Howard's Way 1 December 2005

Contributed by editor on Dec 01, 2005 - 12:06 AM

HOWARD'S WAY.... a weekly column from Michael Howard MP

December 2005

Last Friday was the kind of day which illustrates the range of activities which come within the remit of a Member of Parliament.

I started the day with two meetings at the William Harvey Hospital. The first was with the Chairman, Chief Executive and Director of Nursing at the East Kent NHS Hospitals Trust which is responsible for the hospital. Readers will, I hope, know that I have, for many years, been concerned at the experiences which some of my constituents have encountered at the hospital.

Of course most of the care is of a high standard, as it should be, and the vast majority of the staff are extremely conscientious and hard working. But there are a worrying number of exceptions. And they are a real cause for concern. I was able to put those concerns to those responsible for the management of the hospital and they told me what they were doing to put things right. Time will tell whether these reassurances are justified.

My next meeting at the hospital was to listen to those with concerns about out-patient services at the Royal Victoria Hospital. I shall take these concerns up with those responsible, too.

Then I went to Folkestone to meet some of the senior staff at the Folkestone Sports Centre. The future of the centre and the Council’s plans for new sports centres at Folkestone and Hythe have aroused considerable controversy. I am not the person who will make these decisions but am happy to try to play a constructive role in finding the best solution.

Next stop was a meeting with Tom Johnson, the Principal of South Kent College. The college has very ambitious plans which I want to help bring to fruition. Nothing could be more important than equipping our young people with the skills they need to fill the jobs that are becoming available.

Then I went to the Civic Centre for two meetings – the first was to review progress on plans for the regeneration of Shepway and, in particular, the delays in dealing with planning applications. The second was to discuss, again, the future of the Council’s plans for sports centres.

From the future to the past. My next engagement was to open the new Folkestone History Centre in the Old High Street – a welcome example of the growing relationship between Folkestone and Christ Church University, Canterbury.

Then it was off to open a new restaurant in Hythe. The Ah Bon at the Seabrook end of the High Street.

Finally, I spoke at the Annual Dinner of the Dymchurch Conservatives. It was a very enjoyable conclusion to a busy but satisfying day.