Monthly Archives: February 2017

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Stop attacks on NHS staff

Ahead of today’s Westminster Hall Debate relating to attacks on medical staff I would like to issue my support and solidarity to everyone working for the NHS.

They are the everyday heroes in our communities; from the doctor performing pioneering surgery, to the auxiliary bringing an old lady a cup of coffee, we cannot take them for granted.

I firmly believe that more action is needed to protect our healthcare staff from violence and aggression.

A survey by the Royal College of Nurses found that 56% of their members had experienced physical or verbal abuse from patients, and a further 63% from relatives of patients or members of the public. Their survey of lone working nurses also found that 10% reported being physically abused over the previous 2 years, and 60% suffered verbal abuse.

These figures correspond with reports from NHS Protect that show a 4% rise in physical assaults against healthcare workers in England from 67,864 in 2014/15 to 70,555 in 2015/16.

Whilst much of the current focus on violence in the NHS draws attention to pressures in Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments, I am also aware that physical assaults occur in a variety of environments including mental health and in the community. The risk of physical assault is even higher for staff working alone – the proportion of lone workers in the NHS sustaining an injury from a physical assault is approximately 9% higher compared to non-lone workers.

Criminal sanctions are not always appropriate and must go alongside prevention.

There are a number of preventative actions which can be taken to reduce and manage the risk of physical assaults such as training in conflict resolution, the provision of lone worker alarms and well-designed environments. However, the length of time waiting to be seen by a health professional is cited as a common factor behind assaults.

A specific offence would send out a strong deterrent message to those who wilfully assault professionals and other health care workers in the pursuit of their work. Such a law would need to be inclusive of all NHS staff working in a variety of environments.

The Tories have made it progressively harder to train and work in the NHS, despite a high demand for these professionals. Medical staff do not deserve to be abused whilst carrying out their job and I fully support any law that would protect them further.

The success of the NHS Breast Screening Programme

Yesterday NHS Digital released the impressive statistics for the NHS Breast Screening Programme, England 2015-16.

Under the NHS Breast Screening Programme, all eligible women aged between 50 and 70 are invited for breast screening every three years, with the aim of detecting breast cancer at an early stage and increase the chances of successful treatment.

The report contains statistics on the proportion of eligible women who have been screened in the last three years, uptake of invitations, outcomes of screening and cancers detected as a result of breast screening.

The Key findings include:

  • In total, more than 2.16 million eligible women aged over 45 were screened, an increase from 2.11 million in 2014-15., which represents an increase of 2.7%.
  • 2015-16 saw the first increase in coverage in five years with 75.7% of women aged 53 to 70 having a recorded test within the last three years.
  • All regions outside of London met the NHS minimum standards for breast screening coverage. London reported breast screening coverage of 69.3%.
  • Uptake of invitations was highest among the women in the 65-70 age groups (73.4%).
  • Uptake at a regional level was above the national minimum standard of 70%, except London, which reported invitation uptake of 64.9%.
  • Of all women screened and with cancers detected, 41.2% (7,543 women) had small but invasive cancers (<15mm) that are usually too small to be detected by self-examination.

This is extremely promising and I hope that the success of the programme continues, and reduces cases of one of the worst types of cancer. I would encourage every woman to get screened whenever it becomes available to them.

Read and interact with the report with here:http://content.digital.nhs.uk/pubs/brstscreen1516

 

 

Grahame Morris MP pledges to help end the ‘cold homes crisis’ in Easington

I am proud to be supporting charity National Energy Action’s Fuel Poverty Awareness Day by pledging to do more to tackle cold homes.

In Easington alone 4217 households are believed to be in fuel poverty.

Fuel Poverty Awareness Day is a national campaign to highlight the problem of fuel poverty, which currently sees over four million households unable to afford the energy they need to stay warm and healthy in their homes. It is a particular problem for those in low incomes living in energy inefficient homes that are difficult and expensive to heat.

For every 1,000 Easington homes, on average 87 received support from the main national energy efficiency programme despite all households paying for the policy through their energy bill.

Living in a cold damp home can lead to extremely poor health, especially in those who are vulnerable such as older people, young children, and those with long term sickness and disabilities.

There are at least 1188 excess winter deaths in North East every year, NEA believes 30% of these were attributed to cold homes. This is also placing a huge strain on our already stretched health services.

More needs to be done nationally, however I know that there is excellent work going on in my constituency and across the UK to tackle this issue, and I look forward to working alongside others in the community to help raise awareness of the problem and the solutions available.

Jenny Saunders OBE, Chief Executive of National Energy Action commented: Fuel poverty is a serious problem and one that we cannot tackle alone. I am delighted that Grahame is supporting the campaign and helping to ensure that his constituents can live warm, healthy and happy lives.

National Energy Action is the national fuel poverty charity, working across England, Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure everyone can afford to stay warm in their homes.

