I have been contacted by a number of angry constituents and NHS staff regarding an additional leaflet that has been circulated by the Bassetlaw Labour Party and their candidates ahead of the May 6th local elections. I try not to comment on fake news, but this regards Bassetlaw Hospital and an alleged threat to its future, so I therefore think it’s important for me to set the record straight.
Unfortunately, it is commonplace for false and misleading information about our hospital being spread before elections. This information has absolutely no basis in reality. In fact, only recently the hospital had a new MRI and CT scanner delivered and has a £15 million investment in a new A&E upgrade on the way. This will also enable people to bring their children back to the hospital at evenings and weekends, rather than having to commute to Doncaster.
The Prime Minister and Health Secretary visited Worksop in November 2019 and the investment has also been mentioned in Parliament a number of times. It has been made clear (including at the full council meeting of Nottinghamshire County Council on March 25th) that we will also continue to use neighbouring health services, such as in Doncaster and Sheffield when required. We all know Nottingham is a long way away and there are issues with transport links, which is why we do this.
Put simply, we will always have a hospital in Bassetlaw because our geography means it’s too far for us to commute elsewhere. The people claiming the hospital is under threat of closure have deliberately misrepresented a government white paper and are using this to mislead the public. I have also had Labour activists telling people on the doorstep that the hospital is closing and I haven’t spoken up against it. Again, this is completely false.
The hospital has been used as a political football for the last 30+ years and it’s something I pledged to stop when I became your Member of Parliament. In the past, we have seen countless campaigns to ‘save our hospital’ at election times, when in reality it has never been under any threat.
It is wrong, and I believe grossly immoral, to therefore continue to do this, especially during a pandemic. Whilst it is easy for me to call out such things on social media, with a reach of tens of thousands of people, the message does not always get through to some of our elderly and most vulnerable. A number have contacted me and are understandably angry and distressed.
So let me be clear. I am proud of our local NHS and it will always be my number one priority. Our hospital is safe and always will be.