I was pleased to hear from the Chief Executive of Mid Essex Hospitals that they are moving ahead with improvements to specialist services. The first phase involves vascular, urology, radiology and orthopaedic services at Broomfield, Basildon and Southend hospitals. These changes mean around 2,500 patients per year will benefit from improved access to care. They will spend less time waiting for treatment and experience fewer delays in accessing specialist emergency care. In addition, we will also see improved clinical outcomes and reduced clinical risk. There will also be a boost in the number of specialist clinics for urology patients. That means that 20 per cent of those patients who currently have to be admitted to hospital will be able to be treated as an outpatient instead.
I am sure people will have been very concerned to read about the outbreak of invasive Group A Streptococcal infection (iGAS) in elderly people living in the Braintree, Chelmsford and Maldon areas. To date there have been 32 cases, and very sadly 12 patients have died. Most of the patients affected are elderly and had been receiving care for chronic wounds. I met with the head of the Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning group who explained that experts from Public Health England have been brought on board and new measures have been put in place to contain the infection.
The Army and Navy Task Force had a very positive meeting. The expert from the Department for Transport came to Chelmsford for the meeting. It is clear that this is being taken very seriously in the Department. Stakeholder meetings have gone well, with over 100 suggestions from residents for ways to improve transport. We were shown examples of how flyovers have been replaced in other cities. Options for potential long-term solutions are being developed for the Task Force to consider at its next meeting.
In Westminster we have been doing a huge amount of work on the environment. The UK is now the first major economy in the world to pass new laws to stop putting more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The so called “Net Zero” law has a date of 2050 and will involve significant changes to how we produce energy and how we use it. I have been working with colleagues on the Science and Technology Select Committee to look at the details of the changes that will be needed. It was very good to meet many Chelmsford residents, including Sister Margaret and Sister Moira from Melbourne, when they came to Westminster as part of the “The Time is Now” mass lobby.
Thank you to everyone who stopped to talk to the Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt when he came to visit Chelmsford last week. There was a real buzz in the city centre. know he enjoyed meeting a huge number of residents including medical students from Anglia Ruskin and traders in the covered market – which is looking great after its refurbishment. I have been working closely with Jeremy Hunt’s team of Foreign Office ministers since last August. I have found him to be a deeply thoughtful person of very high integrity who cares passionately for public service.
Thank you to the super Kim and Rob Gisby in Moulsham for arranging an excellent Family Social afternoon in Oaklands Park as part of Loneliness Awareness Week. Being a parent can be very lonely and it was lovely to meet so many mums, dads, babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers enjoying an afternoon together.
Another 73 new police officers finished their training and joined Essex Police this month. This is excellent news. Our police have been working extremely hard especially at targeting drug related gangs and many arrests have been made. It is important for us all to be aware of the risk of crime and I also owe a big thank you to members of the Springfield Youth Group for letting me join their special self-defence training session recently. They are a great bunch.
Many congratulations to everyone who has been involved in the Riverside development project. It has been a huge amount of work, but the new pools are truly stunning, and the gym facilities are great too.