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City MP says government’s new changes to NHS dentistry fail to ‘grasp the nettle’

Stephen Morgan MP has said Ministers have failed to ‘grasp the nettle’ in responding to their announcement today on changes to NHS dental contracts.

Prior to today’s announcement, government had long promised changes to alleviate pressures on dental practices and improve local patient access to NHS dentists, ignoring calls to intervene earlier.

The BDA, which failed to back the changes announced government today, estimates it would take an extra £880m simply to restore funding to levels seen in 2010.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“Ministers have once again failed to grasp the nettle and tackle the systemic problems local NHS dentistry faces, with nothing to boost patient access in Portsmouth and nothing to keep dentists in the NHS.

“As the British Dental Association has said, these changes only paper over the cracks, make tweaks around the edges and fail to offer a single penny of new investment to fix the dental desert our city has become.

“Constituents having to resort to DIY dentistry or travel across the country just to get a regular check-up is unsustainable, and an unacceptable record of this Tory government.

“Labour will recruit, train and retain the staff our NHS needs and will revitalise our public services to ensure patients get the healthcare they deserve. I will continue to hold Ministers to account on this.”

The British Dental Association (BDA) has said the NHS dental contract’s current target-based system funds care for little over half the population and sets perverse incentives to dentists, rewarding them the same for doing one filling as ten.

The unsuitability of this model during the pandemic has accelerated the drift of dentists away from the NHS into a full-on exodus. Thousands of dentists have left the NHS in England since lockdown, with almost half reporting having significantly reduced their NHS commitment.

Over 44 million NHS dental appointments have been lost since lockdown in England alone – more than a year’s worth of care in pre-COVID times.

In a statement on the BDA’s website, Shawn Charlwood, Chair of the British Dental Association’s General Dental Practice Committee said:

“These are modest, marginal changes that will not fix the rotten foundations this service is built on.

“Our patients need Ministers to do more than paper over the cracks. These tweaks will do precious little to keep dentists in the NHS or ensure millions get the care they urgently need.

“The simple fact is not a penny of new investment has been pledged, and government targets will still come before patient care.

“Today is little more than a small step on the road to real reform. If government considers this a final destination then it will mean the death of NHS dentistry in England.”

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Revealed: City MP slams government as nearly 46,000 now waiting for NHS care in Portsmouth

Stephen Morgan MP has slammed the government for the ‘healthcare hell’ Portsmouth has become, after latest figures from the NHS show that 45,993 people are waiting for NHS treatment at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust.

901 people locally have been waiting for more than a year, under the watch of three separate Conservative Health Secretaries.

At the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, following a decade of Tory mismanagement there were 4.4 million people on the NHS waiting list in England, then a record high.

Nationally, the standard of 92% of people seen within 18 weeks of a referral has not been met since 2016. Now, 1 in every 9 people in England are on the NHS waiting list.

The NHS went into the latest wave of Covid infections with the longest waiting list ever, understaffed and overstretched.

The Conservative Government published its elective care recovery plan for the NHS this week but failed to set out how it would address the workforce shortages the NHS is facing. The plan set the Government’s ambition as beginning to reduce waiting lists in 2024.

Commenting, the Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“Record numbers of people in Portsmouth are waiting for care and they are waiting longer than ever before, often in pain and distress.

“Our local NHS staff worked heroically throughout the pandemic, but they have been stretched like never before.

“As the Culture Secretary admits, a decade of Conservative mismanagement left the NHS “wanting and inadequate” when Covid struck, and patients are now left to wait too long as a result.

“Our NHS is crying out for a change in government to give us the fresh start we need”.

Wes Streeting MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said:

“One in every nine people is now waiting for NHS care, and they are waiting longer than ever before. 

“Hundreds of thousands of patients have now been waiting for care through three Conservative Health Secretaries. The only discussion of the NHS in the Conservative leadership election seems to be about how much they plan to cut it by. We may have a new Prime Minister in two months’ time, but only a Labour government will give Britain the fresh start it needs.

“Labour will rebuild our NHS with the staff, equipment and modern technology needed to treat patients on time again.”

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Conservatives have cut 4,500 GPs in the last decade

Patients in England are finding it impossible to get a GP appointment, after a decade of Tory mismanagement of the NHS has left England with almost 4,500 fewer GPs than a decade ago, Labour has warned.

