06 MAY 2019

East Suffolk Extra Column - 3rd May 2019

"This weekend I'm representing the UK at the G7 Environment Ministers summit in Metz to discuss our joint approach to tackling climate change and the natural environment. Since 2010, the UK's carbon emissions have fallen by a quarter and our use of renewable electricity is at a record high. The East Coast is at the epicentre of the production of non-carbon energy but there is still more to do to tackle the dangers of climate change. As residents near Sizewell and Friston know though, proposed sites for associated infrastructure must be carefully scrutinised for their impact on the local environment. That is why the Government have asked independent experts to advise us on setting a date to achieve net zero emissions and will use their advice to make even more progress in this area. It is my ambition and that of my Ministerial colleagues to leave the environment in a better state for the next generation – and I'm fully focussed on doing that.

As part of the commemorations to mark 70 years of the National Health Service, the NHS Parliamentary Awards were set up. This year I nominated a team of NHS heroes after they saved the East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust 3,800 hours by developing virtual robot technology. The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) team, led by Deputy Director Daren Atkins, are up for an award in the Future NHS category for their work in tackling inefficiencies through technology. One example of this are their efforts in developing virtual robots, which work behind the scenes to cancel and reallocate outpatient appointments when a patient texts to cancel via the appointment reminder service. The projected savings for a year are £1.5million, offering an additional 15,000 clinic appointments to patients. Automation is also being used in the cardio-respiratory department to book diagnostic procedures and to handle incoming supplier invoices, reducing the need to print paper and waste expert finance resources. The work that Darren and his team are doing locally is having a really positive impact on patient care. Since July 2018, virtual robots have given 3,800 hours back to the workforce, that's 101 weeks' worth of time to spend supporting patients."

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