Politically Speaking in the Wakefield Express

Very best wishes for Christmas to all Wakefield Express readers.

Festive appointments in my diary reached their peak last week with my Santa suit even busier than usual. I always attend the Kingsland Special School Christmas Party and the House of Commons Kids Party. But this year Santa did an extra visit to the SNAPs Christmas Party for children with learning disabilities across our area. It was a lovely party with parents and children from across the city coming together to get ready for Christmas.

And things were also very festive over at DePuy Synthes, a local company I called into on Friday. Staff were taking the festive season very seriously. I don’t think I’ve ever seen quite so many Christmas jumpers all in one place! Even Stan who showed me round sported a fabulous Christmas jumper complete with Christmas puddings!

The company develops and distributes around a third of the artificial knees and hips used in the NHS. It’s amazing to see and hold in your hand something that can transform the quality of life of a patient once it’s been fitted in an operation.

Twenty years ago patients needing one of these operations would have waited over 18 months for a new hip or knee. But getting these waiting times down was a top priority for the last Labour Government. Not only does it have a massive impact on people’s quality of life, but long waits can trigger other health problems and cost more too. Over just over a decade waiting times for new hips and knees went down from 18 months to 18 weeks.

As some readers will know, I’ve recently been holding local meetings about the NHS. From concerns about waiting times to staff worried about stress, local people have been telling me about their concerns for our health service.

Our health service is so precious because in any given week, most of us know someone who has accessed the NHS either as a patient or because they work in the health service. So hearing first-hand experiences is incredibly helpful.

I’m using the findings from these meetings to inform my work in Westminster on behalf of local people. Thank you to everyone who’s returned an NHS survey or come along to a meeting.

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Posted December 19th, 2014 by Ed