Analysis of NHS data shows there were 32,200 GPs in 2013, which has fallen to 27,700 today, a reduction of 4,459 GPs.

In their 2019 manifesto, the Conservatives promised to hire 6,000 more GPs, but Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, has since admitted that the government is breaking its promise. Since the Conservatives made that promise at the general election, more than 300 GP practices have closed.

The findings come as Labour following a debate in Parliament on the crisis in primary care in Britain, tabling a motion calling on the Health Secretary to bring forward a plan to recruit the doctors which were promised at the last election.

It comes as research by the Nuffield Trust published in The Times recently showed Portsmouth has been the worst-hit area by the wider national fall in GPs since 2015, with just 40 GPs per 100,000 people, figures raised by the Portsmouth South representative when speaking in the House of Commons.

The debate also saw city MP Stephen Morgan call on Government to also take action on the crisis in NHS dentistry.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“Long before the pandemic, our NHS was already struggling to cope with the level of demand for its services, but things have just gone from to bad worse in Portsmouth under this Government.

“Multiple GP closures, record numbers of people waiting for care and waiting longer than ever before means my postbag is filling up with concerns over a range on access to local health services.

“As I said in Parliament this week, our city has become a new healthcare hell for patients. This is the record of this Tory government.

“I will keep pushing Ministers to listen to the people of Portsmouth, intervene, clear the backlog and finally delivers the NHS services our city needs and deserves.”

Wes Streeting MP, Labour’s Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, added:

“People are finding it impossible to get a GP appointment when they need one, leaving them in pain and discomfort and meaning serious conditions will be missed.

“As the Culture Secretary recently admitted, a decade of Conservative mismanagement left our NHS ‘wanting and inadequate’ before Covid hit. Now the Conservatives are breaking their promise to hire the GPs we need.

“The longer we give the Conservatives, the longer patients wait. Labour will put patients first and make sure they can be seen on time.”

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Portsmouth MP grills Minister for ‘dental desert’ city has become

Stephen Morgan MP has attacked the government during a debate in the House of Commons for the ‘dental desert’ the city has become as he continues to speak up over the lack of access to NHS services in the constituency

Portsmouth continues to face historic challenges in access to NHS dentistry, with research by the Association of Dental Groups (ADG) showing that Portsmouth area has the 7th lowest amount of NHS dentists per 100,000 in the country, at 42.

The City MP also said during the parliamentary debate on Tuesday, that “Tory Ministers have claimed the additional £6.8 million of piecemeal funding for dentistry in the region will help, but during the local dentistry forum I convened with practitioners and representatives…they made it clear it doesn’t even begin to meet the scale of the challenge.”

Sharing a response to a dental survey he has encouraged local people to complete, the Portsmouth South MP also explained during the debate how one family had to travel to Watford every six months for dental check-ups, with no option to register with an NHS dentist in Portsmouth.

The latest action by Mr Morgan follows a range of interventions he’s been making to lobby for access to quality local health services.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“The disgraceful mismanagement and chronic underfunding of our NHS by the last twelve years of this Tory government has left Portsmouth to become a dental desert.

“It is clear Ministers are happy to simply paper over the cracks, rather than engage with the scale of the challenge at hand, clear the backlog and deliver the dental services my constituents need and deserve.

“I have been doing all I can to push decision-makers on this and to end the crisis. I have met with NHS commissioners, spoken up in debates in Parliament and questioned ministers, hosted an online forum with local dentists to hear views and ideas, met with the BDA and local dental committee, raised concerns in the local and national media and liaised with Healthwatch England and Healthwatch Portsmouth to understand patients’ views. I also launched a survey to hear the views of local residents alongside taking on casework of constituents. 

“I will continue to raise our city’s concerns with decision-makers and call on Ministers to intervene urgently to deliver the dental services my constituents need and deserve”.

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Carers Week: Portsmouth MP pays tribute to city’s care providers

Stephen Morgan MP has paid tribute to care providers in Portsmouth as the city marks Carers Week.

The City MP met with a range of local care providers on Friday, to thank them for their efforts in supporting some of society’s most vulnerable.

Mr Morgan visited Portsmouth Carers Centre, which provides support and advice to local care givers, to meet with local carers taking part in the centre’s ‘Chop Cook Chat’ sessions, a cookery group for those who are either carers or at risk of social isolation.

