Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Pressing health chiefs on our hospitals

I recently put the case for local hospital based care when I met with local health chiefs. I met the Primary Care Trust chief executive Anne Sutton and Director Lynne Selman to discuss my plan for a new or refurbished hospital in Dover and health upgrades in Deal.

We need to see improved urgent care, diagnostics like X-rays, a special focus on elderly care, day surgery and hospital based care beds. We had a useful discussion of how Dover's healthcare can be improved after a decade in which Labour has destroyed Dover's Buckland's hospital. I believe the Primary Care Trust are doing the best they can for us but are prevented from doing more by Central Government.

We discussed the future of Deal Hospital. They are doing everything they can to make sure the excellent care there will be safeguarded, yet with this Government closing so many hospitals, we cannot be sure.

The problems of local healthcare have been well aired by the Dover Express. On the other hand, these issues have not been explored so deeply by media in Deal, which is a shame given the dangers faced by Deal's own hospital. We are really lucky to have some real fighters in our community who are making sure this issue is kept high on the agenda. I would like to congratulate the many people who have worked so hard for us all to have decent healthcare locally - people like Lorraine Sencicle, Reg and Wendy Hansell and Pauline Majors, who all care so much.

Monday, 28 January 2008

Jamie Oliver eat your heart out!

School food in Deal and Sandwich is prepared with the finest ingredients from local suppliers and cooked in a traditional way by local social action company Whole School Meals.

I visited St Mary's Catholic Primary School, Walmer and Castle Community College in Deal and was very impressed. I heard from school heads what an amazing difference healthy food made to the students' success. The school dinners were amazing. Whole School Meals want to see a wider take up of their brainfood by children - especially those who qualify for free school meals.

Seems to me that schools in Deal are living the Jamie Oliver dream - the kids are so lucky. A big congratulations to Whole School Meals. Yet strangely, quite a lot of children are bringing packed lunches to school - especially those qualifying for free school meals. I tried to get the East Kent Mercury to give more exposure to the benefits for kids on free school meals, but they didn't want to join in. I think that's a real shame.

Monday, 21 January 2008

A20 resurfacing

Much concern has been expressed about the A20 resurfacing. Diversions are necessary around Dover at night, seemingly because HMRC freight clearance would not move to the Eastern docks or Whitfield.

DDC Cllr Nigel Collor and I expressed concern about this having been to the Highways Agency exhibition and seen the extent of the diversions that were planned.