Politically Speaking Column in Wakefield Express

Very best wishes for Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2012 to all Wakefield Express readers. And an extra big thank you first and foremost to those who will be working over the holiday period. Because on Christmas Day when most of us take a day off, hundreds of people across the Wakefield District, paid and unpaid will be on hand to provide public services to vulnerable people. It’s all too easy to forget that for some people Christmas is a working day. They do a great job all year round but their work will be most keenly felt when other lifelines such as doctors surgeries are closed. And that is especially true for those they provide a service for –those for whom Christmas can be a lonely and difficult time.

On Friday I visited the staff of Mid Yorkshire Care in Wakefield who will be working on Christmas Day to thank them for their dedication and hard work. The support they provide to elderly and vulnerable people across the Wakefield District makes a massive difference over the festive period. One of the staff members told me, “Whatever the weather on Christmas Day we know we have to get out to everyone. For some we can be the only person they see. We definitely don’t hope for a white Christmas though!”

Accident and Emergency Departments are the other lifeline for families over Christmas. Here in Wakefield we have a brand new hospital at Pinderfields but as a result of changes to services in other parts of the district, I’ve had many reports from local people concerned about A&E waiting times. Over Christmas, with most doctors surgeries closed, families want to know that if they need it, they can be seen quickly at A&E. “Does the loss of A&E cover in Pontefract mean waiting times getting longer at Pinderfields?” is a question I’m regularly asked. On Friday I joined fellow Wakefield MPs in a meeting with the Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust, the people who run Pinderfields as well as the other hospitals in the area. At the meeting I raised local concerns about A&E and asked for reassurances that the hospital had comprehensive plans in place for increases in patient numbers as a result of winter cold and flu. Despite reassurances at the meeting, I remain concerned and will keep up the pressure so people get the service they deserve. Please get in touch with me (or your own MP) if you experience problems over the festive period and in the coming months.

And so to all the home care assistants visiting people at home to nurses and doctors in A&E, our police officers and everyone else, if you’re working on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, a very big thank you from us all.

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Posted December 23rd, 2011 by Ed