Supporting Wealden Health and Care Teams

Supporting front line workers during Covid-19

I urged the Health Secretary to ensure that Wealden residents are not having to travel for hours to get the vaccine but can access it safely from local practices. I am pleased that the Health Secretary confirmed at the dispatch box that he will personally look into Wealden’s data ahead of the tier review and committed to ensuring that vaccinations are rolled out to GPs and communities across Wealden. 

I have received so much positive feedback from constituents about their experience receiving their first jab at Wealden vaccination centres and I am incredibly grateful to the teams of clinicians and volunteers in Crowborough, Uckfield and Hailsham for their continuous efforts to deliver this life-saving vaccine to Wealden residents. I have visited the Meads Medical Centre in Uckfield and the Saxonbury House Surgery in Crowborough to witness the fantastic work that is being done to immunise our patients and save lives in Wealden.

Throughout the pandemic, I was holding regular meetings with local health leaders and the East Sussex CCG to get up-to-date information from the frontline and inform the Health Secretary of needed improvements. I'm pleased that East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust received an additional £3.7 million in order to support A&E capacity ahead of 2020 winter. 

Wealden Hero Awards for Wealden surgeries

Our GP practices had to adapt rapidly to the constantly changing situation at the start of the pandemic and I am incredibly grateful to all team of clinicians and volunteers at all our local surgeries for their tireless dedication and selfless efforts to deliver this life-saving jab to Wealden residents and to keep their doors open throughout the pandemic and keeping our residents safe. These awards follow so much positive feedback and nominations from a significant number of grateful patients from across Wealden who wrote to me about their experience. I hope that receiving the award has been a wonderful morale booster for the practices after a very difficult year and a reflection on how valued and appreciated they are in our communities.

Wealden Heroes

I have also previously paid tributes to the teams in Uckfield, Hailsham and Crowborough during Prime Minister’s Questions in Parliament. 

Success in pressing for changes to immigration rules for key workers

One of the biggest concerns of care home managers in Wealden is the difficulty in recruiting skilled staff to help care for our loved ones. Previously, care workers were excluded in the new points-based immigration system and I have worked relentlessly with Wealden care home managers and urged the Government to make a change. I have successfully campaigned to secure an amendment of immigration rules to allow foreign workers in key health and care roles to have greater opportunities to come to the UK, resulting in a better understanding of the care sector and its difficulties regarding recruitment, and making it easier to recruit healthcare workers from around the world.

Success in securing improvements to hospital travel

I welcomed recent announcement of additional support to the cover cost of hospital travel, an initiative I supported during my time as Transport Minister. I have been working with Age UK charity on raising the issue of the serious difficulties older people face when travelling to their hospital appointments. Finally, NHS England have now completed a review and are changing the system for the better, including improving the eligibility criteria for non-emergency patient transport, which has been an issue for so many people. Improving people’s journeys to hospital has been a low profile and low priority issue for too long. People in need of non-emergency hospital transport are often the elderly and those living with disabilities and mobility issues. Accessible hospital transport services are key in ensuring they do not miss their appointments and I am pleased to have helped secure changes to make it simpler for patients to access NHS care and improve their overall experience.

Additional funding for East Sussex Hospitals

In light of the Covid pandemic and the additional strain this has had on our NHS, I welcomed the Government's announcement to provide further funding to the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust. As part of the Government’s £600 million to upgrade and refurbish hospitals, the Trust received £8,270,000 to carry out the work, which could include building new or refurbishing buildings to deliver key services, upgrades to electrical infrastructure, improvements to ventilation systems, works to improve fire safety and the replacement of hospital lifts.

Advocating for Wealden care homes 

As a patron of Hospice in the Weald, I recognise the vital role that hospices play in providing end of life care to a high standard and contributing to their local communities alongside the NHS. I very much welcomed the Prime Minister's announcement of £25 million funding for hospices and palliative care services in England in August 20219.

I always welcome the news of a new care home opening and I'm pleased that Abbots Wood Manor Care Home in Hailsham welcomed its first residents in February 2021.

Following a meeting with care home workers in Wealden & locals with family in care homes that had concerns about some of the Covid-19 regulations , I raised their concerns on isolation & care home visits directly with the PM in Parliament.