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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.

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City MP steps up efforts to bring back Southsea parkrun

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has this week taken action to ensure that Southsea parkrun can restart safely.

Responding to concerns raised by the volunteer-led organisation, as well as local residents, Mr Morgan wrote to Public Health Minister Jo Churchill earlier this week.

In the letter, Mr Morgan wrote of the huge ‘physical and mental health’ benefits parkrun provides and urged the government to clarify that it was able to take place once again in line with the roadmap and clinical evidence on Covid transmission.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has now confirmed that parkrun’s plans “follow all the guidelines set out by the government to keep people safe and there is no reason they can’t now take place.” He also urged local councils to do “whatever it takes” to get them back up and running.

Today Mr Morgan met the City Council’s Director of Culture to raise these concerns and find a way to ensure the much-loved community event returns. It is hoped that the event will go ahead on 5 June as planned using an alternative route close-by.

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

 “I’ve seen first-hand the enormous physical and mental health benefits Southsea’s parkrun provides. People really need this as we emerge from the pandemic.

“The events follow all government and clinical guidance, so there should be no barriers to our local runners getting back out there.

“I will continue to work with Ministers and the council to get these events running again as soon as it’s safe to do so.”

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Portsmouth MP calls on the Government to ‘Cure the Care System’ during Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Action Week

This Dementia Action Week (May 17-23) Stephen Morgan MP is joining Alzheimer’s Society in asking the Government to #CuretheCareSystem.

It’s been a devastating year for people affected by dementia. Right now, in Portsmouth and across the UK, nearly a million families are struggling to take care of their loved ones with the dignity and support they deserve. Decades of under-funding have led to a system that is difficult to access, costly, inadequate and unfair. The coronavirus pandemic has exposed these problems like never before.

More than 35,000 people with dementia have died of COVID-19 – around one in four of all UK deaths – making those with the condition the worst hit by the pandemic. Meanwhile, many people living with dementia have experienced a significant deterioration in their condition due, in large part, to interrupted health and social care.

According to Portsmouth Pensioners Association, £160m has been removed from the Adult Social Care budget in Portsmouth since 2015 as part of austerity measures, which falls far short of what’s needed to meet demand in our city.

Over the last two years, 1,500 people in Portsmouth in the medium to lower needs group have had their social care removed to make budget savings.

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

“I’m proud to support Dementia Action Week and Alzheimer’s Society’s calls for the government to announce its plans and commitments for social care reform as a matter of urgency.

“NHS care is provided according to need and is free at the point of use. As a matter of fairness, dementia care must be delivered on the same principle.

“Many people in Portsmouth are affected by dementia, and they deserve to be able to access the person-centred care and support they need to live well. That’s why we need to cure the care system now.”

An Alzheimer’s Society spokesperson added:

“Dementia does not just impact on the person diagnosed. It claims more than one life as families battle for the right care for themselves and their loved ones.

“Our findings paint a bleak picture. Family carers are exhausted, with more than 40% putting in more than 100 caring hours per week.

“People with dementia and their loved ones have told us they simply aren’t getting the care and support they need. Sadly, too many family carers reach a point of crisis before receiving help.”

It comes after last week Mr Morgan wrote to the Prime Minister last week sharing the concerns of his constituents, including Portsmouth Pensioners Association, about the level of social care provision in the city.

He has also held a public meeting with Shadow Health Minister Liz Kendall MP to discuss issues related to mental health and social care, regularly submitted a range of written parliamentary questions on the issue and backed Labour’s National Care Service policy proposed in 2019.

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Portsmouth MP calls out PM for failure to address social care in Portsmouth

Stephen Morgan has called on the Prime Minister Boris Johnson MP to publish further details on his reported plans for social care.

In a letter to Prime Minister today, the Portsmouth MP shared the concerns of his constituents, including Portsmouth Pensioners Association, about the level of social care provision in the city.

According to Portsmouth Pensioners Association, £160m has been removed from the Adult Social Care budget in Portsmouth since 2015 as part of austerity measures, which falls far short of what’s needed to meet demand in our city.

Over the last two years, 1,500 people in Portsmouth in the medium to lower needs group have had their social care removed to make budget savings.

It comes after Boris Johnson claimed 659 days ago outside 10 Downing Street that he had a plan to fix the social care crisis, but failed to reveal this in the Queen’s Speech earlier this week.

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

“It has been nearly two years since the Prime Minister stood on the steps of 10 Downing Street claiming to have a plan to fix the social care crisis, but still fails to publish plans on this.

“Many pensioners and those dependent on social care in our city cannot afford to be continually overlooked by this government, which is why I have written to Boris Johnson today to urge him to publish plans now, without further delay.”

