By Havant MP Alan Mak
HAPPY New Year to readers of The News.
I’m already looking forward to another busy year working hard for the residents of the Havant constituency.
Before Christmas, the government announced £60m for a new, state-of-the-art A&E department at Queen Alexandra Hospital which I lobbied for.
Now to start 2019, the government has outlined its vision for the long-term future of the NHS, including supporting my vision for a digital-first health service, something that I campaigned for during much of 2018.
The plan sets out how the £20.5 billion funding increase each year will be spent. It is the biggest cash increase in the NHS’ history, and will go towards growing the workforce, preventing illness, improving technology and reducing health inequalities.
Some of the commitments made in the Long Term Plan include an aim that in 10 years’ time, 55,000 more people will survive cancer each year, and 100,000 heart attacks, strokes and dementia cases will have been prevented.
There will also be a focus on mental health with a commitment to give 350,000 more children mental health support and allow more adults access to talking therapies.
There has been a real desire to transform the NHS into a paperless organisation. This was the primary aim set out in my own NHS paper, published last year and backed by the health secretary.
Some of my ideas adopted into the Long Term Plan include the first NHS App, which will allow patients to book medical appointments, Skype virtual doctors, seek medical advice and order repeat prescriptions. Other recommendations include an improved and expanded NHS Apps Library, better digital training for NHS leaders and the axing of outdated fax machines by 2020.
The NHS Long Term Plan, demonstrates the NHS is one of the government’s top priorities, and backs the tremendous work of our NHS staff at hospitals and health centres all over the country including at places such as QA.