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Darren calls for ban on sale of energy drinks to under 16’s

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, has submitted a formal response to the government’s consultation on the use of energy drinks by young people.

To inform Darren’s views on this matter, he met students, parents and teaching staff at a Shirehampton school last week (16th Nov) 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.

As part of the Science and Tech Committee, 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.

Darren also 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. 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.

Darren said:

“The health of young people is of paramount importance and must not be overlooked. That’s why I have called on government to heed the advice of many experts, parents and those who work with young people to ban the sale of high-sugar, high-caffeine energy drinks to those under 16. I have also called on the government to ensure banning the sale of energy drinks to under 16’s extends beyond shops into cafes, restaurants, sports clubs, vending machines, education and healthcare settings – basically anywhere young people are. Such action would send a clear message that, regardless of age, energy drinks are not good for your health and they should be consumed with caution in line with other products that have age restrictions.

I strongly urge the government to swiftly progress a ban for under 16’s and also consider restricting the advertisement, and sponsorship activity, of energy drinks in line with other age-restricted products such as tobacco. Energy drinks should also be much more clearly labelled as harmful to health if consumed regularly so consumers of any age can make informed decisions”.

 

 

 

 

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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 speaks about healthcare training after Bristol death

In Westminster Hall, Parliament’s second chamber, there was a debate on a petition calling for autism and learning disability training for healthcare professionals, following a death in Southmead Hospital. Darren rose to agree with the petition and call for meaningful change to result from it:

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Darren calls for investment in bowel cancer diagnosis

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has signed a cross-party letter, along with 44 other MPs, calling on the government to commit to dramatically improve the speed of diagnosis of bowel cancer.

The letter backs Bowel Cancer UK’s campaign to ensure bowel cancer is diagnosed quickly so patients have access to treatment and the highest possible chance of beating the disease.

Darren said:

Ahead of the Government’s spending review and publication of the NHS 10 Year Plan in November, I’ve signed a cross-party letter supporting Bowel Cancer UK‘s campaign to end the crisis in diagnosis.

Early diagnosis can make bowel cancer more treatable and potentially, curable. Too many people are waiting far too long to get screened and tested – with investment and commitment to a funded action plan the government have the power to change this. With 9 of 10 people diagnosed at the earliest stage surviving bowel cancer, I call on them to act now, ahead of the Autumn Budget, to bring an end to this potentially life-threatening crisis!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find out more about Cystic Fibrosis and the support available here.

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Darren supports World Mental Health Day – Ask Twice

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has backed calls to ‘ask twice’ this World Mental Health Day (10th October).

Time to Change, a growing social movement run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness are working to change the way we all think and act about mental health problems. Despite some progress, many people still don’t consider mental health relevant to them.

This World Mental Health Day, Time to Change is urging people to ‘Ask Twice’ if a friend or family member says they are ‘fine’ but it is suspected they may be experiencing a mental health problem. The simple act of asking again, with interest, shows a genuine willingness to talk and listen.

Darren said:

“This World Mental Health Day, I am supporting Time to Change’s ‘Ask Twice’ campaign – all we need to do is ask again if a friend or family member says they are ‘fine’ but you suspect they may be experiencing a mental health problem. This simple act can show you’re actually interested and willing to hear the response – whether that’s now or when someone’s ready. I will also continue to call upon the government to ensure the NHS and local authorities have the funding they need to provide local, consistent and good quality mental health services and support”.

More information on the campaign and how you can get involved is available from time to change.

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Darren visits Southmead Hospital Charity

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, recently visited the team at Southmead Hospital Charity.

Darren got to try his hand at robotic surgery in a urology theatre and also spent some time on the neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) at Southmead Hospital.

He also found out more about Southmead Hospital Charity’s Prostate Cancer Care Appeal to purchase two surgical robots to treat prostate and other urological cancers. Darren met consultant urological surgeon Anthony Koupparis and used a demonstration version of the Intuitive Da Vinci robot to gain some insight into how the new technology is fighting prostate cancer.  The robot was recently purchased as part of the first wave of the Charity’s Prostate Cancer Care Appeal – with a further surgical robot to be fundraised for to extend robotic surgery to other urological cancers.

Darren then went to NICU where he met staff, parents and their babies being cared for on the unit to find out more about recent projects and equipment funded by Southmead Hospital Charity.  He visited the Charity’s family sensory room in NICU which is an important space for families to interact with their babies and which includes sensory equipment key to their development. He also found out about a new project to help parents prepare to take their babies home by enabling them to get used to administering medication themselves.

