IN his latest column for the Globe, Birkenhead MP Frank Field launches a broadside against plans to charge nurses £10 to park at Arrowe Park Hospital, cuts to bus routes to and from the hospital and the closure of a busy walk-in health centre.

Three new attacks on our staggering NHS have just been launched.

They have serious implications both for patients who use local health services, as well as the staff who work in them.

The first involves the proposed removal of care functions from the walk-in centre in Eastham.

All four Wirral MPs have registered our opposition to this move. Likewise around 5,000 residents have signed a petition to voice their concerns.

Wirral has one of the worst-performing A&E departments in the country.

To help ease the burden on Arrowe Park, we need as many community health centres as possible to be administering care.

It is only by treating more patients closer to where they live or work, that we stand any chance of having a well-functioning A&E department.

Yet without any consultation, and seemingly no proper consideration for patient care, we are faced with the prospect of yet another strand of community health care being sucked into Arrowe Park.

I will continue to oppose this measure. The health authorities have failed so far to demonstrate whether, and if so, how, it would improve the quality and coverage of care for patients.

Clearly the outcome of this matter will say much about what patients can expect in the months and years ahead.

If the measure does go through, it will be made doubly harmful by a second recent development: several bus services to Arrowe Park have been revised or cancelled, so it will become even more difficult for some patients to get there.

The 118/119 route, for example, was the only service connecting parts of Birkenhead with Arrowe Park on weekday evenings and all day every Sunday.

Clearly the recent changes imposed by Merseytravel are likely to have an adverse impact on staff, patients and visitors needing to get to the hospital at those times.

A third problem which, again, compounds the second one involves some nurses at Arrowe Park having to fork out £10 to park in a visitors’ car park.

This means they have to work, in effect, for free during the first part of each shift while they claw back the cost of parking their car.

I have long campaigned against car parking charges being levied on vulnerable patients and their relatives, but this latest development is doubly concerning.

The alternative for nurses who cannot afford to pay £10 at the beginning of each shift, is to park half a mile down the road in an offsite location.

For those who finish their shift in the middle of the night, this could trigger all sorts of danger.

As one nurse who has written to me pleading for action from Arrowe Park, commented, ‘the whole thing just seems wrong, wrong, wrong.’

All our campaigning energies should go into making the NHS the envy of the world – which it certainly isn’t at the moment – starting with the abolition of car parking charges for staff and patients.