I’ve lived near Trafford General Hospital all my life. The hospital was opened as Park
Hospital by Labour’s Aneurin Bevan on July 5 1948 and we can all feel proud of what was set in motion that day – a National Health Service, the first in the world promising universal ‘cradle to grave’ healthcare.
Now, more than 60 years on that is looking more and more like an empty promise. There’s talk of ftunding shortfalls and the possibility of Trafford Health care Trust having to link up with other hospital trusts to make economies. There’s talk of the ‘temporary closure’ of the extremely popular and successful walk-in centre at Trafford General, too. And there’s a very clear threat to other hospital and
general health services.
Living close to TrafTord General, I’ve always felt safe in the knowledge that if
a member of my family fell ill or had an accident there was a hospital on the doorstep where we would receive treatment. It’s a secure feeling, one which I am sure has been shared by many local people. But today I feel that little bit more apprehensive- and I don’t like it.
Nye Bevan described the start of the NHS as giving this country "the moral
leadershlp of the world" and he was right. We judge a society by how we look
after one another and how we care for the sick and vulnerable. We all know about the need for cutbacks in public services but in my view the cuts being made to our NHS go far too far – and may cause severe injury not only to individuals but to society as a whole.
The NHS is being made to manage within an overall budget which falls well below inflation, one which will not reflect the increased demand made on hospital services as people, hopefully, live longer.
Our predecessors 60 and more years ago had to fight for a free health service. That right was largely won, but we should never take it for granted. We should never forget the dedication of people – nurses, doctors, police, firefighters and many more – who work unsociable hours to help keep us safe and well. We owe them all a big thank you.
I would also like to wish everyone all the very best for the new year.