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On Armed Forces Day City MP calls on Government to do more to support veterans

Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, has used Armed Forces Day to highlight the need for greater support to the ex-service and veteran community across the nation.
Writing to the Secretary of State for Defence, Gavin Williamson MP Mr Morgan recognised the contribution the Armed Forces Covenant can play in supporting veterans.
In the letter sent today he writes:
“The Armed Forces Covenant has undoubtedly made a positive difference to service personnel and their families up and down our country. It marks an incredibly important commitment to countless brave men and women in my constituency.
However, this Armed Forces Day, I fear that in too many instances this commitment is not being met”.
Research published this week has shown that 1 in 5 veterans is surviving on less than £7,500 each year and 70% say their abilities are not truly valued by employers.
The jump to civilian life is still consistently underestimated and many businesses remain ill- equipped to help breach this significant gap and unlock the incredible potential and unique skills of former servicemen and women.
A survey by SSAFA has also found that 62% of our veterans feel undervalued by society. Furthermore, almost half, at times, have not felt proud of having served.
Mr Morgan added:
We in Portsmouth are more than proud of them, and I’m extremely anxious for our national approach to post-service support to reflect that. It is welcome news that so many businesses and organisations have signed up to the covenant, but I would urge you to make this count.
The covenant needs teeth and for the Government to expand the scope of its practical elements.
Without its supplementation with a nationwide mentoring service, training not just for veterans but employers, increased investment to reduce unacceptable waiting times for specialised mental health treatment, an extended transition period, and proper enforcement, we risk the covenant’s value being confined to the symbolic”.
In his first year as Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South Stephen has been meeting with a number of local groups and charities which support the veterans community, as well as providing backing to projects which tackle issues ex-service personnel can face.
He added:
“I’m confident my city won’t cease in telling our veterans how proud they make us and how immensely valued they are, but there is clearly an urgent need to show them too”.

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City MP joins cross-party push for progress on Cystic Fibrosis drug

MP for Portsmouth South has written to drug company Vertex urging progress
Stephen Morgan, along with MPs from across the House, has written to the manufacturer of a new Cystic Fibrosis drug, Vertex, urging flexibility in their pricing offer to NHS England.
In the letter, organised by Heidi Allen and Ian Austin, the MPs said:
‘As you are acutely aware, Cystic Fibrosis robs sufferers of many things but perhaps most importantly time. Three years after Orkambi was licensed, CF sufferers are still waiting for access. Median life expectancy for CF patients is 47; if we set the negotiations in this context access to this drug has taken too long.
A deal with NHS England gives Vertex access to real world evidence of CF, which will be of enormous benefit to your scientists working on the next generation of CF therapies. In conjunction with a fair deal for Orkambi this evidence base will allow Vertex to reach its goal of finding ways to treat the entire disease population.
We urge you to follow the leadership of your senior research fellow Fred van Goor when seeking a conclusion to the negotiations with the NHS – ‘What is important is that patients get access to our medicines’. We couldn’t agree more. Please make this happen without further delay.’
Two years ago, a precision medicine called Orkambi, was approved for use by the EMA that can extend lives by treating the root cause of CF.
In July 2016, NICE recognised Orkambi as an ‘important treatment’ for CF, but refused Orkambi based on lack of long term data and the cost.
They stated that they would review the drug again, should any new data or reimbursement scheme be proposed. Campaigners are asking that NICE and Department of Health and Social Care review Orkambi again now; as there is now further data that was not included in the July 2016 review.
Stephen has previously written to the Secretary of State for Health and met with Ian Austin, MP for Dudley North, who hosted a roundtable meeting with representatives from Vertex and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
The Portsmouth South MP is due to meet with Vertex next month.

