A Healthy Record

I'd never set out to change the world when I was elected five years ago. Part of me thinks I'm too old to start on a task as big as that. However, I've always been determined to improve our access to local health services. Being Burnley and Padiham's MP has given me the opportunity to really start to make a difference on that score.

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The transfer of our own A&E to Blackburn was something that was devastating for us all. In 2007, Labour allowed the transfer of these services away from our town. How can Labour ask you to vote for their party, based on their promise of protecting the NHS, when in our own town they took away our health services?

Looking back at my own record, there was £9 million secured for the new Urgent Care Centre in 2011 (which has seen over 50,000 patients since opening last year) and then another £15 million in March this year for new surgical units and a state-of-the-art Ophthalmology Unit.

Once I was elected I had to quickly learn the knack of pestering down in Westminster. My mother's words of 'If you don't ask you don't get' became all too true. I used to turn up at every one of the Health Secretary's lunch time ‘surgeries’ to talk about our Urgent Care Centre bid. Then for our more recent bid, I chased it so hard I'm sure Danny Alexander used to try to walk the other way when he saw me coming; but we got there.

Some of my critics might be sceptical of the ability to secure more money to bring all our services back. But with determination, passion and belief,  and the continued support from the people of Burnley and Padiham and the nurses and doctors at the hospital, we can keep fighting. There's no reason we can't get more.

And quite frankly, I think that thought is enough to get anyone's heart racing.

And for a final quick check of our town’s health - unemployment figures are down, apprenticeship numbers are up, investment in our town has been record breaking in the last five years and the local economy is healthier than it has been in decades.

I hope I can rely on your vote and support on Thursday.

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