Guest column: I will fight for children’s ward – and over universal credit

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This week, Nottinghamshire County Council’s health scrutiny committee met to consider the closure of the children’s ward at Bassetlaw Hospital to overnight admissions.

Local health bosses have recommended that the ward remains closed from 10pm to 8am until staff vacancies can be filled.

The decision to keep the ward closed overnight is not acceptable and the fight to re-open the ward at night continues.

There is a concerted effort to shift everything to Doncaster in my view.

The hospital managers blame recruitment issues but I blame the hospital managers for not having the foresight to look ahead and plan for this situation.

The Clinical Commissioning Group should use its purchasing power to reverse this trend.

I have also had confirmation this week from the Government that nurses can undertake distance learning and train at Bassetlaw Hospital and I will be meeting with the minister to discuss this further.

We must not see any further shift of services out of Bassetlaw.

I have fought with the community to save maternity and A&E and I am not afraid to fight again.

On December 13, the way that people receive universal credit is changing.

Instead of receiving payments every two weeks, people will be expected to cope for six weeks at a time.

This is an indecent attempt to cut costs which will have a direct effect on families in Bassetlaw.

I also fear this will lead to open season for loan sharks.

I have been in contact with the Bassetlaw food bank and volunteeers say they ‘can’t keep up with need now and are dreading the arrival of universal credit.’

I am expecting there to be a greater demand on the food bank in Bassetlaw, especially over the Christmas period.

I encourage all Bassetlaw residents to donate to the food bank if they are able to.

Every week, the food bank publishes a list of required items which I will share on Facebook.

You can also donate items to my constituency office on Stanley Street in Worksop.

On Monday, I asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he would visit Bassetlaw to see the effects of the changes to universal credit.

I am waiting for him to commit but I would welcome him to Bassetlaw so he can see how devastating these changes will be.

From next Monday (October 16) you will no longer be able to use the old pound coins in shops, so now is the time to check your money boxes and down the sides of your sofas to make sure you have spent them all this weekend.

You can also take your old pound coins to local banks to exchange them after they go out of circulation and the Royal British Legion will accept them when selling poppies this month.