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City MP votes against rise in National Insurance from working families

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has voted against Conservative moves to raise National Insurance by 1.25% for working families and businesses, slamming the government for “placing an enormous burden on hard working people”.

The party have strongly opposed the unfair jobs tax saying that it is the biggest rise in taxes on families for over 50 years, and the third tax rise in recent months from the Conservatives, following rises in council tax and personal allowances – and they slammed the fact the jobs tax still doesn’t prevent people having to sell their home to receive care.

Mr Morgan made it clear that under a Labour government, the wealthiest would be asked to contribute more, that any changes should be fair across generations, and that all forms of income are considered – including those with large portfolios of shares, dividends and property.

He also made it clear that, unlike the Tories, Labour would deal with both cash and care by:

  • Giving older and disabled people the chance to live the life they choose, shifting the focus of support towards prevention and early help.
  • A guiding principle of ‘home first’ – because that’s what the overwhelming majority of people want; and
  • Building a strong and skilled social care workforce, with a new deal for care workers to create a well-motivated, skilled and properly rewarded workforce, with more support for unpaid carers.

Since being elected, the local MP has made social care a priority. In May he wrote to the Prime Minister to demand Boris Johnson set out his long-awaited plan. He has since set-up a City-wide survey and is hosting round tables with service providers and care users this week to determine what practical actions can be taken immediately to improve local services.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“This manifesto-breaking, unfair tax on jobs is not the way to fix the social care crisis,

“This is a tax rise that means a landlord renting out dozens of properties in Portsmouth wouldn’t pay a penny more, but their tenants working full time jobs would.

“It’s a tax rise that means a poorly paid care worker in our City will pay more tax for the care they are providing without a penny more in their pay packet.

“Labour wants to tackle the social care crisis – we’ve started to set out our ambitious plans and offered to work with government to fix this now – but the lack of any real plan and taxing working families and businesses is just not the way to do it.”

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Reactive statement to social care reform proposals – Stephen Morgan MP

Responding to the government’s announcement on funding for social care today, the member of parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“The social care system is in crisis, but the government’s manifesto breaking proposals to fund its reforms would hit working people hardest, particularly low earners, young people and businesses still recovering from the impacts of the pandemic.

“The fairest way to pay for social care is through progressive taxation, not a rise to national insurance that is not only morally backward, but economically too.

“I have written to the Prime Minister, launched a city-wide survey and hosted a local meeting with the Shadow Minister responsible on this issue. I am also currently holding roundtable meetings with care providers and service users and I will continue to ensure the government produces the comprehensive response this crisis demands.

“Portsmouth and the wider country have for too long needed a clear and long-term plan that is serious about fixing the social care crisis quickly, not one that kicks the can down the road.”

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Stephen Morgan MP raises concerns over access to city’s healthcare following survey  

Stephen Morgan MP has once again raised concerns that a worrying number of people in Portsmouth are not getting access to GP care when they need it, following a new survey being published. 

 

Responses to the GP patient survey showed that 14.9% of patients surveyed in Portsmouth said they ‘did not find it easy to get through to their GP practice on the telephone’, and 17% of patients either ‘were not given an appointment or were unable to take up the appointment they were offered’. In addition, 6.4% in Portsmouth said it was ‘not easy to use their practice’s website’ to access information they needed.

  

The most deprived areas in the country have poorer access to healthcare and poorer health. The poorest areas have fewer GPs per head, and nationally, GPs working in the most-deprived areas of England get 7 per cent less funding per patient than those in more affluent areas. Men living in the least deprived communities can expect to live 9.4 years longer than those in the most deprived, with the gap around 7.4 years for women.

 

These figures reflect increasing concerns being raised by constituents in the city MP’s postbag which is why he has lobbied the Health Secretary to tackle the issue, written to the local decision-makers and has vowed to take further action when Parliament returns. 

 

According to latest data, 5.5 million people are currently on waiting lists for vital medical treatment – with numbers at a record high for three consecutive months.

 

Labour says the Government’s Health and Care Bill does nothing to tackle waiting times or improve access to healthcare in communities that need it, including in Portsmouth. 

 

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

“It’s really concerning that patients in Portsmouth are struggling to see their GP and get the care and information that they need. 

 

“Primary care is essential to keeping people in Portsmouth healthy and patients must be put first. 

