Henry Smith MP makes GP support and blood cancer call in Queen's Speech Debate

Henry Smith MP has spoken in the House of Commons during the Queen’s Speech debate on the NHS (on Wednesday, 23rd October) calling for greater GP surgery capacity and enhanced support for blood cancer patients.

Henry said;

“We all need the NHS and it’s right that a whole day of the Queen’s Speech debate was dedicated to this most cherished of public services. I welcome the Government’s additional £33.9 billion of funding support for our health service and it’s right we discuss how this is spent.

“In recent years we’ve seen services return to Crawley, but there’s still more to do. On issues such as GP provision, I call on the Government to address waiting times, as the Prime Minister pledged on the steps of Downing Street almost 100 days ago.

“As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blood Cancer I welcome the Government’s commitment to ensure that 75 per cent of cancers are diagnosed at stages 1 and 2 by 2028. However, blood cancer is different to solid tumour cancers, and is much more difficult to detect. I continue to urge the Department of Health & Social Care and the NHS to consider blood cancer patients when taking action to tackle the scourge of cancer.”

On mental health support for schools in Crawley, Henry said;

“This is indeed a very important debate. I am glad that we have had the opportunity to re-emphasise this Government’s commitment to the National Health Service, not least through record amounts of investment—an additional £33.9 billion is going in between now and 2024—and to discuss the emphasis on putting mental health on a par with physical health.

“I am delighted that schools in my constituency are part of a pilot in which mental health professionals are in schools to help young and adolescent pupils to deal with those sorts of issues.”

On NHS services, Henry said;

“Let me re-emphasise that this Government’s record on the NHS is a good one, but sadly it has not always been under previous Labour Governments. The A&E and maternity units at Crawley Hospital in my constituency closed last decade.

“Services have now started to return, including a 24/7 urgent treatment centre, a new ward, new beds and primary care services. Mention was made of the NHS being a political football, but it is worth stating that all parties in this House can do better when it comes to supporting our health service.”

On GP surgery provision, Henry said;

“On my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s first full day in office, I was pleased to seek a commitment for better support for primary care. One challenge in my constituency is that some GP practices are at or even over capacity for a number of reasons, including increased housing in the area and some doctors retiring early.

“We need to address this issue, particularly as more and more services—such as scans and minor surgery—are provided in GP surgeries, which is better for the patient experience.”

On blood cancer, Henry said;

“I am pleased to say that I have just been reappointed as chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blood Cancer. I very much support the Government’s commitment, in the long-term plan for the NHS, to ensure that 75 per cent of cancers are diagnosed at stages 1 and 2 by 2028.

“But blood cancer is different from solid tumour cancers, and is much more difficult to detect. I therefore put in a plea and a bid for the diagnosis of blood cancer to be considered. Blood cancer is the country’s fifth most common and it is the third biggest cancer killer in the UK, but because of the vagueness of symptoms it is often very difficult to detect in GP surgeries. Indeed, ​some 28 per cent of people with a blood cancer are first diagnosed when they present at an accident and emergency department, so it is an area that needs a lot more focus.”

For the full text and video of Henry’s speech, please click here.