When the opportunity to participate in a live televised debate on the EU referendum was presented to me, I wanted to be involved as I felt much of the public debate had not been aimed at the young people and now was the time to have my say. I also thought it would be a good opportunity to become more informed so with support from Young's Women Trust, where I am one of their national advisory panel members, I was encouraged to put forward a few questions that could be pitched to either Nigel Farage or Prime Minister David Cameron.
At first I was anxious and unsure of what to ask but as I started to think about if we should remain or leave the EU and its impact on me, I realised that I had a lot of questions that needed answering.
As a young mother, I had concerns about the pressures of being in the EU on the education system. For example, I was worried about finding a suitable school place for my son. It is really hard to get into good schools today, as it seems you have to live on the school's doorstep.
I also had concerns about employment; irrespective of whether we leave or remain, how are going to make sure that jobs are created or targeted towards groups where employment rates are low such as among young people? Would there be more competition if we remain?
I was also very passionate about the NHS, which is why I decided to ask the question. As a clinical trial coordinator within the NHS, I witness firsthand how it struggles to meet the demand of service users on a daily basis. I wanted to know how our Prime Minister planned to deal with the demand that migration puts on the NHS.
I was both excited and anxious when I got the call from ITV informing me that I had been shortlisted to pitch a question to Mr Cameron. I had seen the Prime Minister on these platforms before and he has a habit of going around the question. I wanted to challenge him and ensure that he understood how his decisions affect those on the frontline.
As I arrived at the venue the reality kicked in. I was swept into the green room which was bustling with excited conversations. Everyone was feeling each other out and getting an idea of what sort of questions had been shortlisted. As we walked into the studio and I took my seat I looked down and saw the platform where the debate would happen. In a few moments it was about to become a hot spot and I was excited to be a part of it and become more educated this crucial issue.
The debate was designed so that Cameron and Farage would not debate with each other directly. As a contributor we knew it was our role to challenge these politicians on their answers. I felt even more nervous at the idea that I was defending the NHS.
As they went to an ad break, I knew my time was coming and my heart was pounding. As Julia Etchingham turned to me and the microphone lowered above my head it was time for me ss Cameron. I shot my question at him. 'Mr Cameron I do not have to tell you that the NHS is under immense pressure. We currently do not have enough resources to deal with the demand from the service users. If we remain what plans do you have to deal with the pressure that migration puts on the NHS and its workers?'
He responded by using the argument that the economy is stronger if we remain in the EU, and that we currently have 50, 000 EU nationals working in the NHS. But his response felt unsatisfactory which is why I continued to press him on the issue as well as offering him an insight into the challenges I and my co-workers face as frontline members of the NHS. Even his follow up response, regarding an extra £12 billion investment into the NHS did not placate nor answer my question. It is easy to throw figures around but I wanted a plan. I am still waiting to receive an answer.
I was frank with Mr Cameron stating that my co-workers and I are provide excellent patient care so as Prime Minister, he needs to provide us with the resources we need so that we can continue to do our jobs effectively. He thanked me for the service I provided and then remained silent. I never thought when arriving at the venue that I would silence the PM!
I was disappointed that he did not have a proper response as I genuinely wanted to hear something that could have motivated front line NHS staff and given us reassurance that we will be properly resourced and supported to meet demand. I am currently sitting on the fence on whether to leave or remain. The fact that my PM could not give me reassurance is worrying.
I am not particularly clued up on politics, I just had a question and a chance to speak to the man in charge. But the process did make me think, as a young person, our voices matter and more young people should do the same! The decisions which are made on behalf of this country affect everyone irrespective of age, gender or race and we have a part to play in it. Rather than complain when something goes wrong, I would urge people to get informed and speak out. Influence your peers and engage others and most importantly VOTE! Young voices matter as much as anyone else. It was a young person voice that silenced Cameron last night so imagine what we could do together?
HuffPost UK Young Voices is running a fortnight-long focus on the EU Referendum, examining what is at stake for Britain's young people on 23 June and why it's imperative you register to vote and have your say. If you want to have your say and blog on our platform around this topic, email email@example.com. Register to vote here.
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