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Henry Smith

Henry Smith MP: Supporting Crawley workers through COVID-19

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It is less than two months since the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme went live. This programme sees Government grants cover 80 per cent of people’s wages, up to £2,500 a month.

In this time, the scheme has protected some 20,000 jobs in Crawley, with the programme continuing as it has been throughout June and July, before employers are asked to make a modest contribution from August.

Of course, some sectors will not be up and running fully by then, and targeted and more flexible support will be required. As founder and Chair of the new Future of Aviation Group, I have been leading cross-party calls in Parliament for the furlough scheme to be extended for the aviation, tourism and travel sectors – of such importance to the Crawley and Gatwick economy – past the end of the programme in October.

It is welcome that we are seeing our economy start to reopen for business. From Monday 15th June, shops will be allowed to welcome customers back, providing they meet robust safety guidelines to keep everyone safe.

This move will help to not only support our high streets and restart our economy, but will do so at the same time as making sure we keep the risk of infection down to avoid the possibility of a second wave of the virus.

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency

Henry Smith

Henry Smith MP: It was a happy 72nd Birthday for the NHS as hundreds more doctors & nurses come to the south east

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The weekend saw the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the National Health Service. Unquestionably an important date in the story of our country; the people who work in our health and care system are some of the very best our nation has to offer.

It is with this in mind that I welcome the news that there are over 820 more doctors and over 2,200 more nurses in the south east of England compared to last year, with some 6,000 more doctors and 12,000 more nurses nationally.

Whether you are one of these new members of staff, you have worked in the sector for some time previously, or if you are one of the healthcare professionals who returned as part of the response to COVID-19; we appreciate your dedication and we thank you.

It is right that NHS staff with COVID-19 symptoms are tested as a priority, with regular testing of asymptomatic staff in situations where there is an incident or outbreak, in addition to regular surveillance testing across staff. This approach has been decided by clinical experts, including the Chief Medical Officer; with the Government continuing to review clinical evidence to ensure that regular testing of staff without symptoms is undertaken where appropriate.

My thanks to Crawley and Sussex NHS staff for the briefings I have received on their work during the pandemic. Since March, Crawley Hospital has been upgraded with 28 extra beds that are now operational for patient care, with the number of 999/111 call staff locally being significantly increased.

Over £14 billion has been provided for the NHS and public services during the pandemic to increase critical care capacity, provide staff with the equipment they need, and to ensure those on the frontline are supported.

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency

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