Thursday 27 June 2013

Payday Lending Industry referred to Competition Commission

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has asked for a review into competition among payday lenders, after finding evidence a lack of choice means firms are profiting from loans that can't be paid back on time.

The OFT said it was difficult for customers to identify and compare the cost of loans, that not all firms complied with relevant laws and that a significant proportion of borrowers had poor credit histories and limited access to other forms of credit. It said lenders were competing primarily on the availability and speed of loans rather than on the price of paying them back.

In March, the OFT gave Britain's biggest 50 payday lenders 12 weeks to change their business practices or risk losing their licenses after finding evidence of widespread irresponsible lending. It said it had so far received responses from only 20 of the lenders, five of which have stopped offering the loans.

Payday lenders are dangerously quick to hand out loans in minutes without proper affordability checks being made. The industry is full of predatory firms who have no moral compass and think only of the bottom line regardless of the detriment they cause to many people.

Voluntary Regulation and industry wide codes of practice have failed spectacularly and Government must now act to ensure that statutory regulation is introduced as soon as possible.

Friday 21 June 2013

Euro Hustings put candidates under the spotlight

Pic with Ian McCartney, our Euro candidates
 and students from Winstanley College
Labour Party members from across Makerfield and Leigh gathered at Hindley Labour Club on Thursday, 20th June to quiz Labour’s shortlisted candidates to contest the European Elections in 2014.

They were joined by Councillors and Politics students from Winstanley College who were invited by the local Labour Party to experience a live political hustings.

The candidates have attended hustings all over the North West during June and are set to attend further events ahead of the closing date on 31st July. Labour Party members are currently being balloted to choose the order in which the shortlisted candidates will appear on the ballot paper.

Chair of the meeting, Sir Ian McCartney said, “We were fortunate to have some great candidates with us tonight and the hustings provided the ideal opportunity for members to scrutunise the abilities of and question the candidates on a range of the political issues of the day.”

Wednesday 19 June 2013

I'm backing 'Don't fail on Heart failure' Campaign

I have pledged my support for the “Don’t Fail on Heart Failure” campaign, which was launched in Parliament on 18th June.

During the reception, I met patients and clinicians, before signing the Don’t Fail on Heart Failure pledge, committing to support patient access to treatments and technology that save lives. The full text of the pledge is below.

Immediately after the reception, the Heart Failure pledge was delivered to the Department of Health.

Untreated, heart failure has a survival rate similar to cancer - and over a third die within
1 year of diagnosis.

NICE is appraising availability of ICD and CRT-D devices in January.

I am determined to help heart failure patients in Makerfield get the treatment they need to live their lives. The implantable devices I saw today take people from constant fatigue back into work. The NHS needs to make sure these life-enhancing technologies are available for those who need them.

A person has heart failure if their heart is unable to pump sufficient blood to meet their body’s needs. Causes range from hypertension to a heart attack to a virus. Patients suffering heart failure develop increasing breathlessness and fatigue when carrying out daily activities – and ultimately at rest. Consequently, ability to work is greatly impaired along with health and quality of life. Heart failure eventually affects 3 in every hundred women, and 4 in every hundred men. Heart failure imposes huge costs on the NHS. It accounts for 5% of all emergency hospital admissions and 2% of all NHS hospital bed days.

Patients who received CRT-Ds and ICD implants had a death rate 25% to 45% lower than those who instead took the best available drugs. For patients with mild to moderate heart failure, ICDs and CRT reduced monthly admission rates to hospital by 20% to 35%.

Thursday 13 June 2013

Well done Billy!

I was delighted to see the new Mayor of Wigan, Cllr Billy Rotherham and Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) launch Heartbeat 2, a fundraising appeal to secure further development of cardiac facilities at Royal Albert Edward Infirmary, with a magnificent £10,000 donation from The Mayor.

Heartbeat 2 is aiming to raise £250,000 to build a new recovery room within the Coronary Care Unit at Royal Albert Edward Infirmary (RAEI) to improve the patient experience.

Joining The Mayor and Mayoress of Wigan to hand over the £10,000 cheque at the RAEI Coronary Care Unit were WWL Consultant Cardiologist Dr. Nayyar Naqvi OBE.

Dr Naqvi is an inspiration and passionate advocate of health services in the Borough

Launched in 2009, the original Heartbeat appeal exceeded expectations raising £250,000 to ensure the Coronary Care unit at Royal Albert Edward Infirmary now benefits from the best equipment money can buy and delivers a first class service for patients.

Everyone interested in organising their own fundraising for Heartbeat 2 are asked to contact Fundraising Officer Elizabeth Titley on 01942 773879 or by email