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Darren says ‘Stay well this winter’

Winter brings with it a number of challenges for all of us, but particularly the increased risk of illness as temperatures drop.

Getting the flu can be bad enough for even the fittest of us, but for older people and those with long-term conditions in particular it can cause serious health problems. The Chief Medical Officer warned this week that flu and complications associated with it – such as pneumonia – cause 8,000 deaths on average a year in England – around 6,000 of which are people with existing heart and lung conditions. This is not to mention the hundreds of A&E trips to Southmead Hospital, GP appointments and emergency admissions that our local NHS sees every year over winter – official figures show that flu and pneumonia account for 2.9m bed days in English hospitals.

The strain, and therefore strength, of flu changes every year, so even if you’ve had vaccinations in previous years these won’t offer protection. And if the experience in Australia and New Zealand is anything to go by, this winter could see a much stronger strain than in recent years.
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Darren raises the issue of mental and physical health equality

Darren Jones MP, Member of Parliament for Bristol North West, has challenged the Department of Health on the vital topic of mental health, which is often overlooked compared to physical health.

He asked the Department:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, when the Government plans for funding relative to burden of disease to reach parity across mental and physical health?

Jackie Doyle-Price MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, replied by saying that:

NHS England’s ‘Standard for Mental Health Investment’ requires the local National Health Service to increase mental health investment by the same proportion as overall allocations. This is planned to be met across England as a whole in 2017/18 and 2018/19.

It is for clinical commissioning groups to make decisions on spending priorities to best meet the health needs of their local population based on evidence based health assessments.

We were the first Government to place mental and physical health on an equal footing in law. Parity of esteem is the principle by which mental health must be given equal priority to physical health. It was enshrined in law by the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

But in reality, mental health funding is still far short of of where that of physical health is.  According to the Kings’ Fund, ‘Mental health problems account for 23 per cent of the burden of disease in the United Kingdom, but spending on mental health services consumes only 11 per cent of the NHS budget’.

 

 

Darren signs letter calling for protection of Mental Health funding

Darren said that he was ‘happy to support this important letter from Luciana [Berger MP] to the Government on eve of World Mental Health Day’. You can view the letter here:

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Darren visits Bristol Royal Hospital for Children

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones, made an educational visit to Bristol Royal Hospital for Children (BRHC) today (28th September) to gain a wider insight into paediatric palliative care.

Darren met with the palliative care and bereavement support team at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children to talk about the team’s key roles at the hospital and the delivery of palliative care locally and regionally.

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Darren Jones supports Breast Cancer Now’s call to Wear It Pink

Darren Jones MP for Bristol North West, has dressed in pink to lend his support to Breast Cancer Now’s flagship fundraiser, wear it pink, which will see thousands of people across the UK adding a splash of pink to their outfits on Friday 20 October and raise vital funds for breast cancer research.

Darren is encouraging his constituents in Bristol North West to join him, and sign up to take part in the UK’s biggest pink fundraiser. The event, which takes place during October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is in its 16th year and has raised over £30 million to date for Breast Cancer Now’s life-saving research.

Darren, joined by fellow parliamentarians in Westminster earlier this month, showed his support for the thousands of women and men affected by breast cancer each year, encouraging people across the UK to take part on wear it pink day.
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Darren Jones MP challenges Conservatives on nurses’ Pay

WATCH HERE:

In Parliament, your MP for Bristol North West Darren Jones MP recently challenged the Conservatives on nurses’ pay.

The Conservative government has limited Nurses’ pay rises to 1% a year for the last seven years. After price rises, this has often meant a pay cut for hard working nurses. They are still refusing to lift the cap, despite evidence it has gone too far.

 

Darren asked Conservative Helen Whately MP

‘She clearly wishes to champion nurses and their selfless desire to serve the public, but does she acknowledge that nurses in my constituency have to visit a food bank after a long shift at the hospital? Should not their selflessness in wanting to serve the public be recognised by their being paid what they deserve so that they can fund their families and their livelihoods?’

 

She responded that

‘I genuinely believe that all members of the public sector should be paid a fair amount, and that is exactly what the pay review body will report on in its next report.

I was making the important point that pay has not been the No. 1 issue among nurses and other healthcare professionals when I have asked them what worries them most. Instead, they mentioned having time to care; being part of a stable team rather than having a high turnover of staff and lots of temporary staff; being listened to by the people they work with, particularly the senior people in the institution; and being valued. Being valued is not all to do with pay; it is much more to do with the way they are treated. In fact, I remember very well talking to one nurse whose line manager had not talked to her since the previous appraisal. To me, that is an extraordinary way of not valuing a member of staff; everyone should have regular conversations with their manager about how they are progressing.

Part of the problem in some NHS institutions is, therefore, in my view, not good enough management practices. If they were improved, we would have a much better environment for staff to work in, and I would very much like to see more attention paid to creating the right environment for healthcare workers, as well as ensuring that there is a fair and sensible pay settlement.’

 

Agree with Darren? Stay up to date with all of his work: https://www.facebook.com/darrenjonesmp

 

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Darren Jones MP backs campaign to scrap public sector pay cap for nurses

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones has backed the growing campaign for the Government to scrap the 1 per cent cap on public sector pay in the upcoming Budget.

As the Commons returned from summer recess, Jones met with frontline nurses as part of the Royal College of Nursing’s lobby of Parliament.
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Darren Jones MP meets new “Super GPs” in Lawrence Weston

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones, has today (31st August) met with the team from Pioneer Medical Group at The Medical Centre Ridingleaze in Lawrence Weston.

The Pioneer Medical Group is one of the new “Super GP” groups formed from the merger of various smaller GP surgeries. As a teenager Darren worked at the then Ridingleaze Centre in his school holidays to mail out flu jab invitation letters to local patients.
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Austerity and Public Services

I have been encouraged by how many constituents are actively engaged in the Bristol City Council Your Neighbourhood Consultation . Local events have been well attended with passionate views shared on the need to provide services that support residents across the city. The council needs to save £4.7million over the next three years, due to severe and ongoing cuts from central Government and the council’s legal requirement to set a balanced budget. The current proposals, which asked for views on libraries, school crossings, public toilets, Community Links and Neighbourhood Partnerships is of real concern to all of us. We all know the huge benefits that community facilities have, libraries in particular, in giving children and families access to learning and providing safe and free spaces for people of all ages to use and enjoy. I am also aware of the rising threat of social isolation and the role libraries have in supporting the most vulnerable in our communities. At the time of writing, I’m organising a libraries conference for representatives from each library in the area, alongside local campaign groups, to contribute to my own submission to the consultation. I am keen that as a group we work together to get the best deal for communities right across Bristol North West.

But it’s not just council services under threat. Southmead hospital, GP surgeries, children’s centres, schools, community and advice centres and so many more are crippling under the stress of Government cuts to public services. I’m busy meeting as many people and organisations as I can to see first-hand what this means to local people, and I’ll be raising this loudly in Parliament after Recess.