Article for Tiptree Tribune

The NHS faces heavy pressures at the moment as demand on services increases during the winter. I pay tribute to doctors, nurses and other staff in our NHS who are working hard to support patients. 
 
Despite some of the reporting in the media and the misleading propaganda put out by the Labour Party about the NHS and targets, record numbers of patients are being seen in Accident and Emergency departments and thousands more patients are being seen within four hours than there were in 2010. On top of this, 850,000 more operations are being carried out each year because Conservatives in Government made a commitment to put more money into the NHS. Extra money has also been put into the NHS to cope with additional winter pressures and long term funding is being made available to meet growing demand. 
 
In addition, our reforms to the NHS have meant that we’ve been able to cut bureaucracy and invest more money on frontline services. As such, there have been 19,000 managerial posts removed from the NHS and instead 9,000 more doctors, 3,000 more nurses and 6 million more people getting in-patient appointments. The Cancer Drugs Funds has also made new treatments available to cancer patients.
 
Record amounts of funding is being given to the NHS because we have kept the commitment give at the last General Election to protect spending on the NHS. A further £5 billion is being made available through the Better Care Fund to help integrate health and social care services to improve the support available to the elderly and vulnerable. 
 
Britain is only able to afford to put this money into the NHS because of the choices that have been made to control public spending and introduce policies to support economic growth and job creation. You cannot have a strong NHS without a strong economy to pay for it – and if you do not have a long-term economic plan for the economy, you do not have a plan for the future of the NHS.
 
The Conservative commitment to the NHS is clear. We’ve increased the NHS budget by £12.7 billion over this Parliament and will continue to make real-terms increases if we’re elected in 2015. The Chancellor has announced £2 billion of additional funding for frontline NHS services every year in England from 2015/16. This is part of a multi-year £3.1 billion UK-wide investment in the NHS
 
By contrast, the Labour Party said that it would be “irresponsible” to increase spending on the NHS and protect it from cuts. Had Labour had their way, the NHS in England would have had its budget slashed, services would have been cut, and more people would be waiting longer for operations and treatments. Moreover, by wrecking the economy, under Labour there would not be enough money to fund the NHS in England at present record high levels.
 
In Wales, where the Labour Party run the NHS, people are facing long waiting times to be seen at A & E and face worse care than in England. Labour have also opposed the Better Care Fund, which means that they would abandon those most in need of treatments and support out of hospital. We should never let standards in the NHS in England fall as they are in Wales.
 
As well as putting more money into the NHS in England and introducing reforms to cut waste, the Government is working with the NHS to raise standards and the quality of care. Readers will have seen the reports of hundreds of unexpected deaths at Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust between 2005 and 2009 as patient care suffered. Patients were abused, staff bullied, and concerns ignored as the Trust prioritised meeting targets rather than quality of care. These incidents, which happened under Labour, should never be repeated and under the current Government there has been a positive change in culture in the NHS in England.
 
Locally, we are seeing that change in culture leading to a focus on improving patient care. Support from the Government is being given to Colchester Hospital to help it improve the services it delivers and the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust is being supported as it recruits more paramedics. NHS staff feel more confident in speaking up where they see problems and Trusts are taking action in response.
 
At a time when the NHS is facing increased demand and pressure, the extra investment from the Government and focus on quality of care is welcome.
 
If anyone has any questions or comments about local health services, or any other issue, feel free to contact me by email to: [email protected] by post to: Priti Patel MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or by telephone on: 020 7219 3528.
 

A12/A120 Consultations

Strategic Road Network Consultations

There are two important consultations running at the moment on key strategic road infrastructure improvements - the A12 widening scheme and the upgrading of the A120. Priti has been campaigning to secure new investment in these roads and has welcomed the consultations taking place. Members of the public can review the proposals for the A12 and A120 at the weblinks below, attend consultation events, and respond to the consultation. Feel free to also contact Priti by email to: [email protected] with your views too.

Widening the A12

Upgrading the A120

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