Open Letter to Mr. Pound regarding Ealing Hospital A&E
Dear Mr. Pound,
Over the last few weeks I have shared a platform with you on 3 separate occasions and each time, when the subject of the planned closure of the A&E unit at Ealing Hospital arises, your response has varied. First of all, you simply denied any existence of a plan to cut the service and dismissed out of hand the concerns of residents and staff. However at the recent hustings held at St. Barnabas church in Northolt, you gave a rousing speech that ended in you saying something along the lines of: "If this were to happen I would be the first to lie down in front of the bulldozer" (or words to that effect). But as my mother would say: "fine words butter no parsnips", Steve. Whether the rumours are true or false, you know that this is of major concern to residents and staff, so where are the public meetings, organised by you, to discuss this issue with the community in order to allay their fears? Why didn't you demand the Health Secretary comes to Ealing and explain the rumours himself and state categorically that there would be no unit closure? Where was the Early Day Motion (EDM) in the House of Commons on the issue? Why couldn't you even support your former Parliamentary colleague Virenda Sharma (former MP for neighbouring Ealing Southall) with his EDM? If these are just scurrilous rumours then how can you explain all the attention they are receiving in the local and national media?
The plan to close the A&E unit (and the threat to withdraw other frontline services) at Ealing Hospital is the single most important local issue to the residents of Ealing. As one of the 3 MPs for the Borough of Ealing, you had the power to bring the full glare of the media to this all important issue and yet you have failed to do so. Why is that Steve? On more than one occasion I've heard you say that when you reached a position of seniority within the party, you felt compelled to resign as a matter of principle. So, where is this selfless self sacrifice now? Whether loved or loathed, one thing is clear - you are one of Ealing's most high profile personalities. So why are you so uncharacteristically quiet of this issue?
The answer to this, I suspect, is that you know what is being planned, but you know it would be political suicide to do anything about it. If you own up to the plot to close the A&E unit at Ealing Hospital and join local residents and staff in their fight against it, I guess that means you can kiss good bye to any future favours from Gordon Brown and the Labour party (GB may even be the one driving the bulldozer!). And you know if you were to even attempt to justify the government's position, you could wave farewell to any chance of getting re-elected. So what do you do? Deny everything until after the election where, if elected, due to the biased political system with no mechanism to recall MPs, you'd be guaranteed a job for another 5 years regardless. With any luck, memories will fade, much as they have done over the Iraq war that you voted for... Or better still, blame it on the problems with the economy (which again, is of Gordon Brown and Labour's making).
So Steve, it's way past the time for words - now it's time for action. You need to come out of the shadows on this one and make your position clear. Either publicly explain to all the residents of Ealing, but in particular those living in Ealing North, how there is no proposed plan to close the A&E unit, or join Ealing Lib Dems and others who are campaigning against any reduction in NHS front line services. There's always room on the petition, Steve. A former MP's name would be most welcome.
Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate
Ealing North Constituency