LETTER: Hustings issues

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I wonder how many other potential voters having been disappointed by the stage management and selective questions, not to mention the deliberate exclusion of certain candidates from the platform, at election hustings?

The failure to allow discussions between audience and candidates flies in the face of true democracy. In the past, hustings used to give the public free rein to question the candidates and the heckling, which was often noisy but good natured, allowed freedom of opinion, while giving equal opportunity to each candidate to present their political case.

Probably the most obvious omission recently has been the lack of permitted questions relative to the NHS and health service provision in West Sussex.

I have already raised the issue at political level with regard to the increasing rate of house building in West Sussex relative to the severely pressured health services, not least on our own local hospitals and GPs, but also schools, etc.

There is a desperate need for housing but if the health infrastructure itself is not strengthened accordingly, the system will collapse to the detriment of the entire population.

We have an ageing population combined with areas of social deprivation, some falling within the top 10 per cent in England, already demonstrating an increasing and steady rise in demand that shows no sign of lessening. The smaller housing developments are sprouting like mushrooms and collectively are equal to the larger single developments by well-known building companies.

Now is the time for hospital and community care budgets to be integrated in order to provide a more efficient and cost-effective system, thus providing a joined-up and seamless service to meet increasing service demand levels. Not to mention a less complicated and angst provoking process than exists at present, despite the very best efforts of all those involved in the currently convoluted and time consuming systems.

Health is the most precious component of life itself. Good health care is essential for a healthy and productive nation. It is not a privilege or benefit - it is a right. And so is democracy.

Barbara Porter

Rectory Road


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