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Darren calls for parity for children’s mental health funding

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, has commented on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services following release of a major new report from the Children’s Commissioner for England.

The report includes a detailed break-down of spending, waiting times and the number of children turned away for each area of England. This has enabled Darren to take a detailed look at provision in Bristol. Bristol CCG’s results show that between April 2017 and March 2018:

• 41% of children who are referred to NHS CAMHS services are not accepted for treatment. The Commissioner does not know what, if any, alternative support is available to these children.

• Of those who are accepted, 47% are seen within 4 weeks – this compares to 80% across England. 19% have to wait more than 6 weeks.

• Children’s mental health accounts for less than 1% of local NHS spending (0.99% locally). Per capita, adult mental health services are funded at three times the rate of children’s services. Bringing about parity of spending (per head) requires an additional £1.7bn to be invested in children’s mental health services nationally.

In response the Children’s Commissioner calls for the three commitments from NHS England to be included within the forthcoming NHS 10-yr Plan, I support:

1) A spending benchmark that brings parity between child and adult mental health, achieved within five years.

2) A large expansion of community mental health treatment to ensure that by 2023 the NHS is in a position to ensure no child who needs help is turned away. This should be combined with a clear four-week waiting times target.

3) A comprehensive plan for the NHS and local partners to provide lower-level children’s mental health services, to ensure easy access before conditions deteriorate. This should include an NHS-funded counsellor in every school.

Darren said:

“I will be meeting the CCG in the New Year and plan to raise these mattes for further discussion. I believe we can – and must – do better to ensure our young people get the support they need and deserve – the first step would be giving parity of funding per person to children and adolescent services as they do to adult mental health service. 41% of those referred for treatment do not receive it – that is genuinely concerning and must be fully investigated”.

 

 

 

 

 

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Darren hosts school debate on energy drinks and social media use for Parliament Week

To celebrate Parliament Week 2018, Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, chaired a debate with students, parents and teaching staff at Oasis Brightstowe in Shirehampton on Friday 15th November.

As both the local MP and a member of the Science and Technology Committee, Darren Jones MP met students, parents and teaching staff at the Shirehampton school to discuss the government’s consultation on energy drinks which includes options to ban the sale of said drinks to either those under 18 or all under 16’s. The debate also included discussion on the impact of screen time and social media use on young people – a subject the committee has also investigated.

Darren has previously shared his concerns about the advertisement and marketing of energy drinks and health impacts on young people and urged for tighter restrictions on their sale.

Following the committee’s inquiry into energy drinks, Darren launched a constituency-wide survey to gather feedback on the government’s proposals. The survey showed 89% of respondents agreed with banning the sale of energy drinks to under 16’s, 80% believed only those over 18 should be allowed to purchase energy drinks. There was also overwhelming support (93%) for tighter regulation on the advertisement of energy drinks with 90% of constituents undertaking the survey feeling cigarette-style health warnings should be prominently displayed on packaging.

One anonymous constituent who works with children with SEN said “Children often miss meals, lose out on sleep (due to social media and gaming) and make poor dietary choices. Energy drinks have a massive impact on all children, but for those who are medicated for conditions such as ADHD it has a hugely detrimental effect. Although these drinks are banned in school, many children drink them on their way to school as they believe it will help them focus. This is especially true during exams.”

Darren said:

“  I would like to thank everyone who completed my survey on energy drinks and attended today’s debate at Oasis Brightstowe. Whilst I have my own views and experiences of energy drinks and social media use, it is vital I hear from a wide range of people, so I can best represent their views – especially those of young people themselves.

Prior to the government’s consultation, I called for a detailed investigation on the health impact of these sugary, caffeine-filled drinks and urged for closer regulation of their sale and advertising. It’s clear people in Bristol North West share my concerns as did the young people I spoke with today – I continue to urge the government to bring a bill before parliament that restricts the sale of these drinks to those under 16”.

