One of the greatest privileges of being MP for North Warwickshire and Bedworth is having the opportunity to work with the inspirational teams across the George Eliot Hospital in order to really get an appreciation for the day to day running organisation. So, it was unsurprising to hear at the most recent of my regular meetings with the hospital’s management team, about the "super-human" effort that staff across the George Eliot had put it over the extremely busy Christmas period.
This Christmas was their busiest ever and accounted for them having the fourth biggest increase in demand in the West Midlands. The service that staff at the George Eliot provide to our local community year-round is already second to none, but when I heard about how they had gone above and beyond over the Christmas period, I wanted to ensure that their contribution was recognised at the highest level.
So when I was fortunate to have been selected for a Prime Minister’s Question on 15th January, this proved to be the perfect opportunity. I asked the Prime Minister to join me in thanking George Eliot for their amazing work and also about progress being made on the NHS Workforce plan, which will be critical in ensuring we can attract and retain the amazing people we all rely on to provide our health care services.
I was delighted to hear the Prime Minister praise the team at the hospital and also re-iterate his commitment to our NHS, saying " The people plan will be coming forward in the spring, but I fancy that he already knows some of the details: 50,000 more nurses, 6,000 more doctors in general practice and 6,000 more primary care professionals in general practice. Today, as he knows, the House is legislating to ensure that we guarantee record multi-year funding for our NHS.” I want the George Eliot to be able to benefit as much as possible from this recruitment drive.
I have also had many conversations with the Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, the Secretary of State for Health, about the George Eliot and he has visited the hospital himself. The Secretary of State recognises the importance of the hospital to our community and is fully committed to ensuring that people are able to access high quality services locally. He has told me that hospitals like to George Eliot are a key part of the NHS’s strategy moving forward.
As many of you will know, a health issue which is very close to my heart is breast cancer and I am Chair of a parliamentary group on the subject. I was recently able to secure a meeting for the charity Breast Cancer Now and a number of secondary breast cancer patients with the Secretary of State for Health.
Breast Cancer Now had a number of objectives to improve treatment for those who are affected by secondary breast cancer which they wanted to discuss:
- Delays in diagnosis
- To ensure everyone with secondary breast cancer is supported by a Clinical Nurse Specialist.
- To improve data collection for secondary breast cancer, including a national audit
In the meeting, it was fantastic to hear Matt agreed to work to deliver on all of these objectives, which I believe will really improve outcomes for secondary breast cancer patients. It is good to see how the Government’s commitment to a record increase in NHS spending will benefit patients I have had the privilege of getting to know personally through my work to fight against this horrible disease.