On Tuesday of this week the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee of which I am a member published a report aimed at better diagnosis, treatment and support of people suffering from eating disorders. Although we are not the Health Committee, PACAC overseas the work of the Health Service Ombudsman which made a series of recommendations in the area at the end of 2017. Our inquiry looked into how those recommendations are being implemented and unfortunately found that a great deal more still needs to be done.
I am really determined to see improvement in the care for people suffering from this awful condition. I lost a friend to anorexia many years ago and I also see some very difficult cases through my work as an MP. The Government is rightly injecting a lot of new funding into the NHS and I hope the Committee’s work will help make sure it is spent well. The 2017 Ombudsman research reported, ‘Extremely limited education on eating disorders during medical school. No training whatsoever as a junior doctor.’ according to a junior doctor at the time. Training and education needs to improve and is worthwhile in every sense – it is far more effective to offer early diagnosis and treatment.
I raised some of the issues covered in the report in the House of Commons during Health Questions on Tuesday with Health Minister Jackie Doyle-Price who also was one of the witnesses who helped during the Committee inquiry. On Monday I raised funding for rural councils in relation to their social care commitments and I will keep returning to both these issues as they are two of the most important challenges of our time.
Thank you to Reckleford Community and Nursery School for welcoming me last week; I very much enjoyed meeting the team who are doing a great job. Getting more money into education generally is a priority but it’s also important to recognise that there can be disparity within a local area and there are some schools that need more help and support even when the broader area to which funding is allocated is better off. This has been one of the aspects of historic underfunding of rural areas that we are fighting to correct now and I will keep lobbying the Government on this.
I also had a productive meeting with Boris Johnson who I am supporting in the leadership contest. He has a strong connection with Somerset and really understands the importance of projects such as upgrading the A303 and boosting local skills. Through my work in Parliament, on Select Committees and with the Alternative Arrangements Working Group, as well as talking to local businesses, I have gained some expertise in trade, logistics and border matters and I will try to help whoever becomes our next Prime Minister deliver against the challenges and opportunities in those areas.