Getting the highest quality healthcare matters to us all. This is why I am proud that the Government has been increasing spending on the NHS in real terms since 2010. Powers have also been shifted from NHS officials to GPs on the front line. This has had a real impact on making sure we have got a fairer share of healthcare for our community.
For before 2010, Dover's much loved Buckland Hospital had been decimated for a decade. Wards had been axed one by one. Services had been removed. Meanwhile there was a secret plan to withdraw services from Deal Hospital, leaving Deal Hospital teetering on the edge. Our community campaigned to get a new Dover Hospital built. I was proud to march with the late, great, Reg Hansell who fought so hard for the new hospital. In Deal thousands of people took part in a survey to demand more services for Deal Hospital and packed out St George's Church to the rafters. The result? We got the new Buckland Hospital project back on track. We saved Deal Hospital and we're getting more services.
Yet an important part of this is that we had the support of our local GPs who now hold the NHS Cheque book and insisted that we received a fairer share of healthcare.
Now it's our turn to support the GPs. GPs here who want to expand and modernise their practices do not get the support they should. I am working to change that. GPs here do not get a fair share of funding. Bizarrely GPs in well heeled and healthy West Kent get more funding that ours do. This is despite a far higher healthcare need here in Dover and Deal. The funding gap will be £1.5m by 2020. That's not right and I am taking this up with the Health Secretary so we have the resources we need.
We also need more GPs. There are lots of GP vacancies locally. This is bizarre as £100,000 a year goes so much further here than it does in London or Surrey. Plus we have the sea, the White Cliffs, amazing countryside and far less congestion. Yet the GP trainers at the Kent, Surrey and Sussex deanery keep sending new doctors to places like Surrey which already has too many GPs. I am pressing for things to change to help our local doctor practices get the GPs they need.
The NHS has had real increases in funding every year since 2010. This has only been possible because we have a strong economy. We have benefitted with the New Buckland Hospital and more services in Deal. Now I am doing all I can to ensure we get a fairer share of funding for our local doctors and that our local doctors' practises are able to recruit the GPs they need to care for us all.
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