Last Updated: 21 December 2018
Created: 21 December 2018
As we approach Christmas Day, it’s not uncommon for people to overindulge. The quick drink after work; the office Christmas party.
Of course the vast majority of people know their limits and are careful over the festive period, but this weekend will be the busiest of the year for our NHS, with the number of people attending the A&E department at the GWH likely to peak tonight.
From my regular visits to the GWH and meetings with clinicians, it is obvious that we need to increase the capacity of the A&E in order to ensure patients can get the right treatment, in the right place, at the right time.
At a time when we are spending a record amount of money on our NHS, I’m delighted that soon we will see that boost to capacity through a new £30 million state-of-the-art Transitional Care Facility and expanded Emergency Department. I lobbied the Health Secretary and other Ministers personally to deliver this vital new funding for our hospital as well as writing letters to them and senior representatives at NHS England to achieve this result.
This is a key example of how the NHS locally has benefited from significant investment under a Conservative government – and it’s not the only example.
This fantastic news for patients comes as we hear that the Brighter Futures Radiotherapy Centre appeal has reached its £2.9 million fundraising target.
I want to say huge thank you everyone who ran marathons, hosted quiz nights, set-up photography exhibitions or donated to the cause. From small change in buckets to large cheques, every penny will help. It's been great to support many of the fundraising efforts locally and it's been fantastic to see the community come together.
I’m absolutely delighted that we are now one step closer to ending the long and often challenging journeys cancer patients in Swindon have faced – travelling to Oxford, Bath, and Bristol for treatment that will soon be available at the GWH.
I know that Ministers are now looking very closely at the bid for the final amount needed for the build to get underway and I will continue to actively lobby them for this confirmation to come early in the new year.
And in this week before Christmas, we’ve received even more good news. Swindon has been selected as one of just seven towns nationwide to trial proposals for new Mental Health Support Teams in schools as set out in the recent Children and Young People Mental Health Green Paper.
Building on our record mental health spending of almost £12 billion, this important announcement (backed up by £2.3 million of investment) will ensure that all young people experiencing will be able to get access to timely & tailored support which will change lives & ensure they have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
As this is my final weekly article before the festive period, I want to wish everyone across the town a very happy Christmas.
In particular, I want to pay tribute to all of the wonderful staff from our emergency services, community care teams, and armed forces who will be working over Christmas. While we are enjoying spending time with family and tucking into turkey, they are busy keeping us safe or providing compassionate care to some of the most vulnerable in society.
So when you toast the festive season on Tuesday, please remember to keep all of them in your thoughts.