Brits get new rights to foreign healthcare under EU rules

Chris Davies MEP

Chris Davies MEP

Tameside’s Liberal Democrat Euro-MP has welcomed moves to allow people to travel to other EU countries for operations if the NHS is too slow. New rules approved by the European Parliament will allow people to receive medical treatment in other EU Member States if their home country is unable to provide essential medical care within a reasonable timeframe.

Patients will be able to have the treatment paid for or claim back the money if they pay upfront. The new rules are due to take effect in 2013.

Chris Davies MEP who is the Liberal Democrat spokesperson on the Environment and Public Health Committee of the Parliament said, “This new system will protect our NHS but provide options for people who need  treatment.

“NHS hospitals will get the full costs of treating other EU nationals paid and Tameside people will have the option of travelling if that is what it takes to get treatment.”

UK citizens who fall ill abroad can already get emergency care across the EU with their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).  The new scheme expands this to ‘elective’ treatment’ when a particular treatment can be provided faster or more expertly abroad.

NHS doctors will have to give prior authorisation for treatments abroad that can be reimbursed, patients will only be entitled to reimbursement for treatment that their home health authority would normally provide, and
travel or hotel costs cannot be claimed back.

Oldham East & Saddleworth: Results

The Oldham East and Saddleborough byelection result:

Labour 14,718 42%
Elwyn Watkins (Liberal Democrat) 11,160 31.9%
Conservatives 4,481 12.8%
Other 7 candidates 4,571

The Liberal Democrat share of the vote increased, in contrast to the vote collapse that Labour and some commentators had predicted. Lib Dem candidate Elwyn Watkins has paid tribute to his campaign team and thanked his many supporters across the constituency.

Speaking to supporters after the count, Elwyn said, “I want to thank you all for a superb campaign. Although it is always disappointing not to win, I am proud that our share of the vote actually increased. Those who sought to write us off have been proved wrong. I am also delighted that the BNP lost their deposit. The town has shown we have no taste for their hateful and divisive approach.”

Commenting on the by-election result , Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat Leader, Nick Clegg, said: “This was a very hard-fought contest but we were not able to gain this Labour seat on this occasion. I’d like to pay tribute to our superb candidate, Elwyn Watkins, and his team up in Oldham who have run an exceptional campaign.

“I am proud of each and every one of the hundreds of activists and volunteers who have brought the fight to Labour’s front door in a way that will have confounded our critics.

“It was always going to be a big ask to take this seat from Labour, given the circumstances. We are undertaking some enormously difficult decisions because Labour left Britain’s economy in a mess and we are now forced to clean up after them.

“By 2015, I hope that the people of Oldham and Saddleworth will see, like everyone else in the country, that the difficult choices we made were the right ones and that Britain is in better shape than when we entered Government.”

Help Elwyn Win

You can help Elwyn Watkins and the local Liberal Democrats win in the byelection in Oldham East & Saddleworth. The office is open every day and even a few hours would be appreciated.

To get involved, come along to the HQ any day between 9am and 8pm or contact the campaign HQ by calling 01457 810993 or emailing [email protected]

Press enquiries please call the press office on 020 7340 4949.

The HQ is at Tanner Business Centre, Waterside Mill, Chew Valley Road, Greenfield, OL3 7NH, or find it on the map below.

The nearest train station is Greenfield. There is plenty of parking if you’re coming by car.

By car (from the Manchester Ring Road): Leave the M60 at Junction 23 (Ashton). Take the A635 (Wakefield) all the way to the entrance to Tanner Business Centre (just off Holmfirth Road after a mini-roundabout at Clarence Hotel/Pub). You should be able to see a Lib Dem diamond from the roundabout.

By car (from the M62): Leave the M62 at Junction 22 and turn left onto the A672. At the Junctions Inn crossroads, turn left onto the A640 and then immediately right onto the A6052. Carry on over the A62 and follow the A6052 until the roundabout with the A670. Take the second exit onto the A670 towards Uppermill. Branch left onto the A6051 and then turn left onto the A669 (Chew Valley Road). Follow the road to the end to reach a mini-roundabout at Clarence Hotel/Pub. Turn left at the roundabout and Tanner Business Centre is immediately on the right. You should be able to see a Lib Dem diamond from the roundabout.

If you can’t make it to the HQ in person, you can still support Elwyn’s campaign by making a donation to the Lib Dems using this special link. Thank you.

Elwyn Watkins: Time to let the voters decide

Let the voters decide

On Friday, the High Court upheld the decision of the Parliamentary Election Court for Oldham East and Saddleworth and dismissed ex-Labour MP Phil Woolas’ appeal.

