In My View - 25th January 2018

Headlines this week have been dominated by Boris Johnson and the NHS in a way that sadly highlights the confused discourse that continues on this most important of issues. Boris remains a charismatic and eloquent personality who attracts a lot of attention but it is highly unusual for a Foreign Secretary to publically venture into another area. The press tend to gravitate towards personal issues and disputes and exaggerate them on occasion. Finally everything is now seen as somehow related to Brexit even when the links are tenuous. Criticism of Boris came thick and fast from Remainers from all political parties focussing on his views on the European Union.

The reaction isn’t helpful to the NHS and must be read with a certain amount of despair by those involved in our nation’s healthcare. The NHS is one of our great institutions of which we are rightly proud and it mustn’t be treated as a political football. I support the calls for a ten year funding plan to allow proper planning and also something along the lines of a Royal Commission on the NHS to focus on the future looking at the next ten or twenty years rather than until the next election.

There are many similarities with our Armed Forces. Here too the challenges are increasing and advances in technology have made things more expensive. The international security situation and the terrorist threat are no respecters of budgetary issues in the same way that health and social care needs are not. It is encouraging that scheduled spending constraints have now been at least put on hold whilst a full review takes place. I am pleased to have contributed to this – I was one of the Conservative backbenchers to get the ball rolling with this issue by leading a debate in Parliament back in October of last year. I had a constructive conversation with Alexander Downer, the Australian High Commissioner on related matters last week and of course did not waste the opportunity to mention how we would be happy to help with any future helicopter requirements.

I am sure I’m not alone in wishing the very best of luck to our Yeovil Town FC tomorrow evening. It’s a great event for the whole area and I hope that everyone involved with the team enjoys the experience too. Knockout competitions are great fun and, of course, anything can happen. I have been in touch with the club and Council about some logistical concerns and in particular the current closure of Thorn Lane. At this stage is looking as though safety and insurance issues mean that the road cannot be reopened which is a shame. That’s the nature of the cup though; you don’t get a lot of time to plan and other measures are being put in place to help the evening go well. I have also just heard that extra staff are being brought in to help with the works to get them finished more quickly which is good news for everyone.

As always, if you would like to get in touch about any of these issues or to book an appointment at one of my regular advice surgeries please do get in touch by calling 01935314321 or email