Steve Brine made the future of our NHS his number one priority from day one and has focused on the issue since his election as our local Member of Parliament in May 2010.
He says; "I said health would be my priority, both in Westminster and locally, where I've immersed myself in truly understanding the issues. I am trying to understand the health economy across our entire area, to see how that fits together in the context of the new NHS for the long-term benefit of local people.
"I always approach the issue calmly and in measured terms, as you should expect from a responsible and experienced Member of Parliament."
Steve is clear that his focus on the NHS is (rightly) about hospital care but also encompasses primary care (eg; GP services), social care and mental health services which he is passionate about.
Hampshire & IOW Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP)
November 2016 saw the a wide-ranging strategic plan for future health and social care services launched by the local NHS. The forward to the document states; "The STP summaries the challenges we face, our vision for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, and the action we are taking to address our challenges and deliver our vision."
The plan sets out the details of six core delivery programmes and four enabling programmes – the priority work that partners in the health and care system are undertaking together to (above all) transform outcomes for the public. You can download the full STP and a summary here (from midday on 23 Nov 2016). The STP does not include any recommendations for the future of emergency and acute care in Winchester, Basingstoke and Southampton.
Steve Brine has been closely briefed on the STP throughout its construction and wrote extensively to the Hampshire STP lead, Richard Samuel, on 13 October 2016. You can download that letter here and Mr Samuel's reply here. Steve has led the way for constituents to discuss the plan with senior NHS leaders, including his January 2017 ASKtheNHS meeting.
Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust - opportunity and compromise
Hospital services across Winchester/Eastleigh and Basingstoke merged in 2012. Basingstoke & North Hampshire NHS Foundation Trust and Winchester & Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust came together to form the Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust. The move created a new 'super' Trust that is well placed to work with local GPs as they assume control of commissioning under major NHS reforms. Steve Brine backed the new organisation saying; "The Trust kept me fully updated throughout the merger process and I consistently said to them I am only interested in protecting the key services we rely on locally. The new organisation will provide much opportunity for us but it will also demand great compromise if we're to create something sustainable to provide the world-class services my constituents rightly demand."
New hospital and the RHCH - including maternity services
The new Trust is currently developing a new clinical model, to work across its entire area. The aim is to provide (in this order) hospital services that are safe, sustainable and affordable for the long-term in Andover, Basingstoke and Winchester as well as to improve outcomes when we are acutely unwell.
The centrepiece of the ideas being put forward included the creation of a new Critical Treatment Hospital (to care for the sickest 15% of patients) with the kind of 24/7 consultant care not available anywhere in the Trust today (including in maternity care) and a new Cancer Treatment Centre.
Steve says; "As long as I can remember, people have said Winchester Hospital is going to close; that the NHS is going to somehow desert us altogether and I believe passionately we have to move on from that if we're to move forward. I think we have to build something here that is going to last and insulate itself from the inevitable ups and downs a modern acute Trust will experience in any political or financial cycle."
He adds; "I am of course interested in the concept of a £160m investment in local NHS services and world-class services for those I represent. The new critical treatment hospital model makes sense, especially for stroke, cardiac, ICU care, but I write it no blank cheques. Like many of us, I have anxieties about the possible change in maternity services, not least because of my own personal experience of the care provided at Florence Portal House in Winchester. My challenge to the Trust is to go on making their clinical case for change and to explain to us why they believe status quo offers a diminishing return and why what they offer in its place is better. For as long as I am in this job I will go on doing everything in my power to inform my constituents of that case."
You can also download a useful Q&A from a drop-in event hosted by HHFT in February 2015
Special ASKtheNHS meetings
Steve Brine has organised and chaired three open meetings for constituents with local Trust/GP/CCG and NHS representatives to discuss possible future changes to the NHS across our area. The most recent event, ASKtheNHS RETURNS, took place in Winchester on 12th January 2017. You can read/watch/listen to reports from all events in the ASKthe Series here.
Health Check Survey
Steve Brine carried out a major health survey at the start of 2014 which saw thousands of local people have their say on general health policy, hospital as well as primary care and give their views about the future of hospital services in our area.
GP services (primary care)
The Winchester & Chandler's Ford constituency is well served by GP services and has seen heavy investment (eg; at Friarsgate in the city) in recent years. However, many challenges remain and timely access to primary care remains a concern as highlighted through Steve's major 2014 health survey.
Steve Brine meets regularly with GPs and Practice Managers across the area to understand what issues they are facing and feedback constituents' concerns. He is a passionate defender of primary care as the gateway to NHS services but outspoken about what he has called the 'consumerisation' of health and the problems that causes for access.
