THERE is no question that Hartlepool General Hospital must be defended and to have an Accident and Emergency Unit at that hospital is the aspiration. That is my position and the outcome that I’ll be fighting for as your MP.
I firmly believe that our A&E was let go unnecessarily and since that day anybody who has sought to defend health services in the town has been on the back foot. If I had a magic wand to wave, I’d have our A&E back immediately along with other services.
Sadly I don’t have a magic wand and I never make promises I can’t keep. My promise is that I’ll be doing everything in my power to achieve that aim. One thing I can tell you: the longer a Tory government is in power, the less likely it is that we’ll get our A&E back.
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust are about to spend over £20million on repairs to prop up a 30-year-old dilapidated building. Hartlepool Hospital may be older, but is in far better shape and fit for purpose. It’s my opinion that £20m could be better spent in Hartlepool.
Whatever the rights or wrongs of what happened in the past: the removal of services from Hartlepool or the failure to develop Wynyard, we can’t turn back the clock. So today I’m calling on everyone in the town who cares about us having the best possible health services and outcomes for patients, to put any differences aside and come together. I’m happy to lead the fight but I need all the support I can get.
l I’m getting the impression that despite my efforts to promote our town and campaign for residents – as I did on Tuesday in the Supported Housing debate – the armchair keyboard warriors accuse me of being more interested in getting my face in the Hartlepool Mail. The truth is that it’s because I care about Hartlepool and my constituents and am shouting up on their behalf that I am in the press a fair bit. I make no apologies for that.
As an MP you are under public scrutiny 24/7. But whether I’m fighting the corner of The British Nuclear Constabulary over pensions or promoting the cause of WASPI women, I never think for a moment that my endeavours are not Hartlepool related. Everything I do is Hartlepool related.
In the General Election I ran a campaign celebrating our town and a recurring message from me was that artificial negativity could deter folk from visiting Hartlepool. Also it poisons local politics. I am so proud that this resonated with the electorate, but am very disappointed that despite this popular will, some people – usually on the internet – are still intent on dragging our town down.
All I can say to them is please pack it in and work with me to put Hartlepool on the map for all the right reasons. If these people truly cared for Hartlepool they’d do that.
l FINALLY, my friend and neighbouring MP Grahame Morris went for tests today to check on his recent cancer diagnosis. It’s a personal matter but I am smiling and just want to pay tribute to Grahame. Despite his health battles he’s never stopped being a truly inspirational MP.