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Stephen Morgan MP addresses constituents in letter on Covid-19

Dear constituent

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, as an infectious disease, is currently experiencing a global outbreak. We have all seen the media reports from China, Iran, and Italy, and many countries are now reporting cases. Here in the UK, the number of reported cases is rising every day.

Fortunately, the vast majority of people who catch the virus will only ever suffer from a mild-to-moderate illness with similar symptoms to the flu. But it is older people and those with pre-existing health conditions to whom the risks associated with contracting Coronavirus are greater.

Understandably concern is growing, including here in Portsmouth. There have been reports of people buying essential hygiene products such as hand sanitiser, soap, and toilet paper off the shelves. Panic is understandable in the face of the unknown.

The British Retail Consortium has advised against stockpiling, especially food items. They are working hard to ensure that supply chains are maintained during the Coronavirus outbreak, meaning that people have no need to worry about item shortages if stockpiling ceases.

Public Health England has said that the best way you can keep yourself, your loved ones and everyone else around you safe is to frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. And of course, maintenance of good general hygiene is encouraged.

Whilst it’s unclear how things are going to develop over the coming weeks and months, or the impact it could have on our freedoms, our city’s economy or on our public services, I encourage calm. Many of us are going to be absolutely fine even under the Government’s worst-case scenario.

I would, however, urge that we take care of our city’s oldest and most vulnerable; something that’s not a bad habit to get into anyway. Official advice from the NHS can be found at www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

I want constituents in Portsmouth to be reassured that measures are being put in place to prevent the spread of the virus where possible. I will keep raising our views and concerns in Parliament and work hard so that the services we all rely on, have the resources they need to keep us safe.

 

Stephen Morgan MP

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“Let’s make cycling easier and accessible to all” vows Portsmouth MP after teaming up with Brompton Bike Hire

City MP Stephen Morgan is taking action to make it cheaper and easier to get around Portsmouth by bike. He is working with others including Brompton Bike Hire to set the wheels turning.

The action follows meetings with Brompton representatives in Portsmouth in a bid to encourage the city council to do more to encourage active travel to tackle the climate crisis.

After direct discussions with the Portsmouth Cycle Forum and Brompton, the Portsmouth South MP has now written to the local authority to urge them to retain the current Brompton Cycle Hire Hub based at Portsmouth Harbour, encourage new sites for the hire scheme across the city centre and enable people on low incomes to access the bikes to get round the city.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“People have told me they want to get out on the bike more but either can’t afford it, don’t know enough about how to get involved or don’t feel safe. If we are going to tackle climate change and air pollution crisis, this needs to change.

The council working in partnership more with Brompton Bike Hire and locating additional hubs across our city’s communities will help people get moving in a greener way, and in turn make Portsmouth less polluted.

That is why I am continuing to lobby hard for a greater presence of the Brompton Hire Scheme here in Portsmouth.

I’ve long argued the council need to do more to encourage cycling and make it easier for people to get on a bike. This is an off the shelf solution ready to go”.

Julian Scriven, Managing Director of Brompton Bike Hire said:

“Brompton is committed to changing the way people move around cities.

We are delighted Stephen Morgan MP shares this vision and is demonstrating a real drive at both a local and national level to promote active travel”.

First installed in other parts of the country in April 2011, Brompton Bike Hire was created to address the clear need for a cycle hire scheme that is accessible to all, easy and cheap to install and run and economical to use.

 

The British company expanded rapidly across the UK including to Portsmouth, first providing a facility at the city’s park and ride station, then moving it to Portsmouth Habour station.

A focus of Mr Morgan’s action is helping people on low incomes to access a bike hire scheme. On this he added:

“Cycling should be for the many not just the privileged or brave. Following discussions with Brompton on their recent visit to Portsmouth I am delighted that they are willing to partner with housing associations and the council to offer free membership to those in social and affordable housing.

I will be continuing to work with local campaigners to lobby for more hubs to be put in areas of the city where they are most needed.

I have put this offer to the city council to help Portsmouth people. I look forward to a positive response to improve the assets available across all our communities.”

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Guidance on Coronavirus

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.

Stephen Morgan MP has taken action to support constituents by asking government questions in parliament, meeting with Portsmouth Hospital Trusts Chief Executive and attending statements and meetings in parliament to ensure public services are prepared.

