Our MP, Craig Whittaker, wants us to choose between ‘A and E’ or ‘planned care’ for elderly people at Halifax.
We should not be contemplating a situation in which either group has to travel from Todmorden to Huddersfield. Even if we get some new emergency facilities at Todmorden, its likely that some people would still end up in an ambulance racing across to Huddersfield. We need, and should be able to afford, both local ‘A and E’, and local elderly care. Furthermore, we should never have lost the choice to be treated at Rochdale Infirmary or Burnley General.
Those are the nearest options for many, though neither appear to have a full ‘A and E’ department any longer. What we desperately need is an alternative to the Govrnment’s un-necessary austerity-for-some programme.
The recent case of a long-term psychiatric patient at my nearest hospital, Birch Hill, who had a heart attack after her treatment had been stopped, and who was still being harassed by the DWP after she had gone into a coma, is, sadly, only one example of how Govrnment cuts are targetting extremely vulnerable people.
John Fielden, who campaigned against the indiginities of the workhouses of his day, would be appalled that, in the 21st Century, Todmorden Jobcentre routinely refers people to a food bank.
None of this is necessary. Over the past 35 years, Govrnment policies have massively increased the wealth of the very rich, whilst significantly reducing the proportion of tax that they pay. A few years ago a carefully costed proposal for a graduated one-off 20 per cent wealth tax on the richest 10 percent - people so rich that just a fifth of their private wealth would pay off the entire national debt - was supported (according to a You-Gov poll) by 74 per cent of the public, and by a slightly higher proportion of wealthy people themselves.
The ‘grown up debate’ I’d like to see is about how we can halt and reverse cuts to essential public services and welfare benefits, and ensure vulnerable people in our society are respected and protected, not least by politicians.