Mental and physical healthcare improvements locally and nationally

Sir Peter Bottomley, MP for West Worthing
Sir Peter Bottomley, MP for West Worthing

With hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons threatening coastline population across the world, we know it is good fortune or good judgment to live in West Sussex. There are other devastations we could do more to prevent.

I recommend that we all get our flu vaccinations – free for the young, the old and the vulnerable. It is worthwhile at low cost for healthy adults.

It is important that our young generations are protected against other diseases that endanger their lives. One is the human papillomavirus (HPV), the cause of numerous diseases, including fatal cancers.

It has been estimated that HPV is the cause of at least five per cent of all cancer cases in the United Kingdom. With medical experts and with many of my colleagues and friends I still campaign to achieve so-called herd immunity – enough both boys and girls vaccinated to make it impossible for an epidemic to spread far.

For many years we relied upon vaccinating only girls. HPV is not just an issue for women – it is an issue for men too. We will soon prevent unnecessary cancers in men as well as better protecting women.

One highlight of a busy week came when I could slip briefly into the Offington Church event that concluded Worthing Mental Health week. Robert Smytherman and the mayor were properly prominent, supporting the cause. While musicians provided great entertainment, I could quietly collect valuable information at the stalls.

On Wednesday at Westminster, I gained from a briefing on digital health. Many will know the delays and difficulties when a person could and should benefit from psychological therapy. For years the NHS in England has been involved in improving access. The monitoring shows that perhaps the greatest gains have been in our area.

Sometimes digital techniques try to force people into inhumane preciseness. I found that when trying to report a street water main leak. I was forced into a crazy complicated automatic system with no human contact. Just one problem was being forced to give a postcode for a road junction! It took twenty minutes to fail.

Years ago I was asked the same question by an ambulance controller when calling for help for a woman who had fallen near the gasholder. Another time there was a temporary confusion when describing a problem in The Street, Rustington. My questioner tried to convince me that it had to be a something street.

Access to therapy if we are anxious, stressed or depressed is much easier. The telephone number is 0800 074 5560; the website is www.iesohealth.com/westsussex – you will be asked to confirm registration with a local GP.

The service will then clear your possible recommended therapy with the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust who commission the service. Online therapy could help many of us and the outcomes are better with the great gain of cutting delays in access to help.

There is another advantage that I want to help achieve. University students can be miserable and vulnerable. Most have a great time, working successfully and developing other interests and lifelong friendships.

I encourage all to tell their university supervisor and their medical practitioner that parents can be contacted if worries develop about their failing mental health. Online therapeutic courses can bridge university terms and holidays. We should be able to overcome boundaries.

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