This week I’m writing my column from Gibraltar. I am visiting to celebrate Gibraltar Day. It was on September 10, 1967 that Gibraltar held the first ever referendum when the people of Gibraltar voted to remain under British sovereignty with some institutions of self-government.
I have met with Fabian Picado, the First Minister of Gibraltar, and other officials. While I am here I am hoping to gain support for my Bill which will go before the House of Commons on October 16. The Maritime Borders Bill will seek to define shipping boundaries in the area.
I’m really pleased to tell you that the parents of pupils at Skerton Community High School have launched a campaign to keep Skerton open.
I am fully supportive of the campaign and my office is in regular contact with them. You may recall that I wrote in the Guardian a few weeks ago that I had written to the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, the Secretary of State for Education, requesting a meeting, I am pleased to tell you that I will be meeting with the Department for Education in the coming weeks to discuss the situation at Skerton.
I also plan to present a petition to parliament so please do contact me if you’d like to sign it.
Last week I received an email from the Secretary of State for Health, the Rt Hon.Jeremy Hunt MP. Jeremy explained to me, as priority, he will be starting a process to turn around failing hospitals that Labour did not confront. There will be a special measures regime put in place and detailed improvement plans for each of the 11 hospitals which the Government has placed into special measures. I welcome this and will work with the Secretary of State over the coming months.
Also last week Jeremy announced that there will be £1billion of IT funding for hospitals as well as primary care.
This money will support the Government’s vision for a paperless NHS by 2018 and deliver critical improvements in safety, productivity and the patient experience over the next three years.
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