I called-in proposals to change aspects of paediatric care at the DGH to the Health Secretary on Wednesday as I promised I would.
The letter is with Victoria Atkins who now has new powers to look at issues like this. As the town’s MP I can ask her to examine it.
We need to have public confidence these changes will be workable for Eastbourne.
I also met with the local Independent Care Board (ICB) this week where it said an independent review of the trust’s proposals would also be commissioned and this is welcome.
However, I am worried that scaremongering about children’s services at the DGH has led to a lot of misinformation doing the rounds. Sadly, it is in some people’s interests for this to happen. I have had concerned parents contact me saying they will take their children to Conquest or that the DGH is closing. This is not true at all. The DGH is not closing and paediatric services at our local hospital are still in place. Please take your child to the DGH.
In other health news, the government launched its Pharmacy First scheme this week designed to free up 10 million GP appointments a year by allowing pharmacists to prescribe drugs to treat seven common complaints.
The illnesses you go to the chemist for now are: earache, sore throat, sinusitis, impetigo, shingles, infected insect bites and uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women. They will be able to give prescriptions for antibiotics and other treatments, if appropriate. Women can also receive the contraceptive pill.
Ministers have put in more than £600 million to launch it. It needs pharmacies to sign up and have the right IT and staff in place. However, 10,000 across England have done so.
The NHS is under pressure from the Covid backlog. This innovation will help a great deal and offer more choice to patients.
I also support action on disposable vapes. Vaping has been hugely successful in helping smokers to quit but it has conversely caught up young people and in serious numbers - even though the health risks are largely unknown.
The measures proposed include preventing vapes being marketed at children like sweeties in bright colours and cool flavours and targeting under-age sales. Legislation will be coming up and I will be engaging with our schools on this challenge.