Brexit and Theresa May’s resignation
This month, Theresa May announced that she will shortly be stepping down as Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party.
While not denying the challenges of the highest office in the land, this decision is the right one for our country as we look for fresh leadership. The contest to be her successor is already underway; unofficially at least. I look forward to questioning the candidates and hearing more about their vision for our nation, not just through the rest of the Brexit process but for the years ahead as well.
The incoming Prime Minister must be someone who will deliver the clear mandate to leave the EU – only reiterated at the recent European Parliamentary elections – without fear, and move Britain forward to a global, free and confident future.
Taking pride in our community: Issues such as the tidiness of our town remain of concern, indeed in recent days it was revealed that Crawley falls as one of the worst-performing areas in the south east of England for recycling. The Borough Council must start showing leadership to make sure Crawley plays its part in protecting our planet.
World Blood Cancer Day: This takes place on 28th May each year, and marks an important time to raise awareness of symptoms such as fatigue, night sweats, repeated infections, itchy skin and unexplained weight loss. One in 19 people will be affected by a blood cancer in their lifetime, and someone is diagnosed every 20 minutes in the UK.
More than a third of people with a blood cancer need to visit their GP three or more times with symptoms before being referred to hospital; more than for any other type of cancer. Greater understanding of the symptoms, among the medical community and the wider public, will see people treated more quickly with improved survival rates.
Bring maternal mental illness out of hiding: Reiterating my support for the National Childbirth Trust’s (NCT) Hidden Half campaign. The GP six week post-natal check is a conventional health check at a critical time for the wellbeing of both mother and child. While providing a chance to spot mental health problems, the reality is that this opportunity is often missed.
The NCT have found that nearly half of new mothers’ mental health problems are not picked up by a health professional, with around a fifth of mothers who had a six week check not being asked about their emotional wellbeing. This is a personal issue for me as I have good memories of attending NCT Crawley classes before my daughter was born, and I want to help ensure that new parents also receive this kind of care and attention.
Improving accessibility across the transport network: A couple of years ago I was delighted to be at County Mall for the opening of their Changing Places toilet. Such facilities are larger, accessible toilets for disabled people with equipment such as hoists and adult-sized changing benches, as well as enough space for carers. An announcement in recent weeks will lead to more of these accessible toilets around the country.
Getting on the housing ladder: New figures show that 720 families in Crawley have been able to realise their dream of home ownership thanks to the Government’s Help to Buy schemes.
Boost for local rail passengers: Welcoming a total of £290,000 for local rail passenger improvement projects following disruption endured by train users at Three Bridges, Crawley, Ifield and Gatwick Airport stations, as part of a £15 million Passenger Benefit Fund.
Passenger groups and stakeholders will be able to decide for themselves what improvements are delivered by the fund at a local station. Crawley station has been allocated £50,000, with £80,000 for each of Gatwick Airport, Ifield and Three Bridges stations.
Heart disease: As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Heart & Circulatory Diseases I was pleased to launch our new report in the House of Commons this month.
The report, Putting Patients at the Heart of Artificial Intelligence, examines patients’ views about the use of AI in healthcare. Our findings are the result of an inquiry which included roundtable discussions with patients, policy makers, cardiologists, researchers and industry representatives, as well as a literature review and a public survey, all of which was conducted by our Group and supported by the British Heart Foundation.
AI is strong at finding patterns and trends in data that are not obvious through human analysis. One such technique, machine learning, involves designing a set of instructions to be used by computers to detect patterns in sets of data, such as heart scans. Trends can be spotted which would not have been noticed otherwise.
Our report highlights that the NHS and relevant bodies need to do more to improve public understanding of the use of this innovative technology if its life-saving potential is to be realised.
Our environment: In the House of Commons I called for the Environment Secretary to make a statement on the importance of a healthier environment through a healthier diet.
Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Congratulations to Crawley-based Inspiration Healthcare Group on receiving the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for international trade.
With my best wishes
Member of Parliament for Crawley