The Darnall Ward election battle is between the sitting Labour Councillor Mazher Iqbal and the Liberal Democrat challenger Misbah Chowdhury.
The last local election (May 2008) resulted in the following outcome:
Mazher Iqbal - Labour - 2039 votes - 44% (Mary Lea)
Misbah Chowdhury - Lib Dems - 1484 votes - 32%
Labour Majority 555 (12%).
Therefore the Liberal Democrats Require a minimum swing of 6% or 279 votes from Labour to Liberal Democrats since May 2008 to unseat the Labour incumbent councillor.
The Darnall Ward consists primarily of three major population groups, White, Pakistani and Bangladeshi.
- White 13,300 - 68%
- Pakistani 4,050 - 20%
- Bangladeshi 2,000 - 10%
- Other 2%
Source - Census 2001 Adjusted to 2010.
General elections tend to boost the turnout for the local election held on the same day i.e. 2008 turnout was 4604 or 34%, whilst the turnout at the last general election for Attercliffe was 54%, which suggests that this year could see 60% more votes cast in the local election i.e. 7,350, which greatly confuses the outcome as the last local election to coincide with a general election was before Labour came to power in 1997 and therefore it is not possible to arrive at a number of seats projection for this local election.
Darnall Election Analysis and Forecast
The following analysis is on the basis of the outcome of the last local election in May 2008 in terms of poll ratings as seats cannot be determined for the reason mentioned above. The national swing from Labour to Liberal Democrats since the May 2008 Local Election is 4%, which suggests 4% of white votes are projected to swing from Labour to Liberal Democrats.
The Bangladeshi community vote is highly regimented and tends to act as a block vote on mass for the Liberal Democrat Candidate, which on balance suggests there will be no swing from Labour to Liberals as most already vote for the Liberals. However new voters since 2008 would imply a notional swing of about 0.5%.
The Pakistani community in past elections has tended to vote on block for Labour, however this voter pool has become highly fragmented with large sections of the community coming under Liberal Democrat influence.
Therefore the White and Bangladeshi swing vote combined suggest that Labour is sitting on a reduced poll rating of about 38.5%. However the fragmentation of the Pakistani community suggests 0.5% of voters (half the national swing) may have switched to the Liberal Democrats which brings Labours poll rating down to 38% which could require just 1% additional Labour voters to switch to change the outcome of the Local Election.
Labours majority is further eroded by the fact that 23% of votes cast were for the other parties including Conservatives and UK IP which are an unknown quantity as to whether or not they would vote tactically for the Liberal Democrats. On balance this implies a notional swing of 1% votes in line with the national swing which would reduce the Labour poll rating to 37% which means that the election will be extremely close.
Darnall Local Election Forecast Conclusion -
The higher voter turnout will mean far more votes will be cast in this local election since at least 1992 and probably earlier which therefore makes a forecast highly difficult to arrive it in terms of actual votes, however on the basis of swing in the vote of the population groups as a % share that concludes towards a 1.5% poll advantage to Labour or about 100 votes.
Mazher Iqbal, Labour - 37%
Misbah Choudhry, Liberal Democrats - 35.5%
Which suggests that Darnall should just about result in an Labour hold, but it will be very close and volatile as a consequence of the higher turnout.
Quality of Local Healthcare Key Darnall Election Issue
During last Thursdays Priministerial debate, Nick Clegg the Liberal Democrat leader and MP for Sheffield Hallam constituency introduced into the debate the wide disparity in the life expectancy in Sheffield between affluent and deprived area's of the city by stating :
It's scandalous that in Britain today where you're born determines how long you live.
In my part of the world, Sheffield, a child born in a poor neighbourhood will die on average 14 years before a child born in a wealthier area. It must change.
There's a particular problem with GP's at the moment – there are more per person in the richest areas, so no wonder people are less healthy.
We'll attach a "patient premium" to the way GP's get paid so they are encouraged to work in the parts of the country they are needed and instead of being paid just to monitor patients' health, they'll be rewarded for making people healthier.
One of the contributing factors for the 14 year life expectancy between the rich and poor areas of Sheffield comes down to the wide disparity in the quality if local GP services between the affluent and poor areas of the city as illustrated by by the credible Department of Health funded UK GP Patient Survey that sent out 48,324 questionnaires to the patients of Sheffield's 91 GP surgeries of which 20,626 were returned, from which detailed results were compiled as listed below for the Overall Satisfaction category for all 91 GP surgeries in order of ranking from best to worst.
Sheffield's Top 5 GP Surgeries
|Level of Satisfaction|
|MILL ROAD SURGERY||
|STANNINGTON MEDICAL CENTRE||
|RUSTLINGS ROAD MEDICAL CENTRE||
|THE HEALTH CARE SURGERY||
Sheffield's best ranked surgeries all tended to cluster closely together, and reside in the more affluent wards of the city which is reflective of the 'post code lottery' where those that reside in the affluent wards due to more likely being professionals who are able to demand a better quality of NHS GP services than those that tend to reside in the deprived areas that tend to suffer in silence as to what passes for health care provision which plays a significant part in contributing to a more than 14 YEAR GAP IN LIFE EXPECTANCY as mentioned by Nick Clegg.
