Since David Cameron came to power our local NHS Trust has his crisis point and the regulator has been called in to sort out its finances. To cut costs it has been reported that hospital chiefs plan to close one of Huddersfield or Halifax A&E.
I have recently spoken to a very senior whistlewblower at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust and they told me that the situation is even worse than is being reported. I was told that unless a new Government takes radical action to save our local A&E services, it won’t be one of Huddersfield or Halifax which sees its A&E close: both Huddersfield and Calderdale will lose their A&Es.
This will be a disaster as people will have to drive for 40 minutes to Leeds or Bradford to receive emergency medical care. It is called Accident and Emergency for a reason: emergencies need to be dealt with swiftly.
The irony is that our local NHS Trust is outperforming the national average when it comes to A&E waiting times. In 2015 94.2% of patients were treated or discharged within 4 hours; this is below the national target of 95%, but it is above the national average of 92.5%. Despite David Cameron’s disastrous reforms and failure to properly fund the NHS, A&E is doing okay in Kirklees — testament to the hard work of healthcare professionals.
I have made it one of my central election pledges to fight tooth and nail to keep A&E open in Huddersfield, but I fear that without a Labour Government this will be a very tough challenge.
The truth is that on the national level, because of the Conservatives’ mismanagement, the NHS is at breaking point. The worrying slump in A&E response times is just one indicator. Thanks to the Government’s top down reorganization of the NHS, which they promised not to do, it is much harder to get a GP appointment, the care budget has been cut to the bone, and people are waiting longer and longer to get treated.
I have never trusted the Conservatives with the NHS because right of centre political parties in every country always want to cut back or get rid of state funded healthcare. I t goes against their dogmatic free market ideology.
In the US where they have a more free market healthcare system, they spend about 18% of GDP on healthcare, while many Americans lack health insurance and there is a huge disparity in the quality of care given to the rich and the poor.
In the UK, on the other hand, we spend less than 10% of GDP on healthcare, everyone is covered, and rich and poor alike receive high quality care. The system is not perfect but the NHS—established by a Labour Government!—is a national treasure of which we should we should all be proud.
Labour has set out an NHS Rescue Plan for its first 100 days in office. It includes putting significant resources from a mansion tax into the NHS this year; an emergency recruitment round for nurses to get 1,000 more into training this year; and kick starting early planning to avoid another winter crisis in hospitals with GPs stationed in all A&E departments and more clinically-trained staff on the NHS 111 advice line.
We need a Labour Government to protect our NHS.
Show your opposition to the closure of both Huddersfield and Calderdale's A&E departments: click below to sign my petition!