Protecting Our NHS

Princess Alexandra Hospital

Robert is delighted that Princess Alexandra Hospital has made big improvements and come out of special measures.

He has paid tribute to the incredible nurses, doctors, porters, support staff and management team for their incredible work. 

Harlow is among the best performing hospitals in the country in areas including:

  • cancer waiting times – number 1 Trust in December 2017
  • maternity services – rated as ‘outstanding’ by the CQC
  • ‘End of Life’ and dementia services
  • infection control – some of the lowest MRSA rates in the country

However, despite the very best efforts of all the hospital staff, the hospital faces three major problems:

  1. Difficulties recruiting and retaining staff, being very close by to London hospitals which can pay higher wages.
  2. Poor infrastructure and buildings which are no longer fit for purpose.
  3. Amongst the highest A&E use per head in the country.

A new Hospital would answer to each of these problems.

  1. New facilities would be far more attractive to work in and would encourage recruitment.
  2. Doctors and nurses would no longer have to treat patients in deteriorating temporary structures, well past their 10-15 year life span.
  3. A new development could be tailored to the needs of the growing population of Harlow and the surrounding area that the Hospital serves, increasing capacity and reducing waiting times.

Robert has been working hard to get the investment for the new health campus Harlow needs to deliver health care fit for the 21st century. 

Please see the timeline below for more details.

Since 2010:

Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow has had an upgraded eye clinic, a new kidney dialysis unit, a children’s A&E centre and an upgraded maternity unit.

26 November 2013:

The Department of Health announces that the Princess Alexandra Hospital will receive £5.7 million in capital funding for hiring more doctors and nurses, and set up more hospital beds.

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25 November 2015:

Government announces in its Spending Review 2015, that it will invest over £400 million over an 8-year period in a new ‘science hub’ which will provide world class Public Health England labs in Harlow.

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23 August 2016:

Department of Health and Social Care announces that Harlow will receive capital funding to upgrade health-based places of safety.

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21 April 2017:

The Department of Health announces that the Princess Alexandra Hospital will receive over £950,000 in A&E capital funding.

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12 July 2017:

House of Commons debate on New Towns. Robert Halfon stresses the need for a new hospital in Harlow. [Link]

18 October 2017:

House of Commons debate on Capital Funding: new hospital in Harlow

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Financial year 2017/18:

The Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust was successful in securing a total of £2m of Capital funding to support the redesign of the ED department. This funding was targeted to improve facilities and support improvements including investment in Paediatric ED.

21 March 2018:

CCG Inspection Report states that the PAH requires improvement. “The building is showing very significant signs of age with a backlog of maintenance estimated to be around £50m, and there is very little room for expansion on the current site” (2018).

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28 March 2018:

The Government announces that North Essex will receive £90 million in community funding for the NHS. Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said to be personally supportive of Harlow vision for a new hospital.

8 May 2018:

House of Commons debate on Topical Questions: Robert Halfon urges the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Jeremy Hunt, to consider give Harlow the capital funding it needs for a new hospital.  

[Link]

5 June 2018:

House of Commons Adjournment Debate led by Robert Halfon on the future of Princess Alexandra hospital in Harlow.

Early Day Motions

Robert has tabled numerous Commons motions in his campaign for a new hospital.

Link to EDMs

MP Robert Halfon visits Christmas workers at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow

Hospital Parking Charges

Since 2013, Robert has been campaigning to scrap hospital car parking charges. These parking fees are a stealth tax on patients, on the vulnerable (including the the elderly and disabled), on visitors, and on staff.

Despite Government guidelines being introduced in 2014 (as a result of Robert’s campaign)…

  • 47% of hospitals have increased hourly parking charges.

  • Almost half on hospitals offer no concessions for disabled drivers.

  • 49% of Trusts with a neonatal unit have increased their hourly or weekly parking rate. – Bliss

  • Parents of children with cancer are spending up to £50/week on hospital parking – CLIC Sargent.

  • Nearly 60% of hospitals in England are still charging cancer patients to park – Macmillan Cancer Support

  • 64% of drivers named hospitals as the location they most disliked having to pay for parking. – RAC

It is for these reasons that Robert rebooted his campaign by introducing a parliamentary bill and securing a debate which was backed by MPs of all parties, including: Emma Hardy, Frank Field, Lucy Allan, Sir Mike Penning, Martin Vickers, Jim Shannon and Edward Davey.

Robert’s campaign has been backed by major charities and motoring organisations, some of whom you can read more about below.

Clare Laxton, Assistant Director at CLIC Sargent, said:

“We are fully behind Robert Halfon’s Hospital Car Parking Charges Bill as we know the burden paying for hospital car parking, day in day out, can place on young people with cancer and their families. A cancer diagnosis can cost young people and their families on average £600 per month in additional expenses. We support Robert in calling Government to end unfair hospital parking charges once and for all and ease the financial burden on families of young cancer patients.”

MacMillan Cancer Support said:

“The core principle of the NHS is to provide free healthcare for all at the point of access. But sadly some cancer patients in England arek y paying extortionate hospital car parking charges in order to access treatment for a life-threatening illness. Macmillan therefore supports Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP’s hospital car parking charges campaign.”

Howard Cox, Chief Executive of Fair Fuel UK, said:

“’Hard working taxpayers do not choose to become sick. Their families should not be punished for visiting their loved ones or attending critical medical appointments. FairFuelUK supporters, already the highest taxed motorists in the world, want hospital parking to be free or at a maximum of no more than £1.”

Another issue Robert has been involved with is campaigning against hospital parking charges. In  response to my campaign, the Government announced in August 2014  that they were publishing new guidelines, and asking hospitals to  provide concessions to certain groups. This is a very welcome announcement by the Government and a great step forward for the campaign. Although in the long term, I would still like to see hospital parking fees scrapped altogether, this is still a fantastic success. I firmly believe that hospitals must give free or a reduced parking fee to priority groups, including visitors with relatives who are gravely ill or have an extended stay in hospital, according to new government guidance published today.Hospital Parking