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Category Archives: Constituency news

Byrne welcomes HS2 Committee call for Plan B at Washwood Heath – 19 December 2014



Byrne welcomes HS2 Committee call for Plan B at Washwood Heath


Liam Byrne MP has welcomed a major breakthrough in the battle for jobs at the LDV-Alstom site earmarked for a marshalling yard.


Following a major campaign led by Liam Byrne MP. The HS2 Bill Committee has ordered the Government and HS2 Ltd to change their plans to maximise the number of jobs on the site.


Although the committee has not ordered the marshalling yard to be moved, the committee have ordered HS2 to report on how they will work with site owners.


The proposed site is the size of 100 football pitches and makes up one third of the industrial land in Birmingham.


It lies at the junction of Ladywood, Erdington and Hodge Hill – these three constituencies are together home to 45% of the City’s unemployed.


The site owners, together with Liam Byrne MP, have now submitted a ‘Plan B’ proposal that would see  2,334 jobs be created.



Liam Byrne MP said:


“This is a real breakthrough. The HS2 Committee has heard our call for jobs. Now HS2 Ltd must work with us on a Plan B that could see 2,334 jobs created in the inner city.”



Lorely Burt MP for Solihull said today:


“I have long argued for jobs to be protected at Washwood Heath whilst also being conscious of not damaging UK Central’s prospects for delivery. The Select Committee’s decision on Washwood Heath is quite obviously a ‘win-win-win’. A win for the people of Washwood Heath, Solihull and also HS2. Now we need HS2 to engage fully with all interested parties to deliver the 2300 private sector jobs set out in the alternative plans referred to by the Committee plus the 600+ new railway jobs as soon as possible.”


Caroline Spelman MP for Meriden said today:


“The decision from the Select Committee is common sense in action in relation to the Washwood Heath site.  This is a win-win situation where HS2 get to build some of the infrastructure they need while the rest of the site can be used to create many more jobs, without needing to displace the marshalling yards into my constituency.  HS2 should now engage and respond positively to the AXA proposals. Anything less would not be in accordance with the Select Committee’s wishes.”






Notes to editors:


Statement from Robert Syms MP (Chairman, HS2 Select Committee) dated 16th December 2014:


“On Washwood Heath, we were impressed by the submission from AXA and our colleague Liam Byrne and we sympathise with the need to address high unemployment in and around his constituency.  We do not believe there is enough evidence to support a move of the RSMD from Washwood Heath.  We impress on HS2 the need to adjust the scheme so there is minimum land take and for the shortest time … We expect to hear from HS2 on that and on whether they can reach agreement on that taking account of the more recent AXA proposals which are dated 12th December.”



Statement on Ofsted letters to Saltley School and Nansen Primary School – 19 December 2014


Dear friends,


In late November Ofsted sent inspectors into Saltley School and Nansen Primary School.
They have released the findings of their inspections today which can be found here and here.


My statement is below:


“This is great news for Saltley School and Nansen Primary School. Both schools are making progress and, most importantly, the right plans are in place to extend those improvements. Our children deserve world-class education, that must always be our number one priority. I will be working with the Department for Education, Ofsted and the schools to make sure that is what they get.”

Birmingham City Council sees further fall in unemployment – December 2014

Dear Friends,


Great news, figures released today from the Office of National Statistics show that unemployment continues to fall in Hodge Hill – 17 December 2014.


The number of unemployed claimants in Birmingham, Hodge Hill as of November 2014 was 4,479.  This represents a rate of 9.9% of the economically active population aged 16 to 64.


This number is far too high and there is still much work to be done, but the new figures show that the number of people claiming jobseekers allowance (JSA) is 1473 lower than November 2013 and 263 lower than October 2014.


These figures show that Birmingham City Council’s efforts to tackle unemployment are making a real difference here in Hodge Hill – we will continue to fight to get more people into better jobs.

All the best,



MP warns of ‘NHS emergency’ with Birmingham hospitals in danger of running out of beds – Birmingham Mail – 17 December 2014

MP warns of ‘NHS emergency’ with Birmingham hospitals in danger of running out of beds


Liam Byrne speaks out as grim new figures show some hospitals at 96 per cent bed capacity


A BIRMINGHAM MP has warned the city could run out of hospital beds after a shock investigation showed wards are nearing full capacity.

Former health minister Liam Byrne said health chiefs face an ‘NHS emergency’ after latest grim statistics revealed some hospitals are using 96 per cent of available beds.

Infection control experts advise occupancy rates should not be higher than 85 per cent because of an increased risk of infections if there is not enough time to clean properly between patients.

