The announcement of a £21m investment in Pilgrim Hospital’s A&E department is a hugely welcome boost for local healthcare – and it also came with the extraordinary privilege of a visit from the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary. If ever there were a demonstration that Boris Johnson understands the challenges we face locally in Lincolnshire and is determined to address them, this was it.

The crucial point about such much-needed money is not just that it will speed up patients getting the treatment they need and either going home or getting admitted – this is also a move that sends a powerful signal about the long-term, secure future of Pilgrim as a vital hub for local health services. That will be a major boon to recruitment too.

As Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on a previous visit, the idea that everything has to be centralised is simply not acceptable to him, or more importantly, to the public. I understand that people will always be prepared to travel a certain distance to access relatively unusual or significantly better treatment – but that can never be an excuse for changes which could cause harm in our vast, rural county of Lincolnshire.

Perhaps just as telling, however, was the reception the Prime Minister received at Pilgrim: staff and patients wanted to talk to him, and made time in what are busy schedules and rotas to do so. The sense of support for the man who is investing in the NHS, police and broadband was obvious for all to see.

It’s no coincidence that under this new government support for Wainfleet has recently been announced: the costs of East Lindsey District Council and the local fire authority – running to hundreds of thousands of pounds – will be entirely covered by central government. That means that the burden of 24-hour local staffing to help residents and of herculean efforts to pump enormous amounts of water away will not be borne by a small local authority.

The businesses that provide such huge local employment on farms will be eligible for compensation from a £2m fund too – that means there will be less pressure on them to make savings that could cost people their jobs, even if it won’t help supermarkets fill what will be noticeable gaps in some stocks because of lost crops.

Next up will be the announcement of 10,000 extra police officers across the UK – it’s a sector where Lincolnshire has previously been a victim of funding formulas that favour London and the South-east over areas such as our own. My case to government will be clear: we don’t just need our fair share of these new resources; as with Pilgrim we need to be brought up to the level of other parts of the country.

I’m confident that the Prime Minister came to Boston not because he wanted to see for himself what was needed, but because he knows what is needed, and is determined to show that he will deliver it. That’s what he’s been doing already, and what I will always push him to continue to do.

Matt Warman is the Conservative MP for the Boston and Skegness constituency.

National headlines would tell you that local elections were a disaster for both main parties – locally, of course, it’s clear that it’s a different story. Independents fared well, but in the end Conservatives retained control of both Boston and East Lindsey district councils. Last time these polls were held in Boston, on the same day as my first election, Conservatives won 14 of 30 seats and last week it was 16. These are surprising results for a government that has been in power for nine years, but we live in surprising times.

Brexit, of course, cost anyone connected with Westminster support and benefitted everyone who wasn’t. Voters cast a plague on all MPs’ houses and given the failure to so far leave the EU, quite right too.

When I was out on the doorstep, and talking to newly elected and re-elected councillors, there was one clear message: Brexit must be delivered not just for the sake of democracy, but also so that we can all move on to discuss the urgently pressing issues that face all of us in our daily lives. That might mean the vital reforms to our local NHS, or it might mean the need to plan flood defences today that will last for many decades. But with Brexit sucking up huge amounts of legislative oxygen, that’s simply not possible in the way that it should be. More than £20bn is going into the NHS thanks to a successful economy – that’s what I’d far rather be focusing on.

My personal commitment to delivering Brexit is absolutely total – I know that politicians have to respect the result of the biggest democratic vote in our country’s recent history, and even if compromises are the price of ultimately getting out then all sides should be prepared to make them. The alternatives are either an unnecessarily painful no-deal Brexit or Parliament voting to revoke Article 50. That latter must not happen.

In the meantime, sadly, excellent, dedicated and long-serving councillors have lost their seats thanks to Westminster. I’d like to thank all those, of whatever party or none, who have put themselves forward recently or in the past, for the thankless privilege of being a councillor. In many ways councils make a far greater impact on day-to-day life than Parliament does, but nobody runs for local office expecting money or prestige. These are people who care passionately about their communities and want to see them thrive.

Conservative councillors once again find themselves entrusted with running both Boston and East Lindsey, as voters chose experience and a record of decent services in deeply challenging financial circumstances. I’d like to thank all those members of the public who took that decision, and in particular all those councillors whose service was declined because of the faults of Westminster. Voters deserve Brexit – it must be delivered, for the sake of both competent local government and our democracy as a whole. I will continue to do all I can to secure it as quickly as possible.

Matt Warman is the Conservative MP for the Boston and Skegness constituency.

In the course of the 2015 election campaign, I vividly remember knocking on the door of a house on the outskirts of Boston and being told that Pilgrim Hospital was going to be closed. No ifs, no buts. The lady I was talking to was certain of it. “Everything,” she told me, “is going to Lincoln.” I asked how she knew this, and what was going to happen to the site and its users? She told me there were “secret plans,” which I was not astonished to learn had apparently been revealed by a rival political party standing for election.

Pilgrim, of course, is not going to close. It is and will remain long into the future as the major district hospital for the east coast of Lincolnshire – its vital role in local healthcare is as concrete as its construction. But there was something in what that lady told me in 2015. For so long have local NHS plans been shrouded in mystery, ugly rumours have filled a vacuum. In the process, they’ve made it harder for the hospital itself to recruit to jobs that some wrongly believe might not exist in the future, and they’ve genuinely worried huge numbers of patients and potential patients (which is all of us).

This week, finally, local NHS leaders revealed their plans for Pilgrim: upgraded maternity facilities with a new midwife-led unit, paediatric services that expand on what is currently offered, and beyond the hospital a huge focus on improved community care and on the preventative work that keeps people away from the NHS altogether. This, along with Lincolnshire’s new medical school, is hugely to be welcomed, as is the planned ‘conversation’ with the public about which if any of those proposals are less popular and need to be changed.

These plans are produced by NHS staff and clinicians – that’s doctors and nurses saying what they think is the best approach to make sure people in Lincolnshire live longer, healthier lives. It is clearly to be welcomed, but that’s not to say these proposals are perfect. I would encourage everyone to examine them, go to the consultation events and make their views known. That’s what I’ve had the privilege and duty of being able to do over previous years, and what I will continue to do. I think we can aim higher than some of these initial proposals, be that on mental health or on paediatrics, on access to GPs or on access to other health professionals.

My own daughter has been treated at Pilgrim, and large parts of my family have worked for the NHS. It needs to be more efficient, and people need also to treat it with respect. But the plans unveiled this week show very clearly that it is here to stay, serving local needs locally. My total commitment is to making it even better – that will happen thanks to the brilliant local staff, and I sincerely hope also because local people shape it for the future.

Matt Warman is the Conservative MP for the Boston and Skegness constituency.

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