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MP visits Henbury charity supporting people with disabilities

SeeAbility, a national charity that works with people with learning disabilities and autism many of whom will have sight loss, invited Bristol North West’s new MP, Darren Jones, to visit its Bristol Support Service on Saturday 4th November.

Darren heard from people who use the service how living with sight loss and other disabilities affects their day-to-day lives, and from support staff about their support for people to build up their confidence and independence so they can actively participate in the community.

SeeAbililty offers specialist support on a round the clock basis and its Bristol Support Service has been operating for six years. The charity is one of the oldest disability charities in the UK and has pioneered specialist support for over 200 years.

Darren also learnt more about the work the charity does nationally to improve access to sight tests for people with learning disabilities, who are ten times more likely to have problems with their eyesight but may not be able to tell anyone they have a problem with their vision or easily access a sight test.

Darren said:

“It was fantastic to talk to people who live at the service, and learn more from about the way they have fought to overcome barriers in their way in order to live more independent lives.

And the message about the importance of regular sight tests for people with learning disabilities is one I can take back and highlight in parliament.”

Mason Carr, the registered manager of the service said:

“The people we support overcome huge barriers to achieve exciting new things every day: some big, some small, all extraordinary.

We are very keen to hear from anyone in and around the community who might want to work with us, as we have vacancies for a range of rewarding and exciting roles and we offer full training.

There are many opportunities to learn new skills and really make a difference to people’s lives.

We are a really close team and proud of what we help people with disabilities achieve and we hope Darren’s visit will encourage people to find out more about our charity.”

 

 

 

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Darren speaks to LabourTube about Brexit, the NHS, how Labour can win back the working class and tech issues

Watch the full interview here:

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Darren has flu jab and says stay well this winter!

It’s been another busy weekend in the constituency for Bristol North West MP Darren Jones. As his first appointment on Saturday, Darren met with the team at Kellaway Pharmacy in Westbury Park. Darren chatted to staff and customers about their views on healthcare and also had his annual flu jab.
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Darren asks the Home Office about the Emergency Services Network

The Emergency Services Network is the special telecoms network on which Emergency Services communicate. Its update’s roll out is being delayed, resulting in cost to the public purse because of the extra cost of continuing to use the old system.

Darren asked:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions have taken place between key stakeholders in and suppliers for the roll-out of the EmergencyService Network on changes to the timetable for the implementation of that roll-out; and if she will make a statement.

Nick Hurd MP, Minister of State at the Home Department, replied:

The new Emergency Services Network (ESN) will provide the dedicated teams who work so hard protecting the public and saving lives with the most advanced communications system of its kind anywhere in the world. ESN will be a more capable, more flexible and more affordable communications network than the existing Airwave mobile radio system used by the three emergency services in England, Scotland and Wales. While still delivering mission critical voice communication, it will also provide broadband data services.

The timelines for ESN are ambitious and this is because we want to give the emergency services the benefits of the latest technology as soon as practicable. However the Government is clear that public safety is our priority and the emergency services will only transition when they are content with the new ESN service, as the existing Airwave system will continue until transition on to the ESN is completed.

A formal arrangement has been agreed between the Programme’s sponsors (including the Home Office) of the police, fire and rescue, ambulance services of Great Britain, for how any Airwave extension costs beyond the planned National Shutdown Date (31 December 2019) should be shared between themselves.

We are working closely with our key stakeholders and suppliers on a revised plan for delivering ESN. We will have greater clarity on timescales at the end of the year.

Darren also asked:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions have taken place between key stakeholders in and suppliers for the roll-out of the EmergencyService Network on changes to the timetable for the implementation of that roll-out; and if she will make a statement.

Nick Hurd MP, Minister of State at the Home Department, replied:

The costs of upgrading to the Emergency Services Network and the costs to extend Airwave contracts for the emergency services are available in the public domain at:

https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Upgrading-emergency-service-communications-the-Emergency-services-Network.pdf and

https://www.london.gov.uk/moderngov/documents/b15926/Minutes%20-%20Appendix%201%20-%20Transcript%20of%20Item%205%20Tuesday%2018-Jul-2017%2010.00%20GLA%20Oversight%20Committee.pdf?T=9

Any delay in rollout impacts the date by when the savings from ESN will start to be realised. These savings will represent 50% of the cost of Airwave. The cost of delay is therefore the opportunity cost of not being able to realise the cost savings of ESN sooner.

Up to the end of 2016/17, the Programme has already delivered £77m of cash releasing benefits on existing Airwave contracts. These are benefits that would not have been obtained under the previous contractual agreements.

 

 

 

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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