To whom it may concern,
I am writing to express concern about one of your staff members, Dr. Caroline Johnson, a part-time paediatric consultant at Peterborough City Hospital and M.P. for Sleaford and North Hykeham. Her vote to deny vulnerable children free school meals during the half-term break at a time when their parents face severe economic hardship is seriously alarming.
I no longer live in the constituency but I grew up just outside of Sleaford and completed my secondary education in the town during the mid 2000’s. Later, I worked in a supermarket in a Working Class community. I am acutely aware that Sleaford, indeed the entire county of Lincolnshire has significant rates of poverty compounded by the rural nature of the area.
If the pandemic and debate about whether children should be fed had occurred during my schooldays, some of my rural classmates would have gone hungry and their situation would have been even more desperate due to the relative isolation of communities in the central and south-western areas of the county.
As a youth worker I have undergone the safeguarding and child protection training that comes with such roles. I am sure Dr. Johnson will have completed similar training, with regular updates. Like me, Dr. Johnson has a duty of care to protect children and young people from harm. The Children Acts 1989 and 2004 codify this duty of care in statue and highlight the role of the NHS in keeping them safe. One of the basic principles of this legislation is to allow children to be healthy and help them to succeed.
By voting against feeding children at half-term, Dr. Johnson shows a blatant and abject disregard for her duty of care. This casts doubt on her fitness to treat vulnerable patients as a paediatric consultant. Has she forgotten the Hippocratic Oath? Has she sacrificed the ethics of her profession to her political career?
We are all aware of the importance of healthy, balanced diets in relation to child development and nutrition. Poverty significantly diminishes their chance of consuming such a diet. McDonald’s is now offering one million meals free to families affected by the government’s failures. Does Dr. Johnson truly believe, in her medical opinion, that vulnerable children’s nutritional needs are better met by fast food than school meals prepared to strict nutritional standards?
I wish that my concerns be taken seriously by the NHS Trust.
If anyone would like to add their name to this letter, whether or not they reside in Lincolnshire, please e-mail wsol at riseup dot net or use the contact form.
Gary Stacey (IWW)
Peregrin Scotney (IWW)
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