Last Sunday marked the 72nd anniversary of the National Health Service. If the last few months have shown us anything, it has to be the reminder that it is NHS workers which make our health service the institution it is today.
The latest figures have shown that there are over 6,000 more doctors and over 12,000 more nurses working in the NHS compared to last year. This includes 825 more doctors in the south east of England and over 2,200 more nurses. Each one will have their own stories of sacrifice and dedication, for which our whole community is thankful for.
More than £14 billion has been provided for the NHS and public services during the pandemic to increase critical care capacity, provide staff with the equipment they need and to ensure support for those on the frontline.
It was the right decision to establish the NHS Nightingale Hospitals as a precaution to ensure extra capacity was ready to be used if needed. Now, the Health & Social Care Secretary has confirmed that these sites will be converted into cancer testing centres.
This is a particularly welcome decision. Last month I wrote to the Prime Minister in support of the 12 Point Plan to Recovery, a proposal backed by 25 cancer charities including Cancer Research UK, Blood Cancer UK, Pancreatic Cancer UK and Macmillan, to ensure people with diagnosed and undiagnosed cancers are not left behind.
The number of people urgently referred for suspected cancer dropped at the worst of the coronavirus outbreak. COVID-19 does not change the importance of needing to diagnose cancers early, and I will continue to call on the Government for this to remain a priority.
Support for our economy is also vital, as this is how security for individuals, families and businesses is ensured.
Crawley has been allocated more than £12.1 million to support up to over 900 business properties. This is welcome support, and it is vital that such assistance gets to where it is needed.
As part of the Prime Minister’s New Deal for Britain, additional funding has been announced for the Government’s Towns Fund programme. Crawley is already a part of this initiative, and will receive at least an additional £500,000 as part of plans to level up our country.
There will be difficulties on the path ahead, as our nation, and indeed the world, recovers from the effects of the pandemic. There is more work to do, and this week the Chancellor of the Exchequer will provide further details of our economic response.
Ensuring the best deal for Crawley will continue to be front and centre of my representations with the Chancellor and his Cabinet colleagues.
Henry Smith MP