Speaking on Channel 4 News, Mark Reckless highlights the “extraordinarily impressive” national manifesto launched today.
Tag Archives: Health
Before going up to Parliament yesterday, I welcomed my party leader and health spokesperson to Rochester to launch UKIP’s health policy, and then visited a GP surgery followed by a school in special measures in Strood.
Our health launch was the second keynote event addressed by Nigel Farage and key UKIP spokespeople, a series which started two weeks ago on Canvey Island (which I often see looking across the estuary from Allhallows, but had not previously visited).
Suzanne Evans, UKIP’s policy chief, chaired the very well attended event at Rochester Corn Exchange, introducing Nigel Farage, followed by me, and then Louise Bours, our health spokesperson.
It was great to see so many old friends at the event, including council candidates who have come over to us from the Conservatives, and Denise Harker, the previous Chair of Medway Hospital, as well as several of our MEPs.
The NHS runs in my blood
I spoke about how the NHS ran in my blood to the extent that my father is a doctor and my mother worked as a nurse in the NHS. I recapped some of the work I have done locally and in Parliament on GP services, before talking about what is being done to try to turn round Medway hospital.
Perhaps the highlight of the event for me was introducing our recently selected candidate for Gillingham and Rainham, a highly respected and long-serving obstetrician from Medway hospital, Dr Mark Hanson. Together we will put turning around Medway hospital front and centre of UKIP’s general election campaign in Medway.
Louise Bours then impressed almost all assembled with her passion for the NHS in an articulate and fluently delivered speech. Her promise to abolish hospital car parking charges, ‘a tax on illness’ was notably well received.
I particularly support our decision to replace the failing Care Quality Commission with elected county health boards, and to give these the backstop powers of another quango, Monitor, to replace Chairs and Chief Executives of failing Foundation Trusts. UKIP will put the public in charge.
After introducing Nigel and Louise to constituents at the Corn Exchange, it was a privilege to take them on to Dr Juneja’s GP surgery in Strood, which I previously helped save from closure, and hear from him and patient representative Ron about the challenges our GPs face.
Special Measures again
I last visited Temple Mill after some money was misappropriated from the school. Whilst I was happy to try to get the school some recompense, I was concerned then that the excuse of lack of money was deployed for failings at the school.
A whole new leadership team is now in place at the school and answered all my questions today.
The new head due to start next term joined us. For now June, a constituent from Allhallows who usually runs a high performing primary near Elephant and Castle, is working closer to home as the temporary head at Temple Mill, Strood.
I am grateful to them for their work to turn round the school and am hopeful that before long we will see improving results at Temple Mill, although the overall standard of primary education in Medway is still not good enough.
Mark Reckless MP is supporting HEART UK, The Cholesterol Charity, in its aim of ensuring that cardiovascular disease (CVD), the UK’s biggest single killer, remains a key government priority. This comes as HEART UK releases a new manifesto setting out clear and focussed recommendations designed to address the issues around treatment and management of CVD.
Despite progress in some areas of CVD management over the past 20 years, there are still around 160,000 deaths every year in the UK and about 175,000 heart attacks, so it is more important than ever that CVD remains high on the UK health agenda.
Mark Reckless MP attended the official launch of the manifesto at a one off cholesterol testing event in the House of Commons, highlighting HEART UK’s mission for the majority of UK adults to know and understand their cholesterol levels in order to take any necessary action.
Speaking after the event, Mark Reckless MP, said:
“I wholeheartedly endorse HEART UK’s attempts to ensure that everyone knows their cholesterol and that the Government does all it can to ensure that patients at high risk of CVD are identified, managed and cared for in the best possible way. Cholesterol testing is simple, quick and painless and I would urge all adults to get themselves tested. I am committed to working with the local NHS and in Parliament to ensure that heart disease services are well-coordinated and remain a public health priority nationally and in Rochester & Strood.”
The policy priorities set out in HEART UK’s manifesto call on the Government to:
- Commit to see through implementation of the CVD Outcome Strategy
- Incentivise and support better management of CVD at local level
- Develop a national programme for Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (FH) under NHS England with ring-fenced funding
- Implement robust data collection and support access to quality data
Commenting on the manifesto launch and testing event, HEART UK Chief Executive, Ms Jules Payne, said:
“I would like to thank Mark Reckless for pledging to support HEART UK’s ambition of implementing our manifesto recommendations. With cardiovascular disease remaining the UK’s single biggest killer and cholesterol being a major contributor, we are urging the future Government not be complacent with the current programmes and to dedicate funding and support to future management, treatment and reporting of heart disease.”
“There is still a lot of work to do both at local and national levels to ensure that knowledge of different lipid conditions is understood by adults in the UK and that once conditions are diagnosed, our health system can continue to give them the help and support required,”
A full copy of the manifesto can be downloaded here:
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.
