Today I was selected to ask a question on the Prime Minister’s Covid-19 Update, however, I ended up having to ask it to the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock as the Prime Minister was appearing virtually to the Chamber and developed audio problems. I stated that I was pleased that they had listened to mine and colleagues’ representations regarding things like gyms, golf and collective worship being allowed to re-open following 2nd December, no matter the tier an area is placed in by them.
I raised that I was very disappointed that small businesses that have been excluded from all financial help during the pandemic were still not offered any help in the Prime Ministers’ statement. The answer I got just quoted help that has been given, disregarding that this group have not qualified for any assistance whatsoever and are desperately struggling.
You may have seen that I have recently been studying the statistics on referrals by GPs for a range of conditions, looking at the differences between last year and this year. I am very worried at the fall in referrals and extremely concerned that Halton people may have worse outcomes as either they have not sought referral as they didn’t want to bother the NHS during the pandemic or they have not been able to get referred. I am also very concerned at the length of the waiting lists for various conditions and whether there are actually enough doctors and nurses to bring the waiting lists down. Huge work will have to go in to clear the backlog, which means having enough NHS staff. The Health Secretary said that they had recruited more staff but I do not have confidence in this answer. I will continue to closely monitor and question on the referral and waiting times here.
As I have done throughout this crisis. I urge all my constituents who are suffering from symptoms of illnesses to please seek medical assessment, it is often nothing but if there is something wrong, it is always better to seek treatment as soon as possible. You can watch my question below.