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City MP lobbies Health Secretary on concerns over NHS dentistry

Stephen Morgan MP is lobbying Government on the recently introduced NHS activity targets for dental practices, raising concerns they may present a clear and unnecessary risk to patient safety and the viability of already stretched dental practices in Portsmouth.

The parliamentary representative has urged Matt Hancock MP to abandon the targets and work with NHS practices and the British Dental Association to find a sustainable solution to benefit patients in Portsmouth struggling to be seen by a dentist.

In addition to a letter to Government, the Portsmouth MP has committed to:

  • Take part in a debate in Parliament next Thursday on the effect of Covid-19 on dental services, to raise concerns of dentists and patients.
  • Call a summit discuss these issues further, inviting local dentists, the Chair of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Dental Committee and Portsmouth Healthwatch.

Stephen Morgan MP commented:

“I am hearing targets set by Government are risking dental care across the country, not just here in Portsmouth.

“Due to the pandemic, there has understandably been an extensive backlog created, but prioritising routine check-ups over clearing it poses an unacceptable danger to ongoing patient care.

I will continue to take further action in the coming months to hold ministers to account on this and to push for greater access to local NHS dentistry for local people.”

Mr Morgan backed Labour’s pledge last year to offer free dental check-ups for all, following long running action over patient access in Portsmouth and has fought the closure of local dentistry practices.



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Portsmouth MP urges local people volunteer with city’s vaccination programme

Stephen Morgan MP is calling for members of the city’s community to come forward to take part in supporting the city’s Covid-19 vaccination programme, via charity, HIVE Portsmouth.

From 18 January, HIVE Portsmouth is aiming to provide volunteers to support Solent NHS Trust and the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme.

Volunteers will be needed 7 days a week, working in shifts, to help guide patients arriving and departing from the vaccination centre in a timely and safe manner.

Members of the public can register via HIVE Portsmouth’s website.

Stephen Morgan MP, commented:

“This is a fantastic opportunity, for those that feel safe to do so, to support our city’s and the country’s historic effort in the fight against coronavirus.

“The vaccine is our way out of this and it is now so important that we all do our bit, where we can, to roll it out and vaccinate Britain.

“HIVE Portsmouth has been a central pillar to our city’s efforts throughout this pandemic and I want to thank them for this and their wider efforts over the past year.”

The Portsmouth South MP has previously underlined the importance of the government scaling up its Covid-19 Vaccination Programme as fast as possible.


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With our city staying at home, the Government must deliver on the vaccine: says City MP as country heads into lockdown

Speaking ahead of any votes in the House of Commons on a lockdown which Government announced on Monday and came into operation this morning (Wednesday 6 January), Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Another lockdown will be difficult for families in Portsmouth and across Britain, especially after everything we have already sacrificed. But national measures are now necessary to control the spread of the virus. 

There are, however, serious questions for the Government to answer on why they did not act sooner, why the testing system still is not working, why families were given so little time to plan for childcare and for schools closing, and why – once again – many businesses and working people in our city have not been given the support they need.

I will continue to raise these concerns in Parliament and lobby Ministers to learn from mistakes on behalf of the people of Portsmouth.

We were the first country in the world to get the vaccine, we have the opportunity to be the first in the world to get our country vaccinated. That is why I am calling on the Prime Minister to use this lockdown to establish a massive and immediate vaccination programme across the country.

With our city staying at home, the Government must deliver on the vaccine”.

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‘Stay at home, protect the NHS, vaccinate Britain’ urges Portsmouth MP

Responding to the Prime Minister’s address to the nation tonight (4 January 2021) Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP has said the Government’s message to the country should be simple: ‘Stay at home, protect the NHS, vaccinate Britain’.

The intervention comes after a series of actions by the city MP to urging Ministers to prioritise the vaccine roll-out in the city, to consider mass testing for the community and urgently secure a vaccine hub for Portsmouth.

The MP also joined a briefing tonight with the Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi MP to make the call for a scaling up of the vaccine programme.

To date the Government has failed to respond to these demands from Portsmouth, but Mr Morgan has vowed to continue to make the case to Ministers.

On the Prime Minister’s statement tonight announcing a third national lockdown, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“We are a critical moment in our city’s fight against coronavirus. The virus is out of control, more and more people are getting infected by the disease and this is putting immense pressure on our local NHS.

With the roll out of the vaccine, and as we slowly start to see all the pieces of the puzzle to tackle coronavirus in place, l will continue to call on Government to respond swiftly and effectively to this crisis.

