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Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for South West Wiltshire responds to announcement of local scanners in the South West.

November 2, 2019 3:53 PM
By Ellen Nicholson

Worst cancer breast screening rates in 10 years (2019) NHS EnglandFollowing the recent government announcement of funding to support 78 trusts that will benefit from funding for new cancer testing and detection technology, South West Wiltshire's Parliamentary Candidate, Ellen Nicholson said 'whilst I welcome the announcement by the government this week of £200 million that there will be 12 new CT and MRI scanners in South West England, the nearest one to South West Wiltshire being the installation of an MRI scanner in my former work place at Salisbury District Hospital.

The fact remains that under this Conservative government, today we hear the UK now has the worst waiting times for breast cancer screening in almost a decade, driven amongst other things, by a shortage of radiologists, the very people we need to operate and interpret the results of these new scanners.

The spending pledges are clearly part of an election campaign, but both the Financial Times and the Guardian recently highlighted the scale of these spending pledges. Earlier this year the government pledged to keep the annual spending deficit to 2% of GDP, yet now they want to spend more money on previously underfunded public services, tearing up their 2% deficit rule and leaving the government, which is coping with lower tax receipts after a fall in GDP growth in Q2 (ONS) with little option but to ramp up borrowing in the event of a no-deal or poor deal Brexit scenarios.

The question remains, will these pledges for much needed new scanners actually happen, or is this another sleight of hand by a government who also recently announced a pledge to spend £13bn to build 40 new hospitals which when analysed turned out to be just six NHS trusts, which had plans already in place for hospitals in need of rebuilding.

Ellen continued by saying recent conversations with staff at Trowbridge Community Hospital reiterated the need for funding within this constituency, and I would have liked to see some of this proposed funding allocated to the NHS services and hospitals in South West Wiltshire.

The current MP whilst lamenting the demise of resources such as the community hospitals in Westbury Hospital, appears not to have advocated for NHS funding allocation within this constituency. Why is it that there was £100 million allocated to building programme in "seed funding" to help 21 trusts develop plans to rebuild or construct 34 hospitals, including up to a dozen community hospitals in Dorset but not in South West Wiltshire?