A very happy new year to you all. The new year has been embodied for me by the series of remarkable images beamed back from the deepest reaches of our solar system, some billion miles beyond Pluto. These have revealed first a pixelated blob, then a fuzzy peanut, then a more detailed snowman of red ice. Ultima Thule is coming into view and, as the year goes on, its reality will become clearer still. So it is with the year ahead. Although some things are clear much is not but soon realities will hove into view.
For obvious reasons, I’m going to be in Parliament five days a week for the foreseeable future, so my January surgery has had to be postponed - apologies to all those affected. As always, however, you can still contact me by email, post or telephone (details on my website, below). I’m happy to see your comments on social media too, but cannot respond without your full name and home address so it’s best to email those comments to me too.
In early good news, it seems the Government’s £420 million winter fund has helped our local hospitals deliver projects to alleviate the pressures on A&E departments and longer stay wards.
Hospitals across England are delivering 81 projects to provide improvements this winter using money from the Conservative Government’s £420 million winter fund. The triumvirate of local hospitals in Southend, Basildon and Chelmsford have made a number of changes to the ways in which they operate to provide more capacity, get patients home sooner and enable the three hospitals to support each other better during times of increased use.
The early signs are that the investments and interventions made over the past year to prepare the NHS for winter have paid off with the NHS Confederation reporting that there have been significant improvements. Nevertheless, the Department of Health is rightly urging us to help ease pressure on the NHS this winter. Whether that’s making use of pharmacies, calling NHS 111 to avoid unnecessary trips to hospital, or being vigilant against the spread of colds and flu – we can all help the NHS weather the challenges to come.