For now, as a city, we can and we must recapture the spirit of the national lockdown in March.

So the message tonight is simple. Stay at home, protect the NHS, and vaccinate Britain”.

On the vaccine roll out, the MP said:

“As a country we were the first in the world to get the vaccine, we should now aim to be the first in the world to get vaccinated.

Vaccinating Britain has got to be our national mission as it is the only way to get our city out of this crisis and to reopen our local economy.

That means introducing a national lockdown to get the virus under control. It means giving the NHS the capacity and support it needs to treat people with COVID, but also to vaccinate people from COVID.

That’s why I believe we should be vaccinating at the very least two million people a week, with the aim of doubling that figure by February”. 

On his efforts to get clarity from Government on schools closing, the Portsmouth MP added:

“With the Government losing control of the virus and being too slow to act, it was inevitable that schools would close and are now a necessary part of this national lockdown. But Ministers can’t just shut schools without a plan for what happens next. 

The government must now put in place a plan to ensure that all children have access to online learning so no child falls behind. Working parents and staff must be supported, and Portsmouth schools must reopened safely as soon as possible.

I will continue to liaise with parents and school staff over concerns and ensure their views are heard in Parliament”.

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City MP demands Health Secretary acts to protect Portsmouth as new Coronavirus variant spreads

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock with four practical steps to tackle the more virulent strain of coronavirus in the city.

The call came as Portsmouth was placed into the new Tier 4 measures on Sunday, just hours after stronger Tier 3 measures had taken effect. This was done without prior consultation with local stakeholders.

The Portsmouth South representative outlined a series of measures the city now needs, to combat the new strain of the virus, prevent frontline NHS services from being overwhelmed and support struggling local firms.

They are:

Data transparency and testing

The letter reads:

“Government must urgently publish any data it has about the threat posed to Portsmouth by the new variant of Coronavirus and undertake more sophisticated testing to track its spread within the community.”

Currently, just 5% of testing swabs undergo the genomic sequencing needed to identify the new strain.

“What are plans for mass testing in Portsmouth?” Mr Morgan writes.

Support for frontline healthcare settings

The letter reads:

“Queen Alexandra (QA) Hospital in Cosham is seeing a fresh spike of cases in recent weeks. Please urgently consider what further targeted support can be provided to frontline healthcare services in Portsmouth to prevent them becoming overwhelmed in the coming weeks, and ensure that supplies are not rationed.”

Vaccine rollout

The letter reads:

“I am proud to say QA was one of the first hospitals to begin inoculating patients, but that will not be enough. I understand there are plans to establish a regional hub to serve Portsmouth, but that the commencement date has been pushed back. I strongly urge you to keep the original date of 4 January and ensure that all Tier 4 areas are prioritised for vaccine hubs.”

Support to struggling small businesses

The letter reads:

“Many shops, leisure and beauty businesses in my constituency just getting back on their feet have had the rug pulled from under them, joining struggling restaurants and pubs already shut. Portsmouth businesses are doing the right thing and closing to keep people safe, but Government cannot keep leaving businesses in the lurch.”

This continues the local MP’s efforts to lobby the Treasury for improved support for local businesses.

Stephen Morgan MP added:

“With infections rising and our city in Tier 4, we are at an important moment in our battle against Coronavirus. It’s essential that we have the data and vaccination infrastructure necessary to combat the spread, as well as further financial support for our local traders, who will now miss out on vital Christmas revenue.

“Time is of the essence and we cannot be caught on the backfoot again. I am urging the Health Secretary to act with the speed demanded by the scale of the challenge we now face”.

The latest intervention follows a series of parliamentary questions, briefings and meetings since the Government’s announcement of Portsmouth moving up the tiered system.

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Coronavirus data published

The Department of Health and Social care has shared with me in a briefing this afternoon the five ‘metrics’ used which feeds into decision-making on tiering across the country.

These are:

  1. 7-day case rate per 100,000 population;
  2. 7-day case rate in over-60s per 100,000 population;
  3. rate at which cases are rising or falling (% week on week change on rate);
  4. positivity rate – people tested positive/people tested in a 7-day period; and;
  5. NHS pressures – admissions/hospitalisation and patients ventilated.

To view data at post code level, including a map of data here in Portsmouth visit: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk


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Portsmouth South MP calls on Health Secretary to “share data and improve testing” as new variant pushes city into Tier 4

Stephen Morgan MP has called on Government to urgently provide data about the threat posed to Portsmouth by the new variant of Coronavirus, and to undertake more sophisticated testing to track its spread within the community.

