An advertising van toured Erewash last week attacking MP Maggie Throup’s record on the NHS as the winter healthcare crisis goes on.
The van is part of a campaign by national organisation 38 Degrees to demand urgent action after NHS Trusts running hospitals in Derby and Nottigham issued black alerts over risks to patient safety.
Campaign manager Trish Murray said: “As the NHS winter crisis spirals out of control, public pressure on the government to act is mounting.
“The NHS winter crisis is an emergency - but it’s not an accident. Years of underfunding has pushed hospitals to this point.”
She added: “We are urging Maggie Throup to demand government finds the emergency cash needed to end this crisis.”
This is about local people having operations cancelled and waiting for hours at A&E - Maggie Throup’s constituents won’t forget if they fail to act now.”
Hundreds of local residents have signed an online petition as part of the campaign, and many more have contacted Maggie directly.
In response, the MP said: “Rest assured, the NHS always has plans for the extra pressures at this time of year and this year is no exception. Indeed the planning began even earlier for this winter.
“There have been calls for more money to be provided for the NHS, but this has already happened. Derby Teaching Hospitals received over £2million in the Budget’s winter allocation for the NHS, and Nottingham University Hospital an additional £4million.”
NHS England no longer publishes national data on hospital trusts that have declared the black OPEL 4 alerts, which signal patient care is at risk because services are under such strain.
However, at least 25 are believed to have issued nationwide this winter, while tens of thousands of operations have been cancelled.
Maggie said the situation was evidence that Government strategy was working as intended.
She said: “In previous years, planned operations have been postponed at the very last minute. This year the idea has been to postpone non-urgent operations with as much notice as possible, which was felt would be more acceptable to patients.”
She added: “It is deeply disappointing that Labour and the left-wing campaign group 38 Degrees are again conspiring to mislead the public and continue to weaponise our NHS for their own political gain.”