The Prime Minister announced last week that that she intends to bring forward a long term plan for the NHS, building on our record of extra funding since 2010, to deliver an NHS that is fit for the future. There are serious cost and demand pressures on our National Health Service including significant areas of new demand, such as on mental health services.
I examined the cost and demand pressures on the NHS last week when I was a lead member on the Public Accounts Committee scrutinising plans to reduce emergency admissions. Committee members and I questioned senior representatives from NHS England, NHS Improvement and the Department for Health and Social Care on how they are ensuring that emergency admissions are put on a long-term sustainable trajectory.
I was delighted to see Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust be allocated £13.3 million to transform and develop their urgent care environment. The new model of emergency care agreed across the health community envisages a smaller number of minor injury units, two urgent care centres in Newton Abbot and in Torquay and a fit for purpose emergency department in Torbay Hospital. The development will enable more effective ways of working, improving emergency patient pathways, reduce duplication of work and facilitate collaborative interdisciplinary working.
However, funding is only part of the answer: we must spread the excellence that exists in parts across the whole of the NHS; care is still not sufficiently integrated for people who have both health and social care needs; and we need to look at how each of us can take more responsibility for our health, so the pressures on the NHS are reduced.
I am maintaining a dialogue with the Marine Management Organisation regarding Sprey Point to ensure that the stakeholder consultation and sample testing processes do change and the fundamental flaws in the system that led to the silt on the beaches last month are fixed. It is vital we protect our Blue Flag bathing water and our local economy.
Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, announced the introduction of a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles later this year subject to consultation. This scheme will increase recycling rates and slash the amount of waste polluting our land and seas. More than three billion plastic bottles are incinerated, sent to landfill or left to pollute our streets, countryside and marine environment. We must work to curb this pollution and help clean up our oceans, leaving the environment in a better state for the next generation.
Infrastructure investment to improve regional productivity was high on the agenda last week. I met with Chris Garcia, Eifion Jones, and Steve Hindley of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership to hear about their productivity strategy for the region and how we can best capitalise on our world class knowledge base. South West MPs and I also met with Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, last week to sit down and discuss transport priorities for our region. I emphasised the need for a long-term, ambitious strategy focussing on road, rail, air, and sea infrastructure improvement.
My next surgeries will be in Newton Abbot on Friday 6th and 13th April at 2pm. Please call 01626 368277 to arrange an appointment.