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Henry Smith

Henry Smith MP: Backing our NHS in Parliament

In his article Crawley MP Henry Smith talks about the Queen’s Speech debate in Parliament

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Regardless of background, we will all need the NHS at some point in our lives. It is right that last week’s (Wednesday, 23rd October) Queen’s Speech debate in Parliament was dedicated to this public service.

I welcome the Government’s additional £33.9 billion of funding support for our health service. In recent years we have seen health provision return to Crawley, but there remains more to do.

On issues such as GP access, I call on the Government to address waiting times, as the Prime Minister pledged on the steps of Downing Street almost 100 days ago.

It is right that mental health is being treated on a par with physical health, and I am pleased that schools in Crawley will be part of a pilot initiative where new specialist Mental Health Support Teams will work alongside school counsellors and provide one-to-one support to pupils.

As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blood Cancer, it is right that the Government are committed to making sure that 75 per cent of cancers are diagnosed at stages 1 and 2 by 2028.

Blood cancer is, of course, different to solid tumour cancers, and is much more difficult to detect. I will continue my call for the Department of Health & Social Care and the NHS to consider blood cancer patients when taking action to tackle the scourge of cancer.

Last week I welcomed Bloodwise to Parliament for the launch of the charity’s ‘Delays Expected’ report. Delays to diagnosis can have a huge impact on mental health, treatment options and chances of survival; it is vital that urgent action is taken to help save lives.

The research highlights NHS data that shows three in 10 people with blood cancer are only diagnosed when their symptoms need emergency treatment. By backing our GPs we can improve patient outcomes.

Henry Smith MP

Crawley Constituency

Henry Smith

Henry Smith MP: Armed Forces Day 2020

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This year, Armed Forces Day falls on Saturday 27th June, with the Armed Forces Day flag being raised the previous Monday across the nation, including at Crawley Town Hall.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the role of the armed forces at home as well as abroad.

Around the country there are more than 100 mobile testing units which are operated by the armed forces. These provide testing where it is needed, enabling key workers and their households to be tested, with results within 48 hours.

I am particularly grateful to the 7 Rifles Reservist soldiers, who are based at Gatwick Airport and operate testing units around West Sussex. Our town appreciates your work, and the part you are playing in ensuring life can return to a semblance of normality.

It is important, however, that we show our gratitude not only on Armed Forces Day, but all year round.

One of the freedoms which our armed forces stand for is the freedom of protest. This does not, it should be said, extend to having permission to vandalise memorials to the fallen.

I am supporting the Desecration of War Memorials Bill which not only designates a specific offence relating to unlawful damage to a war memorial, but would also see an exemption of damage to war memorials from the existing £5,000 damages threshold, see a maximum fine replaced with an unlimited fine, as well as a maximum custodial sentence of 10 years.

It would, of course, be up to the judiciary to decide on sentences for each individual case. This Bill would remove some of the barriers to ensuring justice in such a scenario.

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency

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