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Mel Stride

Busy right across the constituency

Tue 9 Nov 2021

By Mel Stride

With lockdown ended I have been criss-crossing our vast constituency, holding local meetings on issues including education (my thanks to Bovey Primary for their valuable time and for all their hard work during the pandemic), fire services, the environment and housing. But at the top of my agenda has been the provision of local health and social care services – in particular the future of Moretonhampstead Hospital and Ashburton & Buckfastleigh Health and Wellbeing Centre. There is some good news to report on both fronts.

Moretonhampstead – several months ago I began liaising with the Department for Health over the future of Moretonhampstead Hospital. North East Dartmoor Care (who I have met with on various occasions) is a fantastic charity based at the hospital, providing crucial bespoke home-care services for many communities in our constituency, including in Moretonhampstead, Chagford, Manaton, North Bovey, Lustleigh and the Teign Valley. The organisation was concerned that the future of the hospital as a local health hub might be in doubt because the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital moved some services out of the hospital. In July I secured a meeting with Health Minister Edward Argar to specifically press on this issue. I emphasised how important the hospital is to the town and more than a dozen neighbouring Dartmoor communities. I was very pleased to receive assurances from the minister that the hospital will remain as a local health hub and that plans are underway to bring further services to the hospital.

Ashburton & Buckfastleigh – I recently met up with the Chair of Ashburton & Buckfastleigh Hospital League of Friends, Cllr Sarah Parker-Khan. Having worked closely with Sarah over many years to retain the hospital building, it was good to hear that the range of services operating from the new Health and Wellbeing Hub is continuing to expand. This includes the recent addition of mental health support services. Due to the pandemic most patients have so far been seen remotely, but as we begin to get back to normal more patients will be seen in person. The centre is now also allowing self-referrals for services such as physiotherapy. Eliminating the need to see a GP first not only speeds up the process of getting treatment or advice, but it frees up a GP appointment for someone else.

The issue of health and social care is coming very much to the fore in Westminster, with the Government introducing a major Health and Social Care Bill in July. It has passed its second reading in the House of Commons (the technical term for the first opportunity for MPs to debate the main principles of the bill) and has now gone to committee for scrutiny. I met with the Devon County Council cabinet member for Adult and Social Care, Cllr James McInnes, in Chagford recently to ensure I was fully up to speed on specific issues facing the sector here in Devon and will be factoring this into my involvement with the bill in Westminster.

Other columns by Mel Stride

Investing in local public services - Mon 2 Aug 2021
Corona - A year on - Mon 14 Jun 2021
Supporting our Local Communities in difficult times - Mon 1 Mar 2021
The PM’s first year - Thu 1 Oct 2020
Quizzing the PM - Tue 7 Jul 2020
It’s the economy, stupid! - Tue 11 Feb 2020
Vision for the Future - Mon 2 Dec 2019
Into the Cabinet - Thu 1 Aug 2019
Local Apprenticeships Matter - Fri 3 May 2019
Huge shot in the arm for our High Streets - Thu 24 Jan 2019
Reading - Thu 8 Nov 2018
EU - In or Out? - Mon 11 Mar 2013
Opportunity. - Tue 22 Jan 2013
Where do we begin? - Tue 13 Nov 2012
To Infinity and Beyond - Wed 5 Sep 2012
Working in Westminster - Sun 1 Jul 2012
A Better Balance - Thu 5 Jan 2012
Capital Shame - Mon 7 Nov 2011
Olympic Feat... - Sun 11 Sep 2011
The Coalition - A year on - Mon 11 Jul 2011
Labour Dreams - Sun 17 Apr 2011
Now we really must mean Business - Thu 10 Mar 2011
Freedom and Responsibility - Sun 9 Jan 2011
A leader for Labour - Thu 4 Nov 2010
Education and Freedom - Mon 6 Sep 2010
Tradition and Words - Mon 6 Sep 2010
Mel Stride - Early Days in Westminster - Tue 6 Jul 2010
Mel Stride Conservative Parliamentary Candidate on The Big Society - Mon 3 May 2010
A look back over my years as Conservative parliamentary candidate and contributor to The Cottage - Sun 28 Feb 2010
Building the homes of the Future means giving Power to the People - Thu 3 Dec 2009
Early memories... - Wed 4 Nov 2009
As General Franco lay dying... - Tue 20 Oct 2009

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