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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.

 

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Portsmouth MP calls to end discrimination against local disabled people on International Day of Disabled Persons

Stephen Morgan MP has called for the end of the discrimination against disabled people in Portsmouth, after a recent report revealed the Government’s refusal to increase disabled people’s social security in line with Universal Credit will cost them at least £3.65m locally and almost £2bn nationally.

This comes as the City MP joins people from across the world today to mark the International Day of Disabled Persons – a United Nations initiative.

The £20 uplift in Universal Credit was not applied to Employment and Support Allowance as Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey MP said in May it may take “several months” to do.

Since then, over 3,600 ill and disabled people have not received any additional support in Stephen Morgan’s constituency.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, said,

“This pandemic has disproportionately affected the most vulnerable in our society and the same is true here in Portsmouth.

“I am seriously concerned about the government’s decision to allow this discrimination to continue on a national scale and how this will impact the more vulnerable members of our community.

“As we mark International Day of Disabled Persons, I will continue to hold the government to account on this incredibly regressive decision.”

Nationally, in the 33 weeks since the standard allowance of Universal Credit was increased, the worst affected have lost £660. In total, 1.9 million ESA claimants risk losing out on almost £2 billion.

Disabled people have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Almost three in five people who have died from Covid-19 have either been disabled or with a long-term health condition, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission reported in October that disabled people have experienced difficulties in accessing care.

Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, Marsha de Cordova MP, said:

“The government must take responsibility for its actions. They have had months to fix this issue but have chosen not to increase support for disabled people. 

 “Government should do the right thing, end this discrimination and ensure those who rely on ESA have the support they need during this crisis.” 

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Portsmouth MP encourages over-50s to take up free Government flu-jab

Stephen Morgan MP has called for over-50s in Portsmouth to enrol on the government’s recently announced free flu-jab scheme starting on 1 December, following his recent visit to a Portsdown Group Practice surgery in Portsmouth.

The Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that people aged 50-64 will be added to a list of people who are already eligible for a flu jab in England under an expanded winter vaccine scheme, which aims to combat the “twin threats” of flu and Covid-19.

Over 30 million people will be eligible for jabs making it the most comprehensive flu vaccination programme in UK history.

NHS hospitals in England during the winter period face typically higher levels of pressure compared to the rest of the year, but this year will face the added challenge of pressures on ICU beds and treatment for Covid-19 patients.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, commented:

“This year health clinics and hospitals face the additional pressure of an already difficult period of the year for public health in treatment for Covid-19 patients.

That is why it is incredibly important we do all that we can to help reduce this pressure on our NHS and health workers, and getting vaccinated for flu will go along in achieving that.”

Whilst added pressures will be particularly focused on hospitals this year, local NHS GP surgeries and clinics will play a significant role in the rollout of the government’s over-50s flu-jab programme.

Stephen Morgan MP, added:

“Local NHS practices provide an incredibly important role in local public health, and I’m really proud of the work of the Portsdown Group has done for Portsmouth on this, including Kingston Crescent Surgery.”

You can find out more about the government’s free winter flu-jab programme by visiting its website

 

 

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“The pandemic has shown just how valuable and loved NHS nurses are. They deserve a pay rise”

Since being elected as MP, Stephen Morgan has been standing up for public sector workers calling to scrap the cap, and pay those who serve our communities properly and fairly.

Responding to the Royal College of Nursing’s new campaign the Portsmouth South representative said:

“As an RCN champion I obviously support calls for the Government to make an immediate commitment to pay talks and to recognise and reward all NHS workers with a guarantee of a decent pay rise.

Health and care workers have been at the heart of the fight against coronavirus, working day and night to protect the NHS and save lives. They do so much to make our health service one to be proud of and they deserve our respect, admiration and full support.

Despite the brilliant efforts of staff, I am concerned that a decade of pay restraint and a lack of investment in the workforce has resulted in more than 100,000 vacancies across the health service, which includes more than 43,000 nurse vacancies.

In July, NHS England published its People Plan for 2020/21 which sets out actions to grow the workforce. While the plan contains some worthy commitments on staff wellbeing, I am concerned that without additional funding staff will continue to be overstretched and overworked. The Government had promised a full five-year People Plan with detailed, costed action. I believe this plan falls way short of that.

Ministers have said that decisions on pay for nursing staff are not due to be reviewed until 2021 when the current pay deal ends. However, I believe it is important to show our NHS staff the same commitment they have shown our country during the coronavirus emergency.

The pandemic has shown just how valuable and loved NHS nurses are. Ahead of the next Spending Review, I believe the Government must commit to the pay talks that NHS workers deserve, and put together a proper solution for recruitment and retention.

As we know, valuing our NHS workforce through fair pay and conditions is crucial to tackling vacancies. I firmly believe that any new deal for nurses and wider NHS staff must be agreed as soon as possible, in recognition of their bravery and the sacrifices they have made during the pandemic”.

