• NHS

    15 January 2018

    Dear Constituent

    Thank you for contacting me about the pressures facing the NHS this winter.
    Winter is always a difficult time of year for health services across the world, and I know that this year is no exception for the NHS.
    I hope you are encouraged to hear that the Government has worked closely with the NHS to prepare for winter. Winter preparations began earlier than ever before: in the Spring Budget, the Chancellor pledged £100 million investment to support A&E departments throughout the country; and in December, the Government invested a further £337 million to support the NHS throughout the winter. This money has, amongst other achievements, helped the NHS open over 1,000 more acute hospital beds since the end of November, and install GP streaming services in 91 per cent of A&E departments.
    I am happy to say that, despite very challenging circumstances, these preparations have been of great help to the health service, whose staff have offered lifesaving, compassionate care at the hardest time of the year. I would like to echo Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS England’s National Medical Director, and say that this winter has seen some of the best, and most thorough preparations on record.
    It is incredibly unfortunate that NHS England postponed non-urgent operations this January, the Prime Minister has offered her own apologies to those affected. I understand that this emergency action was taken by the NHS National Emergency Pressures Panel, following sustained pressure on the NHS over Christmas. No urgent, or cancer-related, operations have been deferred, and I believe the panel was right to give patients significant notice of deferral, rather than cancelling operations with only a few hours’ notice, as happened in previous years. 
    I would like to close by reiterating HM Government commitment to a publicly funded and free-at-the-point-of-use NHS.
    Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

    Yours sincerely

    Mel Stride

    MP for Central Devon

    Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General