Listen up – we want to be heard

An important part of the new Big Society is the promise that those in power are listening to the voice of the people.

If we are unhappy about any proposals and we make a stand then we should expect that the authorities will act accordingly.

The buzz words for this process being bandied about are generally engagement and consultation – in other words talking to and listening to those with an interest in what is going on.

In my book these two words amount to pretty much the same thing but I was told this week that they could, in fact, be quite different.

By all accounts those proposing to close the Darley Birth Centre are holding an engagement process not a consultation procedure and this limits the views they take into account. Those wanting to save the unit are concerned that it may mean their views are not taken into consideration.

What a lot of nonsense. This is just a play on words by those who want to close the unit, or whatever is next in the line of fire, and avoid having to pay lip service to the us – the Big Society.

Listen up NHS. Money might need to be saved and at the moment this unit may be under used but that is because the health service itself does very little to promote it. The people of the Dales want it to stay open and want you to listen to the reasons why – whether that is via engagement or consultation.

Amanda Hatfield, editor