This week (Wednesday) I was set to take a further part in the Finance Bill (Committee Stage), while the EU Withdrawal Bill will also be discussed before the Christmas break. Parliament breaks for Christmas on Thursday and I am proud that, since the beginning of this Parliamentary term I have spoken in some 52 debates, meaning I am one of the top participating MPs in the region. This is important because I have been able to raise the profile of Redditch and issues that are important to the people who live here.

I know winter pressures at our hospitals are always a concern at this time of the year, and I thought it was worthwhile spreading the good news that, here in Worcestershire, more hospital beds, improved services for the elderly and additional GP services are among a range of measures that have been put in place to help manage pressures over the winter period.

The plans include the recent opening of a new countywide Frailty Unit based here at the Alex, and the expansion of the Ambulatory Emergency Care Unit at the Worcestershire Royal. This will provide a consultant-led service that helps to speed up decisions about what treatments patients require. Other measures include an expanded GP home visiting service for patients who are very unwell, and a new falls pathway which sees patients who have had a fall but haven’t suffered any obvious broken bones being taken to a Minor Injuries Unit rather than A&E. There will also be more beds for patients who are medically fit for discharge from hospital but who need long term care in a care home, while more elective surgery will take place at the Alex and in Kidderminster to relieve the pressure in Worcester.

I welcome this detailed plan to help cope with winter pressures in our hospitals and hope it will reassure residents that their needs will be catered for during this difficult time.

Parliament finishes on Thursday for couple of weeks. There will be some hard work and long sessions I suspect throughout the coming months in relation to Brexit, so I am looking to recharge my batteries before January. This coming Friday I am visiting patients in all wards at the Alex, along with visiting care homes in the town.

May I take this opportunity of wishing everyone in this wonderful town and surrounding villages a happy and peaceful Christmas and all good health for the New Year. 2017 proved to be a life-changing year for me, and I hope that 2018 brings you whatever you wish for.