Most of the seven biggest hospital trusts in the West Midlands have action plans in place to cope with rising demand over the winter, with some opening new temporary wards.

Yet they are still struggling.

But Mr Byrne (Lab Hodge Hill) said: “These shocking figures now prove our hospitals are packed to the rafters. No wonder care standards are under terrible pressure.

“It’s now clear this is an NHS emergency and fresh resources are needed fast. If we have a bad winter there’s a real chance the city could run out of hospital beds – and that will put lives at risk.”

Higher bed capacity figures also mean it is much more difficult for hospitals to cope with sudden “spikes” in admissions, caused by a surge in flu or norovirus infections.

Dr Cliff Mann, president of the College of Emergency medicine, said he was fearful the region was now heading towards a winter crisis. “The signs do not bode well, I cannot see how we can turn this round in a matter of weeks,’’ he said.

“We need more staff and more beds to cope with the pressures winter will bring.”

He said many wards had more patients than beds for much of the day, only falling to less than 100 per cent occupancy when the midnight recordings are taken.

Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, Coun John Cotton, said cuts to social care were also contributing to the problem.

He said: “Despite the mild weather, it’s very clear hospitals in all parts of England are already struggling to cope, so I shudder to think what will happen once winter kicks in.

“Earlier this month Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt admitted pressures on the NHS were ‘higher than they have ever been’ and the demands are sure to increase this winter.

“Government cuts have taken social care support away from older people and made it harder for others to get a GP appointment. That means more people are turning to A&E and hospitals are struggling to deal with the extra pressure.”

Recent figures recorded up to September show that University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB), which runs the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Edgbaston, recorded a 96.4 per cent bed capacity.


It is believed this figure could rise further as the colder weather kicks in.

In January to March this year, bed capacity was recorded at 98 per cent.

The Queen Elizabeth, dubbed a “super hospital” after it opened a huge new site four years ago, resorted to reopening part of its old building to create a new ward last year. It was a temporary measure but it remains in place and has 170 extra beds.

Birmingham Children’s Hospital is also struggling to cope, with data showing a 93.7 per cent bed capacity in September, with the number rising rapidly this month.

A spokeswoman said: “Our busiest time of year is always the end of November and early December due to this peaking emergency demand for children – so at present our bed occupancy is fluctuating between 90 and 100 per cent.

“We open more beds at this time of year, and we increase the numbers of staff working to support the increased demand.”

Whilst Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust aims to have a capacity level of 93 per cent at midday, they still have two wards of adult beds used by patients who no longer need to be in hospital.

A spokeswoman added: “These delays put pressure on the bed capacity and have doubled in comparison to last year for patients from the Birmingham area, whereas we are seeing significant reductions in these delays of discharge for patients from the Sandwell areas.”

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust has invested in more than 100 extra staff and are currently looking at ways to provide additional support services such as frailty units, increased medical cover for seven day services and care management for elderly patients.

Officials at New Cross Hospital, in Wolverhampton, admitted they are operating at near full capacity on most days but will open 27 additional beds after Christmas.

The Dudley Group NHS Trust, which operates Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley, said there were no plans to put additional beds in place to cope with any potential winter crisis. This was despite admitting that it experienced unprecedented pressure on its emergency services and asked patients to think twice before attending in January this year.

Walsall Manor Hospital has introduced 40 new beds within the community to provide a step-down facility for patients who are well enough to leave hospital, but not quite well enough to go home.

It will free up more beds at the hospital for acutely ill patients. A spokeswoman added: “We are also opening a new £4.7 million ward at the Manor Hospital in January 2015 which will give us an additional 30 beds for acutely ill patients.”



Hospital A&E crisis: Mum and sick child waited SIX HOURS to see doctor at Birmingham Children’s Hospital – Birmingham Mail – 16 December 2014

Dear friends,


Please find below more concerning news on our local NHS A&E. I gave a statement to the Birmingham Mail on the story – see below.


We have got to get a plan in place to sort out the crisis in our local NHS.





Hospital A&E crisis: Mum and sick child waited SIX HOURS to see doctor at Birmingham Children’s Hospital

New figures show six out of seven Trusts missing four hour emergency admissions target


Accident and Emergency departments are ‘spiralling’ out of control with six out of the seven major West Midlands hospital trusts failing to hit the Government’s four-hour waiting target.

Latest figures showed Birmingham Children’s Hospital was the worst performer, with just 81 per cent of patients being seen within the time limit during the week ending December 12.

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) followed closely at 86.7 per cent, with Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust recording an A&E waiting time target of 87.2 per cent.

The Government’s national target is 95 per cent of patients being seen within four hours.