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Trip down memory lane: Portsmouth MP welcomed back at former school

Stephen Morgan MP visits former school after it joins Thinking Schools Academy Trust
Penhale Infant School celebrated a special moment last week as it welcomed Portsmouth South MP – and former pupil – Stephen Morgan for a visit.
Pupils and staff were delighted to offer their local MP a full tour of the school he used to call his own – after it recently joined the high-performing Thinking Schools Academy Trust (TSAT).
By joining the Trust, Penhale has strengthened its ties with nearby Newbridge Junior School and The Portsmouth Academy, offering parents a clear curriculum pathway to secondary school and benefitting from shared best practice across the Trust. The school, in the heart of Fratton, is rated Good by Ofsted.
The MP toured his former school and met with pupils to see for himself the positive impact the move to TSAT is having across teaching and learning. 
He also met with senior leaders at the school and Trust, including Kate Keller, Headteacher of Penhale Infant School, Stuart Gardner, CEO of the Thinking Schools Academy Trust, and Claire Stevens, the Trust’s Director of Primary Education.
They discussed the benefits of Penhale becoming embedded in the ‘Thinking Schools’ philosophy, which enhances the cognitive capacities and learning habits of pupils. Pupils are supported to develop ‘thinking skills’, which help them shape their own cognitive habits to improve learning.
TSAT is a family of 14 high-performing schools across the South East.
Kate Keller, Principal of Penhale Infant School, said:
“It has been a terrific day for us at Penhale Infant School – it is not every day that a former pupil returns as a Member of Parliament. It was wonderful to host Mr Morgan, and the children were delighted to have such an eminent visitor.
We are delighted to embark on the Thinking Schools journey, and to offer Mr Morgan the chance to witness for himself the benefits, including the cognitive approach to learning encouraged by the Trust. We are very excited for the future and look forward to staying in touch with Mr Morgan.”
Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, said:
“It has been a brilliant trip down memory lane re-visiting my former school in Fratton, and I would like to thank the pupils and staff at Penhale for welcoming me back.
It was excellent to see for myself the transformation Penhale is undergoing by joining the Trust, including some of the innovative teaching and learning methods used.
I look forward to seeing it go from strength to strength as it serves our community.”

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City MP’s modern-day suffrage sash winners announced

Stephen Morgan congratulates winners of schools’ competition to design sashes celebrating 100 years since women won the vote
Four Portsmouth schoolgirls were today celebrated in a ceremony at Stephen Morgan MP’s constituency office to mark the final round of his competition to design a suffragette sash for the 21st century.
The contest was launched as part of the MP’s Vote100 Portsmouth campaign, a series of events and schemes encouraging female engagement in public life and campaigning for democratic equality 100 years after women first won the vote.
The winners had their sash designs very kindly printed by local Southsea business Seadog Print Studio and will have them displayed in the Houses of Parliament over the coming months.
Sashes from runners-up can already be seen displayed in the window of Stephen’s office in Albert Road.

The competition was judged by Stephen Morgan MP, Superintendent Maggie Blyth, Jo Bushnell from Aspex Gallery, and Deborah Sugg Ryan, Professor of Design, History and Theory at the University of Portsmouth.
Winners
Eva Rose Pinnock, Craneswater Junior School
Annalee MacFarlane, Portsmouth High School
Runners Up
Lilly Bullman, Harbour School
Nellie Fraser, Fernhurst Junior School
Stephen Morgan MP, said:
“This is a historic year for our country. We need to celebrate the progress women have made in our politics, but also harness this moment to advance the change we still desperately need to see.
The sash competition combined these aims perfectly and I was so pleased with the response we got from local schools. I also want to thank Seadog Print Studio for bringing the sashes to life.
I want to congratulate, Eva, Analee, and all those who entered for their fantastic designs and for showing that the suffragette spirit is alive and well in our city.”

