Eric Ollerenshaw column: Politicians have duty to get beyond blame game

Eric Ollerenshaw MP
Eric Ollerenshaw MP

I felt I couldn’t start this weeks’ column without mentioning our local hospital Trust which has once again been in the news.

The ‘cover up’ made national headlines over the last week and rightly so.

This scandal has not only shocked many people but what happened is, above all, a terrible personal tragedy for all the families involved.

I agree with Jeremy Hunt when he said that “a culture in the NHS had been allowed to develop in which defensiveness and secrecy were put ahead of patients” and this is something I feel we must tackle.

I welcome the fact that there is to be a Chief Inspector of Hospitals comparable to the role of Chief Inspector of schools.

I also feel that politicians, including myself, have a duty to get beyond the simple “blame” game between the Parties if we are going to address the long term pressures on the nation’s health.

In Parliament I managed to raise the disparity of Art’s Council funding in this part of the world with it averaging at £1.45 per person compared to a London average at £21.42 and pointed out that while Lancaster institutions such as Ludus Dance and the Dukes were facing cuts, the Art’s Council itself was sitting on unspent monies of £97 millions across 2010-2012.

Last week was National Carers Week – part of a national campaign to raise awareness of the impact that caring has on people’s lives and to recognise the contribution that carers make on a daily basis.

As part of this week I attended an event in London with actress Lynda Bellingham, who was a carer herself, to pledge my support for this campaign.

In the Constituency I had the opportunity to call into a local Care Home to meet the staff and residents.

Many of our homes, as well as being residential, also offer respite care for local people and I thoroughly enjoyed the warm and friendly welcome I received from both residents and staff.

I am sure we are all aware of friends and family who undertake caring duties of all kinds and how much needs to be done to enable them to get some support or at least some respite now and again.