Birmingham mum Nora Stevenson, 37, of Bartley Green, told how she waited SIX HOURS for her daughter to be seen at the Children’s Hospital after her daughter Maggie, aged three, began coughing up blood on December 7.

Her mother had called NHS 111 at 5pm and it took two hours for someone to call her back. She was given an appointment at Katie Road Walk-in Centre at 9.50pm where a doctor told her to take the youngster to Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s A&E department.

Nora said: “It was horrendous. I really can’t fault the staff as they were trying their best, but there weren’t enough of them there.

“Children were lying across the chairs because of the time of night and being sick. Parents were getting annoyed and having a go at the receptionist.”

The mum and daughter had arrived at 11pm and Maggie was finally seen by a triage at 1am – but it took another four hours for a doctor to examine her.

Nora, a part-time bank worker, said: “They checked on her every 90 minutes after that until she saw a doctor at 5am. She was discharged 20 minutes later with a minor stomach illness.“We followed all the correct channels but it took a total of 12 hours from when we called 111, to her being seen by a doctor.

“Next time I will go straight to the hospital.”

Other mums have taken to social media to flag up their experiences at the hospital.

Emma Donoghue wrote on Facebook: “My son was admitted with glandular fever and a secondary bacterial infection. There was a six hour wait in A&E although we only waited an hour as he was prioritised as an emergency.

“There was nowhere to sit and at one point I sat on the floor. There was far too many children there that shouldn’t have been there, running around and playing whilst my son slept through all the commotion.”

Yet while Natalie Hodgkins experienced delays, she also praised medics at the hospital and urged more people to use their GPs and walk-in centres.

She added: “My daughter had just been let home after a week and a half in Birmingham Children’s Hospital. The day before we went doctors at our surgery diagnosed a chest infection.

“The next day she had gotten worse and come out in a patch on her arm. It was rammed full of children running around with coughs. The wait time was four hours but we put straight through. She had sepsis. Doctors at the hospital acted very quickly and thanks to them my baby is still with us.

“Definitely people need to use GP and walk in more.”

The Children’s Hospital reported its busiest day EVER on December 1, when medics saw 223 patients in one day. Numbers have been hitting around 205 a day on average, whereas last year’s figure was in the 180s.

Dr Ben Stanhope, a consultant in paediatric in Emergency Medicine, said: “We have seen this problem in the last three to four weeks. There are an unprecedented number of children presenting in our department and we are seeing 20 to 30 more patients a day than we normally would.

“This is a massive increase. And it means that everyone is waiting longer.

“There are a huge number of children coming in with the influenza virus and we know that the national uptake of the vaccine is very poor.

“Many of these children would not be here if they had been given the nasal spray that protects them against the virus. It gives them better coverage than the old style needle.”

MP Liam Byrne (Hodge Hill Lab) said: “These shocking figures show A&E queues are spiralling. Our NHS staff do a great job but they’re being overwhelmed.

“The government’s huge cuts to Birmingham’s social care service mean it’s harder than ever to get older residents home from hospital. That means it’s getting harder to get people in the front door through A&E.”

At HEFT, which runs Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull hospitals, medics are also seeing a rise in admissions for the flu virus. Restrictions are in place at Heartlands because of flu and the winter bug norovirus.

Dr Ola Erinfolami, clinical director of the Emergency Department at Heartlands, said: “As with the rest of the region we are seeing increased attendance at our A&E departments and the addition of patients suffering from flu and norovirus not only exacerbates that situation but also increases the risk of those viruses being spread within the hospital.”

She added the best remedy for patients was to rest at home.

The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Russells Hall Hospital, in Brierley Hill is the only trust to hit the national target, seeing 98.2 per cent of patients in less than four hours.

WHAT THE HOSPITALS SAY: *Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust has a “detailed plan in place” to improve its ability to see people within four hours.

*University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust said it has seen an unprecedented year-on-year in emergency admissions in the last two years.

*The Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust said pressures had been building for some months. A spokesman added: “Additional resource via the winter pressures money has been made available, which includes additional doctors, nurses, technicians and porters for example.”

*Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust advised patients to also explore other alternatives than A&E.

*Dudley Group NHS Trust said: “We have a dedicated ‘capacity hub’ that acts as a command centre and is aware of current waits, patient volumes in our Emergency Department, how many patients are being discharged from the wards etc.”

Christmas crime prevention from West Midlands Police

Christmas crime prevention from West Midlands Police

All you need to know to keep safe at Christmas

Our Christmas Safety Guide contains lots of useful tips to help you keep yourself, your home, your car and valuables safe over the festive period. Please take a few minutes to read through our safety tips.

