The National Health Service marked its 73rd anniversary this week, with a special service of commemoration taking place at St Paul’s Cathedral on 5th July, with NHS staff on the front line against Covid-19 at its heart.
I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet and thank NHS workers for their dedication and I want to extend this gratitude to all key workers who are playing their part in our local and national response to the pandemic.
NHS staff are playing an invaluable part in delivering the Government’s Covid-19 vaccination programme. Over 77 million jabs have been given, with more than three-quarters of people in Crawley receiving their first dose.
It is right that the NHS is given the resources it needs and Government is investing an additional £33.9 billion into frontline NHS services every year by 2023-24, the largest and longest funding settlement in the history of the health service. Through the recent NHS Funding Act this increase is enshrined in law.
We are already seeing a record number of doctors and nurses in the NHS, meaning it can continue to provide the care patients deserve. The number of doctors and nurses working in the NHS in England is at its highest recorded level, with some 124,000 doctors and more than 304,000 nurses.
Prioritising the recovery in NHS services to bring down waiting times is essential and Government is working with the NHS to accelerate its recovery of services. An additional £7 billion for healthcare services including £1 billion to address backlogs in elective services is being provided.
Indeed, the importance of continuing treatments of non-Covid issues is a cause I continue to pursue.
I am supporting the Catch Up With Cancer campaign, which calls on the Government to boost capacity to catch up with the Covid-induced cancer backlog, and I have met with the Prevention, Public Health & Primary Care Minister to reiterate the importance of this issue.
Additionally, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blood Cancer which I chair recently launched an inquiry into the impact of Covid-19 on blood cancer services.
There are people throughout our town who have undertaken important work throughout the pandemic period and last month two such community organisations achieved national recognition.
The Olive Tree Cancer Support Group and the Gurjar Hindu Union have received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. Both groups were also given Special Designation in recognition of the impactful support provided locally in response to Covid-19.
We can be proud of the role played by so many over the last 15 months, community spirit in Crawley has been clear for all to see.
My best wishes to former Crawley resident Gareth Southgate and his squad in the Euro 2020 semi-final against Denmark. Come on England!
Henry Smith MP