View from the constituency By John Glen,MP
At the time of writing, I was looking forward to one of my regular catch-up meetings with the leadership of Salisbury District Hospital. This is a chance to raise questions and casework issues that individual constituents have asked me to bring to the attention of the Chief Executive, as well as to hear her thoughts on the performance and direction of the hospital.
Our hospital has been hitting the headlines a great deal in recent weeks and months, and has done a great deal to make us all proud.
After the exemplary way it coped with treating Sergei and Julia Skripal, and all the scrutiny that went along with it, it was pleasing to see many NHS staff among the members of the emergency services invited to meet Prince Charles and Camilla on their visit to Salisbury.
More broadly, the 70th birthday of the NHS has generated heated discussion and reams of correspondence on the way forward for this treasured national institution.
Most of those who have taken the time to write to me have been calling for – and have subsequently welcomed – the announcement of a £20 billion funding boost for the NHS.
But I have also heard from plenty of constituents who oppose any consideration of tax rises to fund the NHS without evidence of managerial reform, redistribution of resources and – some have argued – redefinition of its core purpose.
For my own part, I do not necessarily see the two arguments as mutually exclusive. I recognise that, at their heart, both groups of constituents value the NHS and seek to ensure its long-term success and fitness for purpose.
One thing is certain – spending that does not take into account the rapidly- changing profile of NHS use, and the increasing numbers of people living for longer with multiple chronic conditions, will not solve anything. That is why I am so delighted that, close to home, our own hospital is not only delivering good outcomes for patients but is willing to innovate.
The leadership has a long-standing ambition to maximise the use of the whole hospital estate to meet the specific needs of Salisbury’s ageing community – particularly in the field of recuperative care, bridging the often too-wide gap between medical care and social services.
I look forward to continuing this important conversation at the hospital very soon – and in the weeks ahead.