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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/

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Darren asks experts whether social media and screens harm children

Darren was present at the Science and Technology committee’s third evidence session for its Social media and screens-use inquiry. Here, charities, learned societies and academics were asked about cyber-bullying, addiction and body image.

The first set of witnesses was Anna Clark, Cardinus Risk Management, Dr Vicky Goodyear, Lecturer in Pedagogy in Sport, Physical Activity and Health, University of Birmingham, Dr Heather Woods, Lecturer, School of Psychology, University of Glasgow, Dr Max Davie, Officer for Health Promotion and Mental Health Lead, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, and Professor Peter Fonagy, National Clinical Adviser on children and young people’s mental health, NHS England.

Darren asked them how we could verify children’s age for online purposes, given that many children do not own what makes this possible for adults (e.g. credit cards).

The second of witnesses was Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive, Internet Watch Foundation David Austin, CEO, British Board of Film Classification Emily Cherry, Assistant Director of Policy & Public Affairs, Barnardo’s.

Darren asked them whether the evidence base existed to prove the harm of screens and social media.

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Darren calls for post-treatment support for breast cancer patients

Darren Jones MP has written to the NHS South West Cancer Care Alliance Manager in the Bristol area asking that they re-assess how they support patients at the end of their breast cancer treatment and to ensure they have access to post-treatment health and wellbeing advice events.

Darren said:

“At present, there is not enough support for patients reaching the end of what is a physically and emotionally draining treatment process – this is unacceptable and must change.”

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Darren meets Bristol North West NHS70 Award Winner

To mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS, the Prime Minister awarded just seven volunteers for their outstanding health and social care achievements – Bristol North West resident Gillian was one of these seven award winners. Gillian has volunteered with families of children in Bristol Royal Hospital for Children over the last 31 years.

Gillian leads the ‘Friends for Parents’ a volunteer initiative at the hospital. The service provides everything parents might need while their children are in hospital – from delivering toiletry packs, to running errands for parents who do not want to leave their children’s bedsides, there is no job too big or small for Gillian and her team – that is why she is the 949th Point of Light (a cross-party award scheme).

Darren said after the visit:

” I would like to formally congratulate Gillian on being chosen as one of the NHS70 Point of Light award winners. Gillian’s fantastic work has inspired hospitals across the world to adopt the successful ‘Friends for Parents’ model, including institutions in Malta and Africa. Long may Gillian continue to provide this much needed service, and act a role model, to so many. I speak on behalf of all of Bristol North West – and indeed Bristol – when I say thank you Gillian”.

You can follow Darren’s work on health here.

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Darren calls for Lyme Disease research and GP training

Lyme disease is the fastest growing vector-borne disease and can be caught all over the UK including in urban parks and back gardens. Official estimates suggest around 3,000 cases a year, but this is thought to be much higher. Awareness amongst both the general public and medical professionals is low.

Lyme disease can be hard to diagnose. Tick bites are normally painless and very small they are easily missed. Left undiagnosed or under treated or if treatment fails, Lyme disease can be debilitating and have a devastating impact, leaving people chronically ill and disabled with little prospect of recovery.

You can find out more about Lyme Disease from NHS here.

Darren said:

” A member of my team has recently contracted Lyme Disease so I know how debilitating and serious it can be. It is really important people check for ticks and if you have symptoms or bite marks they seek immediate medical advice. The government must invest in research into Lyme Disease and  immediate training of GPs. It is ridiculous that Public Health England have created a ‘Be Tick aware’ toolkit but because of internal politics around raising awareness this has not been rolled out”.

 

 

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Darren signs food insecurity letter

Food insecurity is a widespread problem in the UK, with the Trussell Trust alone seeing a million people at its food banks a year. However, there are no statistics on exactly how many people are struggling for food for how long. To tackle the problem we need to know how widespread it is, so Darren signed a letter to the Government asking them to begin measuring food insecurity.