Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham column | A plan for urgent and emergency care
This week the Government announced its Urgent and Emergency Care Plan, a comprehensive strategy aimed at transforming the country's health care system.
The new plan forms part of a wider effort to modernise the NHS in order to improve the quality of care for patients, and to make sure we continue to see progress in getting people the treatment they need, when they need it.
Since the start of the year, I’ve been conducting my own NHS survey across Burnley and Padiham. Wanting to hear experiences from across the board, the good and the bad, because it’s enabling me to feed in local concerns directly to Government.
A major talking point has been delays to treatment, and so whilst we continue to work to tackle the Covid backlog, this plan goes much further. Backed by an additional £1 billion of funding, work is underway to provide yet more hospital beds to increase capacity, with an uplift in the number of ambulance available.
A key aspect will also be increasing the number of doctors and nurses even further. This is alongside more of a focus on joining up health services with care in the community, something I’ve been campaigning on vigorously. To achieve that goal, fully integrated hubs are to be setup to speed up the time it takes to discharge a patient from hospital. And community-based services are to be expanded to reduce the pressures on places like Burnley General and Blackburn Royal.
The plan is also about modernising the way in which people can contact the health service. For many, face to face is always preferred. But for those wanting digital accessibility the role of NHS 111 is to be expanded with online connectivity reducing the need for many to visit A&E in the first place. And crucially, this service will give those suffering with their mental health access to support from trained professionals on the end of a telephone line.
There is growing demand for urgent and emergency services, and we need to be prepared. The plan represents a major step forward in addressing this challenge. And with its focus on expanding community-based services, improving access, and developing new models of care, it has the potential to make a real difference to the lives of patients and their families across Burnley and Padiham.
I will of course continue to seek the widest possible views on this topic. And ensure that Government is fully aware of the issues affecting residents within our borough. Healthcare is too important not to!