Keep your home secure

  • Securely lock all doors and windows before going out or going to bed. Use a timer device to switch lights on after dark.
  • Don’t put presents under the tree until the last possible moment – and close curtains so your gifts can’t be seen from the street.
  • Mark your postcode on new presents with a UV pen. Note down the serial number and record it at so if it is ever stolen, you’re more likely to get it back.
  • After Christmas, remove any trace of expensive gift packaging by taking discarded boxes to the tip or recycling centre.

Keep your car safe

  • Check your fob has done its job – don’t assume your vehicle is secure, always check doors and windows are locked before you walk away.
  • Remove valuables such as sat navs, MP3 players, laptops, tablets, coats and loose change before leaving the vehicle.
  • Wipe away tell-tale suction marks from the windscreen – this may alert a thief to your sat nav being hidden inside the vehicle.
  • Don’t advertise what you’ve bought by leaving gifts on show while you return to the shops – lock everything away in the boot. Take shopping inside immediately when you get home.

Freeze out car thieves

  • Don’t leave your vehicle unattended and the engine running while it defrosts – a thief could drive off with it.
  • Stay with your vehicle and if you’re in a rush, use de-icing spray and a scraper to speed up the process.
  • Sit inside your vehicle while the heater de-mists the windscreen.
  • Claims on insurance policies can be affected if the vehicle owner is deemed partly responsible for the theft.

 Love your phone

  • Be discreet – keep your phone and other valuables out of sight in public.
  • Note down the unique IMEI number – you will need this number to report a stolen phone. Key *#06# into your mobile to display this number on screen.
  • Listen to your instincts – know your route, avoid dark places and if you don’t feel safe, move to a busier area.
  • Trace lost or stolen phones by activating the in-built tracker app or by downloading a reputable one from your app store.

 Beat the pickpockets

  • Keep handbags closed and close to you, and wallets out of back pockets.
  • Try not to overload yourself with bags and coats.
  • Don’t leave pushchairs, shopping bags or trolleys unattended. Take personal belongings with you into changing rooms.
  • Be discreet when handling cash and cards at the till and at cash machines – put them away immediately and keep an eye on who is around.

 Socialise safely

  • Pubs, restaurants and other venues will be crowded, so don’t hang bags over the back of your chair and keep wallets and purses close to your body.
  • Have fun but drink sensibly – binge drinking and excessive drinking at home before a night out puts you at risk of crime. Never leave drinks unattended or accept them from strangers.
  • Find out the times of the last tram, train or bus home, or pre-book a taxi from a local licensed operator.
  • Never drive under the influence of drink or drugs.

Heart of England hospital trust one of most complained about in UK – Birmingham Mail – 2 December 2014


Dear friends,


You may have seen my press release on Friday about the concerns that I and local Councillors have around the strain which our local NHS Trust (including Heartlands Hospital) is under.


The Birmingham Mail have today published a story about Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust which proves many of the concerns we’ve been hearing in the community recently.


Heart of England hospital trust one of most complained about in UK


Three serious complaints made to health ombudsman EACH DAY about NHS Trust, watchdog reveals


A troubled Birmingham hospital trust has been named and shamed as one of the worst in the country for patient complaints.

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) received 958 complaints to the Health Ombudsman in 2013/14 – almost three a day.

The shocking figures which places the trust as 13th on the league of shame, come just a month after it was revealed that thousands of patients were waiting more than four hours in A&E. Health watchdog Monitor slammed the leadership at HEFT and just a few days later chief executive Mark Newbold resigned.

New data has also showed that in 2013/14 the trust received 404,697 clinical incidents ranking it the fourth busiest out of 440 NHS Trusts and CCGs across the country.

The figures were released earlier this week by Dame Julie Mellor, the health ombudsman.

Hodge Hill MP Liam Byrne (Lab) said: “This fresh evidence proves concerns which have been growing for months. Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust is overstretched.

“The staff at hospitals such as Heartlands do brilliant work but mismanaged resources such as our local NHS health centres mean that they are fighting a losing battle.

“More and more people are having to head for the hospital when they should and could be being treated at their local health centres. We need a plan for getting our multi-million pound health centres in Washwood Heath and Hodge Hill fully operational as soon as possible.”

Latest figures show 5,518 patients waited more than the four hour target at Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull hospitals, all run by the Trust, compared to 1,619 in 2009/10 – an increase of 240 per cent.

Action is being taken to improve services and strengthen leadership so patients receive better care. Conditions have been imposed on HEFT’s licence so that Monitor can take further action if it does not perform better.

Waiting times are also said to be too long for routine operations and cancer care patients and there were additional concerns regarding mortality rates.

Heartlands NHS Trust was unavailable for comment.



