Julian Knight's Westminster Diary, 08/08/19

Solihull Mail.

Fighting for our local NHS services has been one of my top priorities since I was first selected as a candidate for Solihull.

Whether it was campaigning for our Urgent Care Centre or representing residents’ concerns to management during the trouble at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT), I have always done everything I can to ensure that our town has access to the first-rate local services it needs.

So I’m delighted that those same services will now be receiving a huge boost. The Government has announced plans to invest £97.1 million pounds in upgrading Heartlands Hospital!

This will fund a new Ambulatory Care and Diagnostic Centre, and deliver a new purpose-built hospital facility, replacing outdated outpatient, treatment and diagnostic accommodation.

These funds are part of the £1.8 billion cash injection for the Health Service announced by Boris Johnson. This programme, which he unveiled on the steps of Downing Street when he took office as Prime Minister, includes an £850 million package for 20 hospitals to upgrade outdated facilities and equipment, helping to improve patient care and save more lives.

Over the past few months I have met personally with Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, and other ministers to make sure Solihull’s needs are met – and Heartlands is one of the 20 hospitals receiving this vital funding.

I knew how important it was because for the last few years I have been in close contact with the management of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (‘UHB’). These are the people who stepped in to oversee health services in our area after HEFT ran into difficulty.

This work not only allowed me to carry local concerns directly to key decision-makers, both in the Trust and the Government, but it also gave me a very valuable insight into the work that goes into running the NHS and keeping front-line services going.

Ministers have announced that the Government will be investing an extra £33.9 billion into healthcare every year. But there are no grounds for complacency, and in the months and years to come I will put that knowledge and experience to good use, and strive to be the advocate our Health Service, its patients, and its workers need.

Originally published in the Solihull Mail, 01/08/19.