Prevention is always better than the cure | Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham column

There are few public services that you can guarantee someone will need at some point in their life.

Because whilst we all hope never to need the police or the fire service for example, we can be certain that we will require the education and health system during our lifetimes.

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Video and images of huge housing development off Burnley's Rossendale Road
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That’s why, as your Member of Parliament, I spend so much of my time working to secure investment and improvements in these.

Burnley MP Antony HIgginbotham says he is committed to levelling up healthcare in the borough

Over the past three years we’ve seen major investment in our NHS, with more doctors and nurses joining the ranks, improvements to Burnley General Hospital and overall spending on our NHS reaching record levels. I’m proud of the focus we’ve placed on healthcare. But with the aftermaths of Covid-19 still having an impact, and an ageing population meaning that even with this additional funding pressures are getting bigger, there is certainly much to do.

We all know that the pandemic has created a backlog that needs clearing and improvements in early diagnosis is top of the agenda. Because we know that prevention is always better than the cure.

That’s why I raised better diagnostics at Burnley General Hospital in parliament this week, highlighting the two new endoscopy rooms that will be opening early next year. This is all part of a newly approved community diagnostic centre in Rawtenstall, with Burnley as a satellite site, and it will massively expand the number of tests that can be carried out at our hospital.

But I want to see even more investment as I know we can go much further, especially in reducing the covid backlogs. That’s why I am meeting with the Minister for Health to speak about how we continue to invest in Burnley Hospital. At the heart of this plan is a brand-new radiology centre, with the latest diagnostic machines, linking up with the endoscopy rooms and our surgical theatres to create a diagnostic hub, meaning patients have their healthcare needs identified and treated even quicker.

All of this relies on having good access to GP and dental services though, because they are the first port of call for all of us when we have a concern. I continue to raise accessibility for these services with Ministers and we are now seeing the tide turning.

My mission is clear. We have to level up healthcare one step at a time within our borough.

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And next week I’ll talk more on the second essential public service we all touch – education – because we are taking leaps forward here too!