The Government have put in place a programme of national health service investment and reform since 1997 to improve service delivery in all parts of the United Kingdom. 93 per cent. of people nationally now rate the NHS as good or excellent. The “NHS Constitution” contains 25 rights and 14 pledges for patients and the public including new rights to be treated within 18 weeks, or be seen by a cancer specialist within two weeks and a NHS Health Check every five years for those aged 40-74 years.
There is significant evidence that these policies have yielded considerable benefits for the Slough constituency. For example:
Figures for October 2009 show that in Berkshire East Primary Care Trust (PCT):
92 per cent. of patients whose treatment involved admission to hospital started their treatment within 18 weeks.
97 per cent. of patients whose treatment did not involve admission to hospital started their treatment within 18 weeks.
In September 2009, at Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, 98.6 per cent. of patients spent less than four hours in accident and emergency from arrival to admission, transfer or discharge.
Between September 1997 and September 2008, the number of consultants at Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has increased from 76 to 120. Between September 1997 and September 2008 the estimated number of nurses has increased from 1,154 to 1,386.
Between September 2001 and September 2008, the number of general practitioners per 100,000 within Berkshire East PCT has increased from 54.9 to 62.3.
96.8 per cent. of urgent GP referrals to Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust with suspected cancer are seen by a specialist within two weeks of the referral.
Berkshire East PCT opened its GP-led health centre on 15 December 2009 at Upton Hospital in Slough. The Slough Walk-in Centre offers longer opening hours, meaning that any member of the public will be able to see a GP or nurse between 8 am and 8 pm, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
There are two private finance initiative (PFI) schemes in the area that serve this constituency: a £19 million PFI scheme from Berkshire West PCT that opened in March 2004 and a £30 million PFI scheme from Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust that opened in April 2003.
Although statistical information is not available at a local level, Slough will have also benefited from national policies in other areas. For example:
Since 1997, gross current expenditure on personal social services has increased by around 70 per cent. in real terms, with around 105,000 households now receiving intensive home care and 3,076 new extra care housing units—exceeding the original target of 1,500 new extra care units.
Other strategies currently being implemented are:
Subject to parliamentary approval, the “Personal Care at Home Bill” will guarantee free personal care for 280,000 people with the highest needs and help around 130,000 people who need home care for the first time to regain their independence.
“Shaping the Future of Care Together” Green Paper, published in July 2009, sets out a vision of a National Care Service for all adults in England that is fair, simple and affordable. The Department has consulted widely on this reform and is currently analysing the responses, which will feed into a White Paper later this year.
The National Carer’s Strategy—Carers at the heart of 21st century families and communities—launched in 2008.
The first National Dementia Strategy was published in February 2009.
“Valuing People Now”—a three year strategy for people with learning disabilities—was published in January 2009.
“New Horizons: A Shared Vision for Mental Health” was launched in December 2009 to maintain improvements in mental health services, combined with a new cross-Government approach to promoting public mental health.
Since 1998, there are now 2.4 million fewer smokers in England as a result of the Government’s comprehensive tobacco control strategy, which has a measurable impact on reducing smoking prevalence.
Child obesity levels are reducing due to the efforts of families across England, supported by the Government’s obesity strategy. In 2008, 13.9 per cent, of children (aged two to 10) in England were classified as obese, compared with 17.3 per cent. in 2005.
Overall, life expectancy at birth for men has increased from 74.5 years (1995-97 data) to 77.7 years (2006-08 data) while for women, life expectancy at birth has increased from 79.6 years (1995-97 data) to 81.9 years (2006-08 data).