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City MP reviews rail improvement work and discusses heatwave disruption at SWR

Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan, visited Waterloo International Terminal today to meet with rail bosses and review improvement works being undertaken by the Wessex Capacity Alliance.
Work on the Waterloo and South West upgrade started in April 2016 when we began re-developing the former Waterloo International Terminal for domestic services. The project is expected to be complete by December 2018 and will provide the biggest package of improvements to London Waterloo since the 1930s.
The project will increase capacity, making space for 45,000 extra passengers every morning and every evening – equivalent to a 30% boost in peak time capacity at Waterloo.
Stephen raised issues of overcrowding, wi-fi quality, and service reliability with SWR. The Portsmouth MP also discussed South Western Railway’s reaction to the heatwave and sought assurances that appropriate measures are in place and that passengers will be kept abreast of any developments affecting their journeys.
waterloo 2
Stephen Morgan MP, said:
‘Letters about rail services in and out of Portsmouth quite understandably form a great proportion of my postbag and I’m committed to standing up for people in our city who rely on trains for work or family.
The heatwave has brought significant disruption and misery for Pompey commuters so it was useful to visit Waterloo today, as part of my regular engagement with the rail companies, to make sure they are doing all they can to mitigate these issues as well as get an update on longer term improvements.
These capacity improvement works should make a big difference to Portsmouth passengers once they’re complete, meaning more carriages and modern, more spacious concourses. Waterloo is the country’s busiest station so the investment from Network Rail isn’t only welcome but highly necessary.’
 
 

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Call made for better support for PKU patients and carers in Commons debate

Portsmouth South MP speaks up for local families in Westminster Hall, calling for Government action
Stephen Morgan MP has called on the Government to do more to support PKU patients and their carers in a Westminster Hall debate today. This comes after he was approached by a Portsmouth family affected by the condition.
Portsmouth mum Tara’s daughter, Hollie Mae, suffers from PKU, a rare metabolic disease which means Phenylalanine, a component of protein, is not broken down and builds up in the blood and brain, causing brain damage.
The only treatment for PKU that is currently funded by the NHS is a very restrictive diet, in which most sources of protein are removed from the diet to prevent brain damage.
It is common for patients with PKU to eat very small amounts of natural protein a day – equivalent to the protein in no more than one or two slices of ordinary bread.
To avoid malnutrition, a special protein replacement is administered throughout the day to provide the main source of nutrition. This is chemically derived and unpalatable. Patients also rely on specially manufactured low protein foods which are available by prescription.

Speaking in the debate on Tuesday morning, Stephen said:
“The briefing I was sent by the excellent NSPKU describes the protein replacements as ‘unpalatable’. Now Mr Robertson, I have tasted these replacements myself and I can assure you they are being polite. These replacements are absolutely rank.
But they don’t just taste disgusting. They form part of an incredibly prescriptive and restrictive diet that not only consumes a huge amount of time, approximately 19 hours per week, but also makes living a normal life, particularly taking part in typical social activities intolerably difficult.
Hollie-Mae’s mum, Tara, says they hardly ever eat out. When they do, they have to bring separate food. It’s the same at friends’ houses.
It’s inevitably a difficult diet to manage, and, because no young person likes to stand out as different, PKU makes sensitivity and insecurity around food and eating particularly pernicious amongst its teenage victims.
These young people just want to live normal, happy lives. But PKU too often exacerbates our teenagers’ vulnerability to eating disorders and so it is also a mental health issue.”
Kuvan is a tablet that is dissolved in water and taken once daily. In people with PKU Kuvan helps restore the ability of the faulty enzyme to break down phenylalanine (thereby reducing phenylalanine levels in the blood).
Kuvan works for about 25% of the population with PKU. In England, it is estimated that about 300-330 individuals with PKU would be treated with Kuvan if it was made available.
BioMarin have informed the NSPKU that their repeated attempts to meet NHS England to reach a pricing deal have been ignored.
In Westminster Hall, Stephen urged Government ministers to act:
“I’d hope the Minister would agree that the opportunity to offer those with PKU, and their families, hope of a better life is not to be missed.
I would suggest that this means meeting with the manufacturers of Kuvan, a once-a-day tablet that works for a quarter of those with PKU to restore the ability of the faulty enzyme to break down phenylalanine…
It means making life that little bit easier for families and PKU patients by fixing the fragmented service currently on offer and smoothing or simplifying the chain from specialist metabolic clinic… to GP… to pharmacist… to courier. Complications in which constantly cause grief for patients.
It definitely means ending the exclusion of PKU treatments from the prescription charge exemption list for long-term conditions, the logic of which is lost on me.
Chair, PKU is a rare disease, but this shouldn’t mean it deserves any less of our attention.”
 

