There are many things that we rely on in life, our families and friends, our loved ones. We rely on the police to keep us safe and the army to protect us. Yet there is one thing that we all rely on, value and cherish, and that is the NHS. Whether it is the birth of your first child, dealing with the challenges of getting older, or caring for our parents and grandparents, we all at some stage need to use the NHS.
It is for me the single most important service. So like you, I was horrified when I learned that the accident and emergency at Queen’s Hospital could potentially be downgraded to an urgent care unit. I say potentially, because nothing is yet decided.
Clinical experts in Staffordshire have looked at the provision of services across the county and have suggested that one of the three accident and emergencies at Stoke, Stafford or Burton may be downgraded, which would mean it was only open for 16 hours rather than 24.
I have needed to use Burton A&E, once late at night. And I have also visited the staff and seen for myself the brilliant job they do. Of course, Queen’s has had its challenges and its problems over the years. But without doubt, it offers a vital and life-saving facility for our community.
With the towns of Burton and Uttoxeter set to grow in the years ahead, it would be simply unthinkable not to have an A&E to meet the needs of our residents.
So what can be done, or is it as some have suggested, a done deal? I have been assured that no decisions have been made, and that it will be clinical professionals, not politicians or the government who will make the decision, based upon the facts.
I am determined to play my part in putting together a campaign which clearly demonstrates without any shadow of a doubt not only that Queen’s hospital has the support and backing of the overwhelming number of residents who use the service, but also that lives would be put at risk were it to close.
It is important that we put aside politics and personal differences and come together to campaign together for the good of the people of Burton and Uttoxeter. Queen’s A&E is a precious facility and we all must play our part in saving it.