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Like others across the whole country, Bedford & Kempston Labour Party members are shocked and devastated by the tragic news of the horrific and fatal attack of Jo Cox MP.

Ian Nicholls, Chair of B&K Labour Party, has sent condolences to her family on our behalf. 

Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party said:

“The whole of the Labour Party and Labour family - and indeed the whole country - will be in shock at the horrific murder of Jo Cox today.

Jo Cox had a lifelong record of public service and a deep commitment to humanity. She worked both for Oxfam and the anti-slavery charity, the Freedom Fund, before she was elected last year as MP for Batley and Spen – where she was born and grew up.

Jo was dedicated to getting us to live up to our promises to support the developing world and strengthen human rights – and she brought those values and principles with her when she became an MP.

Jo died doing her public duty at the heart of our democracy, listening to and representing the people she was elected to serve. It is a profoundly important cause for us all.

Jo was universally liked at Westminster, not just by her Labour colleagues, but across Parliament.

In the coming days, there will be questions to answer about how and why she died. But for now all our thoughts are with Jo’s husband Brendan and their two young children. They will grow up without their mum, but can be immensely proud of what she did, what she achieved and what she stood for.

We send them our deepest condolences. Whilst we have lost a much loved colleague, a real talent and a dedicated campaigner for social justice and peace, they have lost a wife and a mother, and our hearts go out to them.”

Tom Watson MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party said: 

“The whole of the Labour movement is devastated at Jo's death. We have lost a colleague so young who had much more to contribute to public life. She was our future.

It is hard to comprehend how a compassionate, principled and beautiful person can be taken away from us so cruelly. It's even more devastating because she was doing what she did best - serving her constituents.

We grieve her loss. Our love and prayers are with Brendan and Jo's family.”

 

Jo Cox MP

Like others across the whole country, Bedford & Kempston Labour Party members are shocked and devastated by the tragic news of the horrific and fatal attack of Jo Cox MP....

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Last week Bedford Borough Council published the cross-party commissioned PWC report into the future of Bedford Hospital. The report shows there is an alternative way forward to the unpopular options put forward by the now suspended Healthcare Review, which would mean a greatly reduced maternity unit & loss of paediatric services. The proposals from the Council commissioned report retain full maternity services and paediatrics, and additionally take into account the fact that NHS services and social care services need to work together in order for both to be affordable to the public purse.

Louise_Jackson.jpgCouncillor Louise Jackson (left), Labour’s Portfolio Holder for Public Health at Bedford Borough, has now written directly to the Chief Executive of NHS England Simon Stevens asking him to consider the alternative proposals, and to bring to a conclusion the lengthy review which has caused uncertainty for the hospital, which nevertheless scored highly in a recent Care Quality Commission inspection.

Cllr Jackson was Labour’s spokesperson on Health at the start of the subsequently abandoned Healthier Together programme in 2012, which sought to configure Acute Services across five hospitals. She also served on the committees scrutinising the paediatric services review which followed the decision to withdraw junior doctors from Riverbank ward in 2013. At that time Louise met with representatives of the Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health in Parliament to discuss how Bedford might deliver a 21st century, safe and sustainable paediatric service. As the paediatric review morphed into a wider healthcare review across Bedford and Milton Keynes, following intervention from Monitor and the Trust Development Authority, Louise continued to challenge this in her scrutiny role. Labour Councillors Anthony Forth and Mohammed Masud now continue to scrutinise the review at committee level.

Louise said: “I am by no means opposed to change, if that change is positive and will improve health outcomes. None of my experience, however, led me to believe that the direction of travel was likely to deliver a sustainable future for either Milton Keynes or Bedford hospital. Neither do I believe that the changes being considered over this interminable period of uncertainty would improve health outcomes for Bedford Borough residents.”

The Sustainability Transformation Plan, announced in January this year, has now linked Bedford Hospital, Milton Keynes Hospital and Luton & Dunstable Hospital into a ‘footprint’ along with the respective councils in the area.