He adds; "Politicians are not serving the NHS or the patients if we keep promising it can do more and more. As a responsible MP who puts the NHS first in his constituency I always want to listen to local GPs and work alongside them, as well as their patients to ensure we have services in the right place at the right time. As more and more houses are built that also means working closely with NHS England on GP access and maintaining important, yet small, in-community provision such as we have in South Wonston and Twyford."
If you are a local GP or concerned about access to see your GP, Steve wants to hear from you; firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01962 791110.
Mental health services
Steve believes people with mental health problems (such as anxiety, psychosis or depression) should be able to expect the same standards of treatment and care as someone with a physical health problem, such as cancer. "But that has sadly not always been the case in the NHS", he says.
"We expect to see parity for mental health care locally and I will be working with the NHS, local charities and anyone else besides to make a success of the Care Crisis Concordat. We must also work hard to make a reality of the first ever waiting times for those needing mental health treatment."
Steve works with national charities working in this area, such as MIND, and has a good working relationship with local CAMHS provider (Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust) as well as local schools to address the growing issue of children and young adults with mental health concerns.
Related stories and films ...
RHCH rated 'Good' by watchdog - CQC report gives thumbs up to hospital, Nov 2015
Rethink Cancer ideas at University - education students get with the plan, March 2015
Steve meets Winchester Befrienders - new mental health support, March 2015
MP celebrates first birthday of stroke charity - Chandler's Ford group, Feb 2015
MP 'impressed' at Westholme hub facility, new extended care facility, Feb 2015
Temporary closure of GP surgery turns out to be ... temporary - Feb 2015
Temporary closure of Kings Worthy GP surgery - Jan 2015
Location named for proposed new hospital - Big announcement from HHFT, Nov 2014
RHCH Ward wins national Nursing Times award - Oct 2014
MP holds second ASKtheNHS meeting - Sept 2014
MP visits transformed RHCH - May 2014
Steve chairs packed NHS meeting in Winchester - March 2014
Steve Brine speaks as new birthing suites opened - Jan 2014
Launch of major health survey - Jan 2014
MP discusses 'quiet cancer epidemic' with Southampton surgeon - Visit to SGH in Sept 2013
Steve opens new hospital scanners after fire - Like a phoenix from the flames
Hospital Volunteers Meet International Development Minister - Minister Lynne Featherstone visits
MP welcomes new Outpatient Department at RHCH - More welcome investment at Trust
Cancer treatment centre fundraising campaign launches - New Trust facility
Magic Wand transforms Childrens ward - Steve joins Mayor for celebration
NHS South of England launches Dementia Challenge - Welcome for huge investment
Delight as Children's Heart Surgery saved - Relief at London decision meeting
MP meets local stroke support group - Steve visits group at Winnall meeting
A&E and Orthopaedics on hospital visit - Clinical visits in March 2012
Health Secretary visits local hospital - Steve brings Sec of State to see stroke service
MP meets new team at RHCH - Steve meets new post-merger Chief Executive
Fire at RHCH - Devastating fire at scanner department, Christmas 2011
Service marks 275th anniversary of local hospital - Cathedral service, Oct 2011
Trust seeks views on maternity care - Service consultaiton in late 2011
A visit to Nuffield Wessex - Chandler's Ford visit in July 2011
MP discusses merger and stroke care on visit - RHCH visit in July 2011
Have a heart petition delivered to No.10 - Children's Heart surgery in Southampton
Good news on mixed sex wards - Steve welcomes news from RHCH
MP speaks to hospital radio - Steve interviewed to mark Volunteering Week 2011
Inside help for Hospital's outside space - Steve opens new prisoner created garden
Steve meets local Parkinsons group in King's Worthy - Steve is guest speaker at local group
Steve welcomes Hospital Broadcasting Week - WHR is an unsung hero at the RHCH
New breast cancer service at Winchester Hospital - The new One Step Nucleic acid Amplification
Steve thanks hospital staff - Steve visits 'Talking Point'
Confirmation of NHS merger plan - Steve comments on RHCH plan
External links ...
Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - www.hampshirehospitals.nhs.uk
West Hampshire Care Commissioning Group - www.westhampshireccg.nhs.uk
North Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group - www.northhampshireccg.com
NHS England - www.england.nhs.uk
Hampshire Health & Wellbeing Board - visit website
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust - www.sussexpartnership.nhs.uk
Do you have a local issue you would like to campaign on alongside Steve Brine? Get in touch today - see here.