- A council that fights for the retention of two A&Es in Gloucestershire;
- High quality mental and physical care to be delivered as locally as possible;
- To learn the lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic and
- For paid and unpaid carers to be appreciated and better supported.
We will fight for two fully functioning A&Es in Gloucestershire and to protect the county’s community hospitals, so that residents can receive the best care closer to home.
Gloucestershire has the great fortune of having two Accident and Emergency centres to serve the East and West of the county, yet the constant threat to close Cheltenham’s A&E is harming the health outcomes for every resident in the county – including those for whom Gloucester is the closer hospital.
We have all seen the queues of ambulances trying to access Gloucestershire Royal’s A&E while Cheltenham’s hospital has been closed to all but minor injuries. Not only is this bad for patients in those ambulances, but it also removes this vital first response from the roads – a service in high demand across the county.
In power, we would:
- Fight for Cheltenham’s A&E to be protected for good, giving long-term assurances to the communities that rely on that hospital and ensuring there’s sufficient resilience in the county to avoid either A&E from becoming overwhelmed.
- Fight for quality care to be delivered as locally as possible. This includes protecting and enhancing our county’s community hospitals – Cirencester, Dilke, Lydney, North Cotswolds, Stroud, Tewkesbury and The Vale.
- Improve our County’s mental health support, so individuals can receive help in a timely manner and not be sent out of county for the necessary care.
Learning from the mistakes of Covid-19
Despite the Conservatives promising to throw a “protective ring” around our care homes, more than 400 of our residents tragically died after contracting Covid-19 in a care setting. In office we will hold an inquiry into this administration’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as running exercises to test our resilience to future outbreaks. We commit to sharing these results with the public in order to be transparent in areas where this council needs to improve.
Adult social care
We will address the failure of the Conservatives to prioritise care for all our vulnerable citizens, protect care home residents and care for our carers.
The pandemic has affected all of us to differing degrees, but none more so than care home staff and residents.
For care home residents, life fluctuated from too little protection, to overbearing restrictions that were damaging for other aspects of their health. From early on, the Liberal Democrats were pushing for testing to be made available for staff and residents and also for visitors, enabling them to see loved ones in safety.
We would learn the lessons from this pandemic and develop clearer plans on how to deal with any future outbreaks, while protecting the most vulnerable in our communities from both the virus and isolation.
A further lesson from the last year has been the importance of our carers and care staff. Long an under-appreciated role in our society, we need to do more to show our gratitude. That’s why, in office, the Liberal Democrats will undertake a review of pay and conditions for all care staff contracted by GCC to ensure those caring for our loved ones are similarly taken care of.
We will also ensure our county’s unpaid carers are identified and cared for. With more than 60,000 informal carers in Gloucestershire, we will campaign nationally for an uplift in the carers allowance, and work with local groups to identify support measures the Council can implement immediately.
Supporting Independent Living
For many of our elderly residents, the best place for them remains their own home. We will take advantage of the latest technology to support independent living, while also ensuring caring companies operating in Gloucestershire are delivering the best service possible for our residents.