Weekly political news round up – 14th October 2016

October 24, 2016 in News by Whitehouse


This week, Jeremy Corbyn has conducted a Shadow Cabinet reshuffle following his re-election as Labour leader, completing his shadow health and education teams. A question about urology and prostate nurses has been asked by the Conservative MP Michael Fabricant to the Prime Minister during PMQs, and a report by the Health Foundation, a health think tank, has warned there could be a £700 million shortfall in the NHS in Wales by 2020.

Labour leader appoints Shadow Cabinet ministers

Jeremy Corbyn has conducted his third Shadow Cabinet reshuffle since becoming leader of the Labour Party in September 2015, following his re-election to the post in September. Many MPs who had previously resigned from the frontbenches in protest at his leadership have now returned to shadow ministerial positions, with many citing the wish to unite behind his leadership.

Of relevance to the PCF, Jonathan Ashworth MP has been appointed as Shadow Secretary of State for Health following the promotion of Diane Abbott to Shadow Home Secretary. Sharon Hodgson MP has been appointed as Shadow Minister for Public Health, having previously served as a Shadow Education Minister. We would expect her to be the most relevant health minister for the PCF, given she will be mirroring Nicola Blackwood MP, who has responsibility within government for children’s health and school nursing. Julie Cooper MP has been appointed as Shadow Minister for Community Health, while Barbara Keeley MP returns to her previous role as Shadow Minister for Mental Health and Social Care, which has been expanded slightly to include a mental health remit.

Angela Rayner MP remains Shadow Secretary of State for Education, with Emma Lewell-Buck MP appointed to serve under her as Shadow Minister for Children and Families. Ms Lewell-Buck will be shadowing Edward Timpson MP within the Government, and replaces Sharon Hodgson in the role. Tulip Siddiq MP – who has previously called for the “special needs price-tag”, imposing additional costs on services and goods needed by those with SEND, to be mitigated – has been appointed as Shadow Minister for Early Years; and Mike Kane MP has been selected as Shadow Minister for Schools.

Question about urology and prostate nurses asked during PMQs

Michael Fabricant MP (Con, Lichfield) has asked the Prime Minister a question on the looming shortage of specialist prostate and urology nurses during this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs). Mr Fabricant described his own recent experience of having a prostatectomy due to being at risk of prostate cancer, and used it to highlight the expected shortage of specialist prostate and urology nurses expected to arise over the next decade due to the retirement of existing specialists. He concluded his statement by asking “what the Government can do to avert a shortage of these much needed specialist nurses?”

The Prime Minister’s response focused on efforts to increase awareness of cancer – given that Mr Fabricant received treatment to avoid prostate cancer – but did say that the Government “will look at the training of nurses – 50,000 nurses are in training – and continue to make sure that the specialisms are available to do the work that is necessary in the health service.”

Health Foundation report warns of £700m NHS Wales shortfall

A report by an influential think tank, the Health Foundation, has warned of the need for the NHS in Wales to find £700 million in efficiency savings if it is to avoid a funding shortfall of the same amount by 2019/20. Although this would equate to 10% of the health service’s current budget, it is thought that almost £300 million will be saved by the 1% cap on public sector pay increases imposed by the UK Government.

The analysis is based on the assumption that Welsh spending on the NHS between now and 2020 will increase by 0.7% annually – as expected in England – but spending has only grown by 0.1% in Wales in recent years. The authors call for increases of 2.2% above inflation each year between 2019/20 and 2030/31 to sustain services, to meet the growing demands caused by long-term health conditions and inadequate social care.