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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.

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“Social Isolation and loneliness don’t stop when the Christmas tree comes down” says Stephen Morgan MP

As many headlines warn, Christmas can see loneliness and social isolation heightened, especially amongst older community members. However, newly re-elected MP Stephen Morgan has spoken out saying society must do better year-round to tackle the issue.

Research has linked social isolation and loneliness to higher risks for a variety of physical and mental conditions: high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“While I welcome the recognition that social isolation and loneliness receives over Christmas, I believe we cannot afford to let the issue fall when the festive season finishes.

Loneliness doesn’t stop when the Christmas tree comes down, there is work to be done. Since being elected in 2017, I have had the opportunity to work with organisations such as Age UK, The Good Company and The British Legion in tackling these social problems.

I am committed to continuing this vital work now that I have been re-elected to parliament and look forward to continued cooperation with organisations both in Portsmouth and in Parliament.”

The Jo Cox Commission started a national conversation on loneliness and successfully encouraged the Government to accept many of its recommendations with the appointment of a Minister for Loneliness to take forward the work.

However, the Government has failed to implement some of the policies and has gone against previous commitments to safeguard benefits that help to combat loneliness.

Stephen Morgan said:

“Through work with Age UK and Portsmouth pensioners, I know how important certain benefits are in combatting isolation and loneliness.

That is why It is an outrage that this Government is overseeing the scrapping of free TV licences for 3 million older people, leaving a Tory manifesto promise in tatters.

We know that around 1.3 million over-75s are eligible for Pension Credit but do not or cannot claim for the benefit. This means at least 650,000 of our poorest pensioners facing an ominous new annual bill they simply can’t afford.”

The extensive work Mr Morgan has done for to combat isolation and loneliness is not limited to action on the free TV licence. He has worked hard on increasing bus routes, called for a veteran’s railcard, regular meets with Age UK and has a close relationship Portsmouth Pensioners to ensure they have a voice in parliament.

 

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Stephen Morgan speaks up for social care as Government sets out agenda for the year

Portsmouth South’s MP Stephen Morgan, along with other representatives, today observed Her Majesty the Queen’s speech setting out the Government’s plan for the year.

As Shadow Communities Minister, Mr Morgan has singled out social care as an area that requires urgent attention, joining experts such as the Kings Fund in suggesting today’s commitments do not go far enough.

Mr Morgan said:

“It is telling that Mr Johnson chose not to mention Social Care in his victory speech last week. The proposals mentioned today are a mere drop in the ocean in comparison with what is needed.

When nearly £8bn has been taken from council budgets for social care since 2010, there are 1 million people not getting the care they need, and 87 people are dying a day waiting for care we need to see change.

The Government has dragged their heels, resulting in a social care system at crisis point. As Shadow Communities Minister, I will be applying the highest level of scrutiny to ensure that the Government faces the scale of the crisis at hand.

The more time wasted, the more our most vulnerable community members will suffer.”

A senior Government Minister was also forced to admit that her party’s manifesto did not include costed plans for social care reform, but only interim extra funding of £1 billion a year to fund the system in England.

The King’s Fund has said that this extra funding “is not enough to meet rising demand for care while maintaining the current quality and accessibility of services”.

Shadow Communities Minister, Stephen Morgan MP added:

“For more than two years, the Government has been promising to publish the social care green paper, which would lay out plans for addressing the adult social care funding crisis.

During the election period, Disability News Service reported that a senior Government minister admitted the Green Paper did not even exist. How are we meant to address this crisis when the can is constantly kicked down the road?

The Conservatives view the crisis in social care with utter contempt and it is people in our communities paying the price.

The Government should now stop the delay in delivering the long-term solution for social care, which secures these vital services for the future. “

Mr Morgan’s comments follow a September report highlighting how many big care providers have developed highly complex corporate structures involving offshore tax havens. Many claim this puts profit over people and sucks money out of the system.

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Healthcare workers in Portsmouth join tactical voting websites in signing letter backing Stephen Morgan

Stephen Morgan, the 2017 General election winner and Portsmouth South Labour candidate, has been widely backed by major tactical voting websites and now healthcare professionals as the only candidate to beat the Tories here.

Local healthcare professionals in Portsmouth and Hampshire are among hundreds from across the country – many in target seats – who’ve signed an open letter urging people to vote tactically this Thursday to save the NHS from Brexit.

Mirek Synek, a former community paediatrician who worked in Portsmouth, said:

“I’ve signed the letter because I’m dead against privatisation of the NHS – it’s lunacy – a private healthcare system will be less accessible with lower quality of care. Before I retired, it was becoming more and more difficult to maintain good standards, due to the cuts facing the NHS.

