Sure as night follows day, I will keep fighting for our local NHS services. So I was pleased to welcome Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth to Dewsbury District Hospital recently to see how the service is coping and to meet with local NHS campaigners.
I’ve asked both Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Prime Minister Theresa May to come and see the challenges facing local hospital services for themselves, sadly neither has taken up the offer.
I was glad that Mr Ashworth took the time to come and hear the concerns of local people about the downgrade of A&E services, and to thank the hard working staff who are going the extra mile faced with the winter crisis the NHS is experiencing.
It was an opportunity to again highlight the concerns raised by both residents and health professionals about the multiple downgrades, community pharmacy closures and additional stresses on social care services affecting our area. It is wholly unacceptable that Kirklees is set to be left without full A&E facilities, putting services already at breaking point under even greater pressure.
NHS services in our region are not the first, and won’t be the last to come under attack from this Government. Its disastrous NHS reorganisation and funding shortages are causing cuts and closures across the country.
The Conservative Government’s incompetent mismanagement and underfunding of the NHS has pushed the service to the brink, resulting in the toughest winter in years for staff and patients. Waiting times in A&E have become unmanageable and even urgent operations are now being cancelled in record numbers. The Prime Minister needs to get a grip of the crisis and tell us how she’s going to fix this mess so that the NHS and its patients never have to go through a winter like this again.
As well as writing to Jeremy Hunt and Theresa May, I’ve been vocal in Parliament about my concerns of the threat to our local NHS services and I will continue to be so (notwithstanding Mr Speaker’s reprimand for being perhaps a little too boisterous in the chamber).
So I might be beginning to sound like a broken record. But a determined and passionate belief in getting the best for our area is what drives me to persevere. It is clear that, round here, there is still a widespread willingness to fight to keep our NHS services safe and local, and the campaign to preserve vital and highly valued services will go on.