Mr Morgan recently held a public meeting with Shadow Health Minister Liz Kendall MP to discuss issues related to mental health and social care, has regularly submitted a range of written parliamentary questions on the issue and backed Labour’s National Care Service policy proposed in 2019.

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Queen’s Speech: Portsmouth MP slams government’s ‘hollow promises’ on social care

Stephen Morgan MP has attacked the government today after it failed to offer clear detail on its plans revealed in the Queen’s Speech today to address the social care crisis Portsmouth and the wider country is facing.

Announcing her government’s legislative priorities, Her Majesty the Queen revealed in her speech to Parliament today that social care proposals ‘will be brought forward’.

However, Labour responded to the announcement arguing his was yet ‘further delay’ to tackle the perennial problem that has gripped the country for years and was a ‘wasted opportunity’ to finally deal with it.

According to The Kings Fund, only around a quarter of people who have requested some of form of social care are actually assessed as eligible for formal short-term or long-term care.

Meanwhile according to Portsmouth CCG, there is a 69.5% estimated dementia prevalence rate in persons aged 65 and over of the Portsmouth population, underlining the importance of the local provision of social care with the continued trend of an aging general population.

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

“The message from last week is that people are demanding and are owed real change. Today, the Government gave us yet more rhetoric and buzzwords, not a proper plan to get Britain working for working people.

“This Queen’s Speech doesn’t put proper detail behind the rhetoric on jobs, social care, reducing violent crime and narrowing the gap between different parts of the country will be yet another wasted opportunity.

“Social care is in dire need of improvement across our country and in Portsmouth, but many will now feel forgotten by this government which has once again opted for further dither and delay with hollow promises on this important issue.”

Keir Starmer MP, Leader of the Labour Party, also said,

“Labour’s priority is jobs. That means good jobs, good pay and good prospects, bringing an end to insecurity at work and spreading opportunity across Britain. We must seize this moment to create a brighter future for the whole country.”

Mr Morgan recently held a public meeting with Shadow Health Minister Liz Kendall MP to discuss issues related to mental health and social care.

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City MP presents Portsmouth’s NHS Parliamentary Award nominees with their certificates

Stephen Morgan MP has met with Portsmouth’s three nominees for the NHS Parliamentary Awards to offer his congratulations and thank them for their hard work and dedication during the pandemic.

Last year Members of Parliament were invited to nominate individuals or an organisation for an NHS Parliamentary Award. The Portsmouth South MP nominated three individuals who went above and beyond to support the community during the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the online event, there was an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the staff, who are based at Queen Alexandra Hospital, as well as allowing an opportunity for the nominees to talk to the city MP about their experiences on the frontline.

All three nominees were from the Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust with The Excellence in Urgent and Emergency Care Award nomination going to Clinical Director of Respiratory Medicine Dr Ben Green; The Wellbeing at Work Award nomination going to Respiratory High Care Ward Manager Katrina James; and the Excellence in Healthcare Award nomination going to Consultant Respiratory Physician, Tom Brown.

Chief Nurse Liz Rix also joined the online call to share the impact of the three nominees’ work at QA with Mr Morgan, including Dr Green’s work in driving preparedness plans in the respiratory department in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; Katrina James, who identified the need for a formal end of life process for patients coming off non-invasive ventilation and was praised for her incredible compassion for her patients, their loved ones and her colleagues; and Tom Brown, who became the Trust lead on research trials, reshaped the research team and embedded it as part of routine clinical care.

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

“All our NHS staff, volunteers and society’s carers deserve recognition, but Ben, Katrina and Tom have gone above and beyond the call of duty and their work has had an enormous impact on so many people here in Portsmouth as well as further afield.

“Hearing the tributes they made to their teams and their accounts of the dedication of the staff at QA hospital was inspirational.

“We owe these members of our community a debt of gratitude and I cannot thank them enough for all they have done.”

The city MP separately wrote a formal letter of thanks to each of the nominees. The hope is that next year’s awards will be able to be presented in person.

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City MP launches NHS dentistry survey amid crisis in care

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has launched an online survey for local residents to provide their views on the crisis facing NHS dentistry.

Results from the short questionnaire will inform a dossier of evidence the City MP is preparing to lobby the Health Secretary for change.

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.

In October 2020, Portsmouth resident Chris Savage numbered among the 7.6% of English households that have attempted a DIY tooth extraction, after struggling to access NHS treatment.

The survey is the latest in a string of actions the City MP has taken locally and in Parliament.

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.

In 2019, Stephen backed Labour’s pledge to offer free dental check-ups for all as part of a plan to focus on preventative healthcare.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“I remain deeply concerned that Portsmouth has been disproportionately affected by the ongoing crisis in NHS dentistry.

