It is vital in Bournemouth that we protect, and continue to invest in, our local healthcare and education services.
Over the last few years I have visited mental health wards such as St. Ann's, spoken with elderly hospital patients in a specialist ward, met with Ambulance teams, visited old people's homes offering supported care, and called for better access and more efficient discharge procedures (particular for more elderly residents) to ensure that patient capacity is as high as possible. I also recently launched a campaign - writing to all the GP surgeries in Bournemouth East - for more GP surgeries to open 7 days a week to ease the congestion on Royal Bournemouth Hospital's A&E department, which should only be used for true emergencies rather than as a GP surgery overflow.
Education in Bournemouth is also incredibly important - I visit schools regularly, presenting petitions of some of their campaigns to Downing Street personally, speak with pupils about local issues, and recently met with Bournemouth University students alongside other local election candidates to hear their views on the issues important to young people. I also recently secured funding for improvements to Bournemouth's school buildings, and spoke up for the local language sector in Bournemouth when visa regulations were being tightened, which risked the language schools losing large numbers of their pupils. I have also offered regular support to Bournemouth University and the Arts Institute of Bournemouth, linking up their nationally-acclaimed digital technology and computer animation sectors with digital businesses, to encourage the growth of a 'Silicon Valley' type area in Bournemouth where skilled digital graduates can work locally and where large companies are attracted to invest.
I believe the Conservative party is the best party to protect and invest in our NHS and our education services. Our record since 2010 on both these issues shows our commitment, and the Conservative-led Coalition has achieved a number of remarkable successes since 2010.
- Increasing the NHS budget by £12.9 billion over the last 5 years. Health spending has therefore increased from £100 billion in 2010/2011 to £113 billion in 2014/15
- From 2014, we have hired 9,000 more doctors, 6,000 more nurses and 2,000 more midwives - whilst cutting unnecessary management
- A&E departments now see an extra 2,000 people per day within target times, yet hospital infections have now been halved
- Invested in a £1.16 billion Cancer Drugs Fund, which has already helped more than 67,000 to get pioneering cancer treatment
We also have plans to further integrate health and social care using the Better Care Fund, to increase the NHS budget further, to open GP clinics from 8am - 8pm and at weekends to ease A&E pressures, and to invest £300 million to establish an international demential research institute in England.
- A million more children now being taught in good or outstanding schools since 2010, a huge improvement in teaching standards
- Protecting the schools budget in real terms, leading to an increase of £4 billion spending on schools between 2010/11 and 2015/16
- Allocating extra funding for children from underprivileged backgrounds with the Pupil Premium, and committing £18 billion for new school buildings
- Enabling over 4,500 schools to attain academy status and take more control over their own classrooms, and allowing over 400 free schools to be created in response to local demand
- Almost 2 million more apprenticeships since 2010, allowing school leavers more options for a future career
The Conservatives have a strong message on healthcare and education - both on a national and a local level - and I hope that I will be able to continue to work with these fantastic local services in Bournemouth to ensure that they continue to be supported and to flourish.