Mel cares deeply about our NHS and the principle of universal healthcare, free at the point of use, to those in need. In 2018 as a treasury minister Mel helped to provide the largest ever cash increase for our NHS (an addition £20 billion a year in real terms by 2023-24, including an additional £2.3 billion a year for mental health).
Locally in Central Devon he has fought vigorously to preserve and where possible improve local healthcare provision. This includes playing a key role in getting NHS England to intervene when North Tawton Medical Practice was earmarked for closure and working with campaigners in Pathfinder Village to convince NHS Devon not to close their GP surgery. When the old medical centre in Hatherleigh closed Mel pressed NHS England to get the new site up and running.
Mel helped to lobby the Secretary of State for Health for funding for the brand new, purpose-build health hub in Crediton which was given the final go ahead in August 2020. It will result in the merger of the two existing GP surgeries in the town and improve healthcare provision for residents in both the town and its surrounding villages.
Mel worked closely with the Ashburton and Buckfastleigh League of Friends to persuade the Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust to retain the Ashburton Hospital building after it closed the hospital. It is now serving as a valuable Health and Wellbeing hub, providing a range of excellent outpatient services, including many that weren’t there before. He has also successfully pressed for the introduction of outpatient services at Okehampton and Moretonhampstead hospitals.
Prior to his election as an MP Mel served as Co-Chair of the Crediton Hospital Campaign Group.