How to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus

Do

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds

  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work

  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available

  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze

  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterward

  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell

Don’t

  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

If you have symptoms of coronavirus, call 111.

You can see what Portsmouth City Council has said here:  https://www.portsmouth.gov.uk/ext/news/coronavirus-covid-19

Government recently moved from the ‘containment’ to the ‘delay’ phase. You can find out more about this here: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

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Portsmouth MP urges patients to tell him concerns over local GP services

Following more and more people raising with the Portsmouth South MP concerns over access to local health services such as their GP, Stephen Morgan has set up a constituency-wide survey for constituents to have their say.

Prompted by a spate of proposed closures to local GP practices, Mr Morgan is taking further action to help protect local provision and raise awareness of the Portsmouth issue in Parliament.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“We’ve already lost just over 1,600 full time GPs under this Government. That’s not good for you, for your family, or for Portsmouth. We need more nurses and doctors to help give patients the care they need.

We all know how difficult it is already to get a GP appointment, trying to get through on the phone and then forced to wait weeks to see a family doctor.

Cuts and other challenges mean a number of GP practices in Portsmouth have  closed down whilst others consider merging with different surgeries, including my own.

That’s why I back calls to put investment back into our NHS, expanding GP training places by 5,000 a year, and building up the workforce so that we can have 27 million extra GP appointments there for you when you need it.

A simple online survey has been set up for constituents to have their say by answering the questions on the MP’s website. Constituents are also encouraged to make contact with Mr Morgan in the usual way with ideas and views.”

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has suggested that blame lies with government over the current emergency. GP partners taking on roles in surgeries fell from 24,521 to 21,161 and 68% of GPs in England have struggled to recruit new doctors to their practices.

The Portsmouth South MP added:

“As your MP I’ve been taking action listening to views, sharing concerns with decision makers, meeting key groups and lobbying Ministers to end the GP crisis, invest in our NHS and restore local services.

To carry on this vital I need to hear from you about the challenges in accessing local NHS services. Please complete my simple survey so that I can take concerns directly to Government and help me to protect Portsmouth’s health services we all rely on”.

The survey can be found at www.stephenmorgan.org.uk/gp-survey and takes just two minutes to complete.

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Keir Starmer joins Stephen Morgan in backing Portsmouth’s green initiatives

Stephen Morgan MP hosted Labour leadership front-runner Keir Starmer in Portsmouth to broadcast the benefits of active travel in tackling climate change.

Joined by senior Brompton representatives, the two parliamentarians spent time at the Cycle Hire Hub at Portsmouth Harbour Station.

The current air pollution crisis in Portsmouth, need for more government investment in active travel infrastructure, and Labour’s plan for a greener future were discussed.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Key to tackling climate change is ensuring people have the tools to make changes to their everyday routine. Active travel is a major part of that.

In Portsmouth we face some of the worst air pollution rates in the country. Children choking on fumes is not what this city deserves.

That is why I support Brompton’s Cycle Hire Hub, which makes green commuting easier and takes polluting vehicles off our roads.

Keir’s support for this initiative coupled with his pledge to put the Green New Deal at the heart of everything Labour does, secure him as the only Labour candidate able to bring radical solutions to the climate problem.”

Keir Starmer MP said:

“The recent extreme weather is further evidence that we are living through a climate emergency.

“It is fantastic that Stephen has shown leadership in Portsmouth on this issue by backing Brompton’s bike scheme, organising community events and leading the charge to declaring a climate emergency in the city.

“If elected Labour leader, I would support a Green New Deal and also a Clean Air Act – to ensure that dangerous levels of air pollution are tackled.”

Julian Scriven, Managing Director of Brompton Bike Hire said:

“Brompton is committed  to changing the way people move around cities. We are delighted that both Stephen Morgan MP and Sir Kier Starmer MP share this vision and are demonstrating a real drive at both a local and national level to promote active travel”.

Stephen Morgan MP has a record of delivery when it comes to tackling climate change. From leading the Labour Group locally in declaring a climate emergency and orchestrating major Portsmouth events to voting in favour of legislation In the House of Commons, he has shown leadership from Portsmouth to parliament.

 Keir Starmer and the city MP were joined by a number of Labour councillors and campaigners for more ambitious action by the council to tackle the climate crisis.