If Boris Johnson wins a majority on Thursday, then a no deal Brexit is very much on the cards and it will mean complete disaster for the health service. The already poor levels of staffing will worsen. Many more EU doctors and nurses will leave.

That’s why, if you care about the future of the NHS, you need to vote tactically.”

Stephen Morgan said:

“We won here in 2017, it comes as no surprise that we are predicted to win here again on the 12 December. All recent polls, not paid for by any political party, put me a staggering 33 point lead over the Liberal Democrats.

The polling reflects my record of delivery in Portsmouth and the feedback that I am hearing from residents on the doorstep. I know that I am the only candidate capable of continuing to fight on behalf of our city, it’s great to know that the polling and major tactical voting websites agree.”

In their letter to all parliamentary candidates, the signatories point out that hospitals, health and care services across the country are already struggling to cope.

There are currently more than 100,000 unfilled posts across all English NHS trusts, including more than 40,000 nursing vacancies, a shortage of 11,000 doctors and 2,500 full time midwives in England. And there are a further 110,000 unfilled positions in social care.

People’s Vote, Best for Britain, For Our Future’s Sake, Vote for a Final Say and other tactical voting websites have all backed Stephen Morgan as the only candidate capable of beating the Tories in Portsmouth South.

Stephen Morgan said:

“From organising public rallies to attending meetings in parliament, I have been working with ‘People’s Vote’ for some time. I am the only local candidate who backs a final say. The Lib Dems want to ignore 17.4 million people while the Tories want to crash out with either a disastrous deal or a catastrophic no-deal.

People’s Vote have publicly stated that they believe I am the only candidate to beat the Tories and secure a final say on Brexit, where I will campaign to remain. This backs up recent comprehensive polling that puts me as the clear winner here Portsmouth South.”

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Stephen Morgan backs Labour’s game-changing social care plan

Labour has announced its game-changing plans to head off the social care crisis through introducing free personal care and increasing the number of care packages provided to working age adults and older people each year.

Recent Labour Party research has also revealed that since April 2017, over 9,200 people have approached their local authority for help to pay for their social care, after running out of money.

Free personal care will ensure people with dementia receive the same care as those with other conditions, reduce the burden on unpaid carers and benefit the NHS by reducing delayed transfers of care from hospital and admissions to care homes and hospitals.

Stephen Morgan said:

“Portsmouth City Council has been far from exempt in terms of local authority cuts with local services we all rely on slashed by 48 percent since 2011, equating to £73m. This means that care services are in crisis.

I am proud to stand on a manifesto that sets out a strategy for real change and will properly fund social care for our older community members and reform the way we think about caring for people I need.“

Stephen Morgan has a record of delivery when it comes to standing against the social care crisis. He has worked with Alzheimer’s UK to call for funding for dementia care, held officials to account while working in the Public Accounts Committee and constantly grilled Ministers in Parliament to fund local authorities properly.

Labour’s National Care Service will provide publicly funded care to all those that need it.

The next Labour government will:

• Introduce free personal care for older people
• Fund social care properly with £10 billion of additional funding by 2023/24
• Cap care costs
• Reform provision of care by ensuring care providers meet ethical standards of care
• Support the care workforce better to ensure people receive support from trained staff
New Labour research reveals that:
• 9,290 people have approached their local authority for help with their social care costs after running out of money to pay for it themselves – called ‘self-funders with depleted funds’ – since April 2017.
• 5,385 people – almost 15 a day – approached their local authority for help in 2018/19, an increase of 38% on the previous year.
• Based on the average cost of a home care package being £16 an hour and the average recipient of free personal care in Scotland receiving 8.8 hours of free personal care a week, free personal care will save older people £7,321 a year, drastically reducing the number of people depleting their savings to pay for their care.

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Labour announce major NHS pledge backed by Stephen Morgan

Labour, the party who created the NHS, has once again shown that they are the only party willing to take action to secure its future. Supported by Stephen Morgan, Labour have announced a major funding pledge for our NHS. This will include:

– £26 billion (£40 billion in cash terms) for the NHS
– More funding to tackle growing waiting lists, A&E and improve cancer care
– Raising capital investment by £15 billion to clear repair bill, transform mental health wards, more state of art equipment especially MRI & CT scanners; Extra investment for mental health services to give it biggest priority ever
– £1 billion in staff training, bringing back bursary for 28,000 extra nurses, midwives, health visitors, 5,000 extra GPs
– £1 billion boost for public health to reverse public health cuts

Stephen is no stranger to standing up for our NHS services, he said:

“Since winning in the 2017 election I made every effort to advocate on behalf of staff and patients alike.

