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West Sussex County Times Article
This week I've been delighted to support, in a small way, two local charities of which I'm honoured to be a Patron: The Mary How Trust in Pulborough and St Barnabas Hospice in Worthing.
Both are wonderful examples of charities providing important health services to our community.
The Mary How Trust was formed over two decades ago in order to make health screening available to as many people as possible, regardless of their ability to pay.
The charity undertakes more than a thousand screenings each year - and it receives no funding from the NHS.
I was delighted to donate tea at the House of Commons as a lot in an auction for the Trust, and this week had an enjoyable time with the winning bidders.
This followed my visit last Friday to the new St Barnabas House hospice in Worthing. I was full of admiration for the sensitively designed building and the hard work and compassion displayed by all the staff there.
Like its sister Chestnut Tree House children's hospice near Angmering, St Barnabas provides superb respite and end of life care.
The new hospice cost over £13 million, with most of the funding coming from bequests and donations.
The Government does provide some funding for palliative care, and there is currently a review to consider how funding should be organised in the future. The aim is to
encourage more community-based care for adults and children, so that, as far as possible, a patient can remain in their own home.
But, even as we spend well over £100 billion of taxpayers' money year on the NHS - the second biggest government budget after pensions and welfare - it's significant that these two local providers of important healthcare services rely on generous donations from the public.
I know just how much support local people give to The Mary How Trust and the St Barnabas House and Chestnut Tree House hospices, and I would like to thank them, the volunteers and staff who make the fantastic work of these charities possible.
12 May 2011
"I pledge to work hard for everyone in the constituency, to stand up for local people, and to be a strong voice at Westminster for your concerns"