Happy new year to all my constituents and I hope it is calmer and more constructive than 2018.
However, early signs are not good with some ugly scenes of MPs and journalists being abused outside Parliament while trying to go about their everyday business.
However strongly one feels about Brexit, or any other issue for that matter, the UK is defined by the strength of our democracy and free speech, and if we are to get anywhere we need to have an open and respectful debate.
I am pleased to say that, with a very few notable exceptions, this has always been the case within my constituency and long may it continue.
Away from Brexit there has been some good news on that other treasure which defines our country, the NHS. The excellent chief executive of Western Sussex Hospitals Trust Marianne Griffiths, whose incredible work to make Worthing one of the best hospitals in the country was recognised with the NHS Chief Executive of the Year award a couple of years ago, has now been recognised in the New Year’s Honours.
Many congratulations to Dame Marianne – a very well deserved award as I am sure everyone will agree.
|Also in the news - a Worthing man has said he has been left ‘devastated’ and ‘dumbfounded’ after the body of his cat was handed in by a mysterious stranger; a Worthing man who said he has been barred from The Three Fishes pub wants to know why he is banned from his favourite watering hole; and staff and pupils at a Worthing school are celebrating the result of a successful Ofsted inspection|
Marianne’s good work also extends beyond the county as the management of Western Sussex was parachuted in to sort out Royal Sussex County in Brighton, which had not been so well run.
In September, the Care Quality Commission carried out a planned inspection of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals and this week they published their report with the news that the trust has been rated as ‘good’ overall and outstanding for caring.
The inspectors recognised the ‘huge improvements’ made at the trust, which had previously been rated as ‘inadequate’ and placed into special measures for finance and quality of care.
If only we could bottle the expertise and approach of Marianne and her colleagues and uncork it in the NHS around the country!
Proving that there is life beyond Brexit the first announcement when Parliament returned from the Christmas recess this week was the NHS ten-year plan setting out the vision for how healthcare will maximise the additional £20.5billion annual investment secured for the next five years at least.
I was particularly pleased to see the emphasis on prevention and early detection with genetic tests around the tragedy that is child cancers and better mental health support for new parents and young children especially.
There will also be a welcome emphasis on the use of technology so that people can take more care of their own health through the use of AI and body monitors linked up directly with their GP.
Last year at the Museum of the Future in Dubai I saw an example of a mirror which can give an immediate full body scan to the person standing in front of it and instantly detect any abnormalities and alert the doctor.
The future is already here and if the NHS is to keep up with rising demand from a growing population living longer we all have to be smarter about the way we look after ourselves, and it is great that the NHs will be at the forefront of that.
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