Kidderminster Hospital is back in the news but residents will be aware of Labour’s recent campaigns to save Bewdley Fire Station, Ludlow Road, and NHS mental health services. These are as well as highlighting numerous issues about our disappearing public services. On every issue, the public has told us they want to keep these services, just as the Tories rip them away. It’s not surprising therefore that Kidderminster Hospital A&E remains an emotive subject and people want it back, just as our Press Officer Stephen Brown wrote about before the recent petition emerged.
And this week, the NHS chief in charge of Worcestershire A&E services, Matthew Hopkins, finally’ admitted that they can’t cope and need £40m to build more capacity in Worcester and Redditch.
This admission has been a long time coming but is only what most of us knew already. Yet as a convenient deflection, they still keep telling us it’s doctors designing these services even as they’re failing. Don’t blame the doctors because it is within the context of the biggest and continuing cash squeeze in the NHS’s history. This is on those in charge. The suits, the accountants, the privatisation champions, but especially this Tory Government.
So yes, now IS the time for a rethink about how our blue light services are funded, structured, and operated. We need to ensure our communities get the services they want, pay for, and deserve.
Since the general election Wyre Forest Labour Party leadership team has been discussing this very topic. It’s not only about what type of services are needed, but which ones need investing in. For us, this is about rebuilding and investing in our blue light services to best serve our communities across Wyre Forest and Worcestershire.
So, Matthew Hopkins surprise announcement conveniently coincided with this conversation going on in Wyre Forest Labour. Sadly, it also confirmed our worst fears, and what we’ve been saying for a long time, about how the NHS has been deliberately underfunded by the Government. That underfunding has been supported by Worcestershire Tory MPs like Mark Garnier since 2010. The policies have been an unmitigated disaster for our communities, their well-being, and their healthcare needs.
It’s clear things need to change and that’s why Labour has opened the debate about what services our communities really want and need.
This is very much about Wyre Forest Labour Party looking to “stand up for our communities” for better services.
Stephen Brown, Wyre Forest Labour Press Officer, says “These needs, in our view, will include the NHS and hospital services, Policing, Fire Service and Ambulance. That’s because these things cannot be considered in isolation. It is about the overall well-being of our communities. I am looking at proposals to put to the Party over the coming weeks and months to address the issues of Kidderminster hospital services, as well as those blue light services provided across the County and which fit into this narrative. Obviously, we are aware of the petition to bring back an A&E to Kidderminster, and it will be very interesting to see what local people think so we can factor that in. People’s views are massively important to us. The issue is highly contentious of course and is a very complex one given the history and level of investment that would be required to reinstate Kidderminster A&E. It would be a massive challenge. That’s why it’s not just about this local challenge, much of it will have to be about elements that we will need to pursue with the national party to campaign for clear manifesto commitments for the next general election whoever becomes Labour Leader. Only a Labour Government and local Labour MP will ever be able to deliver on the investment we need in the NHS, Fire, Ambulance, and Police. That is our long term aim, but over the coming months and years we will continue to call for more local NHS investment and until we are in power to make the difference that is truly needed by our communities. We are on your side.”