Column: Building On Our Achievements In 2017

In his latest column for the Sevenoaks Chronicle, Michael has written about the need to build on Sevenoaks’ progress this year:

2016 was a very successful year for Sevenoaks.  In an unsettled year nationally, our local economy remained strong, with unemployment falling to another record low.

Though there will be challenges, I believe 2017 could be even better.

After so many years of campaigning, in September our new grammar school annexe will finally open.  I visited the site just before Christmas and I could already see that it will be a great addition to the remarkable range of high-quality school choice that is now on offer in Sevenoaks.  There is still more to do to secure grammar provision for boys, though, and that will be one of my top priorities this year.

Meanwhile, discussions on the new rail franchise will be a great opportunity to lobby for the extension of the Oyster network and the many other rail improvements we want to see.  I look forward to continuing to make the case for passengers this year.

With an ageing population increasing pressure on the NHS and our care system, we need to continue to protect Sevenoaks Hospital.  It is a much-loved feature of our town – but it also has an important role to play in relieving pressure on facilities at Pembury and Darent Valley.  Carrying on making that argument will be vital this year.

Finally, we need to make sure the District Council develops a robust and reasonable Local Plan that will give us the homes we need without encouraging inappropriate development in our town and in our villages in the years to come.

With all of these priorities and more, I am looking forward to continuing to represent Sevenoaks this year.  After a successful 2016, let’s build on our achievements in 2017

Michael Reassured by Visit to Sevenoaks Hospital

Michael with representatives from the hospital and Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust.
Michael with representatives from the hospital and Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Michael has announced that he is ‘reassured’ after a recent visit to Sevenoaks Hospital.

His visit came following recent changes to the outpatient services offered by Sevenoaks Hospital.

Following significant local concern, Michael secured assurances from West Kent CCG and Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, that Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust would take over the clinics previously offered by King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Michael was met at the hospital by David Griffiths, Chairman of Kent Community Health, Paul Bentley, Chief Executive, matron Rachel Nicholls and other representatives.  They showed him the hospital’s wards and the Minor Injuries Unit, before accompanying him to Darent House, the former site of the Knole Centre.  Mr Griffiths and Mr Bentley then briefed Michael on the latest developments at the hospital.

Michael meeting patients at Sevenoaks Hospital.
Michael meeting patients at Sevenoaks Hospital.

Michael said: “There has been some concern in Sevenoaks about the future of our hospital.  Having visited, I am reassured that it will retain its vital role in our local NHS, taking pressure off acute hospitals like Pembury and Darent Valley.  We need more local NHS care, not less, and I will continue to press for even more services to deliver the healthcare we need at Sevenoaks Hospital.”