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City MP speaks up for safe standing at Fratton Park

Stephen Morgan speaks in Commons debate to call on Government to reverse unjust ban
 MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, today spoke in a Westminster Hall debate in support of safe standing at Fratton Park.
The debate was secured after over 100,000 people signed a Parliamentary petition asking the Government to review their position.
Both the football club and supporters’ trust are in favour of safe standing in Portsmouth at Stephen urged the Minister to listen to them and other fans across the country and reverse what has been described as an inconsistent and unjust ban on standing areas at clubs who have been in the top two leagues for three years or more.

Speaking in the debate, Stephen said:
‘Our club is…a prime example of the injustice of the Government’s stance on safe standing. Because, in reality, this isn’t about whether to bring safe standing into our football grounds. It’s already there.
When Portsmouth fans travel to Bristol Rovers, Peterborough, Wycombe, countless other sides in the football league, they see stadiums operating fully licensed standing sections.
Yet, back at Fratton Park, they’ve no choice. Standing sections aren’t allowed. And this is all because we’ve previously spent more than three seasons in the top two tiers.’
Last year, Labour pledged that all sports should be inclusive for all – by giving fans and supporters the opportunity to have a greater say in how their clubs are run. Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP and Stephen support giving Pompey fans the power to decide what is safe for the future of their club.
During the last few months, Stephen has consulted with the football club and the supporters’ trust. He found there to be a clear majority in favour of safe standing.
The Government’s Safe Standing “review” was hastily announced overnight and fans have voiced concerns that the Department doesn’t want a review, but for the status quo to remain.
On the same day the Government announced a review, the Sports Minister wrote to an MP backing all-seater stadia. Several MPs have since replied to fans saying the Govt policy won’t change.
In Westminster Hall, Stephen added:
‘When the Minister rejected West Brom’s application for safe standing, she described its proponents as a ‘vocal minority’.
Well, she’s right on the first count. Pompey supporters, the best in the country, aren’t known for their shy and retiring approach. They’ll continue to make their voices heard.
But they are by no means a minority, and its high time the Minister acknowledged that.
Why should divisional status, historical divisional status at that, have any implications for whether clubs can have standing sections at their grounds?
As far as I’m concerned, it’s utterly nonsensical, and fans in my constituency are understandably frustrated.
I implore the Government to trust fans, they know their clubs best.’

City MP Welcomes former First Sea Lord to Portsmouth for discussion on Navy’s future

The future of the Royal Navy, in discussion with Admiral Lord West
City MP Stephen Morgan welcomed former First Sea Lord Admiral Lord West to Portsmouth for an evening of discussion and debate around the future of the Royal Navy.
Lord West joined Mr Morgan at the Royal Naval Club & Royal Albert Yacht Club in Pembroke Road where he spoke to an audience about how he sees contemporary political themes from defence cuts to Brexit affecting the future of the Royal Navy.
The floor was then opened for discussion where attendees were invited to share their concerns and thoughts with Lord West and Mr Morgan.
Stephen Morgan MP said:
“The Royal Navy is at the heart of our great city. As the home of the naval defence, our city is intrinsically linked to its future and servicemen and civilians alike are concerned about the direction we’re headed in with Tory cuts. I wanted to host an event where people could share their views and concerns with Lord West and myself. 
“As former First Sea Lord, Lord West has unparalleled experience of making strategic, operational decisions for the Royal Navy at the very highest level and so there is no one better placed to join me in this discussion. 
“As the Admiral said, the Government is ‘staggeringly complacent’ in its opposition to the Royal Navy and our nations forces. 
“I’d like to thank him for taking the time to share his knowledge and experience and listening to the concerns of people here in Portsmouth.”
Admiral Lord West said:
“It was a pleasure to visit Portsmouth, a city I know very well. Stephen is a doughty champion of our armed forces and I was pleased to join him to address very real concerns about the hollowing out of our Royal Navy.
“There’s much uncertainty surrounding the UK’s defence capability, and it was incredibly useful to not only share my thoughts and concerns but also to hear those of the people who live and work here in Portsmouth.”
There was also a collection for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and a display of work by the Hotwalls based Company of Makers, who design and make products inspired by the British military’s influence on pop culture.
The future of the Royal Navy, in discussion with Admiral Lord West 3
 
