Gazette & Herald Column: Extra £240m will ease transition from hospital

After the Conservative Party Conference last week I enjoyed a busy day of meetings in the Constituency, beginning with a catch up with the senior management team of Great Western Hospital, upon which so many of us depend. We discussed the plans for dealing with winter pressures at the hospital this year, and I was glad to hear that they are implementing a number of changes to fine-tune the experience for patients. Following the announcement at the Conservative Conference of an extra £240m to improve the join up between social care and the NHS, in particular, to ensure that people who are fit to leave hospital can do so, we agreed to work with Wiltshire Council to see what more can be done to improve that process locally. We also discussed the Brighter Future fundraising campaign, which I know many local people have supported and I’m delighted has been so successful. The plan is that the GWH Radiotherapy Unit will open in 2020, and I know that this will be welcomed by many local cancer patients and their families.

I also met with Joanne Kent from HomeStart Kennet, who are celebrating their 30th anniversary, to get an update on the brilliant support this amazing charity provides to many young families across the area. Help is provided by trained parent-volunteers and is tailored to the individual needs of each family. I know that they are keen to expand their network of volunteers, particularly in the Salisbury Plain area, and would encourage anyone who is interested to find out more at

I then caught up with John McConnell and Peter Unwin of the Ludgershall Great War Commemoration Committee to hear about the wonderful Centenary Garden, which is close to completion in Ludgershall. It has been lovely to watch the refurbishment of the Centenary Garden as I pass on my weekly commute, and I am so pleased that this project has been enthusiastically supported by the whole community. I know that the finished garden will be a wonderful place of calm and reflection.

Finally, I have been busy planning our first ever Green Great Britain Week, a week of events and activity bringing together businesses, schools, universities, community groups and charities to explore the opportunities of clean growth and how we can all contribute to protect our environment and take action against climate change. Throughout the week there will be events and publicity across the country promoting the opportunities to reduce emissions, grow the low carbon economy and create a better environment. You can find more details and how to get involved here: