Group makes case against A&E changes

Yorkshire Post - - POLITICS & ECONOMY -

THE BREXIT ref­er­en­dum “un­leashed an undis­guised lan­guage of sus­pi­cion, den­i­gra­tion, ha­tred and vil­i­fi­ca­tion” across the county, the Bishop of Leeds has told a de­bate in the House of Lords.

The Rt Rev Nick Baines, speak­ing at the be­gin­ning a two-day de­bate on the EU With­drawal Bill, con­demned the cor­rup­tion of pub­lic dis­course in the Brexit de­bate and called on peers “to model good ways of dis­agree­ing well”.

Al­most 190 peers were listed to speak over the two days of sec­ond read­ing of the Bill, which aims to trans­fer Euro­pean law into UK law as part of the coun­try’s exit from the Euro­pean Union.

Leeds was one of only three lo­cal author­ity ar­eas in York­shire to vote Re­main in the 2016 elec­tion, along with Har­ro­gate and York. The bishop said: “The ref­er­en­dum tore off the ve­neer of civilised dis­course in this coun­try and un­leashed an undis­guised lan­guage of sus­pi­cion, den­i­gra­tion, ha­tred and vil­i­fi­ca­tion.

“Brexit has un­leashed the nor­mal­i­sa­tion of lies, and ren­dered too eas­ily ac­cept­able the de­mon­is­ing of peo­ple who, with in­tegrity and in­tel­li­gence, ven­ture to hold a con­trary view.

“We are in dan­ger of se­cur­ing an eco­nomic plat­form at the ex­pense of a cul­ture of re­spect and in­tel­li­gent demo­cratic ar­gu­ment.

“Politi­cians could be­gin by mod­er­at­ing their lan­guage and en­gag­ing in in­tel­li­gent, in­formed and re­spect­ful ar­gu­ment that chooses to es­chew per­son­alised or gen­er­alised vin­dic­tive­ness or vi­o­lence.”

Lords Leader Baroness Evans of Bowes Park said she did not share con­cerns that peers will ig­nore the ref­er­en­dum or use the Bill to frus­trate the Brexit process, but said she ex­pects de­lib­er­a­tions to be “very chal­leng­ing”. NHS CAM­PAIGN­ERS have sent their ob­jec­tions to a con­tro­ver­sial shake-up of hos­pi­tals ser­vices to the in­de­pen­dent panel car­ry­ing out a re­view of the pro­pos­als.

Health Sec­re­tary Jeremy Hunt could have the fi­nal say over plans to down­size Hud­der­s­field Royal In­fir­mary (HRI) and cen­tralise A&E ser­vices in Hal­i­fax.

He has asked the In­de­pen­dent Re­con­fig­u­ra­tion Panel (IRP) to carry out an ini­tial as­sess­ment of the plan af­ter it was re­ferred to him by a coun­cil health watch­dog. It would lead to a full re­view be­ing car­ried out.

Ac­tion group Hands Off HRI said it had sent a for­mal sub­mis­sion to the panel. Ob­jec­tions in­clude in­creased jour­ney times to hos­pi­tal and Hud­der­s­field not hav­ing a full A&E depart­ment.

NHS bosses have in­sisted the changes will make hos­pi­tal ser­vices safer.

A spokesper­son for the panel said: “The IRP was asked by the Sec­re­tary of State for Health to pro­vide ad­vice on this is­sue on Jan­uary 25.

“We will un­der­take an ini­tial as­sess­ment of the re­fer­ral and its suit­abil­ity for full IRP re­view, this usu­ally takes 20 work­ing days.”

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