Helping to secure £58 m of funding for QA Hospital, pounding the wards with local NHS staff, grilling Mr Johnson over medicine shortages during PMQ’s and holding to account these responsible for the NHS dental practice closures. This is my record of delivery.

I have so much more to do and so much more to give, in order to that, I need to be continue fighting Portsmouth’s corner and being a voice for our city in Parliament.”

The funding plan comes as experts warn the NHS is heading into one of the worst winters ever with hospitals already reporting ‘black alerts’ with heart-breaking scenes of patients, often elderly, languishing on trolleys.

Stephen said:

“Labour created the NHS. It is only Labour who can ensure its legacy. Following a decade of Conservative and Lib Dem Government’s wantonly hacking bits off our most cherished service, it is high time we had a party that put people above profit.

That is why I am delighted that Labour have announced a £40 bn funding injection so that we can tackle long wait times at hospitals like QA, improve cancer care and tackle issues with A&E”

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Stephen Morgan backs Labour’s pledge to offer free dental check-ups for all following long running action over patient access in Portsmouth

Labour is announcing plans to provide free NHS dental check-ups for everyone in England. Stephen Morgan has a record of delivery when it comes to taking action over patient access to dental services in his city, following the closure of 3 city practises and has welcomed his party’s announcement.

Scrapping band one dentistry charges will give everyone a free teeth MOT with their dentist, including checks for oral cancers, while also taking pressure off GPs and hospitals.

Stephen Morgan said:

“Access to dental services is vitally important and to use the British Dental Association’s words, we are in crisis.
21 million people have not seen a dentist for over 2 years, around just 50% of dental practices are able to admit new NHS patients and in Portsmouth, the number of children being admitted to hospital for tooth decay has doubled.

With the Government making real term cuts to dentistry of nearly 30% since 2010, more people are finding themselves unable to get treatment which is putting pressure on other NHS services.

I welcome Labour’s pledge to offer free check ups to everyone which will both benefit the health of Portsmouth people and save people going to the NHS A&E departments with preventable issues.”

The measures, are part of Labour’s plans to focus on prevention and provide a truly universal NHS and moving towards providing dental services free at the point of use. Labour’s full pledge on NHS England funding will be laid out in our forthcoming fully-costed manifesto and this funding will come in addition to the £26bn announced by Labour earlier this week.

Stephen Morgan said:

“This Government’s incessant will to sell off bits of our NHS and leave it in the hands of companies like Colosseum in Portsmouth, owned by a swiss investment bank, is irresponsible and puts profit before Portsmouth people.

I have a record of delivery when it comes to standing up for Portsmouth patient access. Hosting urgent meetings with NHS England to get to the root of the closures in Portsmouth, meeting the British Dental Association in parliament, grilling Ministers in Westminster, visiting dental academies in our city.

Labour and I have pledged to do more for oral healthcare, but do that we need your support on the 12 December.”

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said:

“It’s shocking that so called ‘DIY Dentistry’ is becoming so common with people resorting to doing their own fillings and seriously risking their teeth deteriorating further.

With 135,000 patients presenting at A&E with dental problems every year, it’s time we put prevention at the heart of our approach to dental health.
“People should not be risking their teeth because they can’t afford the care. With Labour, dental check-up fees will be scrapped as we help people live healthier lives.”

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You can’t trust the Tories with our NHS

Today, Freedom of Information (FoI) data obtained by Labour has revealed that there has been a huge increase in the number of cancelled operations because of staffing issues and equipment failures.

The simple truth is under the Tories, patients wait longer and longer for vital care. This General Election is about the future of the NHS and ensuring quality care for all.

Under the Tories, so many more people in pain and distress are forced to endure cancelled operations, including increasingly on the day they were supposed to have treatment. It is a shameful indictment of a decade of Tory cutbacks running our NHS into the ground.

Labour will fully fund our NHS, recruit the doctors and nurses we need and safeguard our NHS from a Trump deal sell off that could cost the NHS £500 million a week.

Responding to the release of the data, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Our NHS is the most cherished British institution. Its introduction over 70 years ago has transformed people’s lives, giving access to world-class healthcare for all, regardless of the ability to pay.

Since becoming the MP for Portsmouth South, it has been a top priority of mine to care for it – standing up locally and in Parliament for our hospitals, community care, dentistry and GP services.

I’m proud of the record of delivery since 2017 on this most pressing of issues for Portsmouth people. Helping to secure £58m of investment to enhance urgent care at QA Hospital, new community services at St Mary’s and lobbying for improvements to meet growing demands on local mental health services.

