10/01/19: NHS Long Term Plan

For as long as I can remember our NHS has been a foundation stone in my life. My Grandmother was a nursing sister at the Cumberland Royal Infirmary, my mother was also an NHS nurse in my childhood city of Carlisle for a time and I have relied upon the service for myself, my children and my husband's good health for over half a century.

For the NHS to continue to deliver for the next 50 years we must equip it to meet the challenges of the 21st century; caring for an ageing population and harnessing ever improving medical technology. This will require significant investment and I am delighted that the Government have committed an additional £20.5 billion a year to the service, representing the biggest cash injection it has ever received.

But cash alone is not a panacea for all our future healthcare challenges. More money brings added responsibility to achieve maximum impact. The NHS 10 Year Plan, published this week, sets out to do exactly that; greater focus on prevention to relieve pressure on hospitals, improvements in cancer diagnosis to provide quicker and more effective treatment, progression into the digital age allowing patients to book appointments and view their health records online. Vitally too there is more funding for mental health services and community care.

I have contacted Miles Scott, the Chief Executive of the Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, and Ian Ayers, the MD of the West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group, to seek their views on the plan. Unsurprisingly they welcome the increased funding and the stability of a 10-year plan, but the detailed financial allocations will not be available for a week or so. Only at that time will we be able to assess the net effect upon our services here in Maidstone and the Weald and I will be scrutinising those figures, alongside our health professionals, with great care and attention.


Helen's column is published weekly in the Kent Messenger. Please note the print version may differ from the content here.

Local MP Recognised as First Grassroots Football Champion


Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and the Weald and the former Sports Minister met with the Kent FA today, visiting the Stones' Gallagher Stadium to watch their FA Cup First Round match against Macclesfield Town and to pick up an award in recognition of her commitment to grassroots football.

Helen met with Phil Smith, Chairman of the Kent FA to learn more about how FA and Kent FA investments are widening grassroots participation, improving facilities and supporting player development in her constituency.

National League Maidstone played Macclesfield Town who are currently propping up League Two in the First Round of the FA Cup, the oldest cup competition in the world. At half time Phil presented Helen with a Grassroots Champion award to recognise her support for the game in her local community, becoming the first MP to receive the honour.

Helen was particularly pleased to see the team in action on the outstanding, state of the art 3G pitch at the Gallagher Stadium. Helen played a part in 2014, as UK Sports Minister, in persuading the FA to certify the pitch for use in the FA Cup and the then Football Conference. The resilient nature of the playing surface is central to the club's ability to deliver such a range of grassroots football programmes at the ground.

Helen Grant MP said:

"Grassroots sport is so important to local communities, providing benefits to physical and mental health as well as bringing people together. That is why I was delighted to visit Maidstone United today. It was great to meet some of the staff and volunteers at the club and the Kent FA who make grassroots football possible in Maidstone and the Weald and to see the state of the art 3G facility in action."

Phil Smith, Chairman of Kent FA said:

"Our congratulations to Helen. It is really important that football has MPs standing up for the grassroots game in Parliament and I am proud we have one here in Maidstone in Helen Grant. We are working hard to cater for over 62,500 players of all ages and 15,000 volunteers across Kent and we need as much support as possible to continue growing the game for the benefit of all."

04 JAN 2019

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Christmas Card Competition

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With very best wishes


Helen's column

10 JAN 2019

NHS Long Term Plan

For as long as I can remember our NHS has been a foundation stone in my life. My Grandmother was a nursing sister at the Cumberland Royal Infirmary, my mother was also an NHS nurse in my childhood...

03 JAN 2019

Cross Channel Refugee Crisis

I'll always remember a young lady who came to see me at my legal practice one Christmas Eve a few years ago. She had three little children with her and a bunch of carrier bags stuffed with mixed...

27 DEC 2018

2019: The Year Ahead

2019 is set to be a momentous year for our nation. The spectre of Brexit looms large and I will just say this. I hope that in Parliament we can use the New Year spirit to break the current deadlock...