Darren added

“We also discussed social media use and the impact of screen time – with some of the students saying they spend around three hours a day on their phone and with all of the students having a phone by aged 12 clearly impact of ‘prolonged phone time’ needs more investigation. Interestingly, all the students and parents were supportive of the school’s ban on phones throughout the day to help support learning and ensure the school was a cyber-bullying free space.

At committee meetings, I’ve asked experts what affect social media and screen use have on young people’s health and it’s clear whilst most experts agree there is an impact on concentration, body image and self-confidence, we don’t know enough and technology is continuing to outpace the government’s regulation of the sector. I will continue to seek greater funding for cyber-policing, research and enforcement of online regulation to ensure our young people and all our data is safe”.

 

 

 

 

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Darren signs Bristol’s Equality Charter

Prior to launch on 12th November 2018, Member of Parliament for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has signed Bristol’s inaugural Equality Charter as one of the first signatories. The Bristol Equality Charter is a city-wide initiative co-designed by private, public and voluntary sector organisations, committed to improving equality of opportunity for everyone in Bristol and to eliminating discrimination in all its forms.

BRISTOL EQUALITY CHARTER

Bristol is a vibrant city with a growing diverse population. We share an ambition to create a fairer, safer, accessible and inclusive city where everyone feels they belong, has a voice and an equal opportunity to succeed and thrive.

Darren Jones MP is committed to making a real difference by:

1. Making Bristol a welcoming city where everyone feels they belong.

2. Inspiring trust and confidence in all the city has to offer.

3. Recognising, valuing and celebrating diversity.

4. Building good relations and understanding between people.

5. Promoting inclusion, participation and equal access.

6. Challenging discrimination, harassment, bullying, hate crime and victimisation.

As an organisation the office of Darren Jones MP will:

1. Recognise, support and empower those responsible for promoting equality in our organisation.

2. Listen to and understand the diverse needs of all people to make our information, services and products more accessible and inclusive.

3. Review the diversity of our workforce in order to identify areas for improvement and set ourselves equality goals.

4. Ensure that equal opportunities are integral to how we recruit and treat our workforce.

5. Address all allegations of discrimination, harassment, bullying and victimisation in an effective and timely manner.

6. Play our part in promoting good relations between people from different backgrounds.

7. Share good equality practice and improve outcomes for all those living, working, studying in or visiting Bristol.

8. Measure and share our progress and success.

Darren said:

“ I couldn’t be at today’s (12th November) launch event as I am back in Westminster but I’m proud to be supporting the city’s inaugural Equality Charter.

I am wholly committed to the charter’s values of equality, diversity and inclusion and I will ensure they are reflected in both my parliamentary work and the work I do to champion my constituent’s voices here in Bristol.

Bristol is a diverse, vibrant city and one in which everyone should be safe, included and heard. We know there is still much more to do to ensure we have an equal society nationally and locally – that’s why this charter, led by Bristol City Council‘s Deputy Mayor Councillor Asher Craig, is a step in the right direction.

I’ll continue to promote democratic inclusion, participation and equal access at every opportunity”.

 

 

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Darren visits Bristol Uni’s Centre for Nanoscience and Quantum Information

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, recently met with the team at Bristol University’s Centre for Nanoscience and Quantum Information.

Darren said:

” It was interesting to visit Bristol University’s Centre for Nanoscience and Quantum Information recently, where I was able to hear about all of the invaluable work being carried out and to see their Quantum Engineering Labs.

My visit follows evidence to the Science and Technology Committee’s Inquiry (of which I am a member) into Quantum Technologies in June of this year.

I was able to hear about the full range of quantum-related activity at the University, from theory to enterprise. The discussion covered everything from the potential economic impact of quantum computing to ensuring Universities can access the necessary funds and people to make it happen.

I would to like to thank the team for such a thoughtful and informative discussion, and pledge to continue to do what I can to ensure the UK embraces the possibilities offered through quantum technologies”.

