Some things are more important than politics, one of which is the threat to the local A&E. Both my children were born in NHS hospitals and my son wouldn’t be alive if it hadn’t been for the NHS. A&E doctors also fought hard, but sadly unsuccessfully to save my mother, which is why I have put aside political differences to campaign with others, to keep the A&E service at the Calderdale Royal Hospital. The threat to the A&E provision follows plans for a major health reorganisation to rationalise services between the two hospitals in Halifax and Huddersfield. This would allow each hospital to become a specialist for certain services, which may have some merit. However, as part of their proposals the Trust wants to change the A&E provision. This could result in Calderdale Hospital having its A&E downgraded and effectively turned into a ‘minor injury service’ with all A&E doctors and surgeons based at a centralised site in Huddersfield. These A&E changes, contrary to popular belief are being driven by the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, not the Government. It hasn’t anything to do with spending on the NHS as this has been ring fenced by the Conservative led Government. In fact, spending has risen at a rate above inflation for each year of the coalition. This has allowed the recruitment of an extra 7,000 more doctors. Financial savings at the Calderdale Hospital are not the issue as any savings generated will be reinvested back into additional local services. To help ensure the people of Halifax have a say on the Trusts final proposed options, I will write to everyone with the different choices. I will provide a pre-paid post reply to allow those in Halifax to express their preference in a process that will be independently scrutinised by the Halifax Courier. The outcome will be announced in the Halifax Courier first. It will then be formally presented to the Trust. Whilst I can’t force Trust bosses to listen, if enough people respond to the survey it would be a very brave Trust, if it ignores the overwhelming views of the Halifax people. If you want to vote on the initial five A&E options please visit a petition set up by me called: www.ipetitions.com/petition/halifax-ae-consultation A question I have raised with the Trust’s Chairman is the composition of the Trust’s directorship. Of the seven directors, six live in Kirklees. Does this give them a full understanding of the views held by the people of Calderdale? One possibility is to replace three of the directors with representatives who have a better insight of Calderdale.In the first few months of Government David Cameron set out our tests for any changes to the NHS Services. First – there must be clarity about the clinical evidence base underpinning the proposals: second, they must have the support of the GP commissioners involved: third, they must genuinely promote choice for patients; and fourth and last, the process must have genuinely engaged the public, patients and local authorities. In my opinion, there is no clarity of clinical evidence, how many lives will be saved by sending more A&E patients on a longer journey to Huddersfield? If choice is restricted this can hardly be attributed to promoting patient choices. The process of engaging the public, patients and local authorities has certainly inadvertently been started. It has also brought together political opponents, members of the public, unions and others who are all united in challenging these proposals. My anger over the threat to A&E, is one of the reasons I demonstrated on Saturday the 15th of March with the Liberal Democrats, Labour, some independents and my fellow Conservative colleagues, to ensure the people of Halifax are heard. Thankfully, most people across the political divide are working together and it’s really important that we take the politics out of something so crucial to the community. Please, let’s park the politics. This is about ensuring the people of Halifax understand what is been proposed for their health service and are able to have their voices heard. Let’s stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’ and fight these proposed changes together, because together we can and we will win our campaign to keep the A&E.
candidate for Halifax