I am pleased that the Government has recently announced an extra £3.66 million for Swindon to help our Council continue providing vital services during the coronavirus pandemic.
This money means that Swindon Borough Council has now received £21.7 million in direct extra support from the Government since the start of the pandemic.
The funding has not been ring-fenced, meaning that our local Council will be able to determine how to spend the additional funding in order to best protect public health, local vulnerable people and the running of vital services. This is good news as local people are best placed to determine our priorities here in Swindon.
Just like we said we would stand behind people whose jobs are at risk – with over £200 billion so far – this Conservative Government is keeping its promise to local authorities and ensuring they have the resources they need to support our communities and protect vital services.
It was recently announced that the number of nurses working for the Great Western Hospital NHS Trust has increased by 9 per cent over the past year and the number of doctors has risen by 5 per cent.
The latest UCAS figures also show that there are a record number of people accepting a place to study nursing in England, with a 23 per cent increase on the same time last year, or 5,000 more student nurses.
We have seen throughout the pandemic once again how fantastic our doctors and nurses are and it is good news for Swindon that we welcomed many more to our local hospital over the past twelve months. These figures show a big step forward towards reaching our goal of 50,000 more nurses in our NHS by the end of the Parliament.
This is furthered by the good news that work has started on the long-awaited £18 million radiotherapy unit at the GWH, which will save an estimated 13,000 patient journeys to Oxford every year, helping to alleviate anxiety, stress and save time.
Over the past few years, alongside North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson, I have lobbied ministers and senior NHS officials to secure this funding. Like many people in our town, I have also been involved in fundraising events for the Brighter Futures Appeal, such as the Gingerbread Fun Run and a music marathon at Immanuel Church in Old Walcot.
The support that this campaign, which sought to raise nearly £3 million to kit out the centre, has received from thousands of fundraisers is a reflection of the strong sense of community spirit that exists here in Swindon and I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been involved.