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City MP hits ground running with social enterprise GoodGym

Stephen Morgan MP praises work of city volunteers as he combined running shoes with a litter picker and joined local GoodGym representatives in Portsmouth.

The socially motivated running club, formed nearly two years ago in Portsmouth, seeks to combine fitness with community work.

Mr Morgan this weekend joined local volunteers removing litter from Portsmouth’s roadsides and pathways as part of the project based out of Fratton Community Centre.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“This community of runners, motivated by improving their local area, are doing outstanding work from reducing social isolation to keeping the area clean.

Their vision to keep the community fit while also improving Portsmouth is the pioneering spirit that this city needs.

I have had the opportunity to see first-hand the work of GoodGym and encourage others to get involved. Especially in community projects aiming to improve the wellbeing of our older community members.”

GoodGym currently operates in 57 areas and has proposals to start in 82 other places.

There are variations of run offered tailored to which kind of community action members want to take. ‘Mission Runs’ aim to help older community members with one off tasks, ‘Coach Runs’ are regular and will see a member meeting an isolated older person and ‘Group Runs’ help with community projects.

The Portsmouth South representative added:

“I look forward to continuing to spend time with other community members and the GoodGym team, keeping fit and making a difference.

I hope to see more people joining the movement and encourage people to pick up their running shoes and litter picker and head on down to the next event.”

To join GoodGym and find out more about their events in Portsmouth, please visit: https://www.goodgym.org/areas/portsmouth

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City MP praises NHS staff as QA rated “good”

Stephen Morgan MP has praised the efforts of local NHS staff in an open letter sent out today. The MP’s action follows today’s announcement by regulator, Quality Care Commission (CQC), that the hospital has been awarded a ‘good’ rating.

A team of CQC inspectors visited the hospital in October and November 2019. Upon inspecting the quality of care being provided, the overall rating of the trust has improved from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“It is the staff at QA hospital who are the driving force behind recent improvements. Their dedication and relentless work ethic make a difference where it matters, on the front line of care giving.

Hospital staff often see us at our most vulnerable and when we are most in need of care, today’s announcement will reassure all QA users that they are in safe hands.

I know I speak for many within the city when I convey my appreciation and thanks to QA staff for the improvements made and look forward to seeing further progress in the future”.

CQC inspected five core services and leadership at the trust. Ratings for medical care and surgery had both improved overall and are now rated good, outpatients remains rated good overall.

Catherine Campbell, CQC’s Head of Hospital Inspection for the South East said: 

“Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust has made improvements since our last inspection. Overall, the trust has improved from requires improvement to good which is great news for people using these services.

Our inspectors found that the culture within the trust had improved and patients benefited from more coordinated care with local organisations. We found that care was inclusive, and staff supported people’s needs and preferences.

All the staff at Portsmouth should be proud of the positive progress that’s been made.”

Mr Morgan’s letter sent out today follows recent action taken over QA Hospital. The city MP helped to secure £58 m for the hospital trust through lobbying efforts, hosted the Shadow Health Secretary at the hospital, nominated a QA staff member for a national award during the 70th anniversary of the NHS and has spent time walking wards with staff. 

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“Nothing short of a crisis” –Stephen Morgan MP on the growing General Practice emergency

Stephen Morgan MP responds to national research by Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) on changes over investment, recruitment, and access to primary care.

Since 2009, the number of full-time equivalent GPs per 100,000 people has fallen year on year. All the while demand is increasing with people living longer and with multiple complex conditions.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Under this Government, we have seen General Practice partners taking on roles in surgeries drastically fall from 24,521 to 21,161 and we know that 68% of GPs in England have struggled to recruit new doctors to their practices, according to the Royal College of General Practitioners.

Behind these troubling statistics are real stories of people waiting longer to have serious conditions diagnosed and people in pain missing out on referrals. The Government has failed.

These are affects I have seen first-hand in Portsmouth South with the imminent closure of Hanway Medical Centre. The NHS is a cornerstone of what makes this nation great. I will continue to take action so that the Government invests and improves access to local NHS services”.

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP)has pressed Ministers this week for the need for urgent action. It has warned that unless effective measures are put in place, more GPs will leave the profession, exacerbating the issue.

