Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 14 February 2013


(i) the appalling revelations contained in the recent Francis report on the lack of care and unnecessary deaths at Stafford Hospital, and
(ii) a number of recent constituency cases of concern

 I am undertaking an informal survey of healthcare locally and I invite your experiences, particularly of the past 6 to 12 months. You can drop me a line at Westminster or e-mail me on:

Let me set the background.  The NHS free at the point of need is absolutely fundamental to the British way of life and we need to maintain its excellence. We even celebrated it in the Olympic opening ceremony. Because we are all living longer and need medical support in our senior years, the NHS is creaking at the seams. The coalition government is fulfilling its pledge to invest more in health every year over and above inflation.

After much political huffing and puffing the new structures we have put in place are now up and running. Just to remind you: these give more commissioning power to GPs, reduce administration and increase decision making by doctors and open up the NHS to further competition (just like the excellent Peninsular Medical Centre in Derriford .) I see no reason why these new structures cannot deliver medical excellence, despite the pressures of an ageing and growing population. In any event, the last thing we need is any more radical changes, so let's make the most of the new framework.

Locally, we have now a new GP commissioning service led by the inspirational Dr Peter Rudge and a new team at Derriford led by the impressive and experienced Ann James. Relationships between the commissioners, the acute hospital and the Plymouth City Council (which is responsible for social care) have never been better. Plymouth Community Healthcare (mental health services and community health) are also performing well. We really should now be able to make the new NHS structures a model of excellence in our area.  

The new focus, following the almost unbelievable Francis report is about basic care: by nurses, by doctors, by the system in general.
We know all about the great skill of British doctors in treating patients. The spotlight now falls on the level of care we receive whilst in our hospitals. Basic things like being fed and watered, bodily functions attended to, let alone whether you are made to feel welcome.

 Are you satisfied? Are things improving? What more can be done?

posted by Gary @ 09:40