My Contribution to the Queen's Speech Debate on Health and Social Care
Posted Monday, 20 May 2013 at 14:42
Nadine Dorries (Mid Bedfordshire) (Con): My speech will be in two halves. I shall talk first about health care issues, as this is a health debate.
I welcome the Care Bill, particularly its commitment to social care. I feel that words such as “compassion” are sometimes missing from our discussions on health care. Before I say more, let me welcome publicly, for the first time, the right hon. Member for Cynon Valley (Ann Clwyd) to her position as head of a review body that will examine NHS complaints.
As many Members know, I was a nurse in a former life, and it was a profession that I absolutely loved. I was, I think, a committed nurse. I lived in a nursing home, and often worked for more hours than I was supposed to. I would go into the hospital on my days off to visit patients who had no relatives. I was not alone in that; most of the nurses in my nursing home behaved in the same manner. I pay tribute to a nurse who started work on the same day as me, on 5 November 1975: Helen Windsor, who contacted me recently. For all these years, she has been delivering the same committed care that she delivered in 1975.
I suppose many people will say that that was a long time ago, and it was, but I think that qualities such as compassion, kindness and caring are timeless. It does not matter when they were being delivered; they should be delivered in the same way today. Unfortunately, however, I—like many other Members—regularly receive complaints from constituents about the standard of nursing care. I mentioned Helen Windsor because I want to pay tribute to the nurses who do deliver good care.
I recently visited a constituent in hospital, an 89-year-old man with no relatives. It was interesting that the right hon. Member for Cynon Valley mentioned nail clippings, because I had already written down that I intended to raise the subject. That constituent was agitated because his nails were serrated and were catching on the cardigan that he was wearing as he sat in his chair. When I asked the nurse whether she could cut his nails—he said that he had been asking for it to be done himself—she replied “No, I can’t. We are not allowed to do that.” So I took an emery board out of my handbag and filed his nails myself. I know that sometimes, as Members of Parliament, we feel that we are social workers, but I had never imagined that I would extend my role to the nail care and general hand hygiene of a constituent in hospital—but I did.
Unfortunately, on a number of occasions recently I have sat in a hospital and witnessed nursing care being delivered to my own daughter. Only a few weeks ago, when she was on a hospital trolley waiting to go into the operating theatre—distressed, anxious, upset—we witnessed nurses holding conversations over her head about intimate details of their love lives and their social lives, which, while she was in pain, my daughter had no interest in hearing. Not only was she subjected to those intimate details of their private lives; she was also subjected to a lack of care. She was completely ignored on that trolley. Yes, she was about to go into an operating theatre and be dealt with, but it is when patients are in that condition that they need nursing care most. They need to be reassured. They need to be calm. They need to know that everything is going to be OK. However, there was no interest in that.
The most appalling thing that happened was that, just before my daughter went into the operating theatre, one nurse told the other that she was going to the bathroom, and then gave exact details of what she was going to do there. I cannot think of a more polite way of putting it in the Chamber. It was a totally inappropriate conversation to be having outside the doors of an operating theatre.
A constituent who recently came to see me in my surgery told me that, when in hospital following a road traffic accident, she had noticed after a few days that her bottom sheet had not been changed and was bloodstained. Each day she wrote the date around the border of the bloodstains. When she left hospital 10 days later, she left that bottom sheet for the nurses to see, with the dates written in a pattern around the bloodstains. During those 10 days, no sheets had been changed. We used to change the sheets every day, and that was possibly excessive, but I think that, given that we are constantly trying to find ways in which to deal with, beat and get on top of hospital-acquired infections, bloodstained sheets indicate a lack of care.
I do not want to labour the point about complaints, because I know that a number of other people have already done so, and I feel that it is now the remit of the right hon. Member for Cynon Valley. Rather, I want to discuss immigration and its impact. We send £53 million per day to Europe, which limits our dealings with the rest of the world—in fact, the Prime Minister is trying to tackle that issue today. Labour will not commit to a referendum. Do Labour Members not see that that £53 million a day could be spent on dementia care, on Alzheimer’s care, on young carers? There are so many things we could do with that money.
People were asked one question when we went into the Common Market: do you want to go in, yes or no? They should be asked the same question to exit. If we can go to the electorate on behalf of the Liberal Democrats with a referendum on the alternative vote in a matter of months, why do we have to wait years to offer them a referendum on an issue as big as the European Union? Do we not realise what a self-serving, self-interested bunch we seem to people out there, when we can call an expensive national referendum on AV, yet obfuscate and delay on the question of European Union membership?
It is no good saying that people are not interested in this issue, because they are: it is the subject of almost every other question I am asked when I go out in my constituency. People now know exactly how much we are spending on the European Union, and they do not believe that leaving will cost us 3 million jobs. They would like a piece of the action in China, which reported growth of some 9.5% in the past year. They want some of the action taking place in the BRIC countries. That is where they want to trade—not in a sick and failing Europe that is getting sicker by the day.
I want to add my voice to those who have spoken out on this issue, and I would definitely join the two Cabinet Ministers in voting to be out. I would vote no tomorrow, and I know many of my constituents would. I completely support the measures in the health Bill in the Queen’s Speech, which will be well received by everybody, but I want to add my voice to the case for an in/out referendum. We must find a way to deliver that. We know that the Prime Minister means what he says; but if we can do it on AV, we have to do it on the EU: otherwise, people will not believe us.
