MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

I think doctors do a fantastic job in our communities and this week I had the opportunity to spend time in a Fylde surgery speaking to those on the frontline of health services in Lytham.

I was invited to the Fernbank Surgery on Lytham Primary Care Centre on Victoria Street where I spoke to staff about their daily routines as well as current issues within the NHS.

While many admitted recent tough reforms within the health service have been challenging, it was important I highlighted that better patient care was at the heart of what the Government is trying to do.

Particularly where GP contracts are concerned, in the past the money surgeries received depended on how they performed against a raft of different measures. This was extremely unpopular and meant many doctors spend large amounts of time on paperwork.

But under the new contract, a large number of those measures will be cut which the British Medical Association (BMA) agrees will reduce form filling to free up more time for doctors to do what they are supposed to, which is spend time with patients.

I also met up with members of staff from HMP Kirkham who run the drug rehabilitation programme at the prison.

I have previously hosted members of the team in Westminster while they gave presentations to members of the Government about the work they do in the facility. I have also visited the prison to see first-hand the positive affect this can have on those going through the system whose lives have been blighted by addiction.

This week I spoke to the team about the different ways they combat addiction in the facility and programmes which they are running to help the wider community beyond the prison fences. I am currently in the process of setting up a meeting between them and Ministers to see if their positive results could be extended nationally.

I was honoured this week to be asked to become patron of the Queendeans Association in Blackpool.

Since starting out in the 1930s with nightly collections for the poor, the charity has raised tens of thousands of pounds for worthy causes across the Fylde coast and is respected throughout the area.

It has been responsible for donations of all sizes to a wide range of initiatives, including the Save Lytham Hall campaign, NW Air Ambulance and the Sea Cadets. I am proud to have been asked to be part of the charity and look forward to working with it in the future.

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