Key issues that have filled a heavy postbag

MY POSTBAG’S been unusually heavy of late and I thought I’d update readers on some of the local issues that have prompted people to put pen to paper – or send me an email.

It didn’t surprise me or many other people when the results of the national NHS inpatient survey were recently published and, as usual, found Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust – which oversees East Surrey Hospital – wanting.

Patients expressed their negative feedback on, among other things, their overall ‘care and treatment’ – including whether they thought they had enough help from staff to be able to eat their meals. All pretty fundamental stuff and the same old story.

Communication I received from the trust acknowledged that there had been a problem in July 2011 – when the survey was conducted – but went on to say that matters have improved since then.

I sincerely hope they have. But we’ve heard them say that year after year after year, so I don’t feel particularly reassured. Staff at East Surrey Hospital do their best but local people still tell me the hospital is failing to cope with demand.

That’s why I’m continuing the slow and painstaking fight for a new hospital to serve our community. Sometimes people comment that the campaign’s gone quiet but we are working behind the scenes and I won’t stop until local people can be treated in an excellent acute facility located in our area.

In danger of stating the obvious, the future of Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre has also been of serious concern to many people. I’ve said before that it’s for Horsham District Council to find a way to provide the community with sporting facilities into the future, while also dealing with the issue of an outdated and costly leisure centre that’s draining taxpayers’ money today.

It’s for local people and their locally elected Horsham district councillors to decide the future and I’d like to take this opportunity to urge everyone with an opinion to take part in the consultation on possible solutions. More information can be found on HDC’s website.

Finally, a note on the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and Public and Commercial Services union’s (PCS) assertion in last week’s County Times that I ‘snubbed’ them for not turning up to their protest outside my Horsham office two Saturdays ago: I’m afraid I can only turn up to events if I’m informed that they’re taking place.

Next time, get in touch with my Horsham office and the necessary arrangements can be made to enable me to meet with local people and discuss their concerns – whatever they might be.

FRANCIS MAUDE

MP for Horsham