“The pandemic created an inevitable backlog of care, but it also exposed the underlying weaknesses of the current system which risk causing generational damage to patient care.

“This survey is a chance for people to have their say, and I will take their concerns directly to the Health Secretary to lobby for the change we need.”

Click here to fill out the survey.

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City MP redoubles calls for a fair NHS pay rise as figures show 300,000 staff worked unpaid overtime during Covid crisis

Labour has today redoubled its efforts to secure a fair pay rise for NHS workers after figures revealed an increase in the number of NHS staff working unpaid overtime during the Covid crisis.

The latest figures from the NHS staff survey reveal over 300,000 staff worked unpaid hours in the past year. Almost 13,000 more staff reported working overtime compared to 2019, suggesting over a million hours of unpaid overtime were worked during the pandemic.

Under the Government’s current pay proposals, nurses and other NHS staff who were promised at least a 2.1% pay rise will instead see a real terms pay cut of hundreds of pounds.

This follows a real terms pay cut of more than £2,300 in the average salary of a nurse and health visitor under the Conservatives since 2010.

The survey also reveals that less than one third of nurses and midwives are satisfied with their current pay levels, suggesting widespread opposition among NHS staff to the Government’s current proposals.

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

“I know how angry Portsmouth people are about the Government’s plans to give our city’s dedicated NHS staff a real terms pay cut, especially after the year we have had and their commitment during this pandemic.

“That is why I have launched a petition locally to keep piling on the pressure for the Prime Minister to think again.

“After all they have done for us, I know Portsmouth people won’t stand for a Government which is treating our NHS staff in such a shabby way.

“When our city clapped for our carers during the pandemic, we meant it. That’s why I won’t rest until all our brave NHS staff get the fair, long-term, pay settlement they deserve.”

Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, added:

“The whole country saw the heroism of our nurses and NHS staff during this pandemic. And the whole country is watching as this injustice continues. Our NHS staff deserve a fair pay rise.

“Whether you live in London or Lancashire, you can send a message to the Conservatives in May that a pay cut for our NHS heroes is an insult. A vote for Labour is a vote to support our nurses.”

To sign the Portsmouth South MP’s petition visit: www.stephenmorgan.org.uk/our-nhs-heroes-deserve-a-pay-rise/

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Portsmouth MP praises ‘brilliant’ local COVID-19 testing centre during visit

Stephen Morgan MP has lauded the new COVID-19 testing centre at Portsmouth Guildhall as a ‘brilliant operation’, during a visit earlier today.

The new facility is now offering asymptomatic community testing to anyone who is over the age of 16 who regularly leaves home to go to work, or those not covered by an existing workplace testing programme.

Appointments are available 7 days a week, between 8am and 8pm, and can be booked at short notice.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, said:

“Asymptomatic testing across our community is going to play a critical role in supporting the fight against COVID-19, right now and in the weeks and months ahead, particularly for those who are unable to work from home.

“The Portsmouth Guildhall testing facility is a brilliant operation and my thanks to all the dedicated staff for getting this up and running.”

According to the latest government figures, the current rate per 100k of positive COVID-19 cases in Portsmouth is 57.7, but the local parliamentary representative has warned that everyone must continue to stick to the COVID-19 rules and restrictions to not undo the progress of the last few months.

Meanwhile from today, many students will be returning to school for the first time in weeks.

The parliamentary representative, added:

 We are making great progress in tackling the spread of this dreadful virus, but as we begin open up society again, it is vital we continue to listen to advice and follow the rules.

“We are so close to overcoming this collective challenge we all share and we must do all we can ensure we do not undo any of the hard work our city has put in over the last few months.”

You can find out more about the testing centre and book an appointment via Portsmouth City Council’s website.

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Our NHS staff deserve better than a 1% pay rise

Responding to the news that the Department of Health has recommended a 1% pay rise for NHS staff, which is expected to equate to a real-terms pay cut, Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

“It is beyond belief that this government claps for our NHS heroes one minute then hands them a real-terms pay cut the next.

“This is a kick in the teeth for hard-working frontline staff in Portsmouth and across the country, who have gone above and beyond to care for our communities during the pandemic.

“NHS staff deserve better. The independent NHS Pay Review Body should recommend a real pay rise for our healthcare heroes and the government must honour it”.

The city MP has been campaigning alongside local residents and trade unions for a proper pay rise for those that have served on the frontline during the pandemic. He recently met with the Royal College of Nursing and local nurses to understand the impact of ten years of pay restraint and is committed to continue lobby Government on behalf of those working in our NHS.