Passionate debate, Brexit and healthcare - Chichester Observer

The New Year has begun although in Westminster many of the political tensions have carried over from 2018. Now we are all back from Christmas recess, the debates on our Withdrawal from the EU are starting and MPs and the public have a lot to say on the issue. Understandably people feel passionately about the future of the country on both sides of the argument, and some feel their voices are best heard from Parliament Square. Protesting in this iconic space is normally impressive democracy in action but a minority of protestors in recent days have hurled abuse at MPs and other protestors which undermines the argument and does no one any good.

As an MP I have had thousands of people share their thoughts with me on Brexit and a wide range of issues that help me paint a full picture of thoughts and feelings in the area. On Friday 11th January, I am holding an Open Meeting in West Wittering Village Hall to answer questions and hear your thoughts so please do come along - all the details are on my website gilliankeegan.com and on my Facebook page.

This first week back hasn’t just been about Brexit and the fast approaching vote, there have been some big policy announcements. The Prime Minister launched her NHS long term plan that sets out how the extra £20.5 billion will be used over the next five years. I am pleased there is a big focus on primary and community care services to alleviate some of the pressures felt in our hospitals and A&E departments by keeping people where they want to be, at home. Another key area of investment is the £2.3 billion boost to mental health funding which I fully welcome as today one in ten young people suffer from mental health problems according to the Mental Health Foundation. This plan is being backed by the largest cash injection the NHS has ever received and will come with a crackdown on waste and inefficiency across the service. This is the first step on a long road to improving the service for patients and staff, so we can all enjoy the security of healthcare free at the point of use for years to come.

May I take this opportunity to wish you and your families a happy New Year and I hope to get the opportunity to meet many more of you in 2019.