14 JUL 2017

Star Column - 12th July 2017

"Since the General Election my constituency work has been firmly focussed on the health agenda – championing patients. As you may have seen in article in last week's East Anglian, I'm highly concerned that the East of England Ambulance Service is pressing ahead with their plans to create super hubs, which would leave no ambulances stationed in the Suffolk Coastal constituency at all. I'm worried that all the work I and others did holding the ambulance service to account to get them to improve their response times will be put at risk by their proposal - especially in relation to the Stroke 60 target, where patients suffering a stroke have to get to hospital within 60 minutes to maximise their ability to recover. I have written to the Chief Executive of the Ambulance Service, Robert Morton on this and I am arranging another meeting for ambulance bosses to come to Parliament so we can quiz them on their plans.

Another one of my long standing health campaigns has been trying to get the money from the sale of both Southwold Community and Patrick Stead hospitals re-invested in local healthcare provision. After many, not very fruitful exchanges with NHS Property – there is some hope with the publication of the Naylor Review. The review, which the Prime Minister has indicated that she is formally accepting, states that any sale receipts from locally owned assets will not be recovered centrally provided the disposal is in agreement with the local Sustainability and Transformation Plan. The Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG 'Shape of the System' plan promised that NHS nursing beds in local care homes would be provided instead of keeping the two hospitals open because it was clinically sound to do so. Despite the need for capital to be invested into this plan, there has been no previous guarantee that the money from the sale of the hospitals would be invested locally. I have asked the Secretary of State to intervene directly on this matter to support the 'Shape of the System' plan and to realise the recommendation set out in the review.

It was Seafarers' Awareness Week recently - and to mark the occasion I paid a visit to Felixstowe Seafarers Centre where I met some sailors and the Centre Manager. The Seafarers' Centre is an oasis on the port where seafarers are made to feel very welcome by the friendly staff and volunteer helpers. There's a chapel, a bar, shop, recreation area for table top games, TV room and a quiet room to sit and write home. I'm proud that such a fantastic service exists within Suffolk Coastal."

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