For more information visit www.nea.org.uk

Grahame Morris MP calls for urgent action to tackle Lyme Disease as concerns mount

Grahame Morris has today called for urgent action to tackle Lyme Disease. Lyme disease, or Lyme Borreliosis, is a bacterial infection spread to humans by infected ticks. However, concerns have been raised that the true number of people suffering from Lyme Disease is not known, and that there needs to be greater awareness of the disease among the public and healthcare professionals.

Lyme disease is widespread throughout the UK, yet many people are still unaware of the risks.  Doctors need to be trained to recognise the symptoms and make a clinical diagnosis rather than relying on tests which need improving.

On Wednesday 8th February 2017, an event was held with Lyme Disease specialists, doctors and charities in Parliament regarding the growing problem of Lyme Disease in the UK. 

Speaking after the event, Grahame said:

“More and more people are suffering from Lyme Disease, but it is a disease which many healthcare professionals and ordinary people do not know anything about. We urgently need new measures to determine the true incidence, prevalence and risk of Lyme Disease in the UK, and an awareness campaign for healthcare professionals and for the public, otherwise more and more will be left without appropriate treatment.”

Heart Unions week

From the 8th to 14th of February, the TUC are running a special week of action throughout England and Wales. It will showcase the amazing work unions do, and tell the stories of ordinary members and reps. It’s all about getting members involved, telling positive union stories to the wider public, and recruiting new members to the union movement.

Now, more than ever, we must come together to protect our rights and promote equality in the workplace. Trade union membership currently makes up about 25% of the working population in the UK. However, barely 5% of trade union members in the UK are aged 16-24, but more than one third (39%) are aged over 50. Yet young workers are some of the most vulnerable, who are particularly affected by low pay, precarious contracts, over-qualification, without opportunities for training and progression.

They are often working in sectors with low or no union presence and without collective agreements, such as in retail, hospitality and outsourced social care. They are the workers who could benefit the most from union membership, yet their voice is currently missing from the movement. It is essential these young workers have a better understanding of, and are able to participate in, trade unions.

This means that we need to get better at responding to their needs and organising in ways that benefit them. This will mean organising in different ways, using digital tools and listening to young workers values and aspirations. If we are unable to involve young workers, we won’t have a trade union movement in the future.

The challenge is significant, but I hope that heart unions week gives members and activists the opportunity, ideas and confidence to rise to it.

Easington MP backs breathing space for families in problem debt

Easington MP Grahame Morris has backed calls for a new scheme to help thousands of families regain control of their finances as data from the Bank of England shows unsecured household debt rising at its fastest rate since the financial crisis.

Debt often strikes when people experience sudden changes in circumstances such as job loss or ill health. Aggressive action from creditors and pressure to repay debts at an unaffordable rate can lead families to cut back on everyday essentials like food, take out other, expensive loans or fall further behind on essential bills.

The rise in personal borrowing has led to mounting concern that households who get into debt need safer ways to manage financial difficulties.

Grahame Morris MP has joined calls in parliament to introduce a ‘Breathing Space’ scheme that would offer people seeking debt advice a 12-month legal protection from mounting interest, charges and enforcement action. It would build on protections offered under the Debt Arrangement Scheme in Scotland, which has made sure that families sticking to an affordable repayment plan agreed with their creditors are not harried or hassled for the duration of that plan.

Grahame Morris MP for Easington said:

“It can’t be right that children’s mental health and happiness is suffering as a result of creditors unfairly escalating people’s debt problems.

“Families in problem debt need time and space to get back on their feet. By providing a period free from additional interest, charges and enforcement action, a new Breathing Space scheme would help families recover their financial situation and put in place a plan to affordably repay their debts.

“I’m pleased that the Breathing Space proposal has widespread cross-party support, including from the Work and Pensions Select Committee and the APPG on Debt and Personal Finance. The Government now needs to act by putting a comprehensive Breathing Space scheme in place.”

Parliament is coming to East Durham

The Parliamentary Education Service will be visiting six schools in East Durham during March as part of the Regional Education Outreach Programme.

Although some of these visits have been suspended due to recent events, they should be re-arranged for the next few weeks.

Children at Ribbon Academy, Cotsford Junior School, Westlea Primary, Shotton Hall Primary, Dene House Primary and Ropery Walk, will learn about how Parliament works by taking part in workshops and activities around debating and finding out about how elections work and legislation is passed.

Easington MP Grahame Morris said:

“The Outreach Programme is a fabulous scheme bringing Parliament closer to young people in East Durham who may not have the opportunity to visit the House of Commons like schools nearer to London.

The Parliamentary Education Service offers a multitude of materials and resources to cater for children of all ages and I would encourage schools in East Durham to make use of their services.

There are also schemes to subsidise transport costs for schools in East Durham who would like to visit parliament.”

If you would like more information regarding the Parliament Education Service please visit: www.parliament.uk/education