Focus Article May 2018

As we dash into Spring and hopefully look forward to a good Summer, I can’t believe how quickly the year is passing. 

Life in the House of Commons continues to be high pressured and fast moving. My mailbag continues to be very interesting with a wide cross section of issues covered.  One issue which I mentioned in last month’s article is the state of the highways.  I know that the new velocity fillers which I previously talked about have now been out repairing potholes and I have been told they are effective. I do keep a close eye of this issue and will continue to do so.

Please remember I am always pleased to hear constituents’ views and opinions about both local and national issues.  I travel around the constituency every week and always try to speak to as many people as possible, but obviously cannot see everyone so please do not hesitate to write or email me about any issue that concerns you.

I know many of you have been taking a close interest in the new A585 Windy Harbour to Skippool proposals. Further to the public consultation which Highways England ran in 2016 and their announcement of a preferred route in October 2017, Highways England is running another consultation. 

The proposals seek to reduce congestion at the junction of the A585 and A586 at Little Singleton and the signalised junction with the A588 at Shard Road. Please note that the latest statutory consultation ends on Tues 8th May, so if you have not already taken part and would like to, please do so.  For more information go to https://highwaysengland.citizenspace.com/he/a585-windy-harbour-to-skipp… or ring Highways England 0300 123 5000. 

Another issue close to many constituents’ hearts is development and I am sure it will not have escaped your attention that the preparation of Wyre Council’s Local Plan is nearing completion.  All that remains is for an Inspector from the Planning Inspectorate to assess the soundness of the Plan. 

The Inspector will consider the Plan during a series of hearings next month where local people and stakeholders can express their views, support and concerns. I have requested an opportunity to put forward my views and those of my constituents and have allocated time to speak on Fri 18th May.

Issues surrounding mental health services have been high on the national agenda for some time and this has been reflected locally too.  I am regularly in contact with Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust to raise individual concerns and, as in many aspects of my work as a constituency MP, I try to identify trends in the issues raised with me. 

In recent months I have seen a sharp increase in the complaints I have received from constituents about crisis mental health support. As a consequence I arranged to meet with the Trust’s Chief Executive, Professor Heather Tierney-Moore.

I raised a number of individual cases with her but also questioned her about the wider issues affecting services in our area.  I was informed that referrals for urgent mental health support from GPs is higher in Fylde and Wyre and Preston than elsewhere in Lancashire and significantly above national averages. 

I was assured that the Trust is taking a number of steps to improve the service offered. For instance, the Trust opened a new Mental Health Decision Unit at Blackpool Victoria Hospital in December which enables intensive short-term support for people presenting at A and E in crisis. 

Constituents have also expressed concern about the number of hospital beds available for patients with mental health conditions and it has been the case that patients from our constituency have been required to travel outside of the county to access in-patient support. 

This can be distressing for the patient and cause logistical difficulties for their families and friends.  Professor Tierney-Moore explained that the Trust now has greater control over this issue with no patients from Fylde and Wyre currently being treated outside of Lancashire. 

Please be assured that I will continue to monitor these improvements and will not hesitate to hold the Trust to account should further concerns be raised with me.

If I can be of any assistance to you please ring my Office at the House of Commons on 0207 219 5804 or my Constituency Office on 01995 672976, email me at wallaceb@parliament.uk or write to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.