• hillingdonherald

‘The evidence is clear that vaccines remain the first and most effective line of defence’

Boris Johnson

Conservative MP

for Uxbridge

OVER the last 18 months we have faced the greatest public health challenge in a generation, with a pandemic on a scale not seen before in living memory. Covid-19 has changed the lives of families across the country including my own and has taken both our way of life and loved ones from us. Across Hillingdon almost 800 coronavirus-related deaths have been recorded – each one a tragedy for which we mourn. This has been an extremely difficult period for local residents and businesses across Uxbridge and South Ruislip, but as I reflect on my recent discussions with constituents, I feel a great sense of pride by the way in which the local community have come together to support each other whether this be through Hillingdon Council’s Covid-19 Community Hub or the vital work undertaken by local Samaritans volunteers. I continue to be in awe of the resilience shown by all those I meet but also buoyed by their strong determination and desire to build back better from the pandemic.

Thanks to the efforts of NHS staff and volunteers here in Hillingdon and across the UK, our phenomenal vaccination programme has meant we are incomparably better placed to fight coronavirus now than we were this time last year – but I also recognise that the coming months pose renewed challenges, and it is difficult to predict the path of the virus with certainty. Covid is still out there - and the disease remains a risk. We must all therefore remain vigilant. I recently set out the Government’s plan designed to shore up our defences through autumn and winter which includes immunity booster jabs, testing and refreshed public health advice. The evidence is clear that vaccines remain the first and most effective line of defence against the virus. I would therefore urge readers to ensure you get your two jabs and, if eligible, your booster jab when offered it so we can protect the gains that have allowed us to unlock our economy and society.

As we repair the damage of the pandemic, we need to protect our NHS and address the problems in social care that successive governments have ducked for decades. The new £36 billion package I recently announced will ensure that we put these vital services on a sustainable footing, so it is there for future generations. Those of you who have visited Hillingdon Hospital will know that despite the best efforts of the dedicated staff, the current ageing estate is not fit for purpose and makes their already difficult job a lot harder. Local residents rightly expect to receive high quality healthcare and since becoming the MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip my priority has been to ensure the hospital gets the support it needs so the facilities can finally match the devotion of the staff. I am pleased to say the Government has now given the go ahead for the local trust to develop proposals to provide improved healthcare services in a new fit for purpose local hospital on the current site. Last month I had the pleasure of visiting the hospital to get an update on these exciting redevelopment plans and personally thank the incredible staff who have been working on the front-line saving lives. You can be assured of my continued commitment to work with the trust and all relevant stakeholders to ensure we make progress as swiftly as possible.

Finally, while it is no secret that local media is facing significant challenges from changing news consumption habits; throughout the pandemic our local and regional newspapers have proved indispensable in bringing communities together and keeping residents reliably informed. I am pleased to be able to support and contribute to this new venture led by journalism students at Brunel University and very much hope it can provide a useful source of local news to residents across the borough.