“Government need to ensure that local GP services are accessible to all in our community and are properly resourced, so that everyone is able to see a doctor when they need to. 

“I will continue to take action on our city’s concerns by raising these matters with Ministers”.

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth MP said:

“It’s unacceptable that patients are unable to see their GP particularly in poorer areas thanks to years of Tory underfunding and cuts. 

 

“Instead of investing sufficiently in general practice, Sajid Javid is embarking on a top-down reorganisation of the NHS that imposes a tight financial straight jacket on local areas while side-lining family doctors.

 

“Ministers should put patients first, and expand access to health care to bring waiting lists down rather than a distracting NHS restructuring.”

Mr Morgan has previously demanded the government ‘cuts the rhetoric’ and supports the NHS after research from his office showed the number of people waiting for treatment in Portsmouth had continued to rise.

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Statement from Stephen Morgan MP: Vaccine Passports

In recent days, many of you have been in touch regarding my position on the implementation of ‘Vaccine Passports’.

It is important that we look at the detail of what the Government puts forward regarding vaccine passports, but Labour has been clear that the use of Covid vaccination status alone will exclude those who can’t be vaccinated or haven’t had the jab because of delays.

Being double jabbed doesn’t prove you aren’t carrying the virus and I believe testing for access to venues would be more efficient.

Throughout the pandemic, the Government has chopped and changed its advice, making it impossible for people, sports clubs and businesses to plan.

Take Portsmouth FC for example. To insist on the use of vaccine passports less than a month before the start of the season would cause major disruption to clubs like ours across the country.

We all want to open our city and the wider economy as quickly as possible and Labour will study the government’s proposals carefully, but they must follow the science, be pragmatic and ensure no one is excluded where it is reasonably avoidable.

Stephen Morgan MP

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Stephen Morgan visits Fratton Park to urge Portsmouth people to ‘play their part’ in getting jab

Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan has today urged anyone in the city aged 18 years and over to ‘play their part’ and take up the vaccine following a visit to pop up vaccination clinic at Fratton Park this weekend.

The clinic which was ran by Solent NHS Trust, in partnership with Portsmouth FC and Portsmouth City Council, is part of a wider effort to ensure everyone who is eligible has access to the vaccination.

Individuals were able to get their first or second dose (if it has been eight weeks since their first dose) of the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine. Second doses of the Moderna vaccine are also being offered at St James’ Hospital.

Following the visit to Fratton Park today (Sunday 25 July), to encourage take up, Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South said:

“In the UK only 58% of people aged 18-25 have had their first dose according to new Public Health England data, despite all adults having been offered the jab.

I welcome the efforts of Solent NHS Trust, the city council and others working together to make it as easy as possible for local people to take the vaccination. It has been great to see this first hand at Fratton Park today, and I thank the football club for helping our community in this way.

It is clear that the vaccination programme is our best route out of the challenges we face today, so my message to those who are yet to take up the vaccine offer is simple: To protect you, your loved ones and your friends, please play your part and get the jab”.

Stephanie Clark, Portsmouth vaccination lead at Solent NHS Trust, said:

“We are delighted to be offering Covid-19 vaccinations at pop-up clinics around the city.

“It’s important that we offer as many people the opportunity to receive their life-saving jabs and we hope that by hosting these clinics in iconic locations across Portsmouth, including Fratton Park, that even more people will come forward for their vaccine.”

Anna Mitchell, chief commercial officer at Portsmouth FC, said:

“We are delighted to be able to host and support the national vaccination programme in partnership with the Solent NHS Trust.

“It is so important that fans and members of our local community take up the opportunity to be vaccinated to protect each other and welcome fans back to Fratton Park safely.”

As of July 18, 141,985 adults in Portsmouth have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination and 105,933 have received their second. This equates to 74.8 per cent and 55.8 per cent of the adult population respectively.

More walk-in clinics are being offered throughout Portsmouth to make it easier for people to get their vaccination. This week, walk-in clinics are available at St James’ Hospital, Locksway Road: 8am-7.30pm – daily (first and second dose AstraZeneca and Moderna)

See a full list of walk-in clinics available throughout the region on the Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight CCG website.

If you are unable to attend any of the walk-in clinics but would still like your vaccination, you can use the national booking system to book an appointment. Please visit the NHS website or call 119.

