold their rights. We will not stand by and allow Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings to undermine the rule of law, which is so fundamental to our society."


  • air quality image1
    Article: Jul 20, 2020
    By Medway Liberal Democrats - Alan Wells

    Liberal Democrats are alarmed by a report looking into the environmental impact of plans to close Chatham Docks. The report by ArcelorMittal Kent Wire, stresses that 'Rezoning Chatham Docks from industrial to mixed use will worsen Air Quality by 300% from its current level' and 'Air Quality levels will be so harmed that Chatham will become one of the worst affected areas in the UK outside of Central London.'

  • aerial shot chatham docks (Alamy Stock Photo)
    Article: Jul 14, 2020
    By Medway Liberal Democrats - Alan Wells

    Local Liberal Democrats are alarmed by the findings of a report produced by the University of Kent, that states that 'Chatham Docks is the largest single source of private sector revenue in Chatham' and that 'the loss of the port would cost £258 million to the local economy and result in 2,000 job losses both directly employed and in the supply chain.'

  • world youth skills day UN logo 2020
    Article: Jul 1, 2020
    By Medway Liberal Democrats - Alan Wells

    On 15 July, UNESCO-UNEVOC will join the global celebrations to mark World Youth Skills Day (WYSD). The aim of WYSD is to recognize the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, entrepreneurship, and to highlight the crucial role of skilled youth in addressing current and future global challenges.

    Local Liberal Democrats strongly support the work of the National Citizen Service (NCS). The NCS is an opportunity for young people in the Medway Towns to take on new challenges, meet new friends and develop personal and social development skills for work and life. Medway has already benefitted from NCS experience, with inspiring social action projects, which helps develop the skills not taught in school and being a part of the NCS can be life-changing experience for 16-17 year olds.

    We have participated in a number of 'Political Question Time' panel discussions organised by NCS. The breadth and quality of the questions asked is always impressive and reflects the civic-minded nature of NCS participants. We have seen for ourselves how well the NCS is run and know that they ensure that there is a social mix of participants, which builds a greater tolerance, empathy, acceptance and understanding of others within the community which helps to foster greater cohesion.

    The NCS has provided a means for young people in our area to meet different people within our community, respect diversity and equality of others by contributing to a wider society and life in Medway. It also encourages young people from a variety of different backgrounds, cultures, classes and different parts of the Medway area to mix, develop team work skills and work together.

    In these challenging times, when more young people are experiencing anxiety over their future and employment prospects, the NCS wants to make its programme of activities and experience safe and open for everyone taking part. The latest news from the NCS is that its repositioned its summer programme to the autumn.

    Liberal Democrats know that once restrictions have been lifted, the work and role of the NCS will contribute to our community and in a post-COVID-19 Medway, as young people are called upon to contribute to the recovery effort, they will need to be equipped with the skills to successfully manage evolving challenges and the resilience to adapt to future disruptions.

    For more information on the role of the NCS please visit: https://wearencs.com/ and its 'Staying Connected' hub 'no you can't' into 'No We Can' and for up to date news on their summer programme.