I know how important West Suffolk Hospital is to everyone in our community. It is a service that we all rely on and we are lucky to have a local hospital with fantastic staff in our town. Since being elected I have supported the hospital and was delighted to help secure £13.5 million for the hospital’s emergency department enabling the hospital to continue providing high quality care to a growing community. Now I am fighting for a new hospital to treat patients closer to home.
Alongside Dr Beth Mosley, I have highlighted the importance of integrating mental health support in schools. Supporting young people during what can be a stressful time in their lives will help them reach their potential. It is fantastic that the scheme, first trialled at Thurston Community College, has been rolled out to more schools locally, supporting more young people in our community. I was particularly pleased with the announcement of £2 million into broadening the project out to help pupils and staff face challenging issues going forward post covid.
I believe that health care should be delivered as close to home as possible, which is why I am delighted that the plans for Cambridge Children’s Hospital are progressing with speed. The hospital project will benefit many children, enabling those in need to receive specialist mental and physical health treatment nearby.
We all recognise the need for additional capacity in dentistry in Suffolk. As a former Health Minister who drove changes for better NHS dental services in April 2021 - improving access, supporting prevention, upskilling the workforce - NHS England reforms are a welcome first step, yet dental services will need further decisive action to get the job done. I am really pleased that after extensive engagement, we are beginning to put together the foundations of dental care that we so desperately need in the area, such as the ten-year strategic project realised by the shared resolve of The University of Suffolk, in partnership with regional dentists, HEE and NHSE. I am also pleased that NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board have launched a tender process to provide 3 dental access centres, including one in Bury St Edmunds.
State of the art leisure facilities play an important role in getting people involved in grass roots sport. I know from my role at the Department of Health and Social Care and at Defra the benefits this brings. I am currently working on a project with partners at Mid Suffolk District Council and Stowmarket High School to deliver a Sports, Health, Education and Leisure Facility for Stowmarket, to enable young people, clubs and the wider community to have access to a range of sporting and community facilities by working together. Looking at how this idea can be employed across other parts of constituency including some of our larger villages is vital, the health and well-being benefits and community cohesion are also positives and there are some good ideas for delivering more coming forward from football pitches to dog walking areas, to planting more trees all help people enjoy their locality more.