This Wednesday, 5th July, marks the National Health Service’s 75th anniversary of its founding. It rightly remains a defining principle of the social contract in our country between the people and the state.
The health service continues to receive support as we recover from Covid and record high levels of funding now that what the UK used to pay to the EU has been deployed to our NHS.
The Primary Care Plan will see a range of reforms including changes to how GP appointments are booked to avoid the ‘8am rush’ which is all-too familiar. The plan will also see pharmacies given more responsibility as well as further expansion of services available on the NHS app.
Extra capacity will be ensured so more appointments from more staff can be offered. Work continues on the commitment of 26,000 more primary care professionals and 50 million more appointments. This is being supported by additional investment with actions including expansion of GP specialty training also taking place.
The upcoming Long-Term NHS Workforce Plan will be the largest expansion in training and workforce in the history of our National Health Service and it will double the number of medical school places so more pupils can become doctors.
Such reforms mark a stark contrast from the Blair and Brown era when Crawley’s A&E and maternity unit were closed.
The inclusion of Sussex in the Discharge Frontrunners programme will pursue long-term initiatives to free up hospital beds, and over £1 million of improvements for Langley Green Hospital are also confirmed.
In Parliament I have continued to highlight the importance of early diagnosis for conditions such as cancer. The Government’s new Community Diagnostic Centres (CDCs) have delivered over four million checks, tests and scans since July 2021, cutting waiting lists and giving patients quicker access to care. I have been pleased to hear how the Crawley Collaborative CDC has already been making a difference.
The opportunities of new technology are vastly different now compared to a decade or so ago, let alone three quarters of a century previously. I have been clear that we need transparency to ensure that patients are kept fully abreast of the developments of artificial intelligence (AI) in the NHS. Government has invested in 86 AI technologies to help patients by supporting stroke diagnosis, screening, cardiovascular monitoring and managing conditions at home.
By utilising such opportunities we can ensure the NHS is able to offer the best possible service over the next 75 years. My thanks to all in Crawley working in our health and care system.
Henry Smith MP