Cat presents a certificate to Healthier Fleetwood
Cat presents a certificate to Healthier Fleetwood

I was delighted to meet with the Healthier Fleetwood (HF) team on Friday to present them with a special certificate naming them as regional champions in a prestigious competition to mark the NHS’s 70th birthday.

The NHS70 Parliamentary Awards asked MPs to find and nominate those individuals or teams they thought have made the biggest improvements to health services in their constituencies.

I nominated Healthier Fleetwood and from more than 800 entries, senior experts in each region chose the ten most outstanding.

HF’s aim is to bring hope to individual residents by connecting them with their community, increasing self-confidence by enabling people to becoming the doers, rather than the done to, and to give residents more control over the factors and decisions that affect their lives. It’s a brilliant initiative and if you haven’t got involved I would really urge you to do so.

Their next Open Meeting is on Wednesday 6th June from 6pm at Emmanuel Church when you’ll hear inspirational stories from residents who have transformed their lives from losing weight, getting fit, starting new hobbies and making new friends.

They also meet at Fleetwood Library every Wednesday morning 10am to 12noon – no need to make an appointment, just pop in to share your ideas and hear more about what’s happening in your community.

​Having been named regional champions, Healthier Fleetwood will now vie with other regional winners from across England for the national award, to be presented at a special ceremony in the Palace of Westminster in July. Good luck team!

Staying with health and I was very disappointed to hear how our mental health services in Lancashire are failing patients. Some Fleetwood residents will have been treated at The Harbour in Blackpool and the Guild Lodge in Preston. Whilst the Care Quality Commission (CQC) had some good things to say about these units, it has also concluded that some services are not safe, not effective and not well led.

The CQC has carried out a review into services run by the Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust which has been given a ‘Requires Improvement’ rating in three areas.

Once again most of the problems are down to this government’s chronic underfunding of mental health services and poor investment in attracting, training and retaining clinical staff.

It’s totally unacceptable that patients are spending too long in crisis support units that are intended as a short-term measure for those in crisis. According to the CQC the units were frequently being used to hold patients for long periods, because of a lack of available beds elsewhere. The Mental Health Act sets out that patients should only be held in crisis units for 24 hours, but inspectors found that this was regularly breached. Some of those patients spent several days in the unit which having to sleep in reclining chairs due to a lack of beds. The CQC also found there was poor quality food and no access to snacks and drinks for in-patients.

I will continue to lobby this government to deliver on its manifesto promises of recruiting up to 10,000 more mental health professionals and increasing vital funding. So far we’ve seen no evidence of this happening. Instead a service that should be helping people in crisis is in crisis itself.

I’m delighted on Friday to be attending the opening of the Rossall Coastal Defence Scheme, a 4 year £64 million construction programme to replace 2km of sea defences between West Way and Rossall Point. This will protect 7,500 properties from the risk of flooding. I’ll write more about this next week. Also on Friday – a very important date for your diary – it’s national Fish and Chip day! It brings together everyone involved in creating this iconic British dish; from Fish & Chip shops, pub chains, restaurants, retailers, to the fisherman and farmers who provide the sustainable and natural ingredients needed to create this family favourite. I’ll be getting mine from Granada Fish Bar – where will you be getting yours?


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