Tories complain of Tory NHS cuts

Dear Sir, — It was most welcome to see the Congleton mayor and other prominent Tory councillors confirm their opposition to a potential future reduction in services at Congleton’s much loved War Memorial Hospital.
It is a good point that with the 4,000 extra homes being built in the town (resulting in an additional 10,000 residents to the town over the next 15 years) it would not be unreasonable to expect that demand for the hospital’s services would increase, thus securing its future.
It was also pleasing to note that the freedom of information request that was obtained by Congleton Town Labour Party, revealing the extent of the repeated closure of the minor injuries unit, was referred to. This request initiated the campaign and the associated petition, which now has more than 4,200 signatories in support. At the meeting where the petition was handed over by Richard Walton, secretary of Congleton Town Labour Party, it was described as being “timely”. Just as well someone’s on the ball! The ad-hoc closure of Congleton’s minor injuries unit has been caused by the unit’s staff being redeployed to cover staff shortages at Macclesfield A&E department.
Of course, we all know the devastating impact on public services, and the under-funding of the NHS, caused by austerity. That local Conservative councillors should now show opposition to the consequences of Conservative policies, which they themselves voted for, is of little comfort. Take your pick from the list of Conservative policies that have contributed to NHS staff shortages: austerity, NHS under-funding, privatisation of NHS services and facilities, poor recruitment planning, the hostile environment to those wanting to work in the UK who have trained abroad, loss of bursaries for student nurses, high student tuition fees, low morale of NHS staff caused by low pay (the 1% cap on pay lasted for seven years), high stress, high workload, a lack of flexible working and high childcare costs. And if that list wasn’t long enough there is a retirement cliff on its way, too. Around half of nursing staff in 2015 were aged 45 or over, and the retirement age for nurses is 55. What a mess. — Yours faithfully,

HEATHER SEDDON
Congleton.

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