Stubbington Liberal Democrats lost no time in thanking local voters for giving us a record 55% share of the vote to win the November 9 by-election.
The local team, and colleagues from Fareham, were out again in Stubbington Green on Saturday to hand out the first copies of a Thankyou leaflet detailing the result. Click on the image to see a copy.
Jim Forrest won the Fareham Council seat, beating nearest competitor, Tory county councillor Pal Hayre, by more than 400 votes.
Jim had previously represented the seat between 2002 and 2004 and later between 2006 and 2014.
Cllr Forrest said: 'I am really pleased to be back, and humbled by the number of local people who have told me they're pleased too. This has come about due to a lot of hard work from a lot of people over the last few weeks and it was great to see such a high turnout for a local election in November.
"Nearly 40% came out to vote - higher than most council wards across the country can expect, even in the normal May elections.
"I look forward to rejoining the Liberal Democrat team on Fareham Council, where we are the onlyeffective opposition."
Lib Dem Councillors put a series of searching questions about proposed changes to local Health Service provision when they were outlined at the Annual Meeting of the Fareham and Gosport Clinical Commissioning Groups.
The good news is that there will be healthcare provision at Welborne from an early stage.
But the model for healthcare, at Welborne and across the area, will change radically.
The familiar pattern of visits to GPs, nurses and other professionals at a group practice near your home will be replaced over time by a system which will involve much more telephone and online consultation rather than face-to-face contact.
In some cases patients will have a longer distance to travel to see a doctor or nurse.
Read more details at the CCG website https://www.farehamandgosportccg.nhs.uk
While it makes sense to make more use of the Fareham Community Hospital in Park Gate for consultations, Lib Dems pointed out that many of the people directed there will be elderly or disabled – the very people least able to travel a distance.
We urge that a new effort be made to provide a bus or taxi service to the hospital which will clearly see a big increase in patient numbers. Previous schemes failed because they were poorly publicised.
We believe better efforts must be made to ensure care packages are in place before elderly and frail people are discharged from hospital.
The risks in asking on-call GPs to deal with urgent treatment for people with multiple and long-term problems, without adequate briefing on their long-term condition, need to be addressed.
Safeguards must be put in place to ensure that email or video consultations are not allowed to take the place of examinations in cases where those are necessary.
We are exploring the idea of an additional one off social care tax in the county's share of the council tax and an end to fifteen minute carer visits.
Nationally, Lib Dems are calling for an end to the out-dated division in both funding and treatment between social care and health care.
And we say talk about parity of esteem for mental health locally and nationally should be backed by ring-fenced funding for it.
Policy to combat crime suggested by “an ordinary leaflet-delivering member” (her words) of Fareham Lib Dems is being considered at the party's highest levels.
This week's Party Conference in Bournemouth debated the issue of gun and knife crime, and at the suggestion of Titchfield Lib Dem Jill Underwood, our local party submitted an amendment calling for the inclusion of measures to curb attacks with acids and other corrosive substances with have increased dramaticlly in recent years..
Our amendment was selected for debate, and Fareham Councillor Katrina Trott spoke forcefully on the issues raised by Jill.
We agreed, though, to withdraw our amendment for further consideration, on the advice of the mover of the main motion, former Southwark MP and Cabinet Minister Sir Simon Hughes (pictured with Katrina and Dawn Barnes from Haringay who summed up the debate).
Sir Simon suggested that the party's Federal Policy Committee should give further consideration to this and other new or developing crimes ( including crime committed by those on bicycles and mopeds).
Sir Simon told Katrina: “This would allow you to have put the issue on the agenda at this conference but to have full debate after considered policy deliberation at the next available conference opportunity.”
Katrina told the Conference: “Whenever I am asked why I am proud to be a Liberal Democrat, one of the reasons I give is that 'Ordinary' members are able to suggest and influence policies.”
Video of the debate, including Katrina's speech, can be seen here. (The Gun Crime debate starts at about 3h15m into the live stream of Tuesday morning's session).