I beg to move,
That this House
has considered health services in Essex.
It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Howarth. I am grateful to the Speaker for granting me this debate. I thank the Minister for his time, and I welcome him; I suspect that he may already be familiar not just with the great county of Essex but with many of the issues I will give an airing to. I am grateful for this debate and for the opportunity to raise a number of issues that I have discussed previously in the House relating to health services in Essex.
Before I go into the details of the way in which health services are working in my constituency and where improvements are needed, I pay tribute to the NHS staff who work tirelessly to save lives and help people to get better—not only my constituents but constituents across the county. I have naturally visited our local hospitals and general practitioner surgeries and had the privilege of joining our ambulance service at both its headquarters and its new base. I have been impressed with the staff I have met and I pay tribute to them. They have obviously had a great deal on with the winter pressures. I also pay tribute to the staff and leadership I have met in the local NHS, and to the Government for investing in our NHS.
I say that because, since I was elected in 2010, it is fair to say that we have had a number of issues. In that general election of 2010, the Labour party was talking about cuts to the NHS. Ever since then, it has sought to weaponise the NHS and to frighten and scare my constituents and the public about local service provision and the services available to them. The Conservatives in government have invested in the NHS, and the result, in Essex, is more patients being treated by more doctors and nurses.
I welcome in particular the recent announcement, of which the Minister will be aware, of investment in Anglia Ruskin University’s school of medicine, which will provide training places for 100 more people. My fellow Essex MPs, in particular my hon. Friend Vicky Ford, and I made strong representations in support of the university’s bid.