IS SOUTHPORT LABOUR PARTY SEEKING TO REWRITE LOCAL HISTORY OVER LOST HOSPITAL SERVICES FOR OUR CHILDREN?
By Pat Regan
SOUTHPORT LABOUR PARTY is putting out dubious data that mentions residents "bringing up" concerns about the lack of Children's A&E at Southport Hospital ...
Well yes, this is nothing new and something that many have challenged Labour over after the Southport kids' and maternity services were cruelly transferred to Ormskirk.
What short memories some folk have ..
Let's look at a few facts...
Pat Regan, Southport dad and campaigner, sent the following letter to the Health Secretary, Dr John Reid, in 2005.
"As a father of four children I was utterly shocked and appalled by the removal of
children’s A&E service etc, which have as you know, now been relocated to
Ormskirk – a small town that is in another county. Like the 3000 incensed residents
that went on the protest march and the 20,000 that signed the petitions against
these outrageous NHS cuts I wish to tell you that feelings have most certainly ‘not’
changed. We still insist that our children’s
emergency services must be returned ‘before’ the first real fatality occurs. When the first sick/injured child
dies due to having to travel the extra ten miles to Ormskirk, say after a car
accident, the blood will make no mistake ultimately be on the hands of ‘your’
government. Residents will rightly point the finger of blame at you and your superiors
for not reversing this disgraceful health policy decision, which is apparently based
on the inconsistent Shields Report. Southport
is a flourishing tourism town which holds international events such as the Air
Show, Flower Show etc. Being unable to offer not only our own local children
but also visitors’ children from all over the world proper on-site A&E cover is totally ridiculous, highly dangerous and
unworkable in the extreme. I have spoken to numerous politicians
and medical people including ambulance technicians, doctors and nurses and they
have all agreed that these cuts are preposterous and put children at greater
risk. You clearly stated in your speech
to the 2003 Labour party conference in Bournemouth:
'If your child, or your mother was in pain and the means to relieve it quicker were available free at the point of need. Would you refuse them it? I wouldn't. And if I wouldn't refuse that relief to my family, then I'm not going to refuse it to any other family in this country.'
I hold you to this promise, which you appear to have forgotten – at least for the children of my town! What is your word actually ‘worth’ Mr Reid? Well Mr Reid, are you going to keep your promises which I have pointed out as above or are
and Formby’s combined population of 120,000 to
get yet more bureaucratic justifications for this ongoing fiasco rammed down
their throats which are based on stifling political spin? Southport’s
parents are not interested in empty excuses – they just want you to ‘finally’
do the right thing for their children! A contemporary holiday resort
like Southport MUST possess an A&E
facility for ‘all’ children – anything less is a half-baked compromise which
endangers young lives. Please stop playing politics with
our children’s lives and reverse this dreadful decision. I for one demand that you
reinstate our vital children’s health services now!"
NB. It was later estimated that marchers totaled 4000 in the big Southport protest against cuts.
Reid's response (via a subordinate) was short and sweet....
Officially, this Labour response said 'get stuffed' to the thousands of worried parents in Southport etc.
How Labour heath boss ran away when cornered about our hospital services
Dr John Reid, Secretary of State for Health, evaded CARES anti-hospital cuts campaigners at Formby Hall Golf Club visit.
The story went like this ....
Coalition Against Removal of kids Emergency & other Services
Protest at Formby Hall Golf Club
(Friday 28th November, 2003)
At short notice CARES were informed that Dr John Reid, Health Secretary, was to be at Formby Hall Golf Club for a Labour Party event. Very quickly supporters joined together and arrived at the entrance to the golf club. Police asked us to wait outside; we unrolled banners and handed out leaflets to people that were attending the event. Protesters from Liverpool’s Fazakerly Hospital were also there to protest against closures of local maternity services etc.
Cold yet determined protesters from the left to the right wing of politics were present. We were then informed that the Health Secretary would speak to us when he arrived so we thanked officials and waited patiently in the cold. Once Dr Reid had arrived we were then informed that due to lateness he could not see us. Obviously we were all clearly very disappointed. Everyone present held a good peaceful demonstration and did everything instructed by the police.
One the reasons we wanted to meet with John Reid was to discuss his Labour party comments at Bournemouth on the 1st October wherein he stated:
“As long as I am Secretary of state it will remain the basic principle of Labour Government health policy- that all our fellow citizens should have equal access to health care free at the point of need.”
“If your child or your mother was in pain and the means to relieve it quicker were available at the point of need would you refuse them it? I wouldn’t. And if I wouldn’t refuse that relief to my family, then I’m not going to refuse it to any other family in this country.”