 

 

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Portsmouth MP writes to local CCG to raise concerns about GP take overs

Stephen Morgan MP has written to NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group to raise concerns about the takeover of GP services.

Across the UK, 70 GP services have been taken over by the American healthcare organisation Centene, making them the largest provider of NHS Primary Care services in the UK, raising concerns that the company is profiting from providing NHS services.

In the Portsmouth representative’s letter, he underlined a wide range of reasons for why the company would not be fit to provide local health services, including how in 2018, “the company was implicated in the profit-motivated closure of Osler House GP surgery in Harlow, Essex.”

He also said that “Centene Corporation has a long record of fraud” and that it “has had to pay over $800 million in penalties since 2000 for 170 different fraud offenses.”

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

“I’m hearing more and more from constituents about the challenge of seeing their GP and the time it takes to receive the care they need, which is why it is a priority of mine to tackle this in Portsmouth.

“What we are also seeing elsewhere in the country is worrying. Letting private companies increase their profits will harm patients, families, and our local area.

“That is why I have written to our local CCG to ask them that patients, families, and our local area are put first, and will continue to raise our city’s concerns in Parliament”.

 

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Portsmouth MP demands government ‘cuts the rhetoric’ after failing to tackle local waiting times on week of NHS 73rd birthday

Stephen Morgan MP has demanded the government ‘cuts the rhetoric’ and support the NHS after new research shows the number of people waiting for treatment continues to rise.

Research from the Office of Stephen Morgan MP has shown that 37.3% of patients of Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust are waiting more than the recommended maximum of 18 weeks for treatment.

Meanwhile, 37,145 are currently awaiting treatment from QA Hospital, up from 35,948 patients in April, according to the latest data from NHS England.

The research comes as this week the Official Opposition, including the Portsmouth representative, pushed Ministers for an NHS recovery plan that would include action to bring down waiting lists.

On the 73rd anniversary of the creation of the NHS, Labour MPs highlighted the scandal of over 5 million people now on the waiting list for NHS treatment, and pointed to the shocking failure that left the NHS struggling with growing waiting lists, high staff vacancies, crumbling NHS buildings and without the diagnostic machines needed to cope with demand.

Labour demanded:

  • A quarterly plan from ministers on action being taken to bring down waiting lists and to meet national waiting times standards
  • A NHS rescue plan to ensure the NHS has the staff and modern equipment to deliver the cancer care, surgery and mental health care patients deserve.
  • A commitment to strengthen the NHS constitution to eliminate waits over 52-weeks and offer a cast iron guarantee
  • A fair pay rise for NHS staff

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

“Over a decade of underfunding our NHS has left constituents in Portsmouth waiting too long for treatment.

“73 years ago, a Labour Government created the NHS. The introduction of the NHS completely transformed people’s lives, giving access to world-class healthcare to all, regardless of their ability to pay.

“11 years of Tory Government has seen waiting lists rise to their highest on record, beds cut and thousands of vacancies leaving NHS staff exhausted and overstretched. We thank the phenomenal NHS staff who have delivered lifesaving work, even in the toughest times.

“Which is why, this week, we celebrate Labour’s creation of the NHS but we also campaign for a NHS rescue plan, to bring down the spiralling waiting lists, ensure more people can access cancer treatment sooner and ensure people receive the cancer care they need. Ignoring the crisis now facing our NHS puts patients’ lives at risk.”

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary said:

“For eleven years the Tories underfunded the NHS and cut health care services. We entered the pandemic with a weakened NHS with growing waiting list, less beds and desperately short of staff. 

“Today treatment lists are sky high and people are left anxiously waiting longer for cancer care putting lives at risk.

“Labour is demanding Boris Johnson now develop a fully funded health and care rescue plan to give patients in Portsmouth the quality care they deserve.”

Mr Morgan called on the Health Secretary back in April for failing to pay Portsmouth NHS staff a ‘fair wage’. He also wrote to the government for a fair NHS staff pay rise in March after it was revealed 300,000 staff worked unpaid hours in the past year, as well as liaising with local nursing representatives in Portsmouth and argued for a pay increase in the House of Commons budget debate.

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Covid: Lifting of lockdown restrictions

Responding to the Government’s announcement on the lifting of lockdown restrictions from 19 July. Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

“The people of Portsmouth have done their bit by observing restrictions and getting vaccinated. This is now a test of the government’s leadership and Ministers must clearly set out how they will protect our city as we learn to live with the virus.

