LOCALLY, we are extremely well served by our hospitals.

Recently, for instance, I wrote to Stroud Hospital to pass on thanks and appreciation of several constituents. On many occasions, I have also visited the hospital and seen for myself the high standards of care.

This also applies to the Vale Community Hospital serving Cam, Dursley and surrounding areas.

The recent investment in our hospitals is extremely welcome. For Stroud Hospital, the new diagnostics facility and outpatients unit are examples of necessary improvements to a much-loved hospital. The work of the Stroud Hospital League of Friends is proof of the local community’s commitment to the hospital and all of us owe a huge thanks to the League, especially David Miller, who has worked tirelessly raise additional funds.

It is good, too, to see the Maternity Unit benefitting from more investment. The recent upgrade has made the unit even more appealing and should be an attractive option for expectant mothers as they come close to giving birth. Certainly, the decor, equipment and friendly, efficient staff make it an easy choice.

Obviously, the more births in the unit there are, the more secure it becomes. Back in 2005, when its future was under threat from the Labour Government, I committed myself to protecting it in the interests of choice, quality care and local service. One of my first parliamentary questions was to successfully seek support for the unit.

This extra funding has been made possible by the Coalition Government’s commitment to ring fencing and protecting the National Health Budget. I have been fully engaged with the decisions leading to continued investment and I am encouraged with the overall direction of travel.

My work in health does not stop with securing the necessary funding for our local hospitals. For example, becoming chairman of the Vascular Disease All Parliamentary Group – inspired by visiting the Gloucestershire screening unit – helped me to promote better outcomes for sufferers of this cruel condition.

I was also encouraged by local people to get involved in the All Party Health Group enabling me to contribute to wider health policy debates.