My October Halesowen News Column

When we talk about the NHS it’s often with a national outlook. An extra £20billion as part of a new five year settlement. £760 million for capital investment projects for 39 new hospitals and community services. And a plan to recruit 15,000 new doctors between 2015 and 2020.

As good as these figures sound, the vast majority of people want to know what this means in their local area, and the impact it will have on them, their family and friends.

The new Midland Metropolitan Hospital hit a stumbling block this year with the collapse of the construction contractor, Carillion. Following months of negotiations the Government committed to keeping the much needed new hospital on track which will open in 2023. The new facilities are part of £475 million package, which will see the shape of local health care in Sandwell transformed.

In addition to this we have seen the reopening of new wards at Rowley Hospital, and the addition of a day hospice which is providing care for patients with life-limiting illnesses. A far cry from the days when wards were closing pre-2010.

In Dudley there have been recent problems with standards at Russell Hall’s A&E. Part of my job as your local MP is when things are going wrong to challenge the senior executives to find out what is causing the problems, and find resolutions. Sometimes this means having difficult conversations with people but I wouldn’t be doing my job properly if I wasn’t calling out bad practice.

I have been working very closely with the Trust, Dudley’s Clinical Commissioning Group and Care Quality Commission to get a better understanding of this, talking with senior managers, clinicians and patients. It’s clear that things have to change at Russells Hall A&E and I will be paying close attention to the improvements made to ensure they are happening quickly enough, and patient care is improved.

The Chancellors Budget this week proved the NHS is the Governments top priority, we’re making sure it has the right amount of money, is efficient, is properly staffed and providing world class health care. The NHS is embedded in every one of our local communities and we have a costed out plan to secure its future, and ensure its there for when you need it.