The Portsmouth South MP has also called on Ministers to consider what support they could provide local hospitals like Queen Alexandra, which has recently seen a renewed spike of cases.

The call came as Portsmouth was placed into the new Tier 4 measures on Sunday, just hours after stronger Tier 3 measures had taken effect.

Scientists have said that the new variant of coronavirus may be up to 70 per cent more transmissible than existing strains.

The prevalence of the new variant can only be identified by genomic sequencing of testing swabs. It is estimated that only 5% of swabs are currently put through this process.

Last week the MP asked a series of parliamentary questions about the prevalence of the new strain in Portsmouth and the region. To date the Government have failed to provide any answers.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Throughout this crisis the government has been two steps behind, and it is our communities and front-line workers that have paid the price.

“The new variant appears to spread the infection at a much faster rate than the original strain, posing renewed risk to our city and threatening to overwhelm local health services.

“Whilst I have asked for clarity from Ministers in Parliament on the new variant and what this will mean for our area, the answers have not been forthcoming.

“Time is of the essence, so I am today urging the Government to share data and improve testing to make sure we can quickly understand the scale of the challenge we now face, protect ourselves and our NHS. We cannot be caught on the backfoot again.

Ministers can take the British people with them on these decisions if they rebuild public confidence and are transparent about the data”.

Responding to constituent concerns, last Wednesday Stephen Morgan MP asked the following written parliamentary questions to government:

  • To ask the Secretary of State, what recent assessment he has made of the prevalence of the newly identified strain of Covid-19 (a) nationally (b) in Hampshire (c) in the Portsmouth South constituency and if he will make a statement
  • To ask the Secretary of State, if his Department will be undertaking a testing programme to identify cases of the newly identified strain of Covid-19 (a) nationally (b) in Hampshire (c) in the Portsmouth South constituency and if he will make a statement
  • To ask the Secretary of State, what assessment he has made of the impact of the newly identified strain of Covid-19 on the capacity of healthcare settings (a) nationally (b) in Hampshire (c) in the Portsmouth South constituency and if he will make a statement




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PM Statement: City MP responds over Christmas changes

Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement today (19 December 2020) of a new tier four for London and the South East, Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP said:

“The Government is yet again two steps behind, with indecision and confusion over how to limit the virus’ spread before the festive season putting our NHS at grave risk in the new year.

Whilst this week in Parliament I have been asking questions of Ministers on the new variant and what this will mean for our area, the answers have not been forthcoming. What is clear is the current tiered system is failing to stem the spread of the virus, and Ministerial inaction has led to infections out of control in certain parts of the country again.

With our area only going into tier three today, this is an incredibly serious moment for our city. Portsmouth people are understandably worried. Many of our small business owners are devastated. The Prime Minister’s latest announcement is a disappointment to us all.

We all want to spend time with family and loved ones after this awful year, but the situation has clearly taken a turn for the worse. Sadly the Government made promises it has failed to deliver and the Prime Minister’s mishandling means our city’s people and our economy will now suffer this Christmas”.

The Government has confirmed Portsmouth will go into Tier 4 at 00.01 tomorrow morning. Further information about the new tier and the implications for Portsmouth will be posted on this website in due course.



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Covid-19: Portsmouth to move to Tier 3

Responding to news Portsmouth will be moving into tier three as announced by the Health Secretary in the House of Commons today, Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP said:

“With cases up 46% in the south east, infections levels on the rise again here in our city, and the significant pressures on QA Hospital, Portsmouth will be moving to tier three at the weekend, meaning that our communities will regrettably be sitting under the toughest of conditions.

Just two weeks ago the Government mistakenly claimed they had the pandemic under control. The city council leader also wildly said Portsmouth could go into tier one.

Throughout this crisis, I have urged the government to act responsibly and with speed to take the hard decisions to control the virus. If political leaders fail to take swift and decisive action, they can no longer claim to be ‘protecting the NHS’.

Portsmouth people continue to make huge sacrifices to protect the vulnerable and save lives. Ministers must now get a grip of this virus, so that our NHS can be protected and our city’s economy recovers faster.”

Tier Three restrictions can be found here: www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-3-very-high-alert

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GPs begin offering Covid-19 vaccine

Hundreds of local vaccination services run by family doctors and their teams are opening across England this week, as the roll out of the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history gains further momentum. 

