It was with sadness that I voted for a time-limited Winter lockdown. Thank you to the almost 700 residents who responded to my survey asking for your views, where 60% supported a national lockdown. Every day, I am proud to represent people who have worked so hard to keep the virus at bay, and I would like to thank you for the commitment you are demonstrating to the new regulations.
I wanted today to update you on some of the pressing local campaigns I’ve been working on.
Having been elected on a commitment to improve our healthcare provision locally, I’m acutely aware of residents’ concerns about the future of Rutland Memorial Hospital. I’ve raised this with our CCG directly and am delighted to have secured its commitment that Rutland Memorial Hospital will not close. Not only will it be protected but it will be developed and refurbished to deliver as much care as possible locally.
This is a big relief for all of us in Rutland, but now I need to work secure a detailed, long-term and sustainable plan for healthcare for Rutland with the Council and CCG from GP provision up to infrastructure and services at Rutland Memorial. I expect to see the CCG engage with all of us on the future of community services to develop a local healthcare plan in 2021.
Whilst I await Lincolnshire CCG’s response regarding the closure of St Mary’s GP service in Stamford and how 30,00 patients can be sufficiently served by just one GP practice, my colleague Gareth Davies MP, who is leading on Stamford’s GP provision, and I have requested a meeting to discuss a long term healthcare strategy for Stamford.
In Parliament,I have formed the A1 MPs Working Group which is making the case for comprehensive upgrades to the A1 between the M25 and M62. Last week I coordinated a joint letter to the Transport Secretary calling for targeted action to resolve this issue signed by relevant MPs and Local Authorities. All of us have had enough of the issues on this road, and while this may not be quick to deliver, I am determined to secure a tangible solution for us.
This week the Agriculture Bill will attain Royal Assent. The Government has now extended the Trade and Agriculture Commission and agreed to provide Parliamentarians with two additional opportunities to scrutinise the impact of any future trade agreements on animal welfare and UK Standards. I look forward to scrutinising trade deals on behalf of our farmers and transforming the support our farmers receive in the future.
Many of you will be aware that I’ve been fighting a national campaign to ensure all pregnant women have partners with them at scans and all stages of labour. I’m delighted to report a victory, the Prime Minister has now announced that the new 15-minute COVID tests will be prioritised in hospitals to keep partners together, alongside for cancer, end-of-life and paediatric settings.
Once National Lockdown was announced, I fought for children under school age, and those with severe disabilities requiring full time care, to be excluded from the two person meeting outside rules, to ensure that single parents face less isolation than during the Spring lockdown. I am pleased that the Government took up my call and introduced this exemption.
Finally, I wish to pay tribute to the way our communities have come together for Remembrance Day to remember and honour the sacrifices of our service men and women who gave their lives to protect our freedoms. We will forever be grateful to those to whom we owe everything, and I would also like to thank our wonderful local Armed Forces for all they have done to support our communities during the course of the pandemic.