Category Archives: nhs

Local NHS Survey


As part of my ongoing commitment to the residents of Rochester and Strood to represent you in Westminster, I would be grateful if you could two minutes of your time to complete my online NHS survey. Your views are really important to me and may help to formulate and guide my Party’s ongoing commitment to our NHS.


MP welcomes Marlowe Park surgery contract extension

Local residents and councillors standing up for local services in Strood South

Local residents and councillors standing up for local services in Strood South

Mark Reckless MP has welcomed the news that, following his intervention, the PCT has agreed to offer Dr Juneja a three month extension to keep the popular Marlowe Park Medical Centre in Strood South open beyond 31st March 2012.

Speaking after hearing the news, Mark said;

“I had a further conversation with Dr James Thallon, the PCT medical director, on Wednesday afternoon following a lengthy meeting with him in Tonbridge the previous Wednesday. I am delighted that the Kent and Medway PCT has agreed to offer Dr Juneja this initial three month extension to keep the popular Marlowe Park surgery in Strood open following my intervention. I believe that they are now negotiating in good faith with better mutual understanding.

The PCT and their committed and conscientious medical director James Thallon have really listened to my explanation of Dr Juneja’s exceptional past experience and commitment to his patients in Strood and beyond.

I hope that they will now successfully reach a long term agreement for the surgery. I am grateful to our responsive and relatively accountable PCT and particularly Dr Thallon for listening to me as the MP and to patients and then genuinely reconsidering their decision.”

Responding to the announcement, Dr Juneja from Marlowe Park Medical Centre said:

“I sincerely believe that without the help of Mark Reckless and Cllrs John Avey and Josie Iles that this contract extension, and the step towards discussions, would not have been possible.

I am deeply indebted to Mark, the Councillors, my patients who have not deserted the Practice, and my staff who have hung on. My heartfelt thanks and best wishes.

For his great contribution to the local population, I’ll be on the streets for Mark if he needs me in future to support a just cause. At the same time, I’d like to thank the Medway NHS Trust Commissioners for their show of goodwill and the LMC for it’s undaunting support all along the line.”

Video: Sunday Politics 24th February 2012

Mark Reckless discusses the issue of changes to legal aid and the action which the government is taking to address the rise of the ‘compensation culture’ in the UK.

MP welcomes Balfour Centre reprieve

Mark Reckless MP (middle) with Cllrs Sylvia Griffin and Trevor Clarke visit the Balfour Centre

Mark Reckless MP (middle) with Cllrs Sylvia Griffin and Trevor Clarke visit the Balfour Centre

Mark Reckless MP has welcomed the decision by Medway Council to extend the Balfour Centre consultation period following a late bid from Medway Community Healthcare, which provides community NHS services to the people of Medway, to take over the running of the centre in Pattens Lane.

Mark, along with local ward councillors Sylvia Griffin and Trevor Clarke, recently visited the centre to discuss the consultation and to meet with and listen to some of current users of the centre.

Following a last minute bid from Medway Community Healthcare, Medway Council’s cabinet yesterday voted unanimously to extend the consultation period for the Balfour Centre, which supports adults with disabilities, to explore the viability of the proposal.

Speaking after the decision, Mark said:

“Many disabled people clearly enjoy the time that they spend at the Balfour Centre and gain skils and social opportunites which otherwise may not be available to them. I was impressed by the commitment of Balfour centre users and staff to the centre.

I am delighted that Medway Council have run a genuine consultation and that Medway Community Healthcare have come forward with these proposals to take over the running of the centre.”

Mark Reckless MP supports local myeloma patients and helps raise awareness

Mark Reckless MPMark Reckless MP attended a Myeloma Awareness Week Reception in the House of Commons yesterday to show his support for myeloma patients in Rochester and Strood Constituency.

He met myeloma patients, their families and healthcare professionals and has agreed to support a Myeloma UK initiative to ensure patients in the local area receive the best standards of treatment and care.

Myeloma is a rare and debilitating blood cancer that affects 14,000 people in the UK and approx. 25 people living in Rochester and Strood.

Although there is currently no cure for myeloma, both survival outcomes and quality of life have improved dramatically over the last decade thanks to the availability of excellent treatment and care.

Myeloma UK is working to make sure that all patients in the UK receive the best treatment and care, no matter where they live.

