More and better local healthcare has always been a key priority of mine. The more services that can be provided in our local hospitals, the better – as it spares people long and expensive journeys. Just as it is so important that we get waiting lists down and the quality of care up as quickly as possible.
That’s why I have long pressed the case for more services to be provided from Deal’s much loved Victoria Hospital and Dover’s Buckland Hospital. As well as why I have battled to secure improvements in the quality of East Kent maternity services. Increasingly I am focussed on how we can get waiting lists down following the pandemic.
The recent decision by health chiefs to move blood testing services out of Deal Hospital to GP surgeries has caused deep and understandable community concern. Especially as it was done without any community consultation.
Concerns have been raised with me that there have been a number of problems since the services were moved. As the health bosses did not hold a consultation, I now plan to. I will seek views from every household in Deal and Walmer and affected villages on local healthcare service provision. It’s vital that people can have their say on blood testing services as well as provide feedback on their experience of the local NHS. It’s so important to make sure that local healthcare is delivering what is wanted and needed by residents.
Yet it’s more than just seeing more services provided locally. Quality of service matters too. Our healthcare professionals do a superb job. Yet we have seen some areas of real concern in East Kent’s acute hospitals – maternity services being a particular case in point. I have been robust in my discussions with hospital chiefs that maternity services must improve.
We need to get the NHS back on track more generally following the pandemic. It was understandable that our NHS should be 110 per cent focussed on beating the virus. In this, the NHS and the British people were successful by the application, dedication and resolve shown. It has been such a difficult time, with so many families losing loved ones or livelihoods. Yet we have come through this together and we have led the world in vaccination and re-opening.
Now we need to focus on getting things back to normal. Getting the NHS back to normal will not be easy. A huge backlog of operations and other medical procedures built up during the pandemic. It will all take a long time to clear. Yet it’s vital we act as swiftly as we can – especially where people need the most urgent treatment, such as people who have cancer or suffer from heart disease.
More and better local healthcare matters to us all. More locally provided services, higher quality care and shorter waiting lists. These are the things that matter to me – because they matter to us all.