'I have worked to ensure the right local health services and facilities are available; so I successfully campaigned to keep Macclesfield A&E open, to bar car-parking charges at Congleton Hospital, for better support for GP surgeries, and those experiencing mental health difficulties.'
Fiona has strongly campaigned to keep Congleton War Memorial Hospital vibrantly serving the town of Congleton, including successfully challenging attempts to introduce inequitable car-parking charges there, raising this in the House of Commons with the Communities Minister.
Together with neighbouring MPs, Fiona also successfully campaigned to ensure that local A&E facilities in Macclesfield stay open - confirmed November 2016 - and is determined, if ever required, to fight just as vigorously to retain maternity services at Macclesfield Hospital. Furthermore, it was announced in July 2017 that not only will the A&E stay open but also that the Government has announced that an additional £879,000 has been awarded to support Accident and Emergency care at Macclesfield Hospital.
On mental health provision for the area, Fiona has continually worked in a number of ways to highlight the currently inadequate provision and draw in better resources to support local needs. She is pleased the Government is now treating this issue with the gravity it deserves, and has committed more funding to it nationwide - but there is a clear need to ensure that this impacts locally - as Fiona raised with the Secretary of State for Health in the House of Commons. She has supported residents strongly in their campaign to keep the Millbrook Centre open at Macclesfield and was recently very pleased at the news that this is to be the case - for the time being, but she stands ready to provide further support if needed. Fiona is the very active Patron of the renowned Congleton children's mental health charity Visyon, whose work she has raised a number of times in the House of Commons, most recently in April 2017, with the Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions, following his Improving Lives paper, explaining the excellent work of the charity, but the fact that it has now had to close its books to new applicants to counselling, due to increased demand and limited funding. Fiona has also supported and campaigned for a group of mothers in Middlewich, working to secure better funding for those who experience autism in their young lives.
This Spring, Fiona was delighted that Cheshire Life magazine have adopted Visyon as their Charity of the Year.
Fiona has long been a supporter of improved end-of-life care, and of both St Luke's Hospice, of which she has been a Vice-President for many years, and East Cheshire Hospice, of which she was more recently pleased to have been made Vice-President. As an MP in Parliament, Fiona was an active Member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Dying Well, which promoted high-quality palliative care, and invited representatives from the End-of-Life Partnership based in Winterley to come to Parliament to speak to Members of Parliament and members of the House of Lords to speak to them about their groundbreaking work in this field. In autumn 2015, Fiona took a lead part in successfully opposing an attempt to legalise euthanasia in Parliament, and in promoting instead improved palliative care.
Of considerable concern for some time on the part of local residents, and a concern which Fiona shares, are the difficulties of obtaining a GP appointment and the challenges which local doctors' practices face in ensuring there are enough doctors to serve local needs. Fiona has raised this more than once, directly with Health Ministers - for example, after meeting practice members at Holmes Chapel Health Centre - and while the situation is far from fully resolved, she pleased is Government has listened to such calls and decided to invest substantially in GP training. Fiona is currently raising concerns on behalf of residents worried about the potential closure of Rode Heath Surgery.
Fiona was one of the strongest campaigners in Parliament for improved provision for arthritis sufferers, working in partnership with Arthritis UK; she has ensured they met Health Minister David Mowat MP recently, and a speech on by Fiona on this issue, in Parliament, can be found here. Fiona is delighted that she has a strong local champion for arthritis sufferers' support in her local constituency - Christine Walker - and pays tribute to her.
Following her re-election in 2015, Fiona became Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Alcohol Harm, and Vice-Chair of the APPG for Children of Alcoholics and of the APPG for Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, and has campaigned for many years to promote responsible, enjoyable alcohol consumption. She has spoken a number of times about this in Parliament, and recently led a major debate on tackling alcohol harm, following which Health Minister Nicola Blackwood - who was visibly moved in the debate on hearing the impact that excessive alcohol consumption has on families - has agreed to take steps to address this. Fiona, in her role as Chair of the APPG on Alcohol Harm, recently produced a powerful report, The Frontline Battle, the impact of excessive alcohol consumption on doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers, police and others who work in the emergency services. A specific campaign which Fiona has been running, together with David Burrowes MP, is to press Treasury Ministers to increase the tax on high-strength white cider - one bottle of which, costing under £4, can contain as much alcohol as 72 shots of vodka. This drink can be lethal, and tragically, to many young people who drink it, it is. Evidence shows that increasing the affordability would save lives.