2011 was a very busy year for me, both locally here in Suffolk and in Westminster. In Parliament, I have been able to use my medical knowledge and experience as a frontline NHS hospital doctor to scrutinise the Government’s health reforms over the past few months, for the benefits of residents in Suffolk and across the country. A particular highlight of my year was attending the Remembrance Day Parade and Service in Eye, and also visiting Wattisham Airbase, where I had the chance to meet with members of the Anglian Regiment and to show my support for our brave Armed Forces.
In Suffolk, a number of changes have taken place in the past year, including the welcome and much-needed change of leadership at Suffolk County Council, where there is now both a new leader and a new Chief Executive, who is paid about £60,000 less than Andrea Hill received before her departure. As a doctor, and as a rugby player, in my spare time, I know that teamwork is usually more effective in getting results than individual endeavour, and I am glad that the county’s MPs and county councillors, under new leader Cllr Mark Bee, are now working well together. This teamwork has already delivered a number of positive results for local residents:
• One of the biggest achievements for Ipswich and Suffolk this year was the Government’s decision to award Suffolk over £11.6 million to deliver the high speed broadband network that our county has long deserved. Along with Peter Aldous, the MP for Waveney, I invested much time and effort in leading this bid in Parliament for faster, more reliable internet speeds for local businesses, families and schools. I would like to praise Suffolk County Council leader, Cllr Mark Bee, who played a vital role in putting Suffolk’s broadband bid back on track, along with Chris Soule and the Suffolk Federation of Small Businesses, and all of the small and large businesses throughout Suffolk who made sure that our county had a solid business case for high speed broadband throughout the bidding process.
Other notable local successes that I have helped to achieve are:
• Holding the East of England Ambulance Trust to account by demanding that action to be taken to improve ambulance response times in rural areas of Suffolk.
• Securing the £1.5 million of funding to re-furbish Hartismere Community Hospital in Eye, which is due to be complete in Spring 2012, and will deliver improved local healthcare outcomes for those in our rural communities, particularly the frail elderly.
• Ensuring a commitment from the Government to upgrade the cross-country route from Felixstowe to Nuneaton by 2014, freeing up rail track capacity for the benefit of Suffolk’s train passengers.
• Forcing the county council to develop an alternative strategy on the future of our community libraries, which is now progressing well under the new leadership of the County Council.
• Finding much-needed investment from the Government to improve rail services in East Suffolk through the creation of the Beccles Loop, which will once again ensure a regular and reliable direct train service from Lowestoft to London.
• Gaining Government recognition for the Norfolk and Suffolk Local Enterprise Partnership as a national leader in developing the green economy, which will deliver up to 4,000 jobs for local people.
But there are many challenges that lie ahead, both locally and nationally, including bringing down the level of youth unemployment that has increased in Britain and across Europe. Whilst increasing youth unemployment has been a problem for over a decade now, I am nevertheless encouraged that the number of apprenticeships in Suffolk appears to be on the rise, as available places increased between 2009/10 to 2010/11 from 3, 710 to 5, 080. Locally, I have continuing concerns about the need to develop better health services to better care for older people and concerns about the loss of key services at Ipswich Hospital in recent years. I hope that the management at the hospital will this year do all they can to fight to retain vital services and support the hardworking frontline staff for the benefits of local patients.
As your local MP, I am always keen to hear your views, and this year I have launched my new regular ‘In Touch’ online survey to ask people for their opinions on the most important issues at a local and national level. A new survey will be published every two months. In Parliament, I am currently sitting on the House of Lords reform committee and would welcome your thoughts on the future shape of the House of Lords. I would encourage as many people as possible to let me know their views at www.intouchwithdrdan.com, or write to me at Dr Dan Poulter MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or to follow me on my Twitter page, @DrDanPoulter.
Finally, I would like to offer all of my residents my very best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2012.
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Social Care Funding (17 Oct 2018)
Daniel Poulter: My right hon. Friend is right to highlight the link between healthcare and social care. If we are to care properly for people with the long-term conditions he has outlined, we need to have a more joined-up and integrated system. It is hard to deliver that when we have a taxpayer-funded NHS and a social care system in which many people now have to pay for their own care. In looking for a...
Offensive Weapons Bill: Ipswich-London Rail Fares (15 Oct 2018)
Daniel Poulter: I thank my hon. Friend’s welcome news on capping rail fares, but does he not also agree that it is difficult for customers to disaggregate the cost of the fare—those in Ipswich are very high per mile by national standards—from reliability and speed of service? Despite the cost of tickets from Ipswich, reliability and speed of service have not improved over the years....