The city MP has vowed to continue to put pressure on Ministers to act on pay and bring certainty to those who serve our city’s communities in the nursing profession.

 

 

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Portsmouth MP backs campaign for safe social care visits

Stephen Morgan MP is backing a campaign launched by The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) which is calling on the Government to categorise social workers as professional visitors.

The campaign has also called for the government to facilitate regular COVID-19 testing to give social workers access to people in care and health settings that they are there to support and safeguard.

Social workers undertake statutory and non-statutory duties on behalf of local authorities and the NHS including undertaking risk assessments, early intervention, and being a key advocate on behalf of people and families.

If social workers do not have access to people in care and health settings that they are there to protect the human rights of, this could result in needs being missed and the rights of people receiving care being lost.

BASW are also calling for routine tests for designated family members to be introduced to address the concern that the mental wellbeing of care residents is being severely impacted by not being able to see loved ones.

Speaking in support of the campaign, the Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South said:

“The campaign to facilitate regular testing of social workers and loved ones is one rooted in common sense and puts the welfare of those in receipt of residential care at the heart of social policy.

“Social workers in Portsmouth play an integral role in protecting the rights and wellbeing of people who live in care settings, and all measures should be taken to ensure that they have physical access to those in their care.

“People who live in care and health settings in our city need human contact with their loved ones, and we cannot disregard this human need. Instead we should take all measures to make sure this can be carried out safely.”

 

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“What we learnt from the first wave of this virus is that if you don’t act early and decisively, the cost will be far worse”

Responding to the Prime Minister’s statement in the House of Commons ahead of a second national lockdown, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“What we learnt from the first wave of this virus is that if you don’t act early and decisively, the cost will be far worse.

More people will lose their jobs, more businesses will be forced to close and tragically, more people will lose their loved ones.

The Prime Minister and the Chancellor failed to learn this lesson.

As a result, this second lockdown will be longer than it needed to be, it will be harder and the human cost will be higher.

The Government must use this time to finally fix test and trace, address the gaping holes in support for the self-employed and help small businesses through this crisis.

I will continue to lobby on behalf of Portsmouth so that all constituents are protected and kept safe”.

The Portsmouth South representative has vowed to take forward constituent concerns raised with him in recent days including access to gyms and sport facilities, support to independent shops and pubs, and ensuring the most vulnerable are protected.

 

 

 

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Portsmouth MP reacts to PM’s national lockdown announcement

Reacting to news from the Prime Minister that the Government has decided Britain should go into another national lockdown until at least 2 December 2020, Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP said:

“The Government has been too slow to act the whole way through this crisis whether on health or on jobs, and it’s the British people that are suffering.

Now we will have a much harder lockdown again, Ministers must use this time to fix testing and tracing and set out a proper plan so Government doesn’t keep repeating the same mistakes again.
I know many in our city will feel miserable about this latest announcement by the Prime Minister and it’s consequences for their family, friends and community. Our local businesses have been struggling to keep people in work and customers served. It’s the same story up and down the country.

By working together here in Portsmouth we can, and we will, get through this, push down infections, and save lives”.

Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party said:

“Everybody is concerned about the rise in infections, hospital admissions and – tragically – the number of deaths.
That’s why three weeks ago, Labour called for a circuit breaker in England, in line with SAGE’s recommendation to bring infections down. The Government completely rejected that, only to now announce the same thing.
That delay in introducing restrictions will come at an economic cost and a human cost.
I’m glad that the Government has finally taken this decision – but it should have done so weeks ago.”
The restrictions proposed include:
  • People will be told to stay at home except for education, work (if it can’t be done from home), exercise and recreation, medical reasons, shopping for food and other essentials, or to care for others
  • All pubs and restaurants will have to close (non-alcohol takeaways and deliveries can continue)
  • All non-essential shops will have to close (supermarkets can sell non-essential goods)
  • Households will not be allowed to mix with others indoors, or in private gardens
  • Individuals can meet one person from outside their household in an outside public space
  • Support bubbles for people who live alone and households made up of single parents and children can continue
  • Children will be able to move between homes if their parents are separated
  • Schools, colleges and universities will remain open
  • Workplaces will be asked to stay open if people cannot work from home – including construction and manufacturing
  • Outdoor exercise and recreation will be allowed, but gyms will have to close
  • Clinically vulnerable advised not to go to work if they are unable to work from home

After 2 December, different regions will return to the tiers one to three, depending upon the rates of infection.

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Have your say on Covid-19 testing 

News reports from across the country are increasingly identifying the problems with the Government’s Covid-19 testing arrangements with ill people struggling to access a test or told to travel miles and miles. 

Stephen Morgan MP is calling on Ministers to urgently fix and expand testing systems, ensure contract tracing is improved and delivered by Public Health, and support is given to those who need to isolate in our city. 

As more and more people get in touch about the Government’s handling of the testing system, Stephen is keen to hear from constituents about their experiences so he can continue to lobby Ministers for urgent improvements. 

Please use this short form to have your say. 

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