Update from Hospitals
179 COVID patients across LGI and St James, with 27 in critical care, and 53 deaths in Leeds. We do have empty beds thanks to the work of community and social care colleagues on discharges. Plans are still underway on staffing for Nightingale, which is being staffed from across the region. Testing capacity has been increased in LTHT to include testing for a small number of staff, but not yet the magnitude needed.
Personal Protection Equipment
I have been in contact with a local Hospice who are struggling to get any Personal Protection Equiptment (PPE) whatsoever.
What we know is the following:
PPE very short, care homes and hospices are not getting any at all directly.
All PPE coming in is placed with the NHS. Local resilience forum are not handling any.
Hospices are chasing PPE suppliers constantly spending far too much time. They have to either go cap in hand to the NHS (who are also very short but who do in Leeds try to help where they can) or chase private suppliers who are short in supply and prices are going up steeply.
Leeds City Council have received 10k masks from Hangzhou as a twinned city and Leeds and Bradford are trying to get order from China where they can.
It is completely unacceptable that we are into the second week of April and vital care services and hospices are not able to protect their staff and patients for lack of provision. Care providers and hospices have to go cap in hand to the NHS and our local authorities have to go cap in hand to foreign governments. These are not complicated pieces of equipment to manufacture. Our Government is simply not providing the standard of care to our care workers and their patients at this time of crisis.
I have had several dentists and dental staff writing to me. Many of them are on the verge of bankruptcy and require urgent help from the Government. The Government has not included dentist clinics in critical business saving measures. This has caused serious financial problems for many practices in my Leeds North West.
I have written to the Chancellor on this. I have called on him to extend business rate extensions given to retail to dental practices. I also called on him to allow endangered dental practices to access the £25,000 grants the Government has offered for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses. I also called for urgent clarification on insurance, job retention and support for self-employed dentists.
Support for Students
I have been very concerned with the lack of support for students in these difficult times.
I ask students who have concerns about rent on contracts please contact Leeds University Union who I have been liaising with constantly. They are advising for those who have not signed a contract for next year to not do so until this crisis is over.
I have also been in contact with student halls and landlords. Some accommodation providers have behaved with great community spirit. Unite has released students from their contracts free of charge. However some private landlords are not showing the same flexibility.
I have been proud to support the NUS campaign for student renters with the following demands. Firstly landlords must stay updated and implement public health guidance in all their properties. Secondly every student Landlord must offer a no-penalty early release from tenancy contracts. Thirdly landlords must end rent arrears and no fault evictions. Fourthly all renters impacted by COVID-19 must have their rent suspended or significantly reduced.
Some useful links:
Leeds Women’s Aid
Leeds Women’s Aid are trialling an online chat facility in case of an increase in abuse during the lock down. It can be hard to access help during a lock down so calling a helpline may be the best option.
The web chat trial is running Monday Friday 1-3pm. You can access this from the women’s aid website. It’s available to all members of the general public.