Louise continued; “I was cautiously optimistic about this process, and hoped it might present opportunities for mainstreaming prevention, delivering care in the right place at the right time, reducing delayed discharge and, ultimately, moving towards the integration of Health and Social Care across the STP footprint and in conjunction with local Councils. It was deeply disappointing, therefore, to learn that the Healthcare Review was to continue as the acute work-stream of the STP, since it had never offered any indication that it would ever align with these important objectives.”

One reason cited for the Healthcare review’s suspension was ‘to ensure that the direction of travel was consistent with the developing Sustainability Transformation Plan’.

Louise added; “It is my belief that the review signally fails to align with the STP. Moving core services from Bedford Hospital is not transformational – certainly not in any positive sense. Given the very considerable recruitment difficulties faced by our local hospital in recent years – difficulties which are partially attributable to its uncertain future – I fail to see either how the review’s proposals secure the future of services such as paediatrics and A&E. I am assured by clinicians that the interdependencies of obstetrics, paediatrics and A&E cannot be underestimated. Moreover, at no time has an accurate travel time analysis demonstrated that accessibility to services will be assured whichever way services are divided.”

“ I would like now to add my voice to those of Mayor Dave Hodgson and Richard Fuller MP, and urge Simon Stevens  to abandon plans which so clearly contradict NHS England’s vision for a sustainable future for our health services. I hope too that the STP will now consider the very considerable benefits of a whole-system approach to the delivery of health and social care services, and that the Council’s proposals will be accepted as a serious contribution to this important process.”

 

Labour Councillors Campaign for Sustainable Future for Bedford Hospital & Social Care

Last week Bedford Borough Council published the cross-party commissioned PWC report into the future of Bedford Hospital. The report shows there is an alternative way forward to the unpopular options...

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Bedford Borough’s youngest female Councillor Jade Uko was appointed Deputy Speaker of Bedford Borough Council at the Annual Meeting on Wednesday 11th May.  Council meetings are chaired by the Speaker.  The Speaker of the Council is a sitting Councillor elected to the office for a period of one year by Members of the Council at their Annual Meeting, held in May each year.

The Speaker and Deputy Speaker also represent the Council on formal occasions and at external functions with the Mayor and/or Deputy Mayor and otherwise as the Mayor determines.  As members of the Council’s Civic Team, they attend a large number of events during the year including church services and religious festivals, graduation ceremonies, fetes, sporting events and concerts and major civic events.

Serving her first term as a councillor, Jade was elected in May 2015 to represent Goldington Ward, along with fellow Labour Councillor Anthony Forth. In the year since her election, as well as helping residents with local issues Jade has served on the Planning Committee and is also now on the Environment & Sustainable Communities Overview & Scrutiny Committee. One of the highlights from her first year as a councillor was securing funding of £8k from a Tesco scheme for the installation of outside gym equipment and the refurbishment of the leisure ground at Ettrick Drive.

Jade, 29, grew up in Goldington. She lives with her husband and children and works as an analyst and researcher.

Jade said: “The role of Deputy Speaker & Speaker may have traditionally gone to members of the council that have been around for a long time, but I don’t feel we should limit ourselves to rule by elders. I will bring a fresh perception and idea of what a councillor can be to a role which is little understood by the public.”

 “I carefully considered whether to put myself forward as I wanted to feel sure that I had something to offer. I also want to reach out to a group that often feels marginalised by politicians - young women with families - and demonstrate to them something that I feel passionately about and aim to convey to others; positions of influence are up for grabs, for you and for anyone. If you care about your community and the future of our Borough, you can get involved.”

Jade Uko appointed Deputy Speaker of Bedford Borough Council

Bedford Borough’s youngest female Councillor Jade Uko was appointed Deputy Speaker of Bedford Borough Council at the Annual Meeting on Wednesday 11th May.  Council meetings are chaired by the Speaker.  The...

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