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  • Alan Bullion
    Article: Nov 5, 2020
    By Alan Wells

    Medway Liberal Democrats have condemned the Conservatives' "reckless" attitude to animal welfare and food standards, following votes on the Agriculture Bill in the House of Commons.

    Conservative MPs voted down Amendment 16B, added to the Bill in the House of Lords, which would have forced the UK Government to ensure that British food and animal welfare standards are maintained in any trade deals.

  • school meal
    Article: Oct 23, 2020
    By Medway Liberal Democrats

    On Wednesday night Gillingham & Rainham Conservative MP Rehman Chishti voted against a motion in the House of Commons which would guarantee that all children who received free school meals would continue to receive them during the upcoming school holidays.

    Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for Gillingham & Rainham Dr Alan Bullion said, "Conservative MPs voted down a motion that would support over one million children who receive free school meals. The government has found billions to fund other projects but will not find the relatively small amount to fund free school meals."

  • clean air day 2020 logo
    Article: Sep 29, 2020
    By Medway Liberal Democrats - Alan Wells

    The World Health Organisation recognise that air pollution is the largest environmental health risk we face today. It causes heart and lung diseases, is linked to low birth weight and children's lung development and may even contribute to mental health issues. Every year, air pollution causes up to 36,000 deaths in the UK.  

  • WMHD logo 2020
    Article: Sep 29, 2020
    By Medway Liberal Democrats - Alan Wells

    Local Liberal Democrats are proud to support World Mental Health Day on 10th October. We know this year has been a tough one, particularly for people living with mental illness and in these challenging times, we believe that the future of mental health care should be community-based and locally focused. Helping people experiencing mental health not just survive, but thrive.

  • Article: Sep 10, 2020
    By Medway Liberal Democrats - Alan Wells/Andrew Millsom

    Medway Liberal Democrats have responded to the refinements made to the Lower Thames Crossing (LTC) consultation, and its impact on congestion in an already congested Medway towns.

    Andrew Millsom, spokesperson for Medway Liberal Democrats said "We are most concerned about increased traffic flows on the A229 Bluebell Hill in both directions, with no measures being included for this junction in the design refinement consultation.

  • 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.

    ENDS

    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.

    ENDS

    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.

    ENDS

  • 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."

    ENDS

    Notes to editors:

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