The Reception yesterday marked the launch of its new educational programme, the Myeloma Academy™. The Academy is an online educational resource, designed to support healthcare professionals and hospitals in improving the experience of myeloma patients in their care.

Mark Reckless MP has agreed to support the Myeloma Academy and will be encouraging the medical community in Rochester and Strood to get involved in this important initiative.

About myeloma

• Each year in the UK, over 4,000 people are diagnosed with myeloma
• Myeloma is the second most common type of blood cancer but represents only 1% of all cancers
• Complications of myeloma include severe bone pain, bone fractures, fatigue, frequent infection and kidney failure
• Public awareness of myeloma is low: 97% of people in a recent survey did not know what it was
• Myeloma Awareness Week takes place every year during 21-28 June
• For more information about the Myeloma Academy visit

Mark Reckless Welcomes £12 Million Extra For NHS In Medway

NHSFrom today – 1 April – the NHS in Medway will enjoy an extra £12 million, to support key Government priorities such as the Cancer Drugs Fund, investment in talking therapies for those with mental health conditions, 4,200 extra health visitors, and support for carers’ breaks.

Spending on healthcare in our local area this year will total £435 million overall.

The increase follows the decision by the Coalition Government to protect NHS investment over the next four years – investment vigorously opposed by Labour.

Across England as a whole, over £89 billion will now be spent on doctors, nurses and frontline services in the NHS – an increase of more than £2.6 billion over the year before.

Welcoming the increases in NHS funding, Mark Reckless said:

“We recognise just how important the NHS is to this country – and to patients here in Medway. That’s why the Coalition Government is protecting the NHS not just today, but for future generations.

“Next year alone, our constituency will benefit from an extra £12 million of investment going straight to doctors, nurses and other frontline services.

“Under Labour, billions of extra spending was swallowed up as the number of managers increased at five times the rate the number of nurses. Their plans would have meant cutting the NHS, denying patients the improved services we are putting in place.

“Their approach – to spend less and keep things as they are – would leave the NHS in crisis.”

Mark Reckless MP Welcomes Improvement To Emotional Support Service

Mark Reckless MPMark Reckless MP has welcomed the improvements to confidential emotional support for people in Medway and Kent.

Medway and Kent will soon be among a handful of places in England to offer residents 24-hour confidential, emotional support, free of charge.

From 1 April, support from the helpline Mental Health Matters will be available round the clock in Medway and Kent on 0800 107 0160.

Previously the helpline was open in the evenings and at weekends but was closed in the daytime during the week.

Speaking of the improved service, Mark Reckless said:

“I hope the expansion of this service will provide residents in my constituency with the advice and support they need to cope in today’s current climate. Having spoken to many local people who have contacted me for help and assistance, I know this improved service will be of great benefit to many constituents who need a helping hand and confidential advice. This is an excellent addition to the wide range of support services offered to residents in Medway and I would like to congratulate everyone involved in making it happen.”

The increase in hours is being funded by mental health commissioners in Kent and Medway (the three primary care trusts and two local authorities) and reflects the success of Mental Health Matters in helping people who are distressed.

“Last year, the Mental Health Matters helpline in Kent and Medway received more than 10,000 calls,” said Lauretta Kavanagh, Director of Mental Health Commissioning for the Medway and Kent primary care trusts.

“People called about relationship problems, loneliness, stress, bereavement – the whole range of emotional distress.

“The team of highly trained and experienced support workers at the helpline use counselling skills to provide confidential emotional support and guidance. They also have details of local and national support services that people may find useful.”

Rose Collinson, Medway Council’s Director of Children and Adults, said: “I am delighted that by working with our partners we are able to provide this improved and much needed service to people in Medway and Kent.”

“Many people reach a moment in their lives when they badly need to speak about feelings they are struggling with and by making this helpline available round the clock, people will now be able to call when they need to.”

People can also live chat with a counsellor by email if they prefer, at

Alan Heyes, from the voluntary organisation Mental Health Matters which runs the helpline and live chat email system, said: “In these uncertain times, it is often quite natural to feel anxious, apprehensive or just down.  Job insecurity, debt, relationship problems, or emotional distress can all take a toll and, when this continues, it can start to impact on your health and mental wellbeing.

“Since it started in Kent and Medway more than two years ago, the helpline has provided successful interventions for people with problems such as low mood, emotional distress and stress. Clients say they feel ‘held’.”