Tactics for the run-up to 2015
Posted Monday, 20 May 2013 at 14:35
For those who may have missed them, here are links to my Telegraph interview
from Saturday and my column in the Sun on Sunday
from last week, where I dicuss how to keep Labour out in 2015.
The beginning of the end for Covanta?
Posted Tuesday, 14 May 2013 at 13:54
Fantastic news for residents of Mid-Bedfordshire this week as it has been announced that Covanta’s UK operations are in trouble, they have only two customers and there is expectation that the company’s UK assets will be sold.
This has led to real hope that the Rookery Pit incinerator project will be abandoned, although this is not guaranteed.
The massive incinerator would have required vast amounts of waste to make it profitable, requiring rubbish to by driven hundreds of miles across the country from council areas far from the one that would be affected by toxic fly-ash.
Most councils, like Mid-Bedfordshire itself, have preferred to deal with their own waste locally. This has reduced the number of prospective customers and made Covanta’s entire UK business model unprofitable.
Labour’s undemocratic Infrastructure Planning Committee (IPC) failed to listen to local people who have made clear all along that they do not want or need such an imposition in the middle of their communities.
The latest development is an intellectual endorsement of the Marston Moreteyne Action Group (MMAG), who conducted research that showed years ago the Covanta plan was based on hopelessly optimistic economic forecasts.
We cannot afford to now be complacent, but for the first time in several years it feels like the voice of local people who would have to live with this monstrosity in their midst is being heard.
Woodlands Academy World of Work Conference
Posted Friday, 26 April 2013 at 12:32
This picture shows me delivering the opening keynote speech at the World of Work conference for delegates of Woodlands Middle-School Academy in Flitwick yesterday.
Thanks to everyone for making me so welcome.
Paying my Respects to Baroness Thatcher
Posted Wednesday, 24 April 2013 at 14:42
Bridget the Midget in St Pauls Cathedral last week. See if you can spot Boris, Lord Howard and me (or my hat).
Raising Awareness of Prostate Cancer
Posted Wednesday, 24 April 2013 at 14:40
Meeting with constituent Bex Howe to raise awareness of this deadly disease
Posted Wednesday, 24 April 2013 at 14:34
Meeting with representatives of support groups for parents and carers of children with ADHD/ADHA/ ASC.
Tackling Dennis Skinner over respect for Margaret Thatcher
Posted Wednesday, 17 April 2013 at 16:18
Posted Thursday, 7 March 2013 at 12:41
An action shot from the talk I gave last night regarding MPs and the use of social media to Cranfield alumni in the City.
Taymar Nursing Home
Posted Monday, 4 March 2013 at 16:16
On Friday I visited the Taymar nursing home in Silsoe in my constituency. I was there on the invitation of David Lockey, a market gardener originally from Langford.
I spent a lovely hour with David. I don't know how I'm going to do it, but somehow I want to get him to the House of Commons, he has always wanted to visit but never has.
After our chat I had afternoon tea and biscuits with the other residents. Thanks to everybody who made me feel so welcome, I hope you will have me back again soon.
Posted Tuesday, 26 February 2013 at 16:44
I was thrilled to receive this picture from Meppershall Baby and Toddler Group. It is now proudly displayed on the wall in my Westminster office.
Gypsy and Traveller Sites in Mid Bedfordshire
Posted Monday, 25 February 2013 at 10:33
I passed some Gypsies and travellers the other day and thought I would take a couple of pictures. It’s not how I choose to live but I respect their wish to live as they want.
If they applied for a pitch in Mid Bedfordshire to help them through the winter, before they travelled on, I wouldn't object.
What I do object to though is people who use the ethnic grouping classification of 'gypsy and traveller' to apply to live in some of the most prestigious villages in Bedfordshire when, in fact, I travel more than most of the applicants do.
One recent G+T applicant in Bedfordshire who applied for a pitch was discovered to be a home owner in Leicestershire.
My surgery on Friday was long, fractious and dominated by residents complaining about the fact that Central Bedfordshire is being forced to allocate yet more G+T sites.
Not one of the proposed sites is anywhere near public transport, employment opportunities, health care facilities, or schools.
If genuine G+Ts wish to settle down then may I suggest they do what the rest of the British population have to do. You need to get a job and save up for a number of years before you can expect to live in villages like those which have been proposed in Central Beds.
The people who live in those villages are able to do so because they worked hard, saved up and aspired to move to a rural location. You need to do the same.
One householder in Maulden has been advised by an estate agent, now that the site has been proposed, he would have to virtually give his house away if he wanted to sell it.
The house is his pension, he wants to downsize but now he can't. Having brought up his family he now faces his retirement in a large house with big bills and decreasing disposable income for no other reason than a site has been proposed at the back of his house.
Even if the proposed site is struck off and doesn't get to the final cut, the damage is still done until something of some description is built at the back of his house to remove the possibility of it becoming a G+T site in the future.
Central Bedfordshire has taken more than its fair share of G+T sites whereas other areas haven't. It’s time for other councils to step up to the plate and do their bit.