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MP responds to Council’s Library Consultation News

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones has responded to the news that Bristol City Council has delayed a decision on library closures across Bristol until further research has been undertaken.

Darren said:

“I am pleased the council will be taking more time to review the best way forward for Bristol’s libraries.

Following the Libraries Conference I hosted in September, I wrote to the Mayor with feedback from groups representing Bristol North West libraries. We advocated for further time and research before any irreversible decisions were made. I am delighted further time has now been given to support a longer-term strategy.

The council are under enormous financial pressure to make savings however, libraries play such a vital role in our communities we must look to safeguard them for future generations”.

 

 

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MP Responds to Minister’s visit to Southmead

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West shared his thoughts following a visit by Jeremy Hunt to his constituency:

“I welcome yesterday’s (23rd November) visit by the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt. I hope his visit has given him a true picture of the critical issues facing the NHS – we were promised £350m a week for the NHS if we voted for Brexit. Instead we get £350m for the whole of winter whilst the cost of Brexit spirals by another £3bn. Jeremy Hunt and this Conservative government need to start putting patients before Brexit party politics.

The staff at Southmead Hospital, and across the NHS, are working in increasingly difficult conditions – facing rising demand, complex medical needs alongside reducing real terms funding and resources. This is of course, in addition, to a pay cap that is undermining the value we place in these staff, an under-funded mental health system and social care services in crisis. Yesterday’s budget announced a £2.8 billion injection into the NHS over the next 2.5 years, this falls far short of the Chief Executive’s view that £4 billion was needed to stop rising wait lists and significant impact on patients. Of this funding, only £350 million will be available to help hospitals cope with the inevitable pressures over winter, a situation that last year was deemed a humanitarian crisis by the British Red Cross.

There is also the uncertainty of Brexit and its impact on the sense of job security that the NHS’ EU staff have. At least 615 of Southmead’s staff are from the EU, with 40% of these working as nurses. Evidence shows many EU nursing staff are weighing up their employment options and the number of EU nationals seeking nursing bursaries has plummeted by 2700 since last year. It is also only days since the BMA reported that one in 5 EU doctors have solid plans to leave the NHS. This situation is ludicrous and the Government can’t idly sit back waiting for the fall-out – the NHS needs strong management from Government and a funding package that matches the demand and real terms costs – if there is money for Brexit there must be money for our most treasured public service.

Each winter demand at A and E’s across the country rises and Southmead will be no different, given the minimal funding boost awarded yesterday by Government, I am very concerned we will once again see some of the most vulnerable in society waiting for hours and/or laid out on beds in corridors. This is of real concern to my constituency as the closest alternative hospital’s A and E department (in Weston-Super- Mare) is still closed due to unsafe staffing levels and will undoubtedly have some impact on Southmead.

I would also urge Mr Hunt to consider whether some of our most dedicated and hardworking public servants are being paid adequately for their work and if the 1% public sector pay cap can be morally justified any longer – I am quite clear it cannot be and government should not be waiting for an independent pay body to have to tell it so”.

 

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MP visits Southmead Hospital and meets CCG Chief Exec

In a day of health-related meetings (10th November), Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones met Southmead Hospital Chief Executive, Andrea Young and completed a tour of the hospital’s modern Brunel Building.

Andrea and Darren discussed the impact of Weston A and E’s closure on Southmead, Brexit and the hospital team’s preparations for winter.

Darren is now planning to meet some of the nursing staff to hear their views on how Brexit will affect the NHS and EU staff recruitment and retention.

In a separate meeting, Darren also met with Julia Ross, Chief Executive of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG. Julia and Darren discussed the planned merger of the three CCG’s and the impact of budget cuts on the range of treatments constituents can access. Darren expressed his pleasure at the CCG’s decision (announced on 9th November) to scrap plans to reduce the upper age limit on which women can access one NHS-funded cycle of IVF. A decision from the CCG on proposed changes to access to post-cancer breast reconstructive surgery is still outstanding. On 15th September , Darren wrote to the CCG expressing his concerns about both proposals and their disproportionate impact on women.

 

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MP to attend Southmead Community Meeting

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones, has confirmed he will be attending a community meeting to discuss crime and Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) in the Southmead area. The meeting has been organised by Southmead Councillor, Helen Godwin, and will see representation from local councillors, senior representatives from Avon and Somerset Police as well as Darren and the local beat team.

The meeting will take place on Friday 17th November from 6.30 to 8pm at the URC on Wigton Crescent.

All residents are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Darren first called on Police to hold a meeting in Southmead following high levels of ASB this summer. Darren also highlighted his broader concerns about local policing levels and the impact of further Government cuts to Police funding by writing to Nick Hurd, Minister of State for Policing in late September. In this letter, Darren called on Government to protect police funding and  heed the warnings issued by Avon and Somerset Police.

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Darren writes to the Prime Minister to call for Bristol libraries to be kept open

Darren wrote on Facebook:

I’m lucky to have such politically engaged constituents, including an eight year old pupil from Henleaze who asked me to send her petition (of over 150 friends campaigning against library closures) to the Prime Minister.

I obviously fully support this call, and have written to the PM with the petition. Number 10 has responded to say she’ll get a reply shortly.

You can read the full letter here: https://www.facebook.com/darrenjonesmp/photos/a.503288533036971.119025.235030423196118/1728702940495518/?type=3&theater

 

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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 Jones MP Calls for End to Gridlock

On Wednesday 27th September, Bristol North West’s MP submitted a formal response to Tim Bowles, Combined Authority Mayor for West of England. This was in relation to the West of England Strategy Discussion paper.
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Labour MP Calls for Long-Term Library Solution

To ensure a representative submission to Bristol City Council, Bristol North West’s Labour MP, Darren Jones, held a Libraries Conference on 2nd September to bring together local councillors, campaign groups and representative of the area’s nine Libraries.
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Darren Jones MP calls for community meeting on local ASB

Bristol North West Member of Parliament, Darren Jones, has today (31st August) met with Avon and Somerset’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens and Andy Bennett, Bristol Commander and discussed concerns regarding ASB in the Southmead area.
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Darren Jones MP asks the government about improving libraries

Darren has written to the government about improving libraries. Turning them into Digital Community Hubs, which give users access to new technology for both research and enjoyment, could improve them for everyone.

Darren wrote:

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government plans to increase funding for public libraries to enable more libraries to become digital community hubs.

John Glen MP, a minister in that department, replied:

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has provided support for library authorities throughout England to deliver library services that are accessible, modern and meets local needs. This included funding a £2.6 million programme to support the installation or upgrade of wifi in public libraries in England; benefitting around 1,000 libraries, and enabling over 99% of public libraries to offer free wifi. In addition, DCMS financed the £3.9m Libraries: Opportunities for Everyone fund to support innovative library service activity to benefit disadvantaged people and places in England. Around 60% of the successful local authority applicants are using digital means to support delivery of their projects. The Government will continue to encourage local authorities to invest in libraries to ensure that they remain relevant and meet the needs of the community.

Agree with Darren? Follow everything he’s up to by clicking https://www.facebook.com/darrenjonesmp/?fref=ts.