I will work with the whole House to deliver change
Under my chairmanship, the Health and Social Care Committee will be inclusive and opposition parties will have key roles to play, writes Anne Marie Morris MP
As a nation we are living longer, and mostly healthier and happier lives – and research scientists are uncovering treatments for diseases and conditions which, even a short while ago, would have been unimaginable.
But too many patients are not getting access to these treatments either at all or in a timely way. Waiting times are too long for GP appointments and in A&E. Mental health provision is under-resourced, and NHS dentists are fewer and farther between.
The lack of a fully funded social care system has put additional pressures on the health system and those working in it. And while we are living longer, our later years can be extremely challenging. The Government quite rightly recognises this and has promised change.
Parliament, through its Health and Social Care Committee, has the serious responsibility of holding the Government to account – and the NHS – to ensure not only that these promises are kept, but that the nation develops an NHS fit for the 21st century.
To be effective the committee must be well-led, must be objective and impartial, and must be relentless in its constructive challenge to government.
The new chair must understand both the health and care ‘ecosystems’, be well-networked in them and be respected by all the stakeholders – clinicians, patient groups, regulators, commissioners and providers of health and care. He or she must also have the respect and support of the NHS, the government, and opposition parties.
I am standing to be chair of the committee to deliver that leadership and that result without fear or favour, working with the whole House to deliver change.
“APPGs will have access to the committee and hopefully contribute to its work”
With 15 years’ experience in the health and care sector, I have built that network, and those relationships. I have the personal endorsement for this role from Sir Bruce Keogh, former medical director of NHS England; Professor Richard Parish, chair of the National Centre for Rural Health and Care and a member of Public Health England; and Ron Akehurst, emeritus professor of health economics and National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) committee member.
Being a member of the Health and Social Care Committee, the health and social care lead inquisitor on Public Accounts Committee inquiries, chair of national inquiries into ‘Rural Health and Care’ and ‘Access to Medicines and Medical Devices’, and a regular speaker on health and care issues at national conferences has given me the knowledge and the network – building on my county council experience with oversight of health reform as chair of Health Overview and Scrutiny.
Under my chairmanship, the committee will be inclusive, opposition parties will have a clear voice and key roles to play. No individual or party has a monopoly of wisdom, or all the answers. APPGs will have access to the committee and hopefully contribute to its work.
Five key inquiries will address social care, the integration agenda, parity of esteem for mental health, the wellbeing agenda, and most importantly our people and health and care delivery systems and structures. And that will just be the beginning.
Anne Marie Morris is Conservative MP for Newton Abbot
Get the inside track on what MPs and Peers are talking about. Sign up to The House's morning email for the latest insight and reaction from Parliamentarians, policy-makers and organisations.