Hodge Hill weekly crime data figures and detail: 20th -27th of November 2014

Weekly Crime figures and detail

Date Range: 20th -27th November 2014

Recorded Crime 29
ASB Incidents 1





There has been one burglary this week – Eastbourne Avenue where persons faced a window to secure entry, nothing was stolen.

Another attempted burglary where unknown persons tried to force entry into a flat in Warstone tower but were unsuccessful.


Advice – With darker nights here please use timer switches when you are out after dark – so that it looks like someone is in.


Two vehicles had items stolen from them on Morley Rd and Dagenham Rd, both were items left on display in an insecure vehicle.


Advice – Do try and use your garage where you have one to keep your vehicle safe.  Consider visible deterrents such as steering wheel locks to deter thieves.  Remove valuables and ensure you secure your vehicle.


Other Information

Our dispersal area continues to be up and running in the area of Blossom Grove and Collingbourne Avenue and we will be continuing to use this to tackle any ASB taking place in the area.

An offender from a previously executed drugs warrant in Hodge Hill has been charged with production of cannabis and possession of a section 5 firearm and is in the process of being dealt with by the courts.


We would like you to follow us on Twitter @HodgeHillPolice

If you have any information about crime or ASB in your area contact us on 101 ext 7601 6392 or call crimestoppers on 0800555111.


You can email us on

My reply to the ‘Pensioners Manifesto’

Dear Friends,


I have been contacted by a number of constituents about the National Pensioners Convention ‘Pensioners Manifesto’.  I thought that some of you would be interested to see my reply on this issue which also outlines Labour’s policies.




19 November 2014

Dear Constiuent,


Thank you for taking the trouble to write to me about the National Pensioners Convention ‘Pensioners Manifesto’. I always appreciate it when constituents contact me to share their views and concerns.


The Labour Party has a strong record and a long-term commitment to the welfare of Pensioners. Under the last Labour Government pensioner poverty was brought down to its lowest level for 30 years.


Our pensions system must be based on a simple principle: that those who have worked hard, contributed to society, and played their part in our nation’s success need to have this contribution recognised through a fair deal in retirement.


Labour remains committed to the “triple lock” which ensures that the basic state pension rises in line with earnings, inflation or 2.5 per cent, whichever is highest. We would not include state pensions in a short term “cap” on social security spending.


In contrast, this Tory-led Government has raised the Women’s State Pension Age so rapidly that some women currently in their 50s will have to work for an extra two years than they had previously thought. Not only that but the Government’s flat rate pension plan risks short-changing 700,000 women. Labour have been asking the Government to look again at its Pension Bill so the new flat rate pension is truly fair and doesn’t leave hundreds of thousands of women born between 1951 and 1953 behind. The Labour party will always continue to fight for pensioner rights.


You mentioned, in your letter, your concern about universal benefits such as free bus passes. We are committed to the principle of universalism and the Labour Party has no plans to make changes to pensioners’ bus passes and TV licenses.


Your letter also made reference to your concerns about the growing crisis in the provision of Social Care and the NHS. I share your deep concerns – we’ve seen the dangerous effects of David Cameron’s wasteful, top-down reorganisation of the NHS right here in East Birmingham with the A&E crisis at Heartlands hospital. Under this Government the number of people waiting over 4 hours in A&E at Heartlands have gone up by an astonishing 240%!


This A&E crisis has grown out of the Tories drastic cuts to social care. The cuts have led to more and more elderly people attending A&E because they aren’t given the support or social care they need in the community.


The Labour Party is committed to the full integration of health and social care, and I was pleased to read that one of the top five recommendations of the National Pensioners Convention ‘Pensioners Manifesto’ is the creation of a “…National Health and Care Service which is free at the point of use and funded through taxation (merging the NHS and social care)”


This Tory-led Government has seen our NHS, and our Social Care system, pushed almost to breaking point. The best choice for the NHS next May is a vote for Labour.


Thank you again for taking the trouble to write to me – I really appreciate it. I hope you’ve found this letter useful but please don’t hesitate to write back to me if you have any further questions.
With all best wishes


Yours sincerely,

LB signature


Birmingham Hodge Hill

West Midlands Labour Annual Conference – 15 November 2014


Dear friends,

I have just returned from the West Midlands Labour Annual Conference at Warwick University in Coventry.

It was an excellent couple of days with great opportunities to engage with fellow MPs, members and regional staff.

One of the most important things to come out of the conference was the final draft of Labour’s West Midland’s Economic Plan which I helped work on.

You can download a full PDF version of the plan using the link below.


West Mids Economic Plan - Nov 2014 - Image

All the best


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