Charmaine Morgan’s column: The fact is that we need improved A&E provision in Grantham

LCC and SKDC Labour Councillor Charmaine Morgan

LCC and SKDC Labour Councillor Charmaine Morgan

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United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust announced their new plans to introduce an Ambulatory Care Unit into Grantham Hospital last week.

The proposals have yet to be approved by NHS England and they will need to go to public consultation early next year, but feedback I have received from local residents indicates they are far from happy.

One of the cornerstones of our NHS is that we receive free and equal access to treatment. Yet, increasingly we have an NHS for those who live in cities, and an NHS for those who don’t.

If the ULHT statistics used to justify their plans to downgrade Grantham A&E unit are to be taken at all seriously they should include ambulance waiting times and the needs of residents unable to drive. Whilst ULHT and those for whom it is politically expedient put a positive spin on the situation the fact is that we need improved, not less A&E provision at Grantham.

The Chancellor has put a positive spin on his plans to allow councils to put up to a 2% levy on Council Tax to pay for a Social Care Fund. Social care needs more funding, especially as hospital discharge delays have now hit record levels, Council Tax is not largely based on income but where you live and number of occupants in your household. It is capped so that higher value households do not pay significantly more than much lower value households.

As a result, increases in Council Tax will hit those on lower incomes proportionally hardest. A number of socio-economic reports by organisations such as the Resolution Foundation indicate that younger households are least likely to be able to afford the increase that will pay for our more affluent baby boomer generation to receive care.

Younger families are spending more on housing costs and food bills as a proportion of their income than more affluent post war baby boomers who use their disposable income on household goods, transport and leisure activities. ‘Inter-generational inequality’ as it is called has other serious ramifications for younger people. Baby boomers, influencing parliament, are also defining what pensions they should receive without adjusting the taxes they pay now to cover increases, storing up a national debt for future generations.

I had the pleasure of watching talented young people at Priory Ruskin School and Walton Girls Schools recently perform their Christmas Concerts.

We owe it to our future generations to get this right. A more fair and balanced approach is needed urgently and is possible.

However, the fewer younger people are registered the vote, the longer this situation is likely to continue. The changes to Voter Registration, which require each member of a household to register to vote, are likely to increase this imbalance as younger people, and those on low incomes who move their rented home frequently, are less likely to be registered to vote. http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/register-to-vote/how-to-register-to-vote or call 01476 406080.