What price a child’s life?

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

“I feel very angry and bitter towards the government.’’ Those are not my words they are from Farcet dad Del Dunworth.

Del’s eight-year-old son Rico faced a desperate fight for life after contracting the deadly Meningitis B bug.

Thankfully, Rico won his fight but the illness took its toll and he had his right foot and part of his left amputated. Rico is a remarkable young man and was a worthy recipient of our Pride In Peterborough child of courage award. He is brave and resilient but he faces challenges no child should have to face.

And what’s worse no child would have to face them if our government looked out for our children properly.

The Government’s consistent refusal to extend the Meningitis B jab to all children means many are still needlessly at risk just like Rico was.

The Government introdued a vaccination programme for children under the age of one but has refused to extend it to all children because it is not “cost effective’’. It is effective at stopping the disease with a 40 per cent fall in cases since the jab was introduced.

It seems our Government can put a price on a child’s life.

This despite more than 800,000 people signing a petition calling for the vaccinations to be offered to all children.

My youngest child missed the cut-off date for the jab by six months and when he starts school he will be in a class where half the children have received the jab free on the NHS.

How can that be fair?

My family has paid taxes all our working lives and yet we are denied this. There are families who have not contributed in the same way yet their children will get the jab?

How can that be fair?

Mrs T and I have decided to pay privately for the vaccine at the not inconsiderable cost of £440 for our two children. Believe me, that has put a considerable hole in our household budget.

We feel it is money well spent, but we know for some parents (although not any who are also MPs) their financial situation makes it impossible for them to even think about going private.

Incidentally, the jabs cost the NHS £20. I wonder where the rest of the money is going? And if the government is going to dig in its heels and not extend the programme why can’t I justbuy it from the NHS for £20?

Times, we are told are hard, although under this Government the rich get richer and, despite plenty of rhetoric, it has not done anything about wealthy businesses which pay less tax than a self-employed plumber in Dogsthorpe.

But sometimes it’s not about pounds (shillings) and pence it’s about doing the right thing. And extending this jab to all children would be the right thing. But that’s not happening.

I feel very angry and bitter towards the Government.

And those are my words.

Top of the league

A story you might have missed in the PT last week was one featuring Dogsthorpe Academy schoolgirls Olivia Cloutman and Anastasja Jurguyte who rushed to the aid of an elderly woman who had fallen and hurt herself.

The youngsters comforted the lady and called an ambulance. They are a credit to themselves, their families, their school and their city.

Good work, girls!

Say it ain’t so

It would be nice to hear a Tory politician make a speech without including the words “I want everyone, whatever their background...’’

I wonder why it is they feel the need to say it? Surely in an advanced 21st century democracy it should go without saying.

Jobs for the girls

First we had Peterborough City Council chief executive Gillian “two jobs’’ Beasley taking on an extra workload with a similar position at Cambridgeshire County Council. Now we have Wendi Ogle-Welbourn, the council’s corporate director of people and communities, adding the role of director of childrens’ services and director of adult social services for Cambridgeshire County Council.

While this might be testament to the abilities of the two women this feels like a major step towards devolution via the back door.

They call it ‘devolution’ but it would be more accurately described as submersion in Cambridgeshire.

U-turn needed

In last week’s column I criticised Peterborough City Council’s plans to alleviate the homelessness crisis by the eviction of scores of families. The story, which was exclusively revealed by PT reporter Joel Lamy and followed up by other media after they’d seen the paper, had an element of black humour about it but not any more after the emergence of the human stories of the people affected. The council should wash its hands of this crazy scheme and do all it can to stop these evictions.

Penny for them

E-mails are the bane of my life and my inbox is often clogged up with companies wanting to advertise their products without paying for it.Normally I hit delete but there is an exception to every rule and that normally occurs when there is the word ‘lingerie’in the subject line. One popped in the other day with attached bumf which said: “it would be great to hear your thoughts.’’

I’m not sure it would be!