The Portsmouth MP also met with Portsmouth Alzheimer’s society, to discuss its experiences of the social care system and how it could be improved, particularly regarding the social care workforce.

Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges unpaid carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.

According to research from Carers UK, more than 4.6 million unpaid carers are concerned about their physical and mental health and over 2 million carers are worried about their ability to cope financially.

In addition, more care is being provided by unpaid carers than ever before, even more than during the height of the pandemic. The number providing 20+ hours of care per week has risen by 42% across the UK since October 2020, while the number providing more than 50 hours has increased by 30%.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“On Carers Week it’s important we recognise and thank our carers for the incredible work they do to support our most vulnerable.

“Many carers are still struggling with the ongoing impact of the pandemic. It is clear from the continued strain on social care services, many of which remain unavailable to carers, combined with the current cost of living crisis, have left carers urgently needing more support.

“It was really useful to meet with the Carers Centre staff and Portsmouth Alzheimer’s Society to learn about their respective challenges and plans to support our carers and thank them for their efforts over this past year. 

“I will continue to speak up for the thousands of people providing unpaid care in Portsmouth and across Britain, and push Government to urgently fix our social care system as we emerge from the pandemic.” 

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Portsmouth MP urges Minister to intervene and fix ‘dental desert’ city has become

Stephen Morgan MP has urged the government to intervene and fix the ‘dental desert’ the city has become.

In a letter to Health Minister Maria Caulfield, the Portsmouth MP raised concerns shared with him by local dentistry practitioners that the £6.8million of funding for the South East announced in January was ‘wholly insufficient’.

He also highlighted Dentists’ concerns that the funding was more of a ‘burden’, rather than support, as take up of funding would require NHS practitioners to work outside of already extended hours, including over weekends, to meet unrealistic targets caused by the ‘broken’ Unit of Dental Activity (UDA) system.

Another issue shared during a local dentistry forum Mr Morgan held with NHS dentistry representatives and practitioners was the need for far greater attention around rules and regulation for recruitment and retention, with many practices struggling to recruit that staff they need.

It comes following a recent report by the Association of Dental Groups which showed Portsmouth CCG has the 7th lowest amount of NHS dentists per 100,000 in the country, at 42. It also found Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight CCG, which also serves many of the City MP’s constituents, at 15th lowest, with 45 NHS Dentists per 100,000.

Adding to concerns around local access to NHS Primary Care, research by the Nuffield Trust published in The Times this month showed Portsmouth has been the most acutely affected area by the wider fall of 1,622 full-time NHS GPs since 2015, with just 40 GPs per 100,000 people.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, commented:

“It’s clear to me from speaking to local dentistry representatives and practitioners that government funding allocated in January is wholly insufficient, rapidly turning Portsmouth into a dental desert.

“From a broken commissioning system, to chronic issues around recruitment and retention, it is clear local dentistry is creaking at the seams. Piecemeal pots of money simply won’t cut it and doesn’t even begin to deal with the wider issues Portsmouth dentistry is facing.

“Tory Ministers need to stop sitting on their hands, engage with the challenges and urgently intervene to deliver the NHS dentistry services Portsmouth deserves. I will continue to speak up in Westminster to ensure that happens.”

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Portsmouth MP welcomes UoP programme tackling NHS nursing shortfall

Stephen Morgan MP has praised University of Portsmouth’s (UoP) School of Health and Care Professions for its new course helping to tackle the NHS nursing recruitment challenges.

The university has been running a simulated six-week placement for Adult and Mental Health Nursing students in their final year.

Simulation has been in greater demand since the Covid-19 pandemic put increased pressure on the number of placements that the NHS is able to offer.

Recent data from The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) revealed nearly half of the new nurses and midwives registered to work in the UK in the past year have come from abroad. It also showed the numbers leaving the profession had risen.

Many UK applicants to nursing courses have not had the chance to undertake significant work experience as a result of the pandemic.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“It’s fantastic to see how our city’s university is working to support our local NHS services, helping to deliver the healthcare my constituents need and deserve.

“After two years of unprecedented challenges, I’m incredibly grateful to our local NHS nurses, and for the innovative work the University of Portsmouth is doing to support them to tackle the range of current issues and challenges they face.

