It has never been more important to stand up for the local NHS. As your local MP, Martin has campaigned tirelessly for free, local health services.
Martin is married to a doctor himself and four generations of his family have been cared for by Cheltenham GPs and hospital staff so he never forgets how valuable it is to have a good local health service free to all.
Martin has campaigned for many years to defend the emergency department at Cheltenham General Hospital and to see the full overnight A&E service restored in Cheltenham. After the recent 'critical incidents' at Cheltenham and Gloucester, Martin has asked the NHS regulators to investigate what went wrong in Gloucestershire and what role the new 111 service played, how well the various local health and social care providers are working together (for instance when they refer patients in to A&E and allow patients to be discharged) and whether local management decisions have made the situation worse by downgrading Cheltenham A&E at night and routing all unplanned admissions through A&E.
Martin refused to vote for Conservative Secretary of State Andrew Lansley's Health & Social Care Bill which he believed broke the coalition agreement with the Liberal Democrats which promised no top-down reorganisation. But he has supported the coalition in raising overall spending on the NHS from £98bn in the last year of the Labour government to more than £110bn a year today.
In 2006, under the last Labour government, Martin was a leading member of the coalition of local campaigners that fought the 26 different cuts and closures that threatened the long-term future of Cheltenham General and many local services.
That campaign secured the future of Cheltenham’s St.Paul’s maternity ward which was earmarked for closure. Martin will continue to campaign for the services that matter most to people, like maternity and A&E, to be kept local.
Other cuts like IVF services were also restored after pressure from Martin and others and he has taken up many individual cases for local people who have felt let down by local healthcare providers. But he has always taken time to praise NHS staff and volunteers for their tremendous work and to give credit to local NHS management when they get things right, for instance for managing to increasing expenditure and deliver a small net surplus this year after achieving more than £17m in efficiency savings.
And Martin has continued to campaign for good mental health services in Gloucestershire to make sure mental health service users get not only the services professionals think they should have but the services they want and need - just like those suffering from physical health problems.
Now it is the Liberal Democrats in this General Election who are pledging the full £8 billion extra which the NHS chief executive Simon Stevens says the NHS needs over the next five years. And who have pledged equal status for mental health within the NHS, including children's mental health and new mums who may need rapid access to treatment.