East and North Herts NHS Trust wins national recognition

July 3, 2015

I was very pleased to read that, at the annual Healthcare People Management Association’s awards – held on 18th June – the Trust won the best HR team award and were announced as the overall winners. The Human Resources Team came top in the best HR team category and accepted the award at a London ceremony.

The HR Team is one of many behind-the-scenes departments whose efforts support clinical staff in providing excellent patient care and, as such, is a vital part of the Trust. I am delighted that their hard work is being recognised.


A look at the NHS

November 12, 2014

You cannot have a strong NHS without a strong economy, and you cannot have a strong economy without a strong NHS.

Ed Miliband says that he is the man to save the NHS, but there is simply no evidence in favour of this. What the evidence does show is that the Conservatives in Government have rescued the economy, protected NHS funding, and improved patient care.

The Government realises the central role that the Service plays in our national life, and so made a promise to protect its budget. The Coalition examined the NHS carefully and was able to make savings, but reinvested all those savings back into the NHS, improving the quality of care that patients receive. This has been very successful. Just last year, for example, NHS spending went up by £2.7 billion in real terms, and there has been a 4.4% real terms increase in funding during this Parliament. The most important thing to realise is this: the promise that Labour is making about the NHS going into the next election is less than what the Government has actually delivered during its time in office. This is a remarkable achievement, and one of which I am very proud.

Also, the Government has put local doctors in charge of commissioning, and, because of this, the use of the private sector in the service has slowed significantly. The Shadow Health Secretary talks a lot about integrating health and social care systems, but, in 13 years in power, Labour did nothing about it. The Government has. In April, the Better Care Fund starts, and will see local authority areas coordinate care with the NHS for the first time ever. Labour’s NHS mismanagement and target-based culture allowed the disasters at Mid Staffs to take place. Labour haven’t apologised, but we Conservatives are putting things right.

At the next election, we will promise again to protect and increase the NHS budget, but we are also promising to improve GP access for millions by introducing seven-days-a-week appointments nationwide by 2020; to provide a named GP for everyone, reserving Labour’s terrible decision to scrap family doctors; and to make the UK the best country in the world for the elderly.

Labour’s position is very different:

  • Their hollow funding pledge began to unravel immediately, with the Shadow Chancellor admitting that not a penny of their £2.5 billion promise would materialise in their first year, leading the Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies to describe their mansion tax proposals as ‘guesswork’.
  • Their plans to re-introduce GP access targets based on clinical grounds has been criticised by the Royal College of GPs as ‘ill thought-out’. It will stand in the way of patients getting the appointments they need.
  • In Wales, where Labour do control the NHS through the Welsh Assembly, the budget has been cut by 8%, A&E targets have not been met in any year since 2008, and the Royal College of Surgeons say that patients are dying on waiting-lists.

Labour seriously damaged the economy and the NHS. We Conservatives are rescuing both.


Website launched to gather evidence from NHS workers: www.freedomtospeakup.org.uk

August 8, 2014

This week I was pleased to hear that a website called http://www.freedomtospeakup.org.uk has been launched as part of the Freedom to Speak up Review which is looking at encouraging an open and honest reporting culture in the NHS. This website enables people working in the NHS who have raised a concern whilst at work to provide feedback about how their concern was handled and whether they thought it was dealt with appropriately. This Review follows the Mid Staffordshire Hospital Public Enquiry and the information provided by people online will feed into the Review. It is clear from the findings of the Mid Staffordshire public enquiry that there were chronic failings in the NHS during the Labour years about the ability to raise concerns about the NHS and I encourage constituents who work within the NHS to respond to the Website providing details of their experiences. I understand the closing date for submissions online is 10 September.

Jeremy Hunt and “whole-stay” doctors…

January 24, 2014

Yesterday the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt announced the introduction of “whole stay” doctors who will be in charge of the entire package of a patient’s care. It used to be the case that there was one nominated doctor in charge of each patient admitted to hospital but this practice was phased out by Labour during the last administration. It is difficult for patients and their relatives not knowing who has overall responsibility for their loved one’s care whilst in hospital.

It will be reassuring to know who is in charge and to whom patients and their relatives can address any questions and it allows for proper continuity of care. By having a “whole stay” doctor, there will be one care plan and proper handovers to the patient’s GP once they are discharged.

This new initiative has already been trialled successfully in Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospital in London. In order to extend continuity of care beyond hospitals Jeremy Hunt highlighted the need for named accountable GPs. From April, starting with the over 75s, GPs will be named to ensure there is less chance of a breakdown of communication about a patient’s care plan once they return to the community. This should reduce the risk of possible readmission to hospital. I welcome these two announcements and look forward to patients receiving a better “joined-up” service from the NHS.

Staggering amounts of money lost by the NHS just because of missed appointments….

January 24, 2014

In the National Audit Office report “NHS waiting times for elective care in England” which was published yesterday, I note reference has been made to the huge amount of money which is estimated to have been lost (£225 million) by the NHS by patients missing first outpatient appointments in 2012-13. This is a staggering amount of money to be lost just because of people failing to turn up for appointments.

The NHS is a marvelous institution which provides healthcare for all irrespective of patient means but I do think we need to treat the system with a little respect because of the sheer costs involved when the system is abused. If the £225 million which was lost could be ploughed back into NHS services we might have even more doctors and nurses and better provision of services.

I urge my constituents to keep to their medical appointments where possible and where not, ensure they contact the relevant medical department to let them know they cannot attend an appointment so that the slot can be offered to someone else and money can be saved.

The Lister’s Macmillan Cancer Centre

October 11, 2013

This week I was invited to the turf-cutting ceremony to mark the start of building the new £3 million cancer centre at the Lister hospital in Stevenage. This development will radically improve the Lister’s cancer facilities, double its current chemotherapy capacity and vastly enhance the current patient experience. The building is being funded jointly by the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust and Macmillan Cancer Support. I understand that Macmillan Cancer Support has launched a fundraising appeal for £1.5 million and is looking for donations. The Centre will also provide a greater number of consulting rooms, more staff working areas and access to Macmillan welfare benefit advisors to assist patients with financial concerns.

I was delighted to attend the event with my neighbouring MP for Stevenage Stephen McPartland, representatives from Macmillan Cancer Support, the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, a local patient Tracey and also members from local councils in the Lister catchment area. I believe the building is due to open by next May 2014 which is excellent and I urge people to get donating at: http://www.macmillan.org.uk/donate/macmillan-projects/lister.html

A Call to Action by NHS England

July 11, 2013

NHS England is calling for everyone to engage in debate on the future of healthcare provision in England. In its publication “The NHS: It belongs to the people: a Call to Action,” NHS England has outlined the challenges it believes the NHS (now in its sixtieth year) faces in the coming future. These include an ageing society versus the increasing costs of providing care, the rise of long-term conditions against limited productivity gains and increasing expectations over constrained public resources. With the launch of this document NHS England hope that by entering into dialogue with key stakeholders together with analysis of these challenges, some direction can be reached on how best to contend with these various issues. The engagement is intended to be patient and public centred and will operate through local, regional and national events in addition to online and digital mediums. On the back of this feedback, Clinical Commissioning Groups are scheduled to create 3-5 year commissioning plans which should outline commitments to patients and improvements to services.

I believe this initiative is long overdue and if anyone in my constituency wishes to contribute online, they can do so via the NHS Choices website: http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/thenhs/about/Pages/a-call-to-action.aspx