“I will continue to speak up in Westminster for the support our local NHS services require.”

The simulated placement has been paid for using a £300,000 grant from Health Education England, and includes working with standardised patients in the University of Portsmouth’s simulated wards and community settings.

Facilities include realistic mock-ups of home, GP and hospital settings. It also includes the Anatomage, which is the industry leading software for studying anatomy and dissecting the human body.

Simulation-based education gives students time to practice technical and communication skills in a safe and supported learning environment. Paid actors undertake roles as patients alongside the academic facilitators.

The University is also working in partnership with local further education college partners to support new and existing course development for students who see a career pathway as a registered nurse.

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Banning Conversion Therapy: City MP responds

In recent days a number of constituents have contacted me about their views on conversion therapy.

I am deeply concerned about the Government’s broken promises on this and similar issues and have long been a supporter of banning conversion therapy.

I am committed to ensuring LGBT+ people can live in safety and dignity. I believe all forms of conversion therapy must be banned as a matter of urgency. They are exploitative and damaging.

Last year, I wrote to the Minister for Women and Equalities Liz Truss MP, urging her to ensure a ban on conversion therapy.

I underlined that if we must eradicate this insidious form of homophobic, bi-phobic, transphobic and acephobic abuse, we need a legislative ban to make conversion therapy illegal.

What we saw last week was the actions of a rudderless government. First we saw the government u-turn on its promise to ban conversion therapy. Then hours later, it said it would, but not for transgender conversion therapies. Now, the government’s LGBT+ business champion has resigned over the decision not to ban conversion therapy for transgender people.

But while it is expected the government will announce a ban on gay conversion therapy in the Queen’s Speech, there will not be one for trans conversion therapy.

This is not only wholly unacceptable, but government has offered no clear explanation for why it’s gone back on its original position. It is yet another betrayal by Ministers of an already marginalised group that they have left behind.

However, I am also very concerned that it has already taken more than three years to even get to this point, and unfortunately the proposals are far from comprehensive.

Loopholes appear to leave the door ajar for people to ‘consent’ to conversion therapy on religious grounds. This is unacceptable. Government must divert its energies to listening to survivors of these harmful practices and the wider LGBT+ community, not those wishing to allow conversion therapy to continue.

I believe that it is high time that legislation is introduced, such as protection orders for people who are vulnerable to pressure to suppress, deny or forcibly change their sexuality or gender identity.

There is a broad consensus from faith leaders across the diversity of faith communities in the UK that conversion therapy is abuse and in December 2020, a significant cross-faith conference of leaders supported a ban on conversion therapy.

I am aware that the Government is seeking to launch a phone helpline for victims of conversion therapy. However, overall the Government has made very slow progress. For instance, it is still yet to confirm whether it will be going ahead with its LGBT Action Plan.

Please be assured that I will continue to do what I can to hold the Government to account on its commitments and to ensure the LGBT+ community can live their lives with equality, dignity and respect.

Stephen Morgan MP

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Portsmouth MP calls for Health and Care Heroes for NHS Awards as deadline looms

Stephen Morgan MP is calling for nominees to enter the official NHS Parliamentary Awards in recognition of staff who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.

Nominations close midnight, Thursday 14 April.

The NHS Parliamentary Awards offer a chance to celebrate NHS staff, carers and volunteers for all the hard work they do to look after our loved ones when they are at their most vulnerable.

The City MP is now searching for outstanding nominees for the 2022 Awards who have innovated, impressed and made a real difference to how the health and care system provides care for patients.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“The NHS is one of the nation’s most loved institutions and hardworking NHS staff make it what it is today. 

“The stories I hear from local health services make me incredibly proud of the fact that Portsmouth contains people willing to provide such fantastic care to our most vulnerable residents. NHS staff, volunteers and carers make a true difference to the lives of their patients, and I want to recognise those individuals and teams at this year’s NHS Parliamentary Awards. 

“I want to hear from you about any outstanding care you have received in the last year so that I can nominate our local heroes for these awards. There’s still time to nominate, so please do send your suggestions to my office via email.”

For more information on how to nominate and the criteria for each category, visit: www.nhsparliamentaryawards.co.uk

Suggestions for nominations can be sent to Stephen Morgan MP’s office via: stephen.morgan.mp@parliament.uk

Professor Stephen Powis, chair of the judging panel and NHS National Medical Director, said:

“Throughout the NHS’s history there are examples of how staff and volunteers have contributed to making the health service the greatest care team in the world. 