“A wholesale bonfire of safety measures is not a necessary or safe approach in view of the continued rise in case numbers. While we have broken the link between cases and deaths, the virus has not simply disappeared and we have seen time and again how throwing caution to the wind can cost lives and livelihoods in the longer term.

“Those who have had two doses of the vaccine should be able to expect less disruption to their day-to-day lives and vaccination status should play a role in the need to isolate. We also need to see improved sick pay, local contact tracing, continued mask-wearing in crowded spaces, ventilation and support for children to prevent serious illness.

“The government must provide the clarity and confidence our City needs to return to normal life safely, and we must never again reach a position where national restrictions are necessary.”

 

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City MP challenges new Health Secretary on Portsmouth Dentistry and GP provision

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has written an open letter to new health Secretary Sajid Javid to raise ongoing concerns around NHS GP and dentistry provision.

In the letter, Mr Morgan said: “The inevitable backlog of non-Covid appointments are placing an understandable strain on services, but the closure of several practices in the last few years means staff are increasingly having to do more, with less.”

He highlighted that the closure of the Guildhall Walk Practice later this year was likely to increase pressure on Southsea Medical Centre, Somerstown and the University Surgery.

He also highlighted the persistent challenges Portsmouth people are facing in accessing dental treatment, citing shocking local statistics.

The letter reads: “Figures from NHS Digital suggest only 39% of adults in Portsmouth had seen an NHS dentist in the 2 years up to 31 December 2020, compared to 45% across England. Just 26% of Portsmouth children have seen an NHS dentist in the last 12 months, compared to a national figure of 30%, despite those appointments being free on the NHS.”

The letter is the latest in a string of actions the City MP has taken locally and in Parliament on these issues.

In January this year, Stephen warned Health Ministers of a crisis in NHS dentistry in a speech in the House of Commons and called on the government to drop damaging activity targets.

The same month saw him host a summit with local dentists, the Chair of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Dental Committee and Portsmouth Healthwatch, to hear directly from practitioners and patients.

Stephen Morgan MP added:

“GP and dental services are the backbone of preventative public healthcare and this must be a priority as we emerge from the pandemic.

“Yet too many are struggling to find appointments and I am increasingly concerned that we are sleepwalking into generational damage to patient care.

“I am urging the Health Secretary to make sure Portsmouth people receive the very best standards of provision and care.”

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G7 summit: Portsmouth MP grills trade minister on ‘awkward’ government stance on covid vaccines

Stephen Morgan MP demanded answers from the government today in the House of Commons on why it refuses to back an intellectual property waiver on vaccines to help fight the pandemic in the poorest countries.

It comes as the UK is set to host the G7 in Cornwall this week, of which many members are supportive of the proposals, including the US.

Meanwhile, Labour has urged the Prime Minister to ‘get off the fence’ and back calls for a vaccine patent waiver.

The Portsmouth MP has also offered his support to a local group founded by Portsmouth residents called ‘Give a Vaccine’, that recently announced it donated £25,000 to Médecins Sans Frontières, which will be used to vaccinate the most vulnerable against Covid-19 in Lebanon.

The funds will be used to pay for mobile medical teams to vaccinate elderly people and frontline healthcare workers in care homes across Lebanon.

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

“Nobody is safe until we are all safe. It is not only the morally right thing to do to back a vaccine patent waiver, which allows poorer countries around the world to procure vaccines and immunise their own populations, but also because it is in our enlightened self-interest to do so.

“As long as it is prevalent around our evermore interconnected world, there is still the risk of new variants of Covid-19 and infections in the UK.

“The government fails to realise this and is putting our country in a very awkward position as it enters the G7 summit meetings we are set to host this week, while many of its members are supportive of it, such as the US.

“Today I pushed Ministers to clarify their position on the vaccine patent waiver. I will continue to support the fantastic initiatives like ‘Give a Vaccine’ who continue to fill the government’s vacuum of leadership on this.”

Labour recently proposed a 10-point plan to boost global Covid-19 vaccine production. Following the lobbying in Parliament the city MP has vowed to continue to hold the Government to account over its efforts to support the rollout of the vaccine programme elsewhere in the world.