Michael Lilley with Benson at Appley Park April 2024


Parliamentary Candidate

Liberal Democrat branding white text with yellow bird

Isle of Wight East


Michael Lilley with Benson at Appley Park April 2024

Isle of Wight East

Prospective Parliamentary Candidate

Liberal Democrat branding white text with yellow bird


Michael Lilley with Benson at Appley Park April 2024

Isle of Wight East


Liberal Democrat branding white text with yellow bird

Every Islander can access the NHS Services they need at the time they need it and there should be no disadvantage to living on the Island

This is the first of a series of blogs about what I as an active Isle of Wight Councillor and now the Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for East Wight constituency am doing in improving health, environment and economy of the Island. The first is about health. A key for me is not just what I would do as an MP, it is about what I am doing NOW as an elected IW Councillor. I am a leading Island spokesperson on health in my elected role Chair of the IW Council’s Policy and Scrutiny Committee and the IW Council’s Mental Health Champion.

My key overall aims:

There should be Island-wide access to good NHS and public services, strong social safety net for the most vulnerable, and every child has access to an NHS dentist. There should be swift access to support that prevents people’s health conditions from getting worse and therefore treatment in the long-term becoming more expensive out of necessity.

All Island NHS and Health Services are predominately controlled from the mainland and more and more Islanders must travel for treatment such as cancer care, which in turn causes extra costs in travel and physical and emotional wear and tear. The health of Islanders is a top key priority for me and making sure they get a fair deal from NHS and all health providers.

Chair of IW Council’s Policy and Scrutiny Committee for Health and Social Care

I am the current IW Council’s Chair of Policy and Scrutiny Committee for Health and Social Care. I have been Vice-Chair for some years but in May 2023 I was elected Chair. This committee is interesting as it is the one council committee that has a related connection to Parliament’s Health Select Committee. It has a focus that is much wider than IW Council’s responsibility for Adult Social Care and Public Health but covers all health provision by the public sector including the NHS whether the Integrated Care Board (ICB – NHS Commissioning body), Portsmouth and Isle of Wight Hospital Trusts (acute services), the new Hampshire and Isle of Wight Mental Health Trust (Community and Mental Health Services) and GP Surgeries. The Committee can ask any part of health provision locally to come and present and be scrutinised in the same way Parliament’s Health Select committee can do nationally. The public (you) can come to meetings and ask questions.

As Chair my focus has been to give residents/patients a greater voice so each quarterly meeting there is an opportunity to here from people who are experiencing services. This enables the directors and commissioners of the health services to answers real questions facing people daily whether it is trying to get a GP appointment or the needs of unpaid carers or trying to access support due to loneliness and isolation. Over the year, I have given a platform to residents having difficulty in accessing hospitals on the mainland, those finding it difficult to access mental health services, those experiencing food poverty and health inequality, and access to an NHS dentist.

IW Mental Health Champion

I have been IW Mental Health Champion since 2021 and active in promoting the importance of Mental Wellbeing since 2013 on the Isle of Wight,

My key priorities as Chair of Policy and Scrutiny Committee for Health and Social Care and IW Mental Health Champion are:

  1. Getting the voice of residents/patients heard more effectively by working closely with Health Watch Isle of Wight
  2. Accessibility to GP Surgeries
  3. Access to NHS Dentists and the link between oral and mental health. Research has shown that if your teeth are bad it is likely your have lower self-esteem compared to someone who has good teeth.
  4. Access to Mental Health support at grass-roots level and development of access to open green and blue spaces on the Island as research has shown this blue and green environment improves mental-well-being.
  5. Tackling Health Inequality caused through poverty.
  6. Improving Travel for Islanders who have no choice to travel to mainland for treatment.

I am actively tackling all the above by getting out at grass-roots level, listening to people, and finding ways to find solutions and get positive outcomes.

IW Health Watch (Home | Healthwatch Isle of Wight )

I work closely with IW Health Watch, which is the body that is funded by the Government/NHS to act as a representative body and voice of patients and residents. Every part of the UK has a Health Watch organisation. They consult residents regularly on the issues and concerns facing them. They have recently carried out a survey with Islanders. The 4 top (your) priorities were Dentistry, GP Surgeries, Mental Health and Health Inequalities. These 4 priorities are also my priorities and the priorities of the Health committee. IW Health Watch is the body you can contact straight away if you are experiencing issues within health services.

