Holly Lynch column

Calderdale Royal Hospital
Calderdale Royal Hospital

The announcement that Huddersfield is expected to lose its A&E department has caused outcry across the region.

While some may be relieved that in Halifax we will keep our A&E, these plans will still place huge extra pressures on our hospital.

Our A&E is projected to receive more than twice as many patients than at present, as ambulances travel over from Kirklees.

The current proposals are being driven by the need to cut costs, as the local NHS Trust suffers from increasing demand coupled with insufficient funding. Until recent years Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust (which runs Halifax and Huddersfield hospitals) has avoided any serious financial problems, but for the year 2015/16 it is projected to run a deficit of £21million.

This problem was acknowledged during the last general election campaign by the Prime Minister David Cameron. During a campaign trip to Halifax he told the Courier that if his government were re-elected he would “sort out the financial mess” at Halifax hospital.

Since my election last May I have asked David Cameron on numerous occasions to show he is a man of his word and step in to offer government assistance to solve the hospital’s financial problems.

The fact that he has since failed to take any responsibility for his commitments has led to the current situation where local NHS bosses are under huge financial pressure to cut costs.

We cannot allow this matter to be reduced to Halifax versus Huddersfield - nobody wants to see either town left without an A&E.

Following his election pledge David Cameron owes it to the people of Calderdale and Kirklees to offer the financial support our hospitals need so they can provide the high quality health service we deserve.

Community spirit which got us through the floods was staggering

I have been working hard to ensure that the government’s sympathies in response to recent flooding have resulted in the financial support that we need for those hit by Storm Eva. In a recent speech in Parliament I described how the River Calder became ‘weaponised’ and many MPs were noticeably shocked by the fact that in Calderdale 2,781 residential properties and 1,635 businesses had been affected by the storm.

I called on the government to host a ‘Flooding Conference’ so communities across the country can share ideas and best practice on how to deal with flooding. I also questioned whether the listed status of Elland Bridge was hindering the rebuilding effort I went on to spell out just how staggering the cost of the damage to highways, infrastructure like bridges, schools and businesses would be and asked the government to work across departments to provide the support that we need to get Calderdale back on its feet.

The highest praise must go to the staggering generosity and compassion of those volunteers who came out to help, giving up time that would otherwise have been spent with family and friends over the Christmas period. They allowed us to make a great deal of progress in the hours and days immediately after the floods. The depth of the community spirit which got us through the worst was overwhelming and is reflected in the fundraising efforts since the floods

To watch my speech visit my web page at: www.hollylynch.org.uk.

Exciting prospect of Fairtrade Town status for Halifax

In October of last year I hosted a meeting at Halifax Town Hall to launch Fairtrade Halifax.

Fairtrade products guarantee better prices, decent working conditions and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. Buying Fairtrade products is a small change we can make to our buying habits which has a big difference on the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves.

Fairtrade Halifax has been founded to promote Fairtrade in our town and to raise awareness amongst shops and consumers of the benefits of these products. The group is always looking to attract new members.

The ultimate aim is for Halifax to be awarded the prestigious status of ‘Fairtrade Town’, which would be a great draw for tourists and businesses. We will be holding a Fairtrade Coffee Morning on Saturday 5th March from 10am til noon at Halifax Central Library. This will coincide with Fairtrade Fortnight and signal the official launch our campaign. There will be Fairtrade stalls and a very special guest Fairtrade producer who will be giving a talk from 11.30am Please do come and join us.

Tribute to Sheffield MP Harry Harpham

You could not have met a nicer bloke, or more dedicated MP than Harry Harpham. He achieved so much in his short time on the green benches and it’s a travesty that he didn’t have longer with us.

It was a pleasure and a privilege to be Harry’s regional whip and I worked with him in the shadow Energy and Climate change team. In his last contribution in the chamber just days ago, he attacked the Prime Minister for job losses at Sheffield Forgemasters. He was determined to fight for those he represented, just as he had always done.

My deepest condolences are with his wife Gill and his children and granddaughter, and we will be working to support them and his staff throughout this difficult time.

Rest in peace Harry, you did us proud.