Kate Hollern: A snapshot of Cameron’s NHS in Blackburn

A snapshot of Cameron’s NHS in Blackburn

I spent an hour and a half in Barbara Castle Health Centreyesterday waiting for treatment. As I sat in the busy waiting room a number of patients came over and said hello. The stories I heard from fellow patients were awful and put into context what is happening on the ground as a result of the Tories top-down re-organisation of the NHS.

One case in point was Jean who is 75, riddled with arthritis, needs her leg dressing twice a week after hurting it months ago. She has to carry the dressings to the Health Centre and struggles due to the arthritis in her hands.  She used to have a district nurse call at her home but it was stopped and she was told she had to make her own way to the Health Centre, at £ 7 for taxi’s each time she is struggling.

I asked her why the home visits stopped. She told me that sherecently had to open a bank account so got a taxi to town. When she told the nurse that she had been in town she was told that if she could get to town she could get to the Health Centre. Surely this is wrong, for a lady who has worked hard all her life to be treated this way. I am sure the stress emotionally and physically cannot be good for her.

There was another lady, with both legs heavily bandaged and on two walking sticks, she was obviously in a lot of pain. She had a similar story, only she had to go to her father when he died. Subsequently she was told that she obviously was not housebound so could get to the health centre. She says not only was it expensive to get to the health centre but also very painful.

 

I am organising an event at King Georges Hall in November and inviting older people for a cup of tea, cake and some entertainment. The idea is to tackle social isolation and help people have some enjoyment and make friends they have yet to meet. I am now worried that I will be encouraging people into a situation that could cause them to lose medical services they currently receive.

Surely people should be helped to leave their home occasionally and not be worried they will lose support they need.

 

Kate Hollern:The truth is that working people cannot afford five more years of David Cameron.

 

 

Listening to David Cameron  last Wednesday you might be left with the impression that the economy has been fixed and that life is getting easier for most people. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth

Under the Tories and Liberals working people are £1,600 a year worse off. Just think about it – when did you last get a pay-rise? The Tories are now trying to con people into another five years of misery by unfunded pie in the sky pre-election tax cuts promised for six years time..

David Cameron in 2008 said “You can’t talk about tax reduction unless you can show how it is paid for, the public aren’t stupid”. But’s that’s exactly what he did on  Wednesday.

These “tax cuts” are an unfunded spending commitment of over £7billion, hardly spare cash.

How are the Tories going to pay for it?  We can only assume that they will yet again hit the poorest hardest, we are sure to see yet further attacks on public services, Fire, Police Health and Councils.

The only thing we have learnt for sure this week from the Tories is that they’re going to cut tax credits for millions of hard working people. This announcement on Monday means that a one earner family with two children on £25,000 a year will lose £495 by 2017/18.

So while working families see their incomes decrease, Wednesday’s announcements means that the Prime Minister and Cabinet Minister will see their incomes increase by 2020/21. And let’s not forget that the richest one per cent will keep a £3billion tax cut. This doesn’t look like “we’re all in this together” to me.

And if there is one decision taken by the Tories that tells us all we need to know about their priorities and who they stand for, then their tax cut for millionaires is it.

Labour will balance the books as soon as possible in the next Parliament, but we will make fairer choices. A Labour Government would cut taxes for millions on middle and low incomes with a lower 10p starting rate of tax and reintroduce a top rate of 50p for those earning over £150,000.

The truth is that the Tories will never build a better future for working people because they stand up only for a privileged few.

The truth is that working people cannot afford five more years of David Cameron.

 

The end of an era – a golden age

Compare the feeling of the nation today to that in 1997 when Labour first came to power – in 97 there was joy – a national outpouring of happiness that a cruel and damaging Tory regime of 18 years had been ousted – today the feeling is of fear – where will the cuts begin?  I think it is generally accepted that maybe it was time for some kind of a change – and Gordon Brown realised that – but the election results clearly show that the public did not want a Conservative Government – neither did they want the Lib Dems – yet that is what we now have.

My view is that the last Labour Government will only truly be appreciated after a period of Conservative rule – and it will be remembered as a government that did good things for this country – it wasn’t perfect but then no government is.  Under Blair’s leadership and Brown’s chancellorship this country prospered and returned once again to being a great international power.  We invested in both the physical and the social infrastructure of Britain – schools, hospitals, transport, housing – have all seen massive investment – the first public housing programme since the last time we had a Labour Government – more police, more doctors and nurses, more teachers, the minimum wage, tax credits, more equality laws, childcare payments, support for the elderly.  The Labour Government believed in investing in our whole society because we believe that everyone deserves fairness and every person should have an equal chance in life.

And on the economy – we made the right calls – nationalising the banks to prevent economic meltdown and massive job losses.  We’re out of recession now but you can bet your bottom dollar we’d still be in it if the Tories had been in (and with more unemployed).

The Tories have not changed and will never change – they opposed virtually all of Labour’s progressive legislation – they bang on about cutting taxes but you can’t have a healthy, educated forward thinking competitive nation if you don’t invest in it and the more you invest the more people have jobs so the more people are paying tax.

The Labour Party was established to give a voice for the working class who were oppressed by the old establishment of this country – the public school educated upper classes who believed they had a given right to govern – the sad thing is David Cameron and Nick Clegg come from exactly that ‘establishment’ background.

People may over the coming months come to realise the consequences of not supporting Labour – I hope so.  One thing’s clear to me though – neither Cameron nor Clegg have any more mandate to run this country than Labour – they might cobble together a coalition and run the country for a while but the decent thing would be to go back to the country and let the people have their say again within the next 12 months.