If there’s one thing that winds me up, it’s MPs who have a wonderful ability to forget the recent past and absolve themselves of any responsibility.
So when Yvette Cooper turns up blaming ‘cuts’ for the proposed closure to Pontefract Hospital’s A&E Department I was particularly incensed, given I spent months shouting about the issue - it was front page on the election leaflet I delivered to every home across Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford; I raised it at every public meeting I spoke at;and I spoke to the local media about it. It holds a special significance for me, because I was born in Pontefract Hospital.
I warned that the range of facilities at the new Pontefract Hospital meant it was all but inevitable full A&E services would not continue. This was dismissed as ’scaremongering’ by Yvette’s team. For her to now claim to be on the side of those of us who have seen this coming for years is not only disingenuous but downright offensive.
I repeatedly highlighted the warnings passed to me by staff that the new hospital was not going to have a range of facilities essential for running a full A&E. No acute care beds, no emergency ambulance bays, no morgue.I asked whether we had been misled over the new A&E, while Yvette didn’t even think the new hospital worthy of a mention on her election address. (Below)
And heaven forbid we ask who the Junior Health Minister was at the time the new hospital plans were being finalised? Yes, one Yvette Cooper.
Every decision made concerning Pontefract Hospital was taken under a Labour government. From the grossly expensive PFI deal that has seen parikng charges rocket to the lack of ambulance bays and facilities essential to running a full A&E, there is only one thing Yvette should be saying today and that is sorry.
Back during the midterms, much the US and global media were very much on the anti-Obama bandwagon - Sarah Palin was tipped as a future President, the Tea Party movement was driving politics and one issue, perhaps above all others, was dominating the agenda - healthcare reform.
The Democrats were hammered in the polls - their worst midterm election defeat in 70 years - and the incoming speaker made no bones about his primary objective. Senator John Boehner said “The American people have concerns about government takeover of healthcare,” Boehner said. “I think it’s important for us to lay the groundwork before we begin to repeal this monstrosity.”
So - how strange that barely any media coverage has been paid to the result on May 24th when a congressional seat which had been in Republican hands for over 40 years went to Democrat Kathy Hochul.
The result has been largely put down to the fact that medicare became the primary campaign issue, following the U.S. house of Representatives passing a budget which contained a complete overhaul of the Medicare system. The proposals would have turned Medicare into a mostly private system of delivering health care to the elderly - not dissimilar to the healthcare system for the rest of the population.
Healthcare is clearly a divisive issue on both sides of the Atlantic - but for those looking forward to the 2012 and 2015 elections, they’d be wise to heed the lessons of this campaign. It’s an issue many, many people care about and while reform is essential, this campaign shows just how powerful an issue it remains.
Most importantly for the UK, it also shows that reforms that look good in the political bubble, winning plenty of support, don’t always translate into popular support even in the areas you may consider ‘home turf’.
Posted: May 27th, 2011
Categories: Campaign Issues
, US politics
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