EU vote, Jo Cox and Protecting the NHS

Hello all,

I’ve decided to write down my thoughts and opinions on the EU Vote. As I feel passionately about it and want to let others know why I will be voting Remain. I get that everyone has a the right to their own opinion and all I’m asking and hoping for is that which ever way you vote, you all use your right to vote but also make an informed choice- and know what you are voting for and against. But firstly I’d like to explain one of the reasons that I was prompted to write about the subject. The tragic death of MP Jo Cox.

I grew up in a very political family my mam was a local councillor and sat on the planning committee for the local area for a number of years. My grandad was a councillor and also Major of Newport. I grew up delivering leaflets, campaigning for people to vote, visiting many Politian’s houses and I even did my year 11 work experience week with my local MP and helped out at MP surgeries. My sister was an assistant to many MP’s and an MEP, and even stood for election as an AM at one point. So when I heard that an MP had been shot from my BBC News alert I immediately turned on the news, I hoped they had got it wrong but learning they hadn’t- my heart sank.

I thought about all the MPs I know, their families and their team who help them campaign and run their offices. I thought about Jo’s family, her friends and her political family and I prayed for them all, I prayed that by some miracle that Jo would pull through.

On twitter I read the outpouring of support from thousands of people but also read one twisted post who I have no idea who it came from nor do I wish to- about how the Remain campaign would use this to their advantage if she died… I read a lot of backlash for this post and was about to post to get it taken down when I read that my prayers had not been answered that they were too late and Jo had sadly passed away. The post I believe has been removed, regardless of sides on the EU Referendum this is a tragic loss to all, it’s a loss to our government our country, humanity and the world. But love will always be stronger than hate.

As the tears began to stream down my face- I continued to read more about what a wonderful woman she was and the incredible work she has done for our world. My tears were not because I knew her but because I could relate to her, I know many whom that could have been and she cared a huge deal about the charity sector just like me. I feel her loss as do many across this nation.

I hear about how her assistant was with her holding her until the ambulance arrived and think that could have been my sister, someone who has a passion for politics and cares about the future of so many. I think about how Jo woke up that morning excited to meet with her constituents to solve their problems, to listen so she could advocate better for them whilst in parliament. This is what a good MP does, listens to views from all sides and then makes a balanced decision to help their constituents and our nation to be fair and strong in the future. MP’s are people just like you and me, they believe in a better future, they believe in humanity and they believe in democracy, just like you and me.

I’m deeply saddened by these events but immensely proud of how her husband Brendan has spoken out for people to unite against the hatred that killed her and that he wants to continue her work. I agree whole heartedly with Jo Cox’s opening speech at parliament ‘We have far more in common than that divides us.’

My views on the EU vote have also been prompted by a call by Lucy Caldicott (see link) for more charities to join in the debate and share their views and opinions. Now many have chosen to remain silent and I get it- deciding one way or another can be hard enough for one person to do- a charity as a whole even tougher. Plus it risks the support of supporters too who are voting opposing. I’m just hoping that for those who remain silent don’t regret this on Friday morning- this also goes for all those who aren’t sharing their views currently there is still a lot of undecided people out there- sharing your thoughts may help them make up their mind too.

So why am I voting Remain?? Well mainly because my opinion is that we are stronger in the EU than we ever will be out of it. I was diagnosed with a very serious illness in 2010 just 7 weeks before I was due out in the states for 3 months, that 7 weeks saved my life. If I’d made it to the states and been diagnosed 7 weeks later then I would probably not be alive and would have most likely had a second transplant (due to the first taking so long to graft), if I’d made it through by some miracle the cost of treatment would have left my family penniless neither of my sisters would have had the lives they have (both probably wouldn’t have been able to afford their own children) we would have lost our house, the cars and my mum her job (due to needing to be in the states while I had treatment).

Now both sides are currently saying they are going to protect the NHS- the leave campaign claim more money will be saved by leaving and this could go into the NHS (although there is no promise it won’t be spent elsewhere). Currently the NHS sends patients who need rare, complex treatment or treatment not yet available in the UK abroad (mainly to the EU). We also have many medicines, drugs and blood products provided to the UK by our EU partners. (Currently the immune system I receive to keep me alive once a week comes from Germany). This will all be protected if we Remain in the EU but if we leave this will either no longer be possible or come at an added cost to the NHS meaning more stain on the service and those saving claimed to be had by the leave campaign will soon go.

(The subcutaneous immunoglobulin therapy I receive thanks to our german EU partners)

For complex cases doctors are able to share research and treatment options with partner hospitals in Europe (this could be effected to). Research for all conditions is massively important to me as I believe that research will improve the quality of lives and ultimately a cure for many conditions. Currently this is done alongside the whole of the EU meaning a stronger pool of people to get the data from, the continuity across euro so we can better our healthcare, more opportunities for trials. This results in more areas being researched by specialists across Europe and all this research wether it’s preliminary or completed can be shared throughout the eu. If we leave we will be narrowing the trials available for all medical conditions, shutting off and narrowing the research British scientists feed into.

Currently staffing in our hospitals, laboratories and our universities are mixed and we have many EU members in these jobs if we leave their positions could be at risk and also they may choose to leave and work in a country where they can access that data early, work on that trial or research project and educate to a standard recognised by the European Union.

Our NHS is struggling yes, but because of UK government cuts not because of the EU. We are not being over run by EU members using our NHS in fact we spend less on treating our EU partners than the British public spend in EU hospitals. Our NHS is over run by us the British public (some through no fault of their own, some through bad life choices). I’m proud that our NHS does not discriminate. I’m proud our NHS leans on our partners in the EU. Im proud that our NHS is saving thousands of lives whilst remaining a free service for all. Im proud that we are apart of the EU.

I’m not saying the EU is perfect nothing is, but I do believe we have a better chance at improving the UK and the rest of the world as a whole by remaining in the EU.

These are my opinions and the reasons I believe we should #Remain. However, thanks to my political up bringing I know that everyone has their right to their own opinion and it’s ok that we think differently that’s what makes us humans. We are lucky enough to  live in a democracy where everyone’s opinions matter and count. If you haven’t decided which way to vote there is still time to research and get your butts to the polling station it closes at 10pm. What ever you do today if you’re registered to vote- don’t waste it! Don’t let your voice go unheard, make an informed choice but use your right- GO VOTE!!!

What ever the outcome is tomorrow I hope this referendum vote will change how the United Kingdom does things, that future elections will be less slanderous and more factual, that the opinions of all sides are respected. So that we can become better humans and live in a better world.

Get Voting

Wen x

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