One of my favourite fixtures on the local calendar did not disappoint this year, with crowds of revellers descending on the town centre for the annual Batley Festival.
It was fantastic to see such a good turnout and the tremendous hard work put in by the festival team led by Kimberley Thirkill, Creative Scene and many more really paid dividends.
As always, I went along with my mum and we thoroughly enjoyed all the singing and dancing, not to mention the fantastic stalls and delicious food offerings.
Events like Batley Festival can be a huge boost for the area and really showcase the spirit of unity and togetherness that underpins what we do. I’m already looking forward to next year!
Dewsbury Hospital unit closure
Many of you are rightfully concerned that the Ambulatory Emergency Care (AEC) unit at Dewsbury Hospital will remain closed for the foreseeable future because of staff shortages.
It means that patients instead face a lengthy trip to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.
It seems that yet again the people of Batley and Spen are at the back of the queue when it comes to the NHS. And this is not the first time it has happened.
Last year the AEC unit, which was opened in 2015 to diagnose and quickly treat adults who don’t need to be admitted to A&E to free up valuable beds, was closed from the end of December to early March.
The picture is far bleaker this year. The unit was closed on July 31, with the situation not due to be reassessed until January.
This will pile further pressure on an already struggling Pinderfields Hospital and force patients into travelling out of the area.
With the downgrade of the A&E at Dewsbury, long waiting times and the intermittent closures of units, we have already endured enough.
It’s clear that the Tory Government have completely failed to learn the lessons of last year’s devastating winter crisis and are failing to recruit the doctors and nurses we desperately need.
This has led us to a situation where we have an acute workforce shortage across our NHS with 100,000 staff vacancies, including 40,000 nurses and 11,000 doctors.
But sadly, for a Government which has scrapped nursing bursaries, gone to war with junior doctors and rejected thousands of visas for overseas doctors as part of its ‘hostile environment’ immigration policies, it’s hardly surprising.
The Tories are completely failing to address this recruitment crisis and it is people in communities like Batley and Spen who are suffering as a result.
A fitting tribute
Last week I had the honour of attending the unveiling of a square in Brussels renamed after my inspirational predecessor, Jo Cox.
It was a moving ceremony and a beautiful and fitting tribute which I hope will act as a permanent reminder of the values of unity, peace and justice that guided her.
In such divided times, it’s all the more important we remember Jo’s legacy and reject the politics of hate and division.