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Fix Free School Meals and implement a child poverty action plan, Darren Jones writes to Prime Minister

Following the latest Free School Meals scandal which revealed widespread problems with child food parcels, Darren wrote to the Prime Minister demanding action. With millions of children asked to learn from home during the winter spike in COVID cases, families across the country have been supplied with inadequate and unnutritious food parcels by outsourced catering companies, instead of supermarket vouchers.

Parents are the best judge of which foods their children will eat, and the Government’s approach to Free School Meals shows a disregard for the serious issue of child poverty in the UK. The standard of food parcels offered to some families is not only a national embarrassment but deeply offensive to parents struggling to provide for their children during a pandemic that has cost one million jobs so far.

An example of a 10-day food parcel received by parents.

During the previous Labour governments, two million children were lifted out of poverty. Yet since 2017, there has been a 52% increase in children living in destitution in the UK. Darren raised the lack of a child poverty strategy in any of the Chancellor’s economic policies during the last Financial Statement and this admission remains unaddressed.

Darren followed up his letter to the Prime Minister by giving an assessment of the Government’s dismissive attitude towards child poverty on Channel Four News, January 12th. You can read Darren’s letter in full below:

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Darren welcomes Bristol University’s COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Handbook

The successful roll-out of the COVID19 Vaccination is critical to saving lives, halting the pandemic and getting our lives back to normal.

As with every important scientific advancement and high-profile Government initiative, concerns have been raised about the safety of the vaccine and the Government’s roll-out plan. The vaccine is safe, and Bristol University has published a handbook about the vaccine and how to identify vaccine misinformation. There is an overwhelming global scientific consensus among medical experts that vaccines are the best way to fight infectious diseases and each of the approved COVID19 vaccines successfully passed rigorous tests of safety and efficacy during their development process. The COVID19 Vaccines are highly effective at protecting against the virus, and a speedy, fair roll-out is in the public interest.

Darren has been briefed by medical and scientific experts about the Coronavirus and the vaccines throughout this pandemic. You can see information about the roll-out of the vaccine below, and a guide to COVID19 Vaccine misinformation. If you have not yet received your vaccination appointment, please wait to be contacted by the NHS. Darren is working with Labour colleagues to ensure that everyone who needs a vaccine gets one, and the NHS has committed to a nationwide vaccination roll-out.

nhs vaccine roll out

 

Where and how will vaccinations take place?

In Bristol, vaccination sites have been set-up throughout the city. This includes a super-vaccination centre at Ashton Gate Stadium.

You’ll be invited to book an appointment for vaccination when it is your turn. If you’ve already received your letter confirming eligibility, you can book online here.

Vaccinations appointments will be carried out at:

  • GP Surgeries
  • NHS Hospital Hubs
  • Care Homes
  • At super centres, including conference centres and sports stadiums.

You can find information about the safety of the vaccine and the mild side-effects you may experience here (NHS).

How to spot and deal with vaccine misinformation.

Unfortunately, vaccine misinformation has been created and spread by fake-experts. This is a common and expected reaction to medical advancements, like vaccinations.  There’s a lot of money to be made in spreading misinformation and it can be hard to spot. Below is a guide on common myths about the COVID19 Vaccination, and how to counter them.

You can access the full handbook on the COVID19 Vaccine here– it’s designed for parents, nurses, journalists, students, policymakers and anyone that wants to know more.

 

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Darren Supports Shire FC Development

Shirehampton Football Club has been a source of community pride for decades and now seek to invest in their sporting grounds. The development plan includes additional seating and lighting so that more people can enjoy watching their local team. This infrastructure may also support the club’s ambitions to progress through their league.

Darren Jones voiced his support for the community project as increasing access to sporting facilities is a priority for Bristol and our local communities. Shirehampton has seen a decline in community assets, including the closure of its swimming pool and sports centres, so investment in its remaining facilities is especially important. It’s also important that this development balances community needs alongside environmental concerns, including light pollution.

You can read Darren’s full letter below:

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Bristol wins multiple NHS Regional Awards

Bristol has repeated its strong performance in this year’ NHS Parliament Awards with 4 regional winners announced!

In November, NHS regional teams across England announced the individuals and teams chosen as regional champions in the NHS Parliamentary Awards 2020.

The champions – including NHS volunteers, patients, local council health teams and the creators of extraordinary digital innovations – will now vie with each other for a national award to be presented at a special ceremony in the Palace of Westminster in July.

Darren nominated individuals and teams across seven categories, with a special focus made to teams that have helped Bristol during this pandemic. Four regional winners were announced with three working at the NHS North Bristol Trust and one team recognised for the successful GP/Community Pharmacy pilot making it easier for patients to be referred over the phone.