 

Statement on Gosport War Memorial Hospital  

Statement from Stephen Morgan MP on Gosport War Memorial Hospital
I am truly shocked by the horrific findings of the Gosport Independent Panel. The Panel found that the lives of over 450 patients were shortened by clinically inappropriate use of opioid analgesics, with an additional 200 lives also likely to have been shortened if missing medical records are taken into account.
The courageous whistle-blowers in our NHS and the families of victims were systematically ignored. Their bravery should be applauded, but more importantly, rewarded with our attention to their entirely legitimate and urgent concerns as well as the catalogue of failings that led to these being disregarded.
Today I spoke in the House on behalf of my constituents to thank the Secretary of State for his apology and press him for detail on support for the families affected. I’ll continue to speak up for those who lost loved ones as the true extent of this appalling revelation unfolds.
There are clearly wider lessons to be learned regarding the governance of smaller NHS organisations and how we can better support and encourage NHS staff when they do raise serious issues of concern.
Nevertheless, it’s important that today’s announcement does not overshadow the remarkable contribution made by NHS frontline workers across the Solent and up and down our country and I welcome the Secretary of State’s pledge to leave no stone unturned to restore people’s trust in our local services.”

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City MP celebrates Learning Disability week and backs 'Treat me well' campaign

Stephen Morgan, MP for Portsmouth South, is backing the Treat me well campaign from Royal Mencap Society to improve healthcare for people with a learning disability.
Stephen attended Mencap’s Learning Disability Week reception in Parliament on Monday 18th June where he invited Portsmouth’s disability champion, John Attrill, to join him. The Portsmouth South MP also spoke with people with a learning disability about the challenges they face when visiting their doctor or a hospital.
Mencap reports that three people with a learning disability die avoidably every day. That is to say their deaths would be avoided by improving the quality of healthcare for people with a learning disability.
Mencap’s new campaign, Treat me well, aims to change this by making sure all health professionals receive learning disability awareness training. An important part of this is understanding how to make ‘reasonable adjustments’. These are simple things such as having a quiet space to wait for an appointment, jargon free easy to understand information and longer appointment times as it can sometimes take longer for people with a learning disability to express themselves or they may well need support to do so.
These reasonable adjustments are often small but can really help and even save lives.
Stephen Morgan MP, said:
“Too often people with learning disability are not properly helped to understand what their doctor or nurse is explaining about their treatment and medication, or given the time to explain how they are feeling.
That’s why this Learning Disability week I’m calling for the Secretary of State to improve healthcare standards for people with LD.
It was fantastic to be joined by John who continues to live up to his title as a true champion of people with a learning disability in Portsmouth and I look forward to working with local charities and our NHS Trust to reduce healthcare inequalities for people with learning disability.”
Lloyd Page, Mencap spokesperson with a learning disability, said:
“Treat me well will help the NHS provide better healthcare to people with learning disabilities. By giving all doctors and nurses learning disability training they will have the skills and knowledge to give the 1.4million people in the UK with a learning disability the best possible healthcare.
We also want everyone who treats a patient to learn about reasonable adjustments. A reasonable adjustment is when a person goes into hospital and asks for extra support so they can have an equal service to everyone else. Reasonable adjustments are powerful and really help us when they are put in place. All healthcare professionals should offer reasonable adjustments.
My message for healthcare professionals is to please treat patients with a learning disability well, give us respect, and think about what reasonable adjustments you can give to help us.”