They want to close our A&E department. Which will leave emergency care in Halifax the closest emergency department.
Note for people outside the UK, A&E stands for Accident and Emergency, otherwise known as Casualty or in other places Emergency Room or ER.
The two sites are only a few miles apart, but there is a world of difference. At first Calderdale Royal Hospital near Halifax would look like a good choice if there were to be only one A&E in the area. But there is a problem. The site. Calderdale Hospital is on the A629 at the top of Salterhebble Hill, a notorious traffic jam area. Getting to the A&E from Huddersfield is not going to be easy in the rush hour. Then there’s Calderdale Way, otherwise known as the Elland Bypass. West Yorkshire Police recently tweeted: Traffic down Calderdale Way is very heavy with very limited alternative routes, let’s hope they don’t close Huddersfield A&E
The ideal answer would be to have both A&E departments open. But in these days of cut after cut after cut keeping both does not seem likely.
The media does not help, generally. (Although BBC Radio Leeds has done a good job this morning publicising the cause.) Stories on the news about NHS failure, where someone dies due to neglect are common. Not many stories about lives being saved, unless the circumstances are exceptional. Why not give equal time to stories of lives being saved by the NHS, BBC? Stupid question, sorry. If you gave equal time to all the stories you could cover of lives being saved there would not be time for any other programmes.
The NHS is doing a fantastic job.
I am biased in this. I’ll admit to being biassed. My life has been saved by the Huddersfield A&E department. I have also experienced private care. My experience is that private care is not as good as politicians who are in favour make it out to be.
Almost ten years ago I was involved involved in an horrific road accident. The sort where the pain due to the smashed ribcage and lungs is so intense I could not tell my leg was broken. During treatment I passed out from pain despite being on diamorphine. But that is being negative. The important thing is that I was taken into an NHS A&E department dying and came out alive.
But that is not newsworthy because it is not exceptional. Many, many thousands have similar experiences to that every year. Well done NHS, you are fantastic.
The courts concluded that the above accident was fully the fault of the driver who hit me. So I was able to claim against his insurance. This put my care into the private sector.
I remember turning up at the private hospital for treatment, only to be told to go back home as the insurance company had not yet paid for the treatment. Not only that, but every time, yes, every time, that the next stage of treatment was needed, the insurance company had 28 days to reply. On day 29 of this my solicitors had to contact them to say they were out of time, at which they agreed to pay for the next stage. They had to agree, there was a court ruling that their client was 100% to blame. Even agreeing to pay did not mean they actually paid.
Being private meant that the money had to be up front, before treatment. The hospital would not treat me and bill the insurance company afterwards. (I have also been treated in the USA, where this happened, so it is the British private medical system I am ranting about here. Not private care in general.)
British private care puts money before people, which should never happen.
But enough about ranting about the drawbacks of private care, I’d rather rave about how brilliant the NHS is. A company there to provide care for the 64 million people in the UK is a logistical nightmare, but despite this it works. And works very well.
So I ask anyone who reads this to sign the petition to parliament.
We already have the support of the local football club, Huddersfield Town, and actor Patrick Stewart, of Star Trek TNG and X Men fame, has tweeted in support.