Commenting after the decision at the Royal Courts of Justice, Liberal Democrat candidate for Oldham East and Saddleworth, Elwyn Watkins, said:“This judgment makes it clear once again that if you knowingly lie in your election campaign and deceive your constituents you should be kicked out of parliament. This is a victory for the people of Oldham and Saddleworth.
“Once again, I am grateful for the sterling work and support my excellent legal team have provided throughout and for the considered verdict of the High Court Judges.
“Now it is time to move on and for the by-election to take place. The people of Oldham East and Saddleworth have been without an MP for long enough. They need to be able to choose a new Member of Parliament as soon as possible.
“With just 103 votes between Labour and myself at the General Election, it is going to be a very close contest. I hope that local people will back someone who has a track record for standing up for what he believes in.”

Time called on Tameside cowboy scrap dealers

Time is being called on the activities of Tameside cowboy car scrap dealers.

A loophole in vehicle licensing rules that has allowed millions of cars to be scrapped but not deregistered is to be closed after a campaign by Liberal Democrat Euro-MP Chris Davies.

Environmentalists claim that it has led to thousands of tonnes of oil and brake fluid being poured down drains, while millions of old tyres have ended up dumped on wasteland or in the countryside.

The loophole allows owners of old bangers to claim that they are scrapping the cars themselves.

It has been exploited by rogue scrap dealers who use it to avoid paying to meet the depollution requirements of EU end-of-life vehicles legislation introduced 10 years ago.

Now the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in Swansea is to start the issue of revised V5C registration forms.

Davies has been working for four years with operators of licensed waste treatment facilities to get the changes made and environmental standards improved.

He said: “The figures suggest that up to a million cars have been taken apart and scrapped on peoples’ driveways in the last 5 years.  This is clearly absurd, but it’s been an uphill task to persuade the DVLA to make the changes required.

“Rogue scrap dealers advertising for old cars need to be put of business. They are not paying tax, they harm the environment, and they undercut legitimate vehicle dismantlers.”

However, the DVLA claims that it will take at least two years to issue new registration documents to every car owner and that could mean another 300,000 to 400,000 cars slipping through the net.

Davies, who will shortly meet with new Business Minister Mark Prisk to discuss the issue, wants owners of every car destined for the breaker’s yard to be told that they should insist now that scrap dealers supply them with a
key document.

He said: “A Certificate of Destruction is essential.  It ensures that the car is deregistered and properly depolluted.”

Davies says that DVLA procedures have until now failed to ensure that vehicles are deregistered even when they have in fact been dismantled.  He warns that if a car taken for scrapping is in fact put back on the road by a
rogue trader, the original owner will unknowingly retain responsibility if it is involved in an accident.

“The EU end-of-life directive is a good environment law intended to ensure that the millions of cars disposed of each year are treated properly.  The time is long overdue for Britain to apply it across the board.”

Andy Kenny, spokesman for the End of Life Vehicle Recyclers Association said, “Cowboy dealers with a mobile phone and a van have been undercutting legitimate businesses for years with the help of the DVLA.

“Chris Davies has worked with us to slam the door on the people who dump tyres in laybys and pour poisons down the drain.

“There have been many false dawns on this issue and I hope that this time the DVLA will stick to its guns.”

MP welcomes Metrolink announcement

Lib Dem MP for Withington John Leech has welcomed the government announcement today confirming the Metrolink extension to Ashton under Lyne and Didsbury.

The two lines were under review after the Treasury announced it would look at a list of projects that Labour had previously promised in a pre-election spending spree. However the Department of Transport has now confirmed the new route through East Didsbury and Ashton-under-Lyne will receive its planned funding.

Having lobbied for extensions to the Metrolink network since his election in 2005, John said, “I have been pushing the government for a positive decision on the future of the Metrolink extension and I am delighted they have finally confirmed the decision to give it the go-ahead.”

He also said, “The extension was one project that was never really under threat, as it ticked all the boxes in terms of creating jobs and economic value to the area.”

ID cards: gone

No to ID Cards

Labour's ID card system - scrapped!

Labour’s ID Card system and related National Identity Register are to be abolished.

This is one of many pieces of good news for Lib Dem members and supporters from the new coalition government agreement. The Lib Dems have campaigned against ID cards and the related register from the start, it was a multi billion pound scheme forever in search of a reason to exist, and now at last we have been able to put an end to them.

The ID card scheme was first rolled out across Greater Manchester, but very few people volunteered for one. Labour were spending hundreds of thousands of pounds every day on the unpopular scheme.

Show YOUR support!

Want to show your support for the Lib Dems in this election? You can do so easily by displaying a window poster in your house – and what’s more, you can now get a poster design quickly over the internet to print at home.

Just use the link below to download an Abode “pdf” file of a Liberal Democrats poster. You can print this in colour or, if your printer only does black-and-white, print on yellow / orange paper. Trim down the dotted lines, add a little sticky tape to the corners to hold it in place and you’re away!

Download a poster here.