  Call: 01983 608 608 between the hours of 09:00 – 17:00 Monday to Friday. Post: Freepost RTGR-BKRU-KUEL, Healthwatch Isle of Wight, The Riverside Centre, The Quay, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 2QR Email: enquiries@healthwatchisleofwight.co.uk

Fighting to Keep GP Surgeries Open – Ryde and Wootton GP Surgeries

At a local level, my health chair role and being a local IW councillor have combined in supporting residents to fight to keep local GP surgeries open. In 2023, I supported patients of Argyll Street Surgery in Ryde, when the surgery was threatened with closure due to GP retirement. I called a meeting with the Island’s senior director of the NHS ICB with Ryde Town Council pointing out that they had a duty to explore all options of keeping the surgery open. They did listened and take action which resulted in two new GPs and the practice remaining open. I am now supporting Cllr Sarah Redrup (Wootton Bridge IW Councillor) and working with IW Health Watch in bringing the Hampshire and Isle of Wight ICB to account and explore all options regarding the threatened closure of the Wootton GP surgery and patients having to go to Newport. The key for me is listening to people and making sure their voice is heard by the decision-makers. Local residents should all have access to an accessible GP surgery close to where they live and not have difficulty accessing appointments. As Chair of the Policy and Scrutiny Committee for Health and Social Care, I attended a residents meeting on Wootton Surgery and now placed the importance of this surgery on the committee’s agenda in June 2024.

Dentistry and Denbigh House

As Chair of IWC Policy and Scrutiny Committee of Health and Social Care, I have been working with Denbigh House on George Street in Ryde to understand why there is a lack of NHS dentists on the Island and see how this can be resolved. In 2023, Denbigh House won the National Award for Best Dentistry Team in the UK. Dentistry is the number one health issue on the Island as surveyed by Isle of Wight Health Watch and is a priority for the Policy and Scrutiny Committee of Health and Social Care. Denbigh House is the only dedicated NHS Dentist and I was keen how this award winning Island owned dental practice could be supported and developed as a model of excellence. I visited the practice and started a dialogue between them and the NHS Dental commissioners (Hampshire and Isle of Wight ICB) and on 18th April I attended a meeting at Denbigh House attended by commissioners with practice managers and dentists. We discussed how the practice could develop its work in schools and with homelessness.

Overview – Denbigh House Dental Surgery – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Top prize for Isle of Wight dental practice at UK awards | Isle of Wight County Press

DENTIST IN RYDE SCOOPS AWARD AT NATIONAL DENTISTRY AWARDS – Island Echo – 24hr news, 7 days a week across the Isle of Wight

Michael with James Roach and Simon Cooper of Hampshire and Isle of Wight ICB (Integrated Care Board), and Edward Day (Denbigh House) outside Denbigh House, George Street, Ryde.

Mental Health

As IW Mental Health Champion I established a small grants fund through IW Council’s Public Health in partnership with Health Watch Isle of Wight and supported 28 projects across the Island between 2021 and 2023. These projects included the Men Only IOW (see below), Ventnor Well-Being Café, Isle Access (A film made by young people), Tidal Family Support and Veteran’s Hub in Ryde amongst others.

Karl and Liz receiving award from Michael Lilley

Celebrating Men Only IW’s 2024 Awards for Outstanding Contributions to the IW Community from Vectis and Isle of Wight Radio Stations with Liz Farrant and Karl Hart of Men Only IW.

Mens Mental Health | Men Only Isle Of Wight | Ryde (menonlyiow.co.uk)

Green and Blue Spaces for actively improving mental well-being of residents

I have been an advocate for linking the importance of the environment and health mental well-being for many years and linking organisations around the World Health Organisation Report on Green and Blue Spaces. In theory, Isle of Wight is an ideal place to life for good mental well-being and we need to use this community asset more effectively. A growing body of research suggests that living near and/or maintaining regular contact with nature is beneficial for a range of health and well-being outcomes.

9789289055666-eng.pdf (who.int)

Health In Equalities and Tackling Poverty

As a IW and Town Councillor, I have annually campaigned for 9 years on this issue and will continue to do. I am proud that after 9 years, IW Council is now writing an Anti-Poverty strategy. I have advocated in Ryde the need to have poverty on the agenda and campaigned for Ryde to have an active community development strategy focusing on poverty in the Town which it now has in place through a Ryde Community Forum, active food projects, warm community spaces and a fantastic community development worker.

Michael presenting Ryde Food Bank with £300 with Cllr Pippa Hayward, Ryde Town Council

Travel for Treatment

As Chair of the Policy and Scrutiny Committee for Health and Social Care, I made transport for treatment on mainland a priority and chaired a meeting where the Wight Link Users Group attended and told individual stories of how painful physically, mentally, and financially the reality of travelling across the Solent. I have been monitoring work between IW Council, NHS and Travel Operators (Red Funnel, WightLink and Hovertravel. I am impressed by the work of Hovertravel in particular who are developing a comprehensive agreement with NHS for patient and NHS staff travel. T

Michael taking part in a little pick with Hovertravel on 17th April 2024 and standing next to Neil Chapman, CEO, who is working closely with NHS.

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