TOM HUNT PROMISES TO ACT AS “WATCHDOG” TO ENSURE MERGER WORKS FOR IPSWICH IN SECOND SPEECH IN COMMONS
On Monday 27 January 2020, Tom Hunt, Member of Parliament for Ipswich, delivered his second speech in the House of Commons during the second reading of the NHS Funding Bill.
In the speech, Hunt underlined the importance of getting additional health funding for Ipswich. He noted that Clinical Commissioning Group funding is over £100 lower in Ipswich and East Suffolk and that: “the disparities between Ipswich and East Anglia and the rest of the country and real and often pronounced”. He specifically raised GP services, and how Ipswich’s GP-to-population is too high and that local residents say that they struggle to get an appointment when they need one.
Hunt also raised the recent inspection report on the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust which was formed following the merger of Ipswich and Colchester hospitals in July 2018. The report gave the Trust an overall rating of ‘requires improvement’ which Hunt said was “disappointing” but that direct comparisons with the last inspection in which Ipswich hospital was rated ‘good’ cannot be made because the latest inspection included Colchester.
Hunt also welcomed positive developments in local healthcare including the planned new £35 million A&E Department in Ipswich and the new orthopaedic centre which may be located in Ipswich or Colchester. Hunt stated that these “twin investments may not have happened had the merger into a single trust not taken place”.
Hunt said he would adopt a “watchdog role” to ensure that the merger benefits the people of Ipswich. He emphasised the importance of this with regard to the new orthopaedic centre and some local people’s concern that this may be eventually located in Colchester. If it is to be located in Colchester, Hunt said he would endeavour to ensure that Ipswich patients would only have to go to the centre for their main operations; appointments should be made in the closest hospital to them.
When it comes to the merger, Hunt said that: “Rather than there must be a situation in which one hospital drags another down, it must be the case that when two hospitals come together, the good one drags up the one that is struggling.”
Hunt also raised the approval process for NHS approval process for big NHS capital schemes, saying that it is “too archaic” and that the delays to the approval of the business case for the planned new A&E department at Ipswich Hospital cost the taxpayer £167,000. He called for efficient spending at every stage of healthcare provision.
The NHS Funding Bill will accelerate the NHS Long Term Plan, allowing the delivery of commitments such as: 40 new hospitals, 50,000 more nurses, 6,000 more doctors and 50 million more appointments in GP surgeries every year. The Bill underpins the biggest cash increase in the history of the NHS.
Following his speech, Tom Hunt said:
“I was glad I was able to give my second speech in Parliament on the important issue of NHS funding and our local healthcare services in Ipswich.
“In my maiden speech, I made clear that Ipswich and East Anglia get an unfair deal when it comes to funding and healthcare funding is no exception so it was good to go into this issue in more depth on Monday.
“While I think the merger of Ipswich and Colchester hospitals has the potential to add weight to our voice when it comes to calling for more investment, as may well have been the case in securing the new A&E Department in Ipswich and the new orthopaedic centre, it is important that the interests of Ipswich residents are put first in the merger.
“I will adopt a watchdog role when it comes to the merger to ensure that both Ipswich and Colchester hospitals improve together and that it’s not the case that the underperforming hospital drags the good hospital down. It will also be important to scrutinise the upcoming decision on the location of the new orthopaedic centre which some residents have been concerned about. If the orthopaedic centre is eventually located in Colchester, I will endeavour to ensure that Ipswich residents only have to go there for main operations. All other appointments must be made at the nearest possible hospital to where people live.
“I also called for the NHS capital schemes approval process to be made more efficient. It took a year for the business case for the new £35 million A and E Department at Ipswich Hospital to be approved when it should have only taken a matter of months, it’s thought that each monthly delay costed over the taxpayer over £160,000, this must be addressed.”
The key take home from the SOBC for me is that there is a solid economic case for building the northern bypass. It’s been quite clear for some time that the inner route was the only game in town and I’m glad that this has now been formally underlined in this report. Energy and focus now needs to be directed at promoting this option.
I’m shocked by Network Rail’s announcement that there will be such a major level of disruption over the next few months for those who need to use rail services at the weekend. The fact that passengers have been given less than 24 hours notice is completely unacceptable.
I remember last October when it was announced that Highways England had commissioned an aerodynamics study looking at the ways in which closures of the Orwell Bridge could be minimized and what measures could be introduced to prevent closures of the bridge at times of high winds.
It has been the greatest honour of my life to have been elected as the Member of Parliament for Ipswich in the early hours of Friday morning. The the result here in Ipswich and across the country is a clear indication that the majority of people would like the referendum result to be respected and Brexit to be delivered. There is a huge desire for us to turn a chapter and move on as a country. Once we have left the EU the focus then needs to be on bringing people together and healing the divisions in our country, however difficult this may be.
My view is that we need to have the ability to control immigration. Being a member of the European Union makes it impossible for immigration to be controlled because of freedom of movement. I believe it was the desire for our country to be able to control immigration that was a key reason why people voted to leave the EU. It was one of the reasons I voted to leave.
Last night I wrote to my Labour opponent outlining a number of questions regarding his Brexit stance. There is no doubt that the need to get Brexit done is one of the biggest challenges facing the country and I think its only right and proper that each candidate standing for Parliament outlines clearly their own position.
Conservative MP candidate for Ipswich, Tom Hunt says:
“I’m delighted that Ipswich is one of the places that will benefit from the new Towns Fund. When talking to local residents I lose count of the number of times the state of our Town Centre has come up in conversation. If spent in the right way the £25 million provided by the Government could give Ipswich Town centre a massive boost. I encourage Ipswich Borough Council to engage fully with every section of our community when deciding how to invest this money.
“A few months ago I spoke with Jake Berry MP the Minister responsible for the fund and the difference a contribution could make to Ipswich. I’m very glad that the Government have listened.”
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“Very disappointed that last night 328 MPs decided to vote against the Prime Minister and destroy our country’s negotiating position with the EU. There is nothing at all that will be achieved by further dithering and delay.
“It’s vital we leave the EU on 31st October come what may and I believe that taking no deal of the table is complete folly. The Labour Party have abandoned the 5 million Labour voters who voted leave in 2016 and the Labour MP for Ipswich has abandoned the 38,000 people who voted leave in the Borough of Ipswich by repeatably voting against Brexit and not honoring the referendum result.
“Collectively I believe that this Parliament has failed the people of this country particularly the 17.4 million people who voted to leave the EU over three years ago. In the circumstances, reluctantly, I now believe that a General Election is needed. I fully support Boris and stand ready to throw everything I can into the campaign to ensure better representation for our Town in Parliament.”