I thought I’d just a quick update on where I am at with our campaign to keep full A&E at HRI and answer some of the most common questions I’m being asked.
Like most of you I am absolutely shocked and appalled at this proposal and I will be fighting it all the way. It’s not just empty words. I live in Honley and my parents are just up the Holme Valley – it’s our local A&E too. For me it’s about doing the right thing and not about following a party line – I voted against the government over 50 times in last Parliament on key votes including tuition fees, the badger cull, fracking and bombing Assad in Syria.
I have been greatly heartened by the way in which our community is coming together to fight to save our A&E. I will work with anyone and everyone who shares my passion for saving our A&E. I rang Barry Sheerman on Friday night to suggest working together. Last night I met with Paula Sherriff (Dewsbury Labour) and Holly Lynch (Halifax Labour) with Barry on the phone to discuss how we can work together in Parliament. This isn’t unusual by the way, MPs of all parties often work together on campaigns. We agreed to apply for Parliamentary debates and explore the best ways to stop this proposal.
I have personally applied for a Parliamentary debate. We will then be able to explore the reason the GPs are giving for closing our A&E at HRI. Key to this is the ruinous PFI contract at Calderdale Hospital. They signed, in 1998, a deal which will see the taxpayer paying £773m for a hospital in Halifax that cost £64m to build. On every measure Huddersfield is the preferred site to have an A&E except for the crippling debt.
It is the Clinical Commissioning Group who is made up of local GPs who have put forward closure, not the Government. Yes I voted to put GPs in control of our local NHS as I believed they would put patients first – be honest wouldn’t you of thought the same? In 2008, before I was elected, I was part of the MOMs campaign which fought unsuccessfully to keep full maternity services at HRI. That time it was the faceless bureaucrats of the PCTs who downgraded HRI.
This is personal for me, it’s my local A&E. I’ll be exploring Parliamentary ways to stop this, including asking Ministers and the PM, but we need to let the local GPs who will make the decision know how we feel.
In the meantime let’s put political differences aside and focus all our efforts on saving our A&E.