Déjà vu

MY heart goes out to the people of Northallerton and the North Yorkshire Dales when I watch the unfurling of the orchestrated demise to their Friarage Hospital.

When I watch, and read about, the development of their problem surely I cannot be the only observer to feel that I’ve seen this all before.

When the North Tees & Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust down-rated our own town’s maternity and paediatric services, the very same denials about cost cutting realities were deployed, alongside their well known “we have recruiting problems” diatribe.

Our valid complaints about travelling risks and our worries about the geography of where our babies were born are all being voiced again by our North Yorkshire friends at public meetings re-convened from previously overflowing venues.

Déjà vu/spooky or what?

However, the obvious difference between the two protests is that the one in Northallerton is being led by politicians.

Their MP has already successfully lobbied Lansley himself to come to their area to consider the situation and most of the protesters being interviewed are local councillors.

I remind you that our MP and our dominant Hartlepool Borough Council Group are all fellow members of the same New Labour party which was actually in Government when the demise of the University Hospital of Hartlepool was begun and driven on into its current shadow.

I thereby here emphasise the truth that our “local leaders” were then very well placed to influence central Government and that they either failed miserably to do so or didn’t want to chance trying.

I have always said that we have lacked the political support to ensure the retention, or the return, of the full health care services which we demand and surely the total ineffectiveness of their vote of no confidence is proof of that sad reality.

I now invite you all to compare the disgraceful neglect which we are suffering with the effective political support being afforded in Northallerton.

Keith Fisher,

Chairman,

Save Our Hospital (Hartlepool).