Health and Social Care

Everyone relies on the NHS and it is rightly the Government’s biggest priority after delivering Brexit. Record investment is now pouring in - but more must be done to make sure the money reaches the front-line here in Wiltshire.

I hear all the time about the strain the local NHS is under, and the impact this has on patients. Some people wait weeks for a GP appointment - and almost a year for an appointment with the memory service for dementia sufferers. In an increasingly elderly community like ours, this is unacceptable. 

Acute healthcare - specialist care and A&E - is chronically overstretched. People in the Devizes constituency have to travel to Swindon or Salisbury for hospital appointments. Swindon hospital is clearly too small for the demand it experiences.

I recently welcomed the Health Secretary Matt Hancock to Devizes to discuss the plans for the Urgent Care Centre. He confirmed the funding is in place and building will begin later this year, with the new centre expected to open in 2021.This will significantly reduce demand on our local hospitals and GPs.

More needs doing, however. Like everywhere, we suffer a shortage of doctors and other medical staff. It seems extraordinary that a place like Marlborough should struggle to attract doctors, but we have vacant posts here and across the constituency. It is good that the Government is investing in staff - more training places and improved pay packages - and I will work hard to ensure the new investment feeds through into more local doctors, and shorter waiting times. 

I also hear about the difficulties people have in travelling to medical appointments, both locally to the GP and further afield to hospital. The fantastic Volunteer Link service - local people giving time as drivers to take people to and from their appointments - is indispensable and a great example of the community self-help I believe in. I will do what I can to support this service and expand it, and where necessary fight for public funding to help with the costs of travel.

News

My thoughts on Social Care

Since the Government announced its new plan for adult social care and how it would be funded earlier this month I have received a number of emails from constituents on the topic. These responses are mixed – with some for and some against.

My visit to Age UK Wiltshire

I had the pleasure of meeting a group of older people and their carers, and staff from Age UK, at Devizes Town Hall today. They explained the enormous challenges that people face in navigating the social care system, which is not simply underfunded but impossibly complicated.

Work to start on Devizes Health Centre this month - 19 May, 2021

I am so pleased to hear from Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group this morning that work can now start on the Devizes Health Centre, a project which has been in discussion for a long time and will provide real value to residents of Devizes.