On a solution to the problem, Mr Morgan has outlined what needs to be done:

Central to solving this crisis is holding the Government to account over their actions.

We cannot allow Ministers to shirk responsibility for training, recruiting and retaining NHS staff. The responsibility lies at their feet. This means educating and training staff, which the RCGP has suggested needs to be around 5000 and making changes to the unmanageable workload of GPs.

By the end of 2020, there needs to be comprehensive Government plans to expand and improve GP services. I will be keeping a close eye on Government and doing everything in my power to ensure they reach this essential target.

I have already submitted questions directly to the Secretary of State on this matter and will not stand idly by while GPs practices, the vital lifelines in our community, are ripped out.“

The city MP has been taking action both nationally and locally on this matter through raising questions in parliament, visiting practices at risk of closure, spending time with constituents affected and putting pressure on the Secretary of State.

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City MP delivers cutting scrutiny of Government’s children’s care record from dispatch box

Shadow Communities Minister, Stephen Morgan MP, has grilled the Housing and Communities Secretary over the soaring numbers of children in care being housed in illegal or unregulated care homes.

Mr Morgan’s action in parliament from the front-benches follows official figures revealing at least 23 local authorities over a three-month period handed children over to care providers deemed ‘unsuitable’ and falling far short of the mark. These providers had not been assessed by Ofsted.

The Shadow Minister said:

“This Government’s reckless neglect and cuts to local authorities coupled with soaring rates of young people requiring care is putting unprecedented strain on the system.

More and more vulnerable young people being housed in illegal, unsuitable or inadequate housing miles away from their schools and friends.

With local authorities having 60 pence out of every pound slashed from their budgets and 20,000 more young people in care since the Tories came to power, the responsibility inextricably lies at the feet of Government.”

Research conducted by The Guardian found the number of times children were housed in unregulated accommodation – which means they faced no checks by Ofsted, which typically inspects homes – rose by 22% between 2016-17 and 2018-19.

The number of times children were placed in unregistered homes rose from 129 to 212 in the same period.

Stephen Morgan MP added:

The police, charities and children’s commissioner have issued stark warnings that the current situation is leaving children in our communities open to exploitation from predators and drug gangs.

One child being in an unregulated care placement is an outrage, the current situation is a stain on our society.

I am a firm believer that a society is judged by the way in which vulnerable people are supported, by that criteria the Government is catastrophically failing. I will be using my position on the front benches to hold them to account over their shoddy record.”

Despite joining the front benches back in July, this is the first time Stephen Morgan MP has had the opportunity to speak at the Dispatch Box.

The government has canceled two sets of Housing, Communities and Local Government questions along with two debates on children’s services; this has prompted criticism from MPs and organisations over their attitudes to the current crisis in the sector.

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City MP takes further action as patient access to GP services hits crisis point

In the latest of a string of measures taken over local GP access in Portsmouth, Stephen Morgan MP has written a stinging letter to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care urging action over the imminent closure of Hanway Medical Centre.

Hanway Medical Centre in Buckland is set to merge with the Portsdown Group Practice which could leave many within the Charles Dickens area of the city without local access to vital NHS services.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Charles Dickens, in the heart of our city, deserves better than to lose one of its vital GP services.

Today, as part of wider efforts to preserve Hanway Medical Centre, I have written to the Health Secretary to demand urgent measures are taken by Government.

This is a crisis of their own making and I will not stand idly by while Portsmouth people are left without access to essential services.”

The practice which currently provides services for over 14,000 people in Portsmouth, has been put at risk due to issues with recruitment at partner level.

For some time, Mr Morgan has been taking action to highlight local problems with access to NHS services.

The Portsmouth South representative said:

“I have written to the Clinical Commissioning Group outlining the importance of the practice, submitted a Freedom of Information request in a bid to get to the bottom of the issue, raised parliamentary written questions directly with the Health Department, met with those affected, held discussions with the pharmacy in close proximity and now I have written to the Secretary of State.

My support for equal and fair access to medical services is unwavering. I will continue to take action both locally and nationally in Westminster as long members of our community’s access to services hangs in the balance.”

As well as raising these matters directly with the Secretary of State and other bodies, Mr Morgan has written out to hundreds of affected residents seeking their views and concerns on the matter. The city MP has urged those affected to get in contact and share their experiences so that they can have a voice in future discussions.