I had a busy weekend full of face-to-face meetings at last. It started with a meeting at Worthing Hospital together with Peter Bottomley to catch up with the new Chief Executive George Findlay to see how they are coping with the huge demands on the Health Service now. Having spent an afternoon with staff in A&E last month I wanted to raise many of the concerns that they had flagged up with me.
In the circumstances Worthing is doing relatively well and currently has the lowest ambulance wait times in the south-east, and COVID cases are low and manageable. However, many beds remain occupied by patients medically fit for discharge and we need to do better with looking after them in the community and of course we need to do more to get patients accessing their GPs more swiftly rather than relying on A&E when crisis hits.
I was delighted to visit the charity scout training yacht Supeta at Shoreham Harbour together with Adur Chairman Councillor Andy McGregor who as a keen sailor has been very involved with it. Lancing scout leader Tom Smith has done an excellent job giving an amazing opportunity to hundreds of young scouts to have hands on experience of working and living on an ocean-going yacht and developing team working skills with their crew mates.
After a trip to Shoreham fire station to catch-up with new recruits and station commander Roy Barraclough I then joined a group of Parliamentary colleagues and US senators for a conference on Anglo-American relations and cooperation in Ukraine at Wilton Park. We had a fascinating set of discussions in this wonderful rural setting with such a history of hosting important conferences. The delegation of senators who included the fiery presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders were an interesting bunch not least because the youngest was 70 and the oldest 88 which made the House of Lords look like a Club 18-30 resort!