As the election campaign kicked off, it was fascinating to watch the seven main party leaders set out their positions in the leaders’ debates. For those of us living in England, it demonstrated a clear choice between the coherent economic competence of the Conservatives on the one hand, and the chaos of the other parties.
It was clear throughout that Conservatives have a plan to get rid of the deficit, by bearing down on departmental spending and further reducing welfare, so that work really pays.
Yes, we are still spending more than we can afford as a country, but thanks to tough decisions taken by Conservatives in Government, the deficit has been cut by half in percentage terms in this parliament, and will be eliminated in the next. Conservatives believe it’s morally wrong to leave huge debts behind for our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to pay off.
Every one of us will face challenges in our lives. We may face difficulties at work, in our personal relationships or with physical or mental health. Few of us have the courage and strength to reach out and help others when we are fighting our own battles. Yet one of my constituents is doing just that.
In 2013, Andrew Scarborough from Ascot, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour at the age of 27. I cannot begin to imagine just how difficult this must have been for him and his family.
Andrew is a talented and admirable young man who is well on his way to a Master’s degree in nutritional therapy and is planning to go on to a career helping others to improve their lives through changing their diets.
Living with brain cancer
As his brain tumour has developed, Andrew has had to deal with the debilitating symptoms that go along with brain cancer. He began to suffer from epilepsy as the tumour started affecting his brain functions and was, at times, unable to leave his bed, such was the pain and fatigue of the disease.
Adam Afriyie MP has welcomed NHS Berkshire’s assurance that NHS services will continue to be provided at Heatherwood Hospital “for years to come”.
The hospital’s future had been under threat, but NHS Berkshire’s “Shaping the Future” programme has confirmed that Heatherwood will be retained as an important part of healthcare provision in east Berkshire.
Mr Afriyie warned that, whilst the future of Heatherwood is now safe, residents must speak up during the upcoming consultation period to ensure that key services at the hospital are retained.
Speaking about NHS Berkshire’s statement, Mr Afriyie said:
“This is great news for residents. We have been campaigning for years to defend our local hospital services. The Berkshire announcement provides a welcome relief for everyone who has fought for the future of Heatherwood Hospital.
I cannot imagine what it must be like for someone with a severe mental health challenge, checking themselves into hospital and becoming the victim of a sexual assault.
This week, the Department of Health finally released a report by the National Patients Safety Agency into the incidences of assault in wards across the NHS. The report was ready for publication in November but was not released by the Government until, now despite the mental health charity MIND pressing for its publication under the Freedom of Information Act.
The report showed that women had reported being the victims of more than 100 incidents of rape, sexual assault or sexual harassment in NHS mental health units over a period of two years, with most incidents taking place in the 12 months up to October 2005.
Having spent Saturday on the doorsteps, many people were asking me about the NHS now it’s in the headlines again this week. So I’ve dedicated today’s constituency briefing to the subject.
Over the last 18-months I have toured local hospitals including Heatherwood and The King Edward VII. We certainly have some top rate hospitals in the Windsor area; but things could be so much better.
Speaking with nurses, doctors and consultants I am struck by their hard work and dedication. But our professional front line staff are held-back by the burden of Government targets and bureaucracy. They are forced to report to pen-pushers and an army of checkers who contribute little to patient care.