 

 

 

 

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Darren calls for more deaf children’s services funding

Teachers of the Deaf can create a proper learning environment for deaf children, give them specifically enhanced teaching and work with other staff to ensure that deaf children’s needs are met. Despite all of this, due to local authority cuts their numbers in the South West are falling: there has recently been a 16% drop. In an era where almost double the amount of deaf children are failing to get 5 good GCSEs than non-deaf children, that’s not good enough.

Darren made this point in a Parliamentary debate about deaf children, with the help of two of your stories.

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Survey: sale of energy drinks to young people

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, has launched a survey on the sale of energy drinks to young people.

Darren said:

“I’m a member of the cross-party Science and Tech Committee and in recent months we have undertaken an inquiry on the impact on health, particularly in children and young people,  of energy drinks. During committee meetings, I have raised my concerns about the sale of energy drinks and how they are advertised to young people.

The government has now launched a consultation on the potential banning of the sale of energy drinks to those under 18. They have suggested a ban could focus on under 16’s or under 18’s. The ban would apply to drinks containing 150mg of caffeine or more per litre – this would include drinks such as Red Bull, Monster and Rock Star.

Ahead of a visit to Oasis Brightstowe Academy in November – where I’ll discuss energy drink usage with pupils, teaching staff and parents – I am keen to hear your views and experiences on the sale, advertising and use of energy drinks.

I encourage young people, their parents/guardians, education and youth services providers to share their thoughts”.

Please complete the survey by clicking here.

 

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Darren calls on Education Minister to support Bristol’s schools

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones  has written to Nick Gibb, the Education Minister calling for him to listen to feedback from thirteen local head teachers and review the further cuts of £5m to education budgets in the constituency.

Darren said:

“Thirteen Bristol North West head teachers recently shared their concerns with the Education Minister Nick Gibb. In his reply he ignored their concerns so I have followed up asking that he urgently reviews the honest and measured feedback and stops ‘shifting the goalposts’ by quoting data that doesn’t reflect the real budget cuts or challenges our schools are facing. Our children’s education can’t be bought on the cheap”.

 

 

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Darren to host family-themed Picnic Politics

Darren Jones MP is hosting a family-themed ‘picnic politics’ at Blaise Castle on Friday 31st August. If you would like to share your experiences of accessing childcare, school places, support for children with SEND and the challenges of being a modern working parent please stop-by.

Bring a picnic (and the kids!) and join Darren by the grassed area next to the play area and café from 1.30 -3.30. Well-behaved dogs on a lead are also welcome.

Darren said:

“I want to hear from local parents about their experiences – I know from being a new parent myself that being a modern parent is both rewarding and challenging – I want to know what’s working well for local families and what isn’t. Join me on Friday 31st to share your feedback in an informal setting’.

 

 

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Darren opens school’s new woodland

As part of his mission to visit every school in Bristol North West, Darren Jones MP recently visited Our Lady of the Rosary Primary School in Lawrence Weston to open their new woodland – named the St Francis Woodland. Year 5 students were asked to plan where, working with the Woodland Trust, 420 new tree saplings would be planted. Then, with the help of many parents, each child in the school was able to plant two saplings. The children (and adults) really enjoyed the experience especially when worms were discovered!

Darren said after the visit:

” This is the first time I have been asked to open a new school woodland – I feel privileged as it is vital that children and young people learn about the natural environment and how to use, protect and enjoy it. I hope the new woodland thrives and this is the first of many planned in local schools”.

You can follow Darren’s work on education here.

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Darren visits Southmead Community Centre and Westbury on Trym C of E Academy

On Saturday 30th  June, as part of his programme of summer fete visits, Darren Jones MP visited Southmead Community Centre and Westbury on Trym Church of England Academy.

Darren said after the visits:

“It’s the start of the summer fayre session! I popped by the excellent Southmead Community Centre and WOT PTA last weekend. These fantastic events are all down to the dedication of excellent volunteers – they work really hard to make these events a success for local families and the community – thank you!”

You can follow Darren’s work on education here.