We all have difficult decisions – what will yours be?

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More people choosing between public health advice or putting food on the table and a few quid on the key, says Labour’s Pat Osborne

Like many others, the Covid crisis currently dominates my thoughts. Having contracted the virus at work, I was one of the many people celebrating a different kind of Christmas. Double- jabbed and boosted, symptoms where thankfully very mild in my case, but we’re currently seeing infection numbers ballooning and bracing ourselves for impacts of this on the NHS.

In North Dorset, the planned temporary closure of Minor Injury Units in Blandford and Sherborne from January promises to protect the NHS.

But as the recent problems with access to GP services in Blandford demonstrated, people living in isolated rural areas are considerably more vulnerable when part of our NHS infrastructure is removed, even temporarily.
Although undoubtedly intensified by the current public health crisis, a social media post from five years ago popped up in my timeline last week to remind me that a ‘winter crisis’ in the NHS was not a new phenomenon. It has been happening with increasing intensity since the Government introduced its programme of austerity in 2010.

Tory hypocrisy

Nevertheless, we are where we are, and despite Westminster’s ‘do as I say, not as I do,’ hypocrisy (which does untold damage) it’s important that we continue to look out for each other. For the foreseeable future, this means wearing masks, washing hands, taking tests, and getting jabs.
But we must also be patient with one another. Government support for small businesses and those on Universal Credit has ‘dried up,’ despite the exorbitant cost of gas and electric and the rising cost of living. We can therefore expect more and more working people to be faced with a difficult decision between following the public health advice to the letter or putting food on the table and a few quid on the key.

Cllr Pat Osborne Labour’s former Parliamentary Candidate for North Dorset

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