JUST two weeks ago I underwent an elective surgical procedure as a day patient at Airedale Hospital. I am delighted to record that my experience was exemplary. I was seen by my consultant within only a few months of my initial referral. And the operation was undertaken within just a few weeks of this consultation. However, I am acutely conscious of my good fortune and that service of this quality is not something that we can any longer come to rely on within the National Health Service. As someone that was born one month (to the day) after the NHS, I have no first-hand experience of the UK without such a service; but I am old enough to have spent my formative years in the company of family members who did. It is something that we do not want to return to.

To our Member of Parliament, I have a simple message. I know that a week is recognised as being a long time in politics, but surely you must be able to remember that it was less than two years ago that your constituents were out on the street applauding the key workers who are now vilified by some of your colleagues as “agents of Putin”. Nobody in our part of Keighley was out there demanding “more millions for Michelle Mone” or “bigger bankers bonuses”. Rather than wasting your remaining period as our parliamentary representative pursuing a partisan political search for petty grievances to hold against Bradford Council, please use it to fight for what really matters and immediately affects your constituents – a properly funded and properly functioning National Health Service.

To the leader of the Labour Party, I also have a simple message. Please abandon your plan to use the private sector as a short-term measure for alleviating the current pressures on the service. It has been precisely the avaricious approach of private equity companies – through private finance initiatives and private agencies providing locum nursing and medical staff – that has drained the service of the necessary funds to recruit, train and adequately recompense the permanent staff that are needed to maintain and develop the service.

To the staff at Airedale Hospital, I have a further simple message. Thanks! And please let me know what I can do to support you in your fully justified campaign for remuneration appropriate to the valuable functions that you perform.

Colin Thunhurst, Sandbeds

* Email your letters to alistair.shand@keighleynews.co.uk