Elizabeth Bond, head of fundraising at Southmead Hospital Charity, said:

“It was a real pleasure to welcome Mr Jones to the hospital and talk to him about the work of the Charity and show him how we have made a real impact on patient care at North Bristol NHS Trust. As the MP that serves the constituency within which we are based, it’s so important for us to engage with our stakeholders and wider community to show the difference we are making thanks to our donors and fundraisers.”

Darren said:

” I would like to sincerely thank all the team and volunteers at Southmead Hospital Charity for hosting my visit and more importantly, the excellent work they do in supporting our local hospital. The funds they raise are helping to bring the very latest tech and innovation to patients at Southmead alongside the more traditional, but crucial items, such as their new ambulance. I’ll continue to back their life-saving and vital campaigns and encourage others to do the same”.

To find out more and donate to Southmead Hospital Charity please click here.

 

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Darren visits Great Western Air Ambulance Charity

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West recently visited the Filton base of the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC). Darren visited to find out more  about the work that GWAAC carry out, and their Buy our Base appeal; an appeal to the public to help them buy a new air base which is currently being constructed in Almondsbury.

Great Western Air Ambulance Charity provide the Critical Care and air ambulance service for 2.1 million people across the counties of Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire, North Somerset and surrounding areas. Their crew attend the most critical incidents across the region by helicopter or by one of their two Critical Care cars.

Their current air base in Filton is one of the oldest in the country, and unfortunately is no longer meeting the needs of the increasingly busy service. Added to this, the entire site is set to be re-developed, and will no longer be able to host the service. GWAAC now have the opportunity to buy the new base once it’s completed thus providing GWAAC with stability for the foreseeable future. The charity needs to raise £1.25million to buy the base.

The GWAAC Critical Care team consists of a highly trained and experienced Pilot, Critical Care Paramedic and Critical Care Doctor. From emergency blood transfusions to roadside amputations or treating cardiac arrests, our crew specialise in Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine and Trauma Medicine, bringing the skills and expertise of an Accident and Emergency Department to the patient.

Darren said:

“I was shown around the Filton air base and introduced to the Critical Care Doctors and Specialist Paramedics and learned about how GWAAC supports the local community with their life-saving service.

I would like to thank all the team and volunteers at Great Western Air Ambulance Charity for hosting my visit and their consistent hard work and dedication. I wish the team’s ‘Buy our Base’ campaign every success – I have no doubt that there are constituents of mine alive today because of the hard work, skills and knowledge of the Air Ambulance Charity. But to continue this excellent and live-saving work, they need stability – I urge anyone who can to, to donate to their fantastic appeal”.

To find out more and donate to the ‘Buy our Base’ appeal visit: www.buyourbase.co.uk

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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 continues to fight for Cystic Fibrosis patients

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has continued to fight for access to Orkambi for the 10,400 people with Cystic Fibrosis in the UK.

Darren has co-signed another letter to Vertex Pharmaceuticals (the first was sent on 28th June 2018) – this letter asks the company to urgently sit down with, and resolve, the negotiations with NHS England so those with cystic fibrosis can have access to this revolutionary drug.

Darren said:

“Cystic Fibrosis is a cruel and life-shortening condition – it is unacceptable this drug has been licensed for over three years yet it is still not available for the people that sorely need it. Median life expectancy for someone with CF is just 47 – in the context of that stark figure three years is far too long and time is being wasted. People with Cystic Fibrosis should not have to keep waiting for this treatment to be available.

NHS England and Vertex need to sit down as a matter of the strongest urgency and sort this out and the government should be facilitating that discussion. These delays are causing unnecessary suffering to my constituents and thousands across the country”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find out more about Cystic Fibrosis and the support available here.

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Darren backs Bristol’s unpaid carers

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has backed local unpaid carers by advocating that ‘carers need care too’.

The Carers Support Centre Bristol and South Gloucestershire asked a sample of unpaid carers to share their experiences of arranging short breaks and what improvements could be made to the service.

  • 58% of carers have been caring for someone for over 10 years
  • 63% of carers felt improvements needed to be made to the short breaks service.
  • The top reason for needing a break was exhaustion with the second being changes in physical and/or mental health of the carer.
  • The top barrier to taking a break was expense (20% have to employ a carer and 39% have to rely on friends and family) with the second being an appropriate care service wasn’t available.

Darren said:

“The government must fund local authority’s properly so they can increase the funds available to support our carers – there must be consistent access to sitting services, day care and residential care that enables carers to take the breaks they need to maintain their own lives and health and wellbeing.

I’ll be hosting a carers-focussed surgery in January, with support from the Carers Support Centre, to help raise awareness of the challenges carers face and help where I can”.

More information on support for carers is available from: https://www.carerssupportcentre.org.uk/