‘Take politics out of NHS’ urges East Devon’s MP

Hugo Swire stock picture

Hugo Swire stock picture - Credit: Archant

Sir Hugo Swire promises to fight for funding and says South West poses ‘formidable force’

Sir Hugo Swire says ‘nothing should be left off the table’ on health reforms as he promises to fight for more social care funding.

The MP for East Devon warned the ‘demographic time bomb’ was now happening and said it would be good to take ‘politics out of the NHS’ as a solution to meet the needs of an aging population was sought.

Reflecting on an ‘extraordinary year’ which saw him return to the backbenches, Sir Hugo said South West MPs pose a formidable force to lobby the Government and would continue to strive for a better deal in health and education funding.

On Sidmouth’s long-awaited beach management plan, he expressed the view that while there might be disagreement over the right scheme to protect seafront defences – with the best option deemed too costly - ‘something was better than nothing’.

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Sir Hugo told the Herald: “We have one of the highest concentrations of the elderly and people with dementia. Some 20 per cent of community hospitals are in East Devon. I spoke out in Parliament on social care funding and made an urgent statement on raising the precept for social care.

“I’m with Sarah Wollaston - chair of the health committee - in seeking a cross-party committee to look at the whole issue of health funding. It would be good to take politics out of the NHS and social care, which does require a grown-up look at it.

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“The demographic time bomb is now happening; people are living for much longer, the cost of drugs is rising and there is the whole issue of how we care for people in the longer term. We should leave nothing off the table.

“Most people are in agreement that the NHS and social care should be integrated.”

As a self-confessed ‘Eurosceptic remainer’, Sir Hugo said Brexit would impact on us all, but would just depend on what deal could be sought from the European Union (EU).

He added: “Sidmouth benefits hugely from international students and we would not want to see that sector adversely affected. It’s a divorce from the EU, but not from Europe - it’s enormously important to make that differentiation.”

He said East Devon could stand to benefit from the UK setting its own taxation on agriculture and tourism.

Looking to 2017, Sir Hugo said it was time to ‘get on with’ the redevelopment of Port Royal and relocation of East Devon District Council’s HQ from Sidmouth - something he says would not hit the town economically, and could actually benefit it.

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