In a rally outside the QE2 Urgent Care centre, Rosie Newbigging, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Welwyn Hatfield led concerned residents against plans to cut the overnight care provision in Welwyn Hatfield – a service that was promised to the people of Welwyn Hatfield.
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Rosie said “I’ve spoken to hundreds of people who are concerned at these plans that will see residents having to travel to the Lister Hospital in Stevenage, a hospital that is already struggling to cope with patient numbers and buckling under the relentless cuts of this Conservative Government.”
This is the latest in a long line of cuts to our local NHS service, delivered by the Coalition Government, local Tory MPs and Hertfordshire County Council. We’ve seen our Hospital knocked down and A&E department cut under David Cameron’s NHS reorganisation plans, Ambulance Station pulled down, the shuttle bus service to the Lister cancelled and now they want to leave us without overnight care – enough is enough and we’re saying hands off our urgent care centre.
Lenny Brandon, Leader of Hatfield Town Council said “people are saying that the night time closure of the Urgent Care centre is the thin edge of the wedge. I believe the thin edge of the wedge disappeared long ago – We have a growing population in Welwyn Hatfield, with the Tories proposals for an extra 20,000 homes looming just around the corner – this isn’t good enough. Not only do we need to save our urgent care centre from closing through the night, we need a hospital in our borough with 24 hours A&E.”
The rally also heard from Councillor Glyn Hayes, who was involved in a road accident in 2017 that would forever change his life. A life that would become intertwined with the NHS on a scale he’d never before imagined.
“I’d lost nearly half my bodies blood, shunted my heart sideways, partial collapse of my aorta, broken 4 ribs, broken my left leg, cracked my right ankle, broken 4 vertibre, compressed another and bent my spinal cord. Suffice to say I was not in a very good way.”
Glyn was flown by the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance to Addenbrokes Hospital Major Trauma Unit and then subsequently treated at Stoke Mandeville. Tasked with learning how to navigate a world designed for people who can walk from a wheelchair, Glyn had to learn to look after himself, from basic needs to dressing, cooking meals, making tea, learning about adaptions available to make his life easier. Relationships, future employment etc. The team around him to achieve this was huge.
“The NHS is looking after me, and will continue to do so for as long as I live, because without these professionals I wouldn’t have a life or a way of independently living. During my stay I saw first hand cut backs all over the place. Critical care is under threat and post-care is diminishing before our very eyes. This affects every single one of us. Anyone here could one day need services from the NHS similar to me and if we don’t fight for it, it won’t be there.
It is absolutely important that we make a stand right here right now, because we need a change for the better, we cannot suffer any-more cutbacks or losses.”
Notably, of local Councillors only Labour and Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate attended the rally and spoke to residents about their concerns – the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives were absent, despite it being open to the whole community.
Kieran Thorpe, Leader of Welwyn Hatfield Labour called on residents to act now to save this vital service and to “fight for the NHS and fight against all these cuts. Or get ready to watch the services you rely on disappear even more than they already have”
Sign the petition
You can get involved by signing the petition here: https://www.whlabour.org.uk/hands-off-our-urgent-care-centre/ and make sure you click yes to staying up to date with the campaign.
To give feedback and find local meetings about the QEII proposals please go online here: qeiiucc.enhertsccg.nhs.uk.