I was born with a walking disability, a form of cerebral palsy known as spastic diplegia. Yet, thanks to an extraordinary professor at Great Ormond Street Hospital, having numerous leg operations and going to that hospital week after week as a child, I managed not only to walk, but over thirty years later, to achieve my childhood dream of serving my local community in Parliament.
The chance that was given to me by Great Ormond Street Hospital ignited my love for the NHS. It is why, as MP for Harlow since 2010, I have worked continuously to strengthen our NHS.
A brand new Harlow hospital
We are lucky to have world class NHS staff working at Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH). However, the current hospital is not fit for purpose and our community and those staff deserve a brand new hospital.
Since 2013, I have asked dozens of questions in Parliament, shown both the Health Secretary and the Prime Minister around PAH, led five parliamentary debates, tabled numerous House of Commons Motions and lobbied Ministers constantly for a new Harlow hospital.
Following a visit from the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, in September 2019, I managed to secure hundreds of millions to deliver a brand new hospital for our town. In October 2020, the Prime Minister confirmed this funding and work on delivering the new hospital is now underway. You can follow the progress of the new hospital here.
Record funding for our NHS
In the 2019 General Election, I stood on a pledge to invest record funding into the NHS. I also promised to ensure that Harlow got its share of the 50,000 more nurses and the record cash boost.
One of the first things I did after being re-elected was to enshrine that funding settlement into law meaning that the NHS budget will go up by £33.9 billion by 2023-24.
170 more nurses 53 more doctors
As part of the Conservatives 2019 Election manifesto, the Prime Minister promised 50,000 more nurses and 6,000 in the NHS. In one year alone there are over 15,000 more nurses and over 6,000 more doctors.
I have worked hard to ensure that Harlow benefits from this uplift in staffing and over the last year 170 more nurses and 53 more doctors have joined PAH to deliver world class healthcare. I will continue to do all I can to ensure that our hospital has the staff it needs.
Millions for urgent upgrades at PAH
Alongside my campaign for a new Harlow hospital, I have also worked hard to secure urgent funding for repair works at PAH. In recent months, PAH has had a £400,000 upgrade to the A&E and £2 million for urgent infrastructure repairs.
This comes on top of £9.5 million in December 2018 and many millions in previous years. As well as:
- £1million upgrade to the eye clinic
- New kidney dialysis unit
- New children’s A&E centre
- Upgraded the award winning Maternity unit
- New short stay assessment centre
Scrapping hospital car parking charges
I have been campaigning for an end to hospital car parking charges since 2014, after finding out that some hospitals in England were charging visitors and patients up to £500 a week to park.
I introduced a Bill into the House of Commons in 2018 that would legislate for this to happen. In 2020, the Health Secretary announced the partial abolition of the fees and has waived them for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic for NHS staff.
Reducing waiting times
As part of the new funding package, there will be 50 million extra general practice appointments a year, an increase of over 15 per cent. Harlow will benefit from this meaning that if you need an appointment, waiting times will be shorter and you’ll get the service you deserve.