UKIP members’ fury over A&E meeting snub
7:48am Wednesday 6th March 2013 in Local
MEMBERS of Bolton’s UKIP branch have been left fuming amid claims hospital campaigners made them feel “unwelcome”
at a meeting because of their political views.
A meeting of the Save Bolton A&E campaign took place at 6pm at Bolton Town Hall yesterday, but Frances Raftery, acting secretary of UKIP Bolton, claims she was told in an email from the campaign’s coordinator, Karen Reissmann, that “concerns had been raised” about the group’s planned attendance.
The email added, she claimed, that the NHS was “proudly built and is run by a very multi-cultural staff”, that it treated a “very multi-cultural group of patients”, and that the campaign did not want to be “used” by a party that had made no contact with it before.
The campaign was launched in response to cuts at the Royal Bolton Hospital, as well as a Greater Manchester- wide healthcare review, called Healthier Together which opponents believe could threaten Bolton’s A&E department.
Mrs Raftery, aged 71, said: “Bolton Hospital is my hospital. I used to work in the hospital laundry when I was in college. My eldest son was born there 50 years ago this May, and all my children and grandchildren and myself have been treated there over the years.”
The retired science teacher, of Car Bank Street, Atherton, added: “To be excluded from it on the grounds of the party we support I think is a total disgrace.”
Ms Reissmann said: “No one has been banned from any group. I passed on concerns that had been raised with me and wanted to let Mrs Raftery know what our group stood for.”
North West Euro MP and UKIP deputy leader Paul Nuttall said: “The inference is that we are a racist party, but that is totally untrue. We have no problem with people whatever their ethnicity and have election candidates, members and supporters from various racial backgrounds.”
The Bolton News went to the meeting but our reporter was asked to leave by the chairman, who said it was a “private panel meeting”, despite the meeting being advertised publically on the group's website, which says “anyone who wants to help is welcome”.