Groups of health providers are setting up local vaccination centres in villages, towns and cities covering every part of the country. Practices in more than 200 parts of the country have taken delivery of the vaccine and kicked off clinics already. More practices in more parts of the country will join on a phased basis during December and in the coming months as vaccine supply allows.

The community sites build on the work of the scores of hospital hubs which began vaccinating last week, with 90-year old Margaret Keenan receiving her first dose to become a global trailblazer in Coventry last Tuesday.

The NHS will contact people in the previously announced priority groups, over 80s and care home staff and residents, when it is their turn to receive the vaccine.

How will this week’s new Local Vaccination Services work?  

Nurses, paramedics, pharmacists and other NHS staff will work alongside GPs to vaccinate those aged 80 and over, as well as care home workers and residents, identified as priority groups for the life-saving vaccine.

Along with other countries in the UK, residents of care homes in England will also receive their first vaccine this week after distributors finalise new, stringent processes to ensure safe delivery of the PfizerBioNTech vaccine.

Like hospital staff, who launched the world-leading campaign last week, practice teams are working rapidly to redesign their sites and put in place safe processes to meet the tough logistical challenges of offering the vaccination.

The NHS will contact people in the priority groups when it is their turn to receive the vaccine.

Who will get the vaccine first?

Phased vaccine supply means the bulk of vaccination for high risk groups will inevitably take place between January and April. So great vigilance is required before then to prevent a third wave of Covid.

Patients aged 80 and above who are already attending hospital as an outpatient, and those who are being discharged home after a hospital stay, will be among the first to receive the life-saving jab. Hospitals have already begun inviting over 80s in for a jab and working with care home providers to book their staff in to vaccination clinics.

All those vaccinated will need a booster jab 21 days later.

When will NHS staff be vaccinated?

The JCVI have put patient-facing health and social care staff into the top two priority groups because of their heightened risk of exposure to the virus. So, any appointments not used for the initial groups will be used for healthcare workers who are at highest risk of serious illness from covid.

How will people know when it is their time to get the vaccine?

When it is the right time people will receive an invitation to come forward.  For most people this will be a letter, either from their GP or the national NHS.  This letter will include all the information a person will need to book appointments, including your NHS number. We are asking the public not to contact the NHS to get an appointment until you get this letter. We would be grateful if you would help us to share this message over the coming weeks

Where will people get the vaccine?

The NHS has rapidly put in place new delivery channels tailored to the particular logistical requirements of the first Covid vaccine to be approved:

  • Hospital Hubs: Dozens of NHS trusts will act as hospital hubs where patients and staff can be vaccinated on site. These hubs are where we know the Pfizer vaccine can be stored safely.
  • Local Vaccination Services: To make it as easy as possible for those who are eligible to access a vaccination safely, Local Vaccination Services will also be available, starting this week.  These community and primary care-led services will vary based on local and logistical considerations but will include GP practices, local authority sourced buildings or other local facilities and as vaccine supply increases in the New Year, local pharmacies too.
  • Vaccination Centres: The NHS will also establish vaccination centres, where large numbers of people will be able to go and get a jab.  The majority will open in the New Year when supply of the vaccine increases. They are being set up in local venues such as sports stadiums and concert venues that offer the physical space to deal with large numbers of people while maintaining social distancing.

Delivery from Hospital Hubs and Local Vaccination Services

Although the Pfizer vaccine is typically delivered by a simple injection in the shoulder it is complex to move, store and prepare. It needs to be stored at -70C before being thawed out and can only be moved four times within that cold chain beginning in Belgium before being used. So the NHS began delivery from “Hospital Hubs” and are now activating GP-led Local Vaccination Services to begin vaccinations this week. More practices in more parts of the country will join on a phased basis during December and in the coming months as vaccine supply allows.

What happens next?

The NHS will offer the vaccine to more groups of people and in more ways, like local vaccination services, but this will be a marathon over the coming months, not a sprint:

  • We will keep expanding the programme as we get more vaccines.
  • So we can go as fast as supply allows, we have been recruiting and training more vaccinators and support staff from across the NHS and outside of it.
  • All of these will be trained, assessed and supervised, just like regular NHS vaccinators.

The public can really help the NHS deliver this effectively to those who need it most. The NHS asks are: 

  • Your health service will contact you when it’s the right time to come forward so please don’t seek a vaccine before then;
  • Please act on your invite and make sure you attend your appointments when you arrange them;
  • And of course, please continue to abide by all the social distancing and hand hygiene guidance, which will still save lives.