I have today written to the Secretary of State for health following a meeting with the acting chief executive of Medway hospital. I am asking for urgent sign-off of funds to rebuild our A & E:
I got straight back to work after my re-election as our MP last Friday morning. The result was announced at 4.20am and I was back in Parliament to be sworn in at 9.30am. This is thought to be a record for the quickest time.
The reason I went back so quickly was to support a Bill to protect our NHS. I spoke against further fragmentation and privatisation of the service. Very few government MPs bothered to attend but the opposition benches, on which I now sit, were full (pictured right) and there was strong support for the NHS.
So far this week I have been busy in Parliament every day.
On Monday I supported Zac Goldsmith MP, who has been leading the campaign for Real Recall so that the public can ‘recall’ MPs who let them down, and insist on a by-election. Zac came over to consult us on our new UKIP bench (pictured left) but, unfortunately, those of us who believe in Real Recall were in a minority. The majority of MPs have decided a committee of MPs, and not voters, will decide if an MP may be recalled, which we see as an establishment stitch up.
On Tuesday the front page of the Daily Telegraph referred to one patient at Medway hospital A&E waiting 35 hours to be seen, while ten had waited more than 24 hours there in the past year. When I asked Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, whether he could report any progress to improve the A&E, he responded by attacking me and UKIP.
On Wednesday I followed up again on Medway hospital and asked the Prime Minister whether he agreed with Dr Philip Barnes, the hospital’s Acting Chief Executive, that what our hospital needed was ‘a period of patience and stability’.
It was not completely clear from the Prime Minister’s response whether he agreed that was the priority, but he too ended up attacking me and UKIP instead of answering the question. UKIP’s policy on the NHS is to replace the current alphabet soup of regulators and competing bodies in the NHS with a single elected NHS health board for Kent and Medway.
You can also see from this short clip what MPs thought of our democratic decision to re-elect me as our representative. Even if they now fear for their own jobs because of UKIP, they should surely respect what voters decide.
On Thursday I listened to the debate on the historic child sex abuse inquiry which the government set up following pressure from the Home Affairs Select Committee, of which I have been a member. There was a good debate, again including Zac Goldsmith and also Simon Danczuk, MP for Rochdale, but sadly there were only a dozen MPs present.
Today I am holding my MP’s surgery. After that I am travelling to Skegness to join the Panel for this week’s edition of the BBC’s Any Questions. If you would like to hear our debate it will be on Radio 4 at 8pm tonight and again just after 1.10pm tomorrow.
After apparent briefing about the routine use of a photograph of Mark Reckless meeting with the Acting Chief Executive of Medway Hospital, Mark Reckless has questioned Medway hospital’s board about its priorities.
He said: “Problems at Medway hospital, most worryingly around one in ten more patients dying there than should be the case, have been left to fester for over a decade under both Labour and Conservative-led governments.
“As a Foundation Trust the Board at Medway hospital is responsible for its performance, but has failed properly to improve it, the trust remaining in special measures. Indeed, despite seriously inadequate standards of clinical care which led to it being place in special measures, Medway hospital’s Board was distracted for up to two years by failed plans to merge with Darenth Valley hospital. Incredibly, Medway hospital, as a foundation trust, was meant to be helping Darenth Valley escape from its more direct management by the Department of Health.
“Further, once Medway hospital was placed in special measures, its Board failed either to remove its Chief Executive, or to ensure he had sufficient support to turn round the hospital. When that Chief Executive and the Board Chair later resigned, the Board was overseen by a temporary Chair earning up to £200,000 a year for barely a one day week, with finances put in the hands of a Treasurer earning £40,000 a month.
“Notwithstanding such issues at Board level, throughout this period, and quite properly as the MP, I sought to support the clinical staff at the hospital and their leadership, notably Dr Philip Barnes as Medical Director and latterly Acting Chief Executive.
“As most past and present MPs would during a campaign seeking re-election, I have referred in literature to work I did as the MP, and illustrated it with relevant photographs taken with the agreement of those pictured.
“MPs across the country will have used pictures of themselves with the Chair or Chief Executive of their local hospital or similar in such content. I am not aware of Medway hospital complaining of any Labour MP doing that in the past.
“I have today had an exchange of letters with the Chair of Medway hospital. They do not show my doing anything unusual for someone seeking re-election as an MP. They do, however, show extraordinary involvement by an ostensibly neutral chair of an NHS body in an election.
“My reply should have put an end to the matter. Instead, publicly paid press officers appear to have continued briefing this matter, rather than dealing with more pressing matters for a hospital in special measures.
“I am demanding an urgent meeting tomorrow with Mrs Winning to discuss her intervention in this matter.
“I am also asking her Board on an FOI basis to disclose any correspondence or record of discussion in respect of my election leaflet and their Chair’s subsequent intervention, whether between Directors, with Medway Foundation Trust employees, or with the Department of Health.”