General hospital in the news for all the wrong reasons, says Scunthorpe MP Nic Dakin
LOBBYING on behalf of local people is an important part of the job of the local MP in championing the local area and I've been doing a lot lately.
I met with the Defence Minister about the future of the RAF Kirton-in-Lindsey base. I am keen to ensure that the local community – in particular Kirton Town Council and Trent Valley Gliding Club – have some leverage on what happens to the base and its assets in the future.
In a similar meeting with the Energy Minister I pointed out the need for greater certainty about future Energy Policy if we are to secure the investment in the South Humber Bank that will bring jobs to the area. In these meetings and others, local MPs work cross-party in our mutual interests for the local patch. This was equally true when the region's MPs met with the panel reviewing the future of Children's Heart Surgery to argue the case once more for the Leeds Unit. I know from local families how important it is to retain this service.
It's equally important that we retain maternity services at Scunthorpe. Recent speculation about the future of these services is most unhelpful. While accepting that those who commission services locally – the incoming clinical commissioning groups – are right to ask difficult questions about the sort of services needed for the future, I find it inconceivable that there could be a circumstance in which it didn't make sense to have maternity services available locally. That's why I have launched a petition to retain the maternity services in Scunthorpe.
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Unfortunately Scunthorpe Hospital has been in the news for all the wrong reasons recently. It wasn't surprising that its high mortality rates means it will have an inspection by Sir Bruce Keogh's team as a response to the shameful happenings at Mid Staffordshire. I know from the cases I see that a lot of fantastic work goes on at the hospital but I also know that sometimes things go wrong. So I very much welcome this opportunity to get an external view of how things are progressing. Any constituent who wants to quiz hospital chief executive Karen Jackson can come along to my People's Panel at 7pm on Friday, March 1, at The House where she will be alongside me to talk about the hospital. Details about how to book a place are available from www.nicdakin.com or by calling 01724 842000.
Talking of petitions, having said they would hold the petition hearing when I was able to present it, the Conservative council showed their usual lack of openness by hearing my petition calling for two hours free car parking on a Tuesday when they knew I was in London. A big thank you to David Redmile of Cindy's Accessories who went along to speak on behalf of retailers and shoppers about the need for a proper shot in the arm for the local economy. Let's hope the Conservative council listens to local people and local businesses and takes action before it is too late.