Friday, 3 October 2014

Politics: Calder Valley NHS debate series begins

The first of four political debates between the three main political candidates in Calder Valley took place at a packed-out room at Brighouse High’s sixth form centre.

The incumbent Conservative MP Craig Whittaker, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate Alisdair McGregor and Labour candidate Josh Fenton-Glynn all outlined their positions on local NHS services and broader political issues.

The evening started with each candidate delivering a seven minutes speech on local health service provision.

Mr McGregor said in his speech that NHS services are too centralised and should be spread out for everybody to use. He said his biggest concern - based on three years working in the NHS in Nottinghamshire - is waste.

He said the PFI funded Calderdale Royal Hospital is a “grotesque waste of money.”
But said the Government is caught berween a rock and hard place but would like to see the hospital back out of PFI deals.

Mr Whittaker said the local NHS is currently undergoing a huge strategic review that will see better care in people’s communities.

He said: “Is it any wonder people pile into A&E when so few choices are available?”
He accused Labour of scaremongering and accused Mr Fenton-Glynn of employing “schoolboy politics”.

He added: “There are no proposals to close our A&E.”

Mr Fenton-Glynn said he cared deeply about the local hospital where he was born and where his mum was treated twice for cancer.

He said: “A lot of people are scared about changes we’ve seen proposed - I owe a lot to our local health services.”

He said many of the indicators used to see if the NHS is working are on a downward turn - ambulance waiting times, A&E waiting times and GP appointment times.

He added: “Mr Whittaker says anyone who disagrees with him is scaremongering.”

The next debate will be held at Calder High School, Mytholmroyd, on Thursday, October 9, 7pm to 9pm.

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