NHS Sussex has existed for a year; the National Health Service for 75 years. Sussex MPs came together this week with the Health and Care Board for West Sussex, Brighton and Hove, and East Sussex. I value meeting our dedicated nurses, doctors, health service leaders and all in the NHS team.
We discussed priorities for long-term growth and for immediate health and care improvements. There are also important areas for attention, including health inequalities, mental health with learning disabilities, effective clinical leadership and cost management.
We agree the tasks are to increase access to primary care, reduce response times to 999 calls and cut A&E delays, reduce waiting times for planned care and diagnostic testing, improve same day care and hospital patient discharges.
At the all-party group on Sexual and Reproductive Health, I met England’s first ambassador for women’s health Dame Lesley Regan, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology, to hear how to act more effectively for the health and well-being of the 51 percent of the population. Females need and deserve accessible, supportive services.
There are many other national services that are delivered locally, including education, policing and transport. I cannot report significant progress on plans to fix more of the problems on the A27. I commend the Sussex police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne. She has a national reputation for her leadership.
West Sussex MPs Gillian Keegan and Nick Gibb, highly regarded as ministers to the Department of Education, continue to help our schools and colleges develop. This week’s House Magazine features the Secretary of State, the first to have been a degree apprentice after school years
I worry about the effect on children of widespread advertisements for the illusory dreams of big gambling wins. The parliamentary group on gambling are inquiring into addiction to betting and the associated harm to individuals and their families. I regret the gambling firms’ sponsorship and advertising on the shirts of footballers. Young people should not see gaming as normalised. Sitting in a room losing a small fortune betting online is a different experience to a Grand National sweepstake or a day with friends at Goodwood or Plumpton races.
During the weekend, I attended the Ditchley Foundation lecture given this year by William Burns, director of the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency. I commend his book: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and the Case for its Renewal. Ditchley is where Winston Churchill would stay when Chartwell and Chequers were too exposed to enemy bombing
This Srebrenica Memorial week is a reminder of the post war massacre of Bosniak Muslims under the eyes of an ineffective European protection force. We are witnesses now to the horrors in Ukraine.
I look forward to the Care for Veterans Summer Fayre and to the Ferring Festival, I look back to the recent Sussex day ceremony with veterans and the county history group in Beach Park when Tim Loughton and I joined the mayor to remember the Battle of Boar’s Head at Richebourg, France on 30th June 1916. In a short time, the three Southdowns’ battalions of the Royal Sussex Regiment lost 17 officers and 349 men killed, including 12 sets of brothers, three from one family. Many others suffered greatly. The battle is remembered as "The Day Sussex Died". Tragedy occurred in each World War within 140 miles of Worthing.
As West Sussex continues to flourish, remember the sacrifice of those who gave so much.