A SENIOR York councillor has called for emergency funding to keep the health services “from the brink of collapse”, during her party’s conference in York.
The Liberal Democrats held their spring conference at the Barbican this weekend, and yesterday a motion called for a cash injection focused on social care and mental health. Carol Runciman, City of York Council’s executive member for health, spoke up for that and also took top party figures to visit York Hospital.
Cllr Runciman went with party leader Tim Farron and the party's health spokesman, Norman Lamb to hear about the pressures the NHS in York faces.
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She said: “York’s health services are already stretched, and while the CCG’s deficit continues to rise York residents will have fears about how cuts will impact their local NHS.
“Mental health and social care services in particular need emergency funding to keep them from breaking point.”
The conference motion also called for the EU citizens working in the NHS - including 250 in York Hospital Trust - to be guarantees the right to live and work in the UK after Brexit.
Cllr Runciman added: “Services could struggle to cope if significant numbers of doctors, nurses and NHS staff from the EU left. There are a significant number of EU nationals working in health and care services in York, and I fear that a hard Brexit will only worsen what is already a growing crisis.”
The conference ended this lunchtime with Tim Farron’s speech. He used is to accuse Prime Minister Theresa May of pursuing the same “aggressive nationalistic” agenda as Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and the French National Front leader Marine Le Pen; and to set out his ambition for the Lib Dems to replace Labour as the main opposition party, and then the Conservatives as government.
He said it was Mrs May’s choice alone, urged on by hardline Brexiteers, to take the UK out of the single market, with damaging consequences for British business.
With the present Labour leadership “indifferent” towards the EU, Mr Farron said the past four prime ministers - David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and Sir John Major - all now had more in common with the Lib Dems than their own parties.
And in a direct appeal to Conservative MPs, he urged them to stop supporting policies in Parliament which were the opposite of what they signed up for.
“You know it’s wrong, so for pity’s sake, have some self-respect. Defect or resign. If you don’t, then when the next election comes we will do to you what we did to Zac Goldsmith.”
He said that business leaders too should drop their support for a party which had abandoned its free market, internationalist, pro-business outlook and was engaged in “economic vandalism”.