“The NHS Parliamentary Awards are a unique opportunity for MPs to highlight the amazing work done by NHS staff in their local areas, and I look forward to working with all of the judges to review the nominations we receive.” 

This year there are 10 award categories, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Rising Star Award and, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Covid Response Award.

The Parliamentary Awards 2022 launched on 2 March 2022, and all those who make the national shortlist will be invited to an award ceremony in Westminster to celebrate their fantastic achievements.

The Portsmouth MP is calling for potential nominations in the following categories:

 

  • The Excellence in Healthcare: This award recognises individuals or teams who go above and beyond to improve outcomes and experiences for patients living with and beyond major health conditions or work to prevent them.

 

  • The Excellence in Mental Health Care Award: To the individual or team that has worked across organisational boundaries to develop new and effective services to help people living with mental health problems in their community.

 

  • The COVID Response Award: The brand new COVID Response Award is for any individual or team who have met the challenges of the pandemic with creativity and innovation to provide the best care possible for their patients.

 

  • The Excellence in Urgent and Emergency Care Award: To the individual or team that has made improvements to how the NHS treats people in life or death situations.
  • The Excellence in Primary Care and Community Care Award: As the needs of patients and the wider NHS evolves, so does the role of these professionals, and this award seeks to recognise practitioners and teams in primary or community care that are working with patients to help them stay healthy and avoid long stays in hospital or being admitted in the first place.

 

  • The Future NHS Award: This award seeks to highlight individuals, teams and organisations that are successfully embracing the opportunities that come from advances in medical technology, data, and connectivity.

 

  • The Health Equalities Award: This award is for an individual or organisation that has helped the NHS to do its bit by bringing together different groups and organisations to reduce health inequalities and prevent ill health in different communities.

 

  • The Nursing and Midwifery Award: This award is for any nurse or midwife, that has used their skills to ensure that patients experience care and compassion. This award is also open to any one of the thousands of student midwives, nurses, AHPs and medical students who started their careers early to support the NHS’ response to coronavirus.

 

  • The NHS Rising Star Award: This award looks to celebrate younger members of staff, volunteers or members of the public who give up their time, lend their experiences and deliver better services for themselves and others in their area.

 

  • The Lifetime Achievement Award: This award is for an individual who has worked within a health or care setting for 40 years or more who has left a legacy.
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Portsmouth MP pushes for John Pounds Medical Centre to reopen

Local residents, Labour councillors and Stephen Morgan MP have united to lobby for the John Pounds Medical Centre to reopen, following its closure in July 2020.

Lake Road Practice, which John Pounds Medical Centre merged with, said at the time, ‘“With Covid-19 affecting us all this year” the GP service site would temporarily close, with a view “to restarting clinics at John Pounds as soon as we can offer a suitable Covid secure service.”

However, despite covid cases now lowering and local vaccination rates higher, the GP service has still not reopened.

The Portsmouth MP has written to Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) raising concerns his constituents have shared with him on this issue, and on the level of access to alternative GP services in the Portsea area.

Many local residents are either vulnerable or disabled, but have said they are now faced with little choice but to walk up to 30 minutes longer to access the medical attention they need at Lake Road GP practice.

The City MP’s constituents have also said that alternative forms of local transport for this route are either unreliable or expensive.

It comes as the local Labour team, led by Cllr Kirsty Mellor, helped to collect signatures for a petition residents have produced, calling for the John Pounds Medical Centre to reopen.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“The John Pounds Medical Centre is vital for people in Portsea to get easy access to the healthcare they need. While it remains closed with no clear explanation for it being so, residents who depend on it face unneeded uncertainty and anxiety.

“That’s why I have written to decision-makers to clarify reasons why John Pounds Medical Centre remains closed and when we can expect it to reopen.

“Local Labour councillors have been doing important work alongside the community on this, and I am grateful for the petition local residents have produced. Our NHS has been left creaking at the seams by Ministers in Whitehall and urgent intervention is needed to bring down local waiting times across our city.

“I will continue to make the case in Parliament for the action and support that’s required to secure the health and social care services our city deserves.”