We need a Roadmap to Recovery for our health services

As the weather improves, our focus must remain on sticking to the rules to control the spread of the virus. The world has changed. Yet we cannot allow life itself to stand still. That means being sensible, keeping our distance, thinking of others – and ultimately adjusting to a new way of living.
 
Much will be said about the recovery of our economy in the weeks and months ahead. Health has been at the forefront of discussions about which businesses may be allowed to re-open and when, as well as how, to work and educate safely. But alongside this correct focus on Covid-related health, we also need to ensure that people in need of health treatment not related to Covid are getting the health services that they need.
 
Across our area many people have had appointments delayed and procedures pushed back. Delay in some of these procedures can mean everyday agony, particularly for the most severe complex back, hip or similar operations. It can mean not being able to work.
 
Our health system is and has been amazing. There is no doubt as to our admiration for the commitment of everyone who has put their shoulder to the wheel in this fight for life. This includes our local GPs and community healthcare professionals, as well as NHS workers on the frontline.
 
And if the Covid levels continue to stabilise, critical healthcare, and then other essential healthcare needs for the nation need increasingly to be met. The Health Secretary has been clear that the restoration of all services needs to get underway. Locally I have been clear with health chiefs that full radiotherapy and other critical treatments must resume immediately.
 
This week I pressed our local health chiefs to draw up and consult on a Roadmap for Health Recovery. We need a clear plan for the steps that need to be taken to restore fully the essential health services on which we all rely.
 
Locally we have Buckland Hospital in Dover, a state-of-the-art facility, as well as the much-loved Queen Victoria in Deal. These two hospitals are well suited to deliver expanded health needs providing local healthcare to those who need it in our community. This is an opportunity for health chiefs, GPs and other healthcare professionals to think about how essential healthcare could be delivered closer to home.
 
Delays to treatment can mean putting up with something that makes it harder to get through each day, as well as losing out on work, which people can ill afford in the coming period. Delays can mean worse outcomes in the long run, and in some cases, the difference between life or death.
 
That’s why setting out a Roadmap to Recovery for our Health Services is so important. Because the Covid crisis has brought home to all of us that we cannot take good health for granted, and we need to do everything we can to stay fit, healthy and well.

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