A letter a day to number 10. No 1,466
Thursday 16 June 2016.
Dear Mr Cameron,
With the proposed reduction of A&E departments across England from 144 (in 2013) to between 47 – 70, I wonder just how much you value your life? As Prime Minister you travel a great deal: in the event of a major accident, which could happen to any of us at any time, just how far and for how long would you want to travel before reaching a hospital capable of treating you? What sort of waiting time for the emergency services to even reach you would be acceptable to you?
An accident is by definition the intrusion of the unexpected, no one goes looking for one, they strike without notice and not even Prime Ministers are immune from tragedy. Suddenly the world of the familiar, so often taken for granted, is blasted into the direst emergency, life hanging by a thread, time suddenly measured in pain filled seconds, in precious laboured breaths, and survival is no longer a matter within your power. The longer the wait and the longer the journey, lives which might have once been saved will falter and their tenuous grasp on life will suddenly be gone, extinguished by government cuts.
And what if, because Jeremy Hunt has not prepared those A&E departments that remain with sufficient resources and human expertise to cope with increased demand, you found that once in the hospital your fight for life was far from over and was, indeed, further endangered because the hospital itself was in crisis, running on life support, and failing?
Such is the case right now for North Middlesex hospital, because the closure of the A&E department at Chase Farm hospital in 2013 has put North Middlesex in danger of closure and is reported to be in ‘crisis’ and ‘complete meltdown’. The Guardian reports that, ‘the emergency department at the North Middlesex may become the first in the NHS’s 68-year history to be shut because it is a danger to patients’.
Because you Tories are very fond of being perfectly clear about things, although usually with the clarity of a stagnating, muck filled, swamp, let me be perfectly clear. The crisis in the NHS, and for this letter – A&E departments in particular, is down to Jeremy Hunt, a man who, rather than face the press as Culture Secretary, hid behind a tree, or moved to another part of a quadrangle where trees were present, as he put it to the Leveson Inquiry. If in the unfortunate event of your demise, due to an accident and lack of timely or appropriate treatment, you wish to haunt the man responsible, may I suggest you bear in mind his affinity for arboreal habitats when matters of accountability arise and also, in your other worldly distress, remember that his surname begins with an ‘aitch’.