I’ve also been taking action meeting the workforce that makes our local NHS so special. Regularly visiting services, nominating an NHS cleaner for the national NHS awards, hosting events to thank those who work in health and care services locally and hearing from frontline staff the challenges our NHS faces.

It is clear there is so much more to do.

Under this Government, so many more people in pain and distress are forced to endure cancelled operations, including increasingly on the day they were supposed to have treatment. It is a shameful indictment of a decade of Tory and Lib Dem cutbacks running our NHS into the ground.

As Britain goes to the polls next month, we have the chance to secure a better future for our local NHS that ensures quality care for all people in Portsmouth. It is time we give the NHS the care it needs”.

The figures obtained under FOI review some worrying findings:

• Last year, 78,981 operations were cancelled. These operations were either classed as urgent or were elective operations cancelled at the last minute – either on the day the patient was due to arrive in hospital or after they had already arrived.

• The number of operations cancelled because of staffing issues and equipment failures have each increased by a third in two years. Last year, 10,900 were cancelled because of staffing issues and 4800 were cancelled because of equipment failures.

• There are currently over 100,000 staff vacancies in the NHS, with shortages of 10,000 doctors and 43,000 nurses. Cuts to NHS Capital Budgets have left the health service with a £6.5 billion repair bill.

Under this Government, so many more people in pain and distress are forced to endure cancelled operations, including increasingly on the day they were supposed to have treatment. It is a shameful indictment of a decade of Tory and Lib Dem cutbacks running our NHS into the ground.

As Britain goes to the polls next month, we have the chance to secure a better future for our local NHS that ensures quality care for all people in Portsmouth.
It is time we give the NHS the care it needs.

 

 

 

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“With 1 in 5 Portsmouth children suffering from tooth decay by the time they are 5 years old, we need urgent action”- City MP speaks out after visit to University of Portsmouth Dental Academy

Stephen Morgan MP has visited a state-of-the-art training facility developed in partnership between the University, King’s College London Dental Institute and the National Health Service in his constituency of Portsmouth South.

The visit forms part of a long-running campaign adopted by the MP to increase patient access for all to vital dental services. Mr Morgan has vocally slammed the current Government’s ‘shocking’ record on dental services that has seen 42,000 children admitted to hospital to have multiple teeth removed under anesthetic last year alone.

The city MP spent time both with students about to become the next generation of first-rate dentists and the staff who work clinically in the Dental Academy and across a wide variety of community settings.

Mr Morgan said:

“Access to dental services is vitally important and to use the British Dental Association’s words, we are in crisis.

21 million people have not seen a dentist for over 2 years, around just 50% of dental practices are able to admit new NHS patients and in Portsmouth, the number of children being admitted to hospital for tooth decay has doubled.

With the Government making real term cuts to dentistry of nearly 30% since 2010, more people are finding themselves unable to get treatment which is putting pressure on other NHS services.

It is essential that institutions like the Dental Academy are consulted and discussion begins around how to deal with this issue.”

The key issues discussed by the MP and senior representatives from the Dental Academy were orientated around securing Portsmouth as a national dentistry training hub with even greater national recognition and increasing provision of services to the local community.

Mr Morgan said:

“At a time when dentistry is in crisis, with1 in 5 Portsmouth children suffering from tooth decay by the time they are 5 years old, the work being conducted here is more important than ever.

The top-class dental academy is yet another example of how work done in Portsmouth is not just relevant to our city but to the nation.

The opportunity to spend time with those working to become top rate dentists and the experts responsible for training them gives great insight into the work being conducted here in our city.”

Patient access to dental services has been high on Mr Morgan’s agenda for some time. Earlier this year, following the closure of three dental practices in Portsmouth, Stephen called an urgent snap meeting with NHS England and The British Dental Association.

Mr Morgan said:

“This Government’s incessant will to sell off bits of our NHS and leave it in the hands of companies like Colosseum in Portsmouth, owned by a swiss investment bank, is irresponsible and puts profit before Portsmouth people.

We urgently need a coherent oral health strategy that has patients at the heart of it and is focused on access and prevention, and NHS dentistry that is adequately commissioned and funded.”

Since the crisis with Colosseum dental arose in Mr Morgan’s patch, he has been relentless in his efforts to resolve the issue and secure dental access for all. So far, he has met with senior NHS England officials, the Director of the British Dental Association, grilled the Minister responsible in parliament, written out to the new Minster last week and been out to visit the services for himself.

He remains committed to being a strong national and local voice on all NHS issues.