Friday, 1 December 2006

On the road to the Casualty Department

You can tell that I’m now an addictive blogger. Waking up this morning and getting the children breakfast I was cheering on Andrew Lansley as he exposed the outrageous plans to close up to 29 different A&E departments across the country. We visited the Royal Orthapaedic hospital together last year. He is amazingly knowledgeable.

I come from a large medical family and all the doctors frequently tell me how bigger hospitals are better. I also have 3 children. Number 1 son, Edward, went through a phase as a "casualty kid" - is that what 5 year old boys do? When he broke his collar bone, cut open his eyelid, got stung by hornets it was horrible. All I wanted to do was get him to A&E as quickly as possible and I was grateful that it was only 25 minutes away.

There may be good medical arguments for making sure that A&E departments are only in hospitals where there is a full raft of Orthopaedic surgeons and intensive care beds, but the decision about the A&E's future should be made on those medical grounds. At the moment it feels as if decisions are being made solely on the grounds of short term financial accounting.

I have for a long time thought that the health service is too important to be left in the hands of politicians who only have 5 year vision. But I also believe that the health service is one of the most important (and expensive) things that we trust our government with. The buck stops with the PM.

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