Says Ealing PPC, Rupa Huq, in her latest column on the NHS
I could describe myself in many ways, not only am I parliamentary candidate for Ealing Central and Acton but I’m ex-Deputy Mayoress of Ealing, proud public sector worker (still employed full-time!) and as both a mother myself and being daughter I have a dual caring role –makes me an end user of the NHS in different contexts.
Both Hammersmith and Central Middlesex a brand new well-rated facility have already shut their doors now diverting patients to already pressured Northwick Park 6.5 miles away which the government’s own quality care commission found to be failing. Next on the list will be Ealing. Tories claim that these units have been saved but their replacement drop-in centres cannot be used for emergencies, they don’t take ambulances. They’re not A&Es.
Last week in the same seven days as international women’s day the much commented-on Labour party “pink bus” swung into the borough to support my campaign to be Labour MP in Ealing Central and Acton to protest again Ealing hospital maternity unit’s closure.
Labour's pink 'Woman to Woman' bus brought with it Diane Abbott MP and Baroness Oona King of Bow who were met by Julian Bell, the Leader of Ealing Council, practicing GP, Dr Onkar Sahota and London Assembly Member for Ealing and Hillingdon. and a crowd of non-politicians including mums, dads, babies and buggies.
As Diane Abbott, one of the most instantly recognisable figures in the House of Commons, resplendent in color-coordinated pink on the day commented "People are very concerned about the future of the NHS, men and women. People are very concerned about the cost of childcare, zero hours contracts, low pay and also people are very concerned about tax dodging, and we have a message on all those things."
Indeed the pink bus winding its way round the country and conversations with women in Ealing will help expand Labour women's policy, which already promises to help balance work with care commitments, promote flexible working, tackle domestic violence and increase pay transparency. Yes it may have been controversial but in this instance the colour is a detail and at least that it has started people talking about women's issues. The bus is on a mission to combat House of Commons statistics, which show that 1,160,000 women in London did not vote in the last General Election.
So voters need to remember all this as they cast their vote on 7th May and support Labour as the only party who created the NHS and who will stand up for it because if the Tories sneak back into power with their plans for more cuts and closures it’s no exaggeration to say that there is a serious risk that there won’t be an NHS in this country anymore in the sense envisaged by its founding father Nye Bevan and that would be no less than situation critical.
12th March 2015