May 1, 2008
Few things matter more to my constituents than the state of local health services.
Few things matter more to my constituents than the state of local health services. There have been grounds for concern over the last few years. We have had to deal with uncertainty about the future of much loved specialist hospitals at Harefield and Mount Vernon. Our Primary Care Trust has had to manage one of the biggest financial deficits in the system. It has become more difficult to find a dentist on the NHS. Meanwhile Hillingdon Hospital has had its own difficulties trying to deliver a 21st century health service out of antiquated facilities. As an MP you are exposed to the very personal stories of suffering and loss when things go wrong, and it is hard not to feel anger when confronted with stubborn bureaucracy and internal politics coming before the interests of patients. However it is too easy just to focus on the problems. The truth is a lot of very talented and dedicated professionals are working very hard to improve things without much help from politicians who keep wanting to change in the name of ‘reform’. That is why I was so pleased that Andrew Lansley , Shadow Secretary of State for Health , accepted my invitation to visit Hillingdon and Mt Vernon Hospitals last week. It was an opportunity for him to see the case for modernisation of Hillingdon Hospital , and hear directly from Community Voice the strength of local feeling in support of keeping cancer services at Mount Vernon. He was impressed by our success in putting together 77,780 signatures in support of the petition. The truth is that we need to keep battling to secure the future of Mount Vernon as a modern community health facility. This year will see yet another review of cancer services and there remains a risk that Health Authorities in Hertfordshire will continue to press for the Mount Vernon centre to be moved closer to their residents. We will resist. "