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Portsmouth MP backs The News’ campaign to vaccinate city’s communities with support of pharmacies

Stephen Morgan MP has welcomed the campaign by The News calling on the government to utilise pharmacies as part of its Covid-19 vaccine rollout programme, and has today taken action by calling on the Minister to make it happen

Lobbying the Minister for the COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment, Nadhim Zahawi MP, the Portsmouth South MP has highlighted that approximately 90% of the population are within a 20-minute walk of a pharmacy, whilst nearly 70% of people have been to a community pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“We will beat this virus by getting our city and Britain vaccinated as quickly possible. That requires us to use every resource we have, including pharmacies. We need to ensure that it is possible to get vaccinated round the clock, and round the corner.

“By Government adding community pharmacies to the programme it would add thousands of new settings across the country in which vaccinations can be safely administered, dramatically cut the time it takes to vaccinate everyone who needs it and allow the lifting of the national lockdown faster.

“I’ll continue to do all I can to urge the Government to deliver on this not only for the people of Portsmouth, but for our country.

“The first step in that process was to write to the Minister responsible today calling on him to make it happen”.

Leader of the Opposition and party leader, Keir Starmer added:

“Every high street has a pharmacy and I want to see every possible pharmacy deployed to help.

“Across those communities, pharmacists stand ready to play their part too. Let’s use them, and let’s vaccinate Britain.”

Earlier this week, Stephen Morgan MP used the opportunity during Health questions to ask Government when the new vaccination centre at St James’ hospital will receive the doses and equipment to hit the ground running on the vaccine roll-out. The city MP awaits a reply from Government.



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Inaction risks ‘generational damage to patient care’ if issues over NHS dentistry not addressed warns Portsmouth MP

Stephen Morgan MP stood up for Portsmouth people struggling to access NHS dentistry or get the care they need in a debate in Parliament today on the impact the Covid-19 pandemic is having on dental services

Speaking in a debate in order for the relevant Government Minister to respond and take action, the Portsmouth South MP underlined he is ‘particularly concerned about the recently imposed NHS activity targets’ and the impact this is having on local dental services.

The latest intervention in the House of Commons follows Mr Morgan’s long-running efforts on concerns from constituents and came after hosting a summit earlier this week with representatives from Healthwatch Portsmouth, the British Dental Association (BDA), and the local dental committee.

New targets set by Government could lead to some practices facing steep financial penalties if they fail to hit 45% of their pre-pandemic NHS activity during the current quarter.

According to figures from the BDA, only 43% of adults in Portsmouth have seen an NHS dentist in the 2 years up to June 2020, compared to 48% across England.

During his speech, the Portsmouth South representative spoke of one of his constituents that attempted a DIY tooth extraction, using pliers to relieve their pain, joining the 7.6% of English households who have done similar.

Stephen Morgan MP, commented:

“Dental services in our city were already under huge pressure even before the impacts of Covid-19, but the government is exacerbating the situation.

The recently imposed NHS activity targets are particularly illogical. The targets effectively force practices to prioritise volume over need – leaving them with little choice but to conduct routine check-ups instead of clearing the backlog of more time-consuming treatments.

This creates the unsustainable situation where patients in our city are unable to access the treatment they need, while practitioners are in a race against time to maintain their financial viability”.

Mr Morgan has previously raised concerns on the impacts the pandemic has had on dentistry and called on Government to act. The MP is now calling on Ministers to intervene to reach agreement with the profession and alleviate concerns being raised.

The Portsmouth South MP added:

“Though Ministers have committed to reforming the system we have seen no action and little appetite to do so.

It is essential we fundamentally reform the way NHS dentistry is commissioned and incentivised. 

Without urgent change, NHS dentistry in Portsmouth and across the country could be decimated, permanently damaging patient care for decades to come”.

In support of the call to action, Ian Mills, Dean of the Faculty of General Dental Practice UK, added:

“Many patients have been unable to access dental care for over a year, with their dental problems getting steadily worse, and oral health inequalities exacerbated by coronavirus restrictions. The dental profession is acutely aware of the present backlog of unmet dental need, which requires treatment as soon as possible.

However, the recent imposition of UDA (Units of Dental Activity)-based targets in England to remedy this, just as the pandemic becomes worse than it has ever been, is at odds with the Government’s message to ‘stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives’.

The dental profession has worked assiduously to create a safe environment for dental treatment to be delivered, but there are justifiable concerns that significant increases in patient throughput, in order to meet UDA targets, could potentially compromise staff and patient safety. 

The UDA was an ineffective measure of activity before the COVID pandemic, and we consider it even less appropriate now. Circumstances will vary by practice and by patient, but the priority should be on safety, the treatment of those with acute needs, and essential maintenance of oral health.”


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City MP demands answers from Health Secretary on local vaccination centre

Stephen Morgan MP questioned the Health Secretary this morning on when the local vaccination centre in Portsmouth will get the equipment it needs from central government to become fully operational.

The parliamentary representative for the city demanded further clarity from Matt Hancock MP in the House of Commons today, following the recent announcement that St James’ Hospital has been selected as a vaccination centre for the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine.

This comes following a significant local uptake in applications for voluntary roles to support the vaccine rollout programme, with Mr Morgan also signing up to volunteer with local organisation HIVE Portsmouth.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, said,

“We all want to see the St James’ hospital vaccination centre in our city open as soon as possible.

“It’s frustrating that the Health Secretary wasn’t able to provide the clarity hard-working staff and volunteers on the ground need at this crucial juncture in our efforts to vaccinate Britain.

“I will continue to hold the Secretary of State to his promise to write to me to provide this information as soon as possible.

“Our local NHS is ready. The government must now deliver”.

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




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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