Claire Perry, MP for Devizes - Ministers are lined up to visit healthcare services (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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Claire Perry, MP for Devizes - Ministers are lined up to visit healthcare services
4:00pm Thursday 12th September 2013 in News
We have had a Westminster war of words this week around the economy and corners. Are we turning one? Have we got to it yet? Or is it safely behind us?
I have no idea and given the depth of the recession from which we have emerged, the recovery will always be choppy.
But we have seen a good slew of data recently suggesting economic activity is picking up across the UK and figures released this week show that the private sector has created jobs for 1.4 million people under this government, and that there are now more people employed in the private sector than ever before.
Nationally, the number of people in work has rocketed by 80,000 in only three months – a rise driven entirely by a growth in full-time jobs.
In the Devizes Constituency, the number of those claiming unemployment benefit has fallen by over 11 per cent in the last year and I am sure some of that is due to the efforts of organisations like Rehab Jobfit in Devizes which I visited recently. Rehab Jobfit works with those who have been unemployed for more than 12 months. I know from personal experience how tough it is to get enough confidence to get back into the jobs market and it was good to see the varied but intensive help on offer.
The change in the weather is a reminder that winter is on the way and last year we saw a big winter rise in attendances at A&E departments, driven by illnesses but also, in my view, because of the lack of minor injuries services in our constituency.
Both nationally and locally, there are plans to improve these services and earlier this week, I met health ministers in Westminster to review the plans to reduce pressures on A&E and to discuss the allocation of an extra £250 million of winter pressures funding.
Disappointingly, the Great Western Hospital in Swindon will receive no early funding as it performed so well last year. However, I was assured that extra funds are there if pressures do develop locally and I also extracted a promise from ministers to visit local healthcare services including Savernake Hospital.
Finally, this week I was able to join the Salisbury Plain Military Wives Choir at their weekly practice session in Bulford. It was an incredibly uplifting experience and I can see why the choirs have made such a difference for thousands of service spouses across the country – I just wish that I was more able to hold a tune.