Why as yet are these fine and noble sentiments by Dr Reid not being followed up by effective policies within our communities? Why did Dr Reid originally offer to speak to CARES etc and then approximately ten minutes later decide he was running so late that a couple of moments serious discussion about this life and death services loss situation was out of the question?
So folks we find it very interesting that today in 2016 the Labour crew are allegedly going around Southport listening so patiently to residents concerns about our lost children's services.
Do they 'really' think sandgrounders are 'that' stupid or forgetful?
HAVE THEY SIGNED?
If Labour's campaigners were 'that' concerned about our children why then are they not signing our petition in droves for better local services?
Real concern is one thing yet festering political hypocrisy and misleading doorstop spin is something else altogether...
Maternity Services where parents need them?
First Labour took it away but now, after all these years, they want it back?
CARES have fought since 2003 to get Children's A & E and maternity services reinstated back into Southport.
However, today the local press reported that a Liverpool 'Labour' councillor, Nina Killen, is now requesting the services we have been fighting for to be brought back to the point of need.
Full story here:
Where exactly was this politician when CARES were fighting for our stolen services back in 2003? This is just one example of the massive campaign against these cuts below....
Report by Cllr. Brenda Porter on:
Public Meeting at Woodvale Community Centre, Meadow Lane, Ainsdale, on Saturday 21st June 2003. 1pm
Issue: Transfer of Maternity and Children’s Services to Ormskirk.
Organised by: Cath & Pat Regan 192 Sandbrook Road, Ainsdale.
Chairperson for Meeting: Councillor Brenda Porter.
Dr John Pugh Southport M.P.
Cllr Tony Brough (Con) Cllr Barry Griffiths (Con) Formby
Cllr James Grundy (Southport Party) Cllr Ann Ibbs (Con) Formby
Cllr Tommy Mann (Con), Cllr Vince Platt (Con) Formby Cllr M Ridge (Con)
Cllr David Sumner (Lib-Dem).
Members of the public covering all age groups.
Mrs Cath Regan outlined the reasons for calling the meeting and expressed her concerns for the welfare of the women and children who would be affected by the move. The Chairman highlighted that this had been a Govt. decision and asked if there was an update on their present position. Dr Pugh advised that present legislation favoured “Keep it Local” (May 2003) and that the transfer of services would not meet a ‘Best Practice’ criteria.
Children’s Services A & E
It was recognised that because of the mixed guidelines being given by Mr Jonathan Parry, regarding children attending the A & E in Southport, the public were becoming more confused. Concern that this unit had been transferred as it was now understood the Shields Report (recommendation 23) had not indicated this would be implemented. Fears raised that in an emergency/accident parents and children would be separated (different hospitals) to receive appropriate treatment. The importance of immediate medical attention was crucial and fears of delay by attending Ormskirk were raised. This issue highlighted by a grandmother who related a recent incident within her family which proved relevant to the argument. The quick and easy access by visitors to support recovery was felt to be very relevant when dealing with children and was being completely overlooked.
Many issues raised highlighting that this transfer of service to Ormskirk would be detrimental to the well being of the mother and child and interfere with the necessary bonding when other children are involved. Concern that an often perceived “safe birth” could change at time of delivery when a Consultant would be required. The important factor to many of being a “Sandgrounder” was being completely ignored and though not a danger to the health of mother and baby was felt to be important, as it would change our heritage and history in the future.
A debate in the House of Commons (December 2001) when the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health Hazel Blears recognised the vital link between transport/health when dealing with issues relating to the Shields Report has unfortunately not been put into practice. It is recognised that to support new or changed facilities in existing hospitals transport was vital. Fear that the Ambulance Service would be unable to deal adequately with all emergencies because of the longer distance to Ormskirk and therefore an extended turnaround time was highlighted and the effect it might have on other departments in the hospital dealing with emergencies. It was felt by many present at the meeting that children were being discriminated against and the following recommendations were proposed and supported by all who attended the above meeting. These recommendations are to be forwarded to Mr Jonathan Parry to be put before the Board of the Southport& Ormskirk NHS Trust.
· The Children’s A & E Unit and Children’s Ward be reinstated at the Southport & Formby General Hospital.
· A Consultancy led Maternity Unit be made available at the Southport & Formby General Hospital.
· That a full explanation be given to the members of the public on the reasons the Maternity and Neo-Natal Unit was transferred early to Ormskirk and no added physical space was allocated to them.
Labour appear to be now seeking to rewrite reality and this is just not on!
Southport parents just like any others want services for their families at the 'Point of Need', NOT many miles away.
THE FIGHT CONTINUES
Pat Regan ©