• Record NHS Funding

    The Moorlander
    28 January 2020

    Monday saw the second reading of the NHS Funding Bill which will enshrine in law an additional £33.9 billion every year for our NHS by 2024. This is the largest injection of cash into our NHS in its history and will take annual NHS spending to £148.5 billion. The bill will not dictate where this additional funding should be spent, it will be down to local clinicians to decide what is best for the communities and patients they serve. This is absolutely the right approach, as different parts of the country have different needs. I hope that in rural counties like Devon greater priority will be given to supporting our smaller community hospitals and our district nurses for example. Both are vital in preventing hospital stays and enabling patients to be looked after closer to, or in, their own homes. I also hope that new technology can improve patient care and increase the efficiency of the NHS so that the additional funding has the best possible impact.

    As well as increasing funding for our NHS it is also time to have an honest conversation about its abuse. Every year 15 million GP appointments are lost because patients simply don’t turn up. This wastes 1.2 million GP hours each year – the equivalent of over 600 GPs working full time for a year. Each appointment costs an average of £30 so costs the taxpayer £216 million a year. Missed hospital appointments are even more costly. Patients fail to turn up to around 8 million appointments each year, costing the NHS approximately £120 a time or £960 million in total. The combined cost of these missed appointments each year would pay for the salaries of 45,000 more community nurses. While it is essential that we increase funding for our NHS, we will not resolve pressures at our GP surgeries and in our hospitals by money alone.

    I was proud to mark Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) on Monday by signing the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment in the House of Commons. The book honours those who died during the Holocaust as well as the Holocaust survivors who work to educate young people about what they endured. This year’s HMD marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history. But HMD also goes beyond the Second World War and remembers the genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

    Finally, a huge thank you to the local primary school pupils who took part in the competition to design by 2019 Christmas Card – an annual tradition that showcases the artistic talents of our younger generation. Last month’s competition was cut short due to the General Election but over the next fortnight I am looking forward to visiting some of the schools who took part in the competition including Tedburn St Mary and Ide.

    For more from Mel follow him on twitter @MelJStride or visit