You can read details about each nominee here.

From more than 700 entries submitted by almost half of all MPs in England, senior NHS experts have chosen seventy outstanding nominations, which exemplify the best of what the NHS and its partners do day in, day out.

Speaking about the success enjoyed by those nominated this year, Darren praised teams and individuals for their contribution to healthcare in Bristol:

“It is a delight to see so many hard-working teams from the North Bristol NHS Trust being shortlisted for their excellence in patient healthcare; mental health care; future NHS innovation; and primary care. Along with the whole of Bristol North West, I’m so proud to see these contributions recognised once again at this year’s NHS Parliamentary Awards and we wish all of the teams the best of luck for the final awards.”

Well done to GPs and Pharmacists across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire for making the shortlist for this year’s Excellence in Primary Care Award. Successful pilots like the GP Community Pharmacies scheme improve healthcare across the country and I’m proud that the Southmead and Henbury practice in my constituency had completed the most GP to Pharmacist referrals during this pilot. Congratulations to everyone involved, and I wish you the best of luck in the next stage.”

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Darren opens new Ardagh Community Trust building

The Ardagh Community Trust opened the doors to their new building, which incorporates the Cafe on the Common, this weekend. They were kind enough to invite Darren to open the new community space, and the event was a success.

Speaking about Ardagh’s new community building, Darren said:

It’s great to join the fab team of volunteers at The Ardagh in Horfield Common this morning as they showcase their brilliant new community cafe and space. If you live in neighbouring Horfield, Henleaze or Bishopston do pop by, especially if you have dogs or kids!

community, engagement, ardagh, facilities, new, opening

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Darren backs Alzheimer’s UK report

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has offered his support to Alzheimer’s Research UK’s new report. The report calls on government to prioritise funding and research to find a cure for dementia.

In their 2019 manifesto, the Conservative party pledged to launch a “Dementia Moonshot” to find a cure for dementia – doubling research funding and speeding up trials for new treatments. Alzheimer’s Research UK’s plan outlines the steps government must take to deliver its Moonshot ambition of finding a life-changing treatment for dementia.

These are:

  1. Find ways to detect the diseases that cause dementia 10-15 years earlier, to broaden the search for new treatments and intervene with those most at risk of developing dementia.
  2. Find ways to more effectively validate novel targets in early drug development to maximise chances of successful clinical trials.
  3. Make the UK the best place to conduct clinical dementia research.
  4. Expand research infrastructure to maintain the UK’s position as a world leader in dementia research.
  5. Further our understanding of dementia risk reduction and prevention and dementia in the context of multi-morbidities.
  6. Develop robust prevalence data for dementia to further our knowledge of the impact of dementia across our society.

Darren said:

” Dementia affects 1483 people in Bristol North West and, as a Dementia Champion, I know just how devastating dementia can be for families. Alzheimer’s Research UK has launched an ambitious plan in response to the government’s pre-election pledge to find a cure for dementia.

Dementia is the nation’s biggest killer. By 2021, over one million people in the UK will be living with dementia, and the condition will cost the UK economy a staggering £30bn each year. Despite this, dementia treatment and research lags far behind other serious diseases.

Finding new treatments means investing in key areas which have historically received little or no government funding. Government must take note of this report and act quickly. Opposition parties must hold the government to account to ensure they deliver on their manifesto promise”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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Darren welcomes Cystic Fibrosis breakthrough

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has welcomed news that a deal has been agreed between Vertex Pharmaceuticals and the NHS to supply revolutionary drugs Orkambi and Symkevi to people with cystic fibrosis.

Following multiple communications supported by Darren last year, the MP had co-signed new letters in July (available below) to Vertex Pharmaceuticals and the Secretary of State for Health and Social, Matt Hancock,  requesting both parties urgently sit down together and resolve the negotiations regards Orkambi so those with cystic fibrosis can have access to this revolutionary drug.

Darren said:

“After 4 years of hard work from Labour MPs and cystic fibrosis (CF) campaign groups and charities an agreement has finally been reached for these life-saving drugs to be available to people in the UK.

Median life expectancy for someone with CF is just 47 – in the context of that stark figure four years was harrowingly long to wait – I am glad that wait is now over and these drugs will be available within a matter of weeks.

Whilst I’m delighted with today’s (24 10 19) announcement, the 10,400 people with Cystic Fibrosis in the UK should not have been keep waiting 4-years for this vital treatment to be available.

I thank NHS England and Vertex Pharmaceuticals for finally agreeing a deal that is fair to the NHS”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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