THE debate on the future of hospital services continues.
Some of the protesters have said that it is the duty of the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust to give the people what they are asking for, ie a fully functioning hospital in Hartlepool including an A&E department.
Regarding the NHS, the chairman of the Save Our Hospital group has said that “we pay their wages so they should do as we say”.
But that is a fundamental misunderstanding of the situation because it confuses the way trade unions work with the way our British democracy works.
In the trade unions the members are in charge.
The leaders make recommendations and the members vote to either accept or reject them. So the leaders take their instructions from the members.
But the British Government doesn’t take orders from the voters.
The voters tell their MPs what they want, Parliament takes those views into account, but the final decisions are made by the Government.
The only exception to that is when, in very exceptional circumstances, a national referendum is held.
The last one was 36 years ago when Harold Wilson gave the people the opportunity to decide whether the UK should continue its membership of what is now called the European Union.
The voters decided that we should continue our membership and many people say that was a mistake.
The hospital trust has listened to what the protesters have said on the subject of hospital services in Hartlepool, they considered them carefully, but now they have made their decisions.
The upcoming extraordinary meeting of Hartlepool Borough Council will provide the opportunity for hospital trust representatives to provide an update on the situation.
That will be followed by councillors participating in a vote of no confidence in the trust.
The outcome of that vote won’t change anything because the Government has approved the changes which are now being implemented.