Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham column | Thanks to our wonderful NHS I'm now fully on the mend

There are some weeks where you’re forced to slow down for a bit, whether you want to or not. This week was one of those weeks for me.
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Since taking up the role I have made it my mission to represent all constituents, and to learn more about those who have a different culture and heritage but have made Burnley their home.

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Because it’s only by understanding different perspectives that I can fully represent. It’s for that reason that two weeks ago I visited Bangladesh. There I met with local politicians, the Prime Minister, and visited the largest refugee camp in the world – housing the Rohingya who fled Myanmar.

Burnley MP Antony HigginbothamBurnley MP Antony Higginbotham
Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham
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Unfortunately though, whilst there, I picked up a nasty bug which led me to a hospital visit this weekend. I wouldn't normally comment on my health, but at the start of the week my office was receiving calls from journalists, and a small number of opposition councillors had started to spread some rumours indicating my condition was more serious than it was – including by telephoning Conservative councillors to say so.

This was incredibly disappointing and not how I conduct politics. But there were far more who got in touch to offer me their good wishes, and I’d like to thank them and all the residents who emailed or messaged.

I also want to offer a huge thank you to all the staff at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust who looked after me. We all know the pressures they are under but their compassion and knowledge was second to none.

And whilst not the time or circumstances I’d have necessarily chosen, it was really good to see all the UCLan medical students – doctors and nurses – in training whilst I was there.

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Given all of this, my week has been significantly altered. I had planned a series of coffee and cake sessions to give people the opportunity to come and have an informal chat with me about any topic.

Having run these previously I know how well they work. And whilst I wasn’t able to attend the ones in Hapton or Briercliffe at the start of the week, I was well enough to go to both Linkbridge Community Centre and to visit Ightenhill.

This weekend I’ll be back at it full throttle. And will be doing my bit to support all of our brilliant local election candidates as they hit the doorsteps.

As a final note, I’d like to wish you all a very Happy Easter.