Labour Parliamentary Candidates for Welwyn Hatfield and Stevenage have condemned the threat, by East and North Herts NHS Trust, to get rid of the shuttle service to the Lister Hospital.
Rosie Newbigging, candidate for Welwyn Hatfield, and Jill Borcherds, candidate for Stevenage have united in their opposition to the threatened loss of this essential transport service. The two PPCs have joined forces with local Labour councillors to launch a campaign to stop the bus from being axed.
The shuttle service which runs from various locations in East and North Herts to The Lister, including from the New QE2 in Welwyn Garden City, is set to be abolished by the cash strapped Trust, thanks to severe cuts in funding from this Conservative Government. The transport between the New QE2 and The Lister was promised when the former QE2 was closed, despite overwhelming local opposition. Removing essential A&E and in-patient services from Welwyn Hatfield meaning that the local population – 120,000 and rising – has to to travel to Stevenage for essential care.
Rosie Newbigging said “The suggestion that the service could be removed is a disgrace. A&E and in-patient beds should never have been removed for a population in Welwyn Hatfield of 120,000 and growing, with a projected increase of nearly 20% of the over 65s by 2030. In the last 15 years, Hertfordshire has lost vital emergency and in-patient services at local hospitals in Welwyn Hatfield, St Albans and Hemel Hempstead. Only Watford and The Lister remain providing A&E and other vital services and they are at bursting point. I have already heard from many local people in the constituency for whom the bus is an essential lifeline to access services. As parliamentary candidate, I am campaigning for the return of A&E and in-patient beds. Our neighbouring constituency is St Albans with a population of 140,000 and rising and we need a new fully functioning hospital to serve local communities. Labour created the NHS and only Labour can be trusted to save the NHS.”
Jill, Rosie, Labour councillors on Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council and Hertfordshire County Councillor will be writing to the Trust Chief Executive to put an immediate stop to plans to cut this lifeline service.