Southport CARES for children

The expulsion of Southport's MP, John Pugh from CARES (28th August 2003)

The following is a small extract from the original CARES site, which is provided here for information purposes. 

There appears to be some confusion as to exactly 'why' former Southport MP John Pugh was expelled from the hospital campaign group CARES. 

CARES was created by bringing together parents and politicians from different parties with the sole aim of reinstating our lost children's services. The thought and reasoning behind the idea was a good, honest one initiated by the Southport Party. It worked well at first on the face of it but alongside our campaign was the local Champion newspaper which was campaigning for a Minor Injuries Unit in the town. By day CARES members were reading how John Pugh "fully" supported the Champion's campaign and by evening we were meeting with John Pugh who was supporting our aims which totally conflicted with what he was reported to have said in the Champion. CARES members could not understand this and when asked by members, John Pugh largely avoided the issue without properly explaining his motives or loyalties.

After the fantastic protest march of August 2003, which saw the town united for one aim, the disintegration started to creep in. Meetings were held with TV crews by some CARES members without telling the others. Some members even held hospital interviews with TV crews present without consulting the whole group. Some of the group were supportive of a Minor Injuries Unit and others were not. A divide had occurred and the members who were true to the original goal of the campaign, i.e. full restoration of services, were sadly forced to take action as the other members of the group were diluting the main aims that CARES was created to follow.

Subsequent to this unfortunate turn of events CARES democratically voted to expel those members (and stand-in members) who were 'not' acting in the best interests of the CARES originally-decided (by the residents of Southport) mandate. This distressing decision was certainly not taken lightly but the Steering Group had no other alternative available. The campaign had to be protected from unscheduled and undecided revision by persons seeking to compromise our position with the NHS trust and other powers that be. We had a duty to do what we had to for the children's sake!

Following this understandably unpopular action CARES members were roundly attacked in the local press by John Pugh MP who even incredibly brought the private religious beliefs of one of our team of volunteers into the situation. His personal assistant, Tony Dawson, also attacked CARES members over a period of several months under the guise of 'Tonio' on a popular Southport chatroom forum. CARES members asked Mr Pugh to halt this situation but nothing was done. Even Libdem leader Charles Kennedy was informed yet he did nothing to stop the abuse, although he did promise to tell Mr Pugh of CARES concerns. Finally Mr Dawson was banned by his ISP from the chatroom. One of our members later had a suspected miscarriage which she claims was partially due to the unwarranted stress of the ongoing situation. Mr Dawson's long-standing internet abuse crusade against CARES volunteers has recently been reported in the Oldham Press a town where he is standing as a political candidate. He was a stand in member of CARES during the protest march as Mr Pugh was away on a family holiday at that time.

Perhaps now Mr Pugh will understand why he was 'removed' from the CARES campaign? No doubt that now this factual information has been uploaded, there will be an outcry of how it is incorrect but people will argue forever. This is and always has been the truth of the matter. The CARES team, as it now stands, is a highly committed unit that has stuck together through many bad times but have come through it stronger and more determined than ever in the continuing effort to fight for the reinstatement of Southport children's lost emergency services. We will work with the PCT, NHS Trust and other campaigners but we will do so on a direct basis. These organisations understand the CARES stance; we will not allow previous disagreements to tarnish such a vital issue as the health and well being of the children who live and visit this town.

CARES have no interest whatsoever in point-scoring politicians (from any party) who have political axes to grind, name-call others in the press and on the internet and allow their imagination to run amok with anyone who fails to share their particular viewpoint.

Recent (2010) hollow lip-service attempts to appease the concerns of the Southport public by the NHS are unacceptable. 

We have a vital task ahead for the safety and well-being of our children and we shall let nothing mislead us from this quest!