July 18th, 2022.

Lewes Lib dems release:

Lewes MP and Health Minister, Maria Caulfield, has been urged to take urgent action after it was revealed that the South East ambulance service has been put into special measures. James MacCleary, (pictured) Liberal Democrat candidate for Lewes constituency, has called for emergency funding to get the service back on its feet.

The South East and Coastal Ambulance NHS Trust (SECAmb) was already at the highest alert level (REAP Level 4), with response times now being measured in hours instead of minutes.

It has now been rated as ‘inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and placed into special measures.

Residents in local towns including Seaford, Polegate, Lewes and Newhaven as well as nearby villages are being forced to wait dangerously long for an ambulance to arrive, with the local NHS now even encouraging people not to dial 999. The problem impacts local hospitals such as the Eastbourne DGH, PRH in Haywards Heath and Brighton General Hospital.

Government Ministers, including recently-promoted Ambulances Minister Maria Caulfield, have yet to respond to the national ambulance emergency which is affecting people across the region.

Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for Lewes constituency, James MacCleary, said: “Ambulance services have been deteriorating locally for years, but the government has done nothing to help. While our MP, Maria Caulfield, spends her time defending Boris Johnson and focusing on ministerial promotions, our area is gripped by a local health emergency that is getting worse and worse.

“GP services are collapsing, there are no NHS dentists available, and now our ambulance service has been taken into special measures. Local paramedics and NHS staff are at breaking point. Why won’t ministers like Maria Caulfield step in to help?

“I am calling on her to provide an emergency fund to support SECAmb to get out of special measures and get response times down.”

Cllr Carolyn Lambert who represents Seaford South on East Sussex County Council added: “This will come as yet another hammer blow to residents here in Seaford. It follows on the heels of the news that local GP practices have been forced to cap patient numbers to cope. Maria Caulfield and this government have sat on their hands while residents have been screaming at them to help.

“It is a sick irony that our local MP is a health minister and she has no interest in Seaford or the fact that our local NHS services are collapsing around us. I am contacted every week by people telling me they are fed up with her empty promises and will be voting for a change at the next election.”

Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said: “It is now or never to save lives. With warnings of a heatwave emergency, the Government must convene a special COBRA meeting today and put in place a plan to support overstretched health and social care services. People can’t wait any longer.

“It’s simply appalling that we’ve heard more from Ministers about the Conservative party leadership contest than about a genuine national emergency. We’ve not heard a peep out of the Secretary of State for Health on ambulance services which are operating at the fringes of what is safe. It is time Conservative Ministers put country over party, starting today.”
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