27 JUL 2017

My vision for a fairer share of healthcare in Dover and Deal

Last week I was delighted to meet with East Kent's Fair Deal for the NHS group. Like me they are passionate about our NHS. We all felt strongly that healthcare has to remain free to all. They had many questions about what's happening locally and inspired

me to write about my vision for a fairer share of healthcare here in Dover and Deal.

We've come a long way together since 2010. In Deal, our much-loved hospital had been left teetering on the edge. Only with a strong community campaign were we able to secure its future. Now I'm working to see more services are provided from Deal Hospital.

In Dover, for over a decade Buckland Hospital had been decimated. Services were withdrawn and wards axed one by one. We fought valiantly for a new hospital. Then two years ago the new Buckland Hospital opened to the public – a state-of-the-art facility with the potential to provide many more services. I am passionate to see more outpatients and diagnostics services are provided at the new Buckland Hospital.

And we need beds at Buckland too. Right now there is a great opportunity to commission care beds at a new facility right next door to Buckland Hospital. This care facility is brand new and run by a crack team of expert staff. We should be grabbing the chance for local health chiefs to commission care beds in Dover, right next door to our hospital.

Millions of pounds are wasted every year by health services and social services doing the same job. We need to bring health and social care together and be better at looking after people who have complicated long-term conditions. More money is going into the NHS than ever before – more than half a trillion pounds in the next five years. Since 2010 there are 11,000 more doctors and 12,000 more nurses and midwives. Yet the system is still struggling, largely because people are living longer – which is why it is so urgent to reform social care.

So my vision is for a bigger role for our hospitals in Dover and Deal. We need to make full use of the £24 million Buckland Hospital. Deal Hospital needs more services, like the ground-breaking Rheumatology clinic which opened last year.

We need more of a focus on mental health too. Last week I visited the Talk It Out mental health support group at their inspiring Wellbeing Café at The Landmark Centre in Deal. The group recently received a £10,000 grant from Matthew Scott, the energetic Kent Police and Crime Commissioner's mental health and policing fund. Talk It Out makes such a huge difference to so many people and we must do all we can to support groups like this.

More local services, more care beds and more mental health support. This is my vision for a fairer share of healthcare here in Dover and Deal.


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Charlie Elphicke

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