Monday, 5 September 2011

Returning to Parliament for NHS debate

For the Newtons, like many families around my constituency, it’s back to school, college or university.  The long summer holidays and nail biting anticipation of exam results are over.  And for mum it’s back to Parliament.

The recess has enabled me to pull together some important meetings.  Most notably, inviting the Chancellor, George Osborne, to learn about the Port of Falmouth Master Plan by looking at the area and meeting key supporters of the scheme.

It is much easier to advocate for a place if key decision makers have visited and are familiar with the issues.  So I was equally pleased to welcome the Prime Minister, his wife and baby back to Treliske.

The recess has also enabled me to join in the fun of the many marvellous events organised by a legion of volunteers right across this constituency.  Paddling a home-made raft in the Porthscatho Regatta Raft Race was the most memorable and I am very grateful for the invitation from my intrepid paddling partner.  Congratulations to the organiser Keith Brown and his team for a really grand traditional village regatta.

With sand thoroughly washed from my feet, the first week back in Parliament will be spent debating and voting on amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill.  Over the past months I have been in touch with many constituents who have shared their opinions on all sides of the debate about reform of the NHS.  I appreciate people taking the time to write, e-mail or talking to me.  As we all depend on the NHS to a greater or lesser extent and all want to know that it will provide free, high quality care when we need it, I fully appreciate why any proposed changes cause concern.

I understand that most people who have been in touch with me about the future of the NHS want to see more decisions about their care and the health services they provide taken locally; more involvement of  clinicians, nurses and doctors in developing health services; more patient involvement and greater integration of health and other care services as well as cutting out waste and unnecessary bureaucracy.  I also understand that some people are worried about the introduction of too much competition based on price rather than quality of care and the break-up of the NHS.  I will be making sure that those concerns are fully debated and addressed.

Also this week, as part of the Health and Social Care Bill we will be debating proposed changes to how advice is given to women considering an abortion.  I believe women should be given as much advice and support as possible in coming to such an important and difficult decision.  I want to ensure that women are properly informed by highly qualified people. I support the Government’s plan for an independent review of this advice by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).

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