STANDING UP FOR LOCAL FARMERS
I recently spoke in a parliamentary debate about the future of the UK as a trading nation.
The Trade Bill will enable the UK to replicate current trade agreements that the UK is party to as a member of the European Union, following Brexit. It will also set up a Trade Remedies Authority to advise the Government on trade disputes.
The UK has a long and proud trading tradition of promoting free trade and once it exits the EU Customs Union, will once again pursue an independent trade policy.
The main point of my speech was to highlight the need for safeguarding measures to ensure a level playing field when goods are brought into this country – especially for farmers in Saffron Walden who have raised this issue with me.
“Our farmers work to some of the highest food and environmental welfare standards in the world. The Red Tractor scheme, for example, guarantees animal welfare, food safety, traceability and environmental protection in the UK.
As we pursue a free trade and free market agenda it is vital that we demand the same standards of farmers in other countries as we do of our own. We must have a level playing field.”
“I look forward to seeing more trade with developing countries, in particular those badly affected by the common agricultural policy. This is an opportunity not just to get food at cheaper prices, but to use the strength of our large market to help other countries to achieve high standards in food production and animal and environmental welfare.”
The Bill passed by 33 votes so will go on to receive further scrutiny in the House.
NHS FUNDING LOCALLY
NHS funding and facilities is being increased significantly in Mid & South Essex. There are also substantial plans for improving specialist care.
Investing in new facilities (STP): Across the whole of the NHS for England the local services are developing “Sustainability and Transformation Plans” (STPs). Our STP in Mid Essex is planning over £118M capital investment for our hospitals’ buildings and sites. This money will be spent to:
· Increase the total number of hospital beds by about 50
· Build new operating theatres
· Improve technology to make it easier to work across hospital sites
All three main hospitals will benefit from this additional investment as follows: Southend Hospital £41M, Basildon Hospital £30M, Broomfield Hospital £19M.
It is anticipated that a further £28M will be invested in additional technology and facilities that will benefit all three hospitals such as ensuring shared records across all sites.
A public consultation is taking place to enable a detailed business plan to be submitted before final approval. This process is likely to be completed in late summer 2018.
Increasing capacity: In Mid Essex NHS capacity has increased significantly. There are now 121 more hospital doctors and 191 more nurses than in 2010. The NHS is performing more operations and diagnostic tests than ever before.
2009/10 – 63,200
2016/17 – 72,235
Difference – 9,035
2009/10 – 73,587
2016/17 – 119,466
Difference – 45,879
Funding is also increasing – this year’s funding for Mid and South Essex STP is £1.9 billion, between 2015/16 and 2020/21 funding is expected to rise on current plans by £331.7 million – a cash increase of 19%.
The NHS Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group received £451.7 million in 2017/18 – a cash increase of 2.52% on the previous year and is set to receive £462.8 million in 2018/19 – a cash increase of 2.45%.
Training new Doctors: The Government has announced plans to increase the number of medical students in training to become Doctors by 1,500 a year. Anglia Ruskin University has announced plans to open a new Medical School in Chelmsford, and has already started work on a £20 million new building. This is already increasing the opportunities for experienced staff to take part in research and teaching.
Specialist Stroke services: The Hospitals are considering joining together their stroke teams in order to provide a specialist stroke unit to lead the network of stroke services, and continue to provide stroke care at each of our three hospitals. They propose to develop a specialist stroke unit at Basildon Hospital. The reason for choosing Basildon is that high dependency stroke services should have close links with the specialist skills of the existing Essex Cardiothoracic Centre for heart and lung problems. The local A&E team would be equipped and able to diagnose and stabilise the patient’s condition and initiate treatment. Advanced imaging and initial treatment for the majority of strokes would continue to be available at each local A&E.
I believe in continuous improvement and know that there is always more that can be done. Bad headlines often obscure the good work that is taking place in our NHS. It’s not perfect all the time but I cannot emphasise enough how much of a priority it is for this government and the effort being put in to make sure it works well for you.
MY HOME IN THE CONSTITUENCY
Whenever Parliament is not sitting – Fridays, weekends, recess, Christmas etc. – my family and I are in the constituency. When Parliament is sitting during the week my husband and children stay with me in London otherwise, given the hours I work, I would never see them. This is a common arrangement used by many MPs with young families.