Julian Knight's Westminster Diary, 15/08/19

Solihull Observer

One of the very first things Boris Johnson announced when he took over as Prime Minister was a major new investment in our NHS.

I was determined that the Health Service in our area would receive the funding boost it needed – and I’m delighted to confirm that we will.

The Government intend to invest £97.1 million pounds in a huge upgrade programme for Heartlands Hospital. This money will fund a new Ambulatory Care and Diagnostic Centre, as well as delivering a new, purpose-built hospital facility which will replace the current, outdated outpatient, treatment, and diagnostic accommodation.

All of this is part of a huge, £1.8 billion cash boost for the NHS, including no less than £850 million in funding to overhaul and fit out 20 hospitals with out-of-date facilities and equipment. This money will enhance front-line provision, improving patient care and most importantly, helping doctors and nurses to save lives.

Ministers have also announced that the Government will be putting an extra £33.9 billion into healthcare every single year!

Over the past few months I have met personally with Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, and other ministers to ensure that our community’s needs are catered for, and I’m very pleased that Heartlands is one of the 20 hospitals chosen for the refit programme.

I have gained a first-hand insight into the challenges facing the NHS in our area over the past few years, representing the concerns of local residents to key decision-makers during the takeover of local health services by University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (‘UHB’).

These are the people who stepped in when the previous trust, Heart of England (‘HEFT’), ran into difficulty. My team and I worked hard to ensure that your concerns were put directly both to UHB management and to ministers throughout the process.

I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to learn so much about what makes the NHS tick. I hope that it will make me a more effective advocate for local services, the doctors and nurses who keep them going, and the patients who need them most.

Originally published in the Solihull Observer, 15/08/19.