Sheffield's Bottom 5 GP Surgeries
|HAROLD STREET MEDICAL CENTRE||
|STONECROFT MEDICAL CENTRE||
|DARNALL HEALTH CENTRE (MEHROTRA)||
|DARNALL COMMUNITY HEALTH||
Unlike the best ranking surgeries clustering closely together, the bottom ranking surgeries see a sharp drop off in the patient experience at the quality of health care from 85% to an abysmally poor ranking of just 70% of patient satisfaction for Darnall, something that the patients of Darnall have had to suffer with for many, many years, with no apparent effort by the Sheffield Primary Care Trust to get to the root cause of why Darnall's GP Surgeries (merged) consistently fail to perform to the satisfaction of a large number of its patients when other GP surgeries achieve 98% satisfaction ratings.
Darnall Ward / Sheffield South East Constituency Health Debate
All of the candidates of the main parties standing for the Darnall Local Election and the Parliamentary election for the Sheffield South East constituency which includes Darnall were invited to comment on the poor quality of local health service delivery for the people of Darnall.
Mary Lea - Sitting Councillor Replying on Behalf Labour.
We know about the survey and it wasn't very good. We plan to form a steering group when work starts on the new health centre, working throughout the building phase and beyond. We will include people from the different sections of the community. Some of the issues highlighted will be addressed.
We also had them to a assembly/tinsley forum meeting to account for some of the issues.
We are also looking at access to gp services in scrutiny at present and will be making recommendations about access across the city including darnall.
Clive Betts MP - Standing for the Sheffield South East Constituency
All of us have been concerned in recent years about the poor state of some of the GP practice buildings. We supported the temporary move of the Prince of Wales practice from the appalling premises near Davy's.
We have also argued long and hard for investment from the lift Project which will now fund a brand new Health Centre on Main Rd. The siting and content of the centre has been discussed in depth with the Darnall Forum and the local community.. We are however disappointed that not all the local practices are prepared to join the new centre. The funding of this investment is down to the commitment a Labour Government has made to investment in the NHS.
I'm sure that the level of patient satisfaction will rise once the centre opens. It will be important to monitor this.
Misbah Chowdhury - Standing for election
Has failed to respond.
Gail Smith - Standing for the Sheffield South East Constituency
Has failed to respond.
Margaret Elizabeth Pigott - Standing for election
Has failed to respond.
Nigel Bonson - Standing for the Sheffield South East Constituency
I am indeed aware of this huge issue along with the even more alarming statistics in relation to life expectancy and various other health indicators. On Monday evening I took part in a 'Question Time' event with representatives of other parties in the city centre. It was organised by Dr Jack Czauderna, Chair of the Darnall Wellbeing Group. The subject was 'inequality'.
I could of course write reams here about Conservative Party policies and how I believe they will help and I will touch on some. I guess the most important fact is that we will ring-fence the NHS budget and have committed ourselves to increase it in real terms year on year. Of course that's very well but it's how that is spent that affects the people of Darnall and how it targets the inequalities you raise .Certainly government policy alone, whatever the government, is not going to solve the problem. It demands local action form all agencies together with the community.We are determined though to ensure that money that is dedicated to a particular need actually gets there. This is not happening well at the moment.
More helpful here perhaps is to explain a little about myself and how, if elected, I would approach this. I have been a police officer for 30 years, working in many tough areas, for instance in inner-city Salford. As a community officer in different ranks I had a reputation as someone who cared, would go the extra mile and actually make a difference. I have always worked in Labour heartland areas and am campaigning, clearly on Conservative Policies, but as someone who understands community and individual problems, listens and solves problems (not that I'm suggesting I can solve the health and healthcare problems of Darnall on my own with that simple formula!) .
Again as a police officer, but also in the 5 years since, I have specialised in regeneration, working within local, regional and central government. Although a crime specialist, I have had to understand health, education, employment, poverty, housing and environmental issues. I'm sure I don't need to persuade you that these are all inter-related and very complex but all clearly affect each other and to address the health problems of Darnall needs so much more than improving satisfaction rates at health centres, important so that is. I am sure there are many dedicated and professional staff both in the centres and working in the community who are desperate for more freedom to get on with the job they are passionate about. Indeed, they may hold many of the answers.
Developing, working with, supporting and encouraging the right people to work together in partnership is what I do 'as a day job' in disadvantaged areas around the country. I want to do the same in Darnall but as your MP. Poor public health is the result of the built and social environment and to have meaningful impact, a package of complimentary measures is essential. To develop such a package, professionals must listen to the people (something I don't find this local authority to be very good at). It also of course demands a response from the public.
I'm sorry this needs to be a little brief but I hope it just helps give you an idea of 'where I come from'. I'm trying to balance the time I spend at my desk with the time I'm out meeting people in these last few days of the campaign (and I don't enjoy the huge team around me that some others do!). However, this matter is a priority and please come back to me with questions about specific policies. Of particular interest might be our plan to increase the number of health visitors however that is, of course, just one small element of what is needed.
Charlotte Elizabeth Arnott - Standing for election
Has failed to respond.
Health Issue Conclusion
The sitting Labour MP and Councilors along with the Conservative Parliamentary candidate have shown a willingness to engage in one of the primary social issues that is at the forefront of Darnall voters during this election campaign. The Liberal Democrats that purport to want to represent the people of Darnall have failed to show any interest in this issue.
Results For All 91 Sheffield GP Surgeries Ranked in Order of Patient Overall Satisfaction of Care Received
Data Source - http://results.gp-patient.co.uk/report/main.aspx
By Nadeem Walayat
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