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World Aids Day: Government must step up support for local sexual health clinics to achieve 2030 ambition – City MP

Stephen Morgan MP has said government must ‘step up’ support for local sexual health clinics to achieve the government’s commitment to end new UK HIV transmissions by 2030, a pledge matched by Labour.

This year marks 40 years since the start of the AIDS epidemic in the UK, which has taken thousands of lives.
The government is expected to publish its action plan to achieve its objective later this month.

However, advances in technology and medicine like HIV prevention drug PrEP have made significant strides in achieving the government’s ambition of no new HIV cases by 2030.

The HIV treatment drug means more than 9 in 10 people living with HIV cannot pass the virus on. Despite this, thousands of people are diagnosed but not on successful HIV treatment due to a lack of local support.

Recent independent analysis, verified by the House of Commons Library, has found that the £3.85m drop in public health funding for Portsmouth over the last five years equates to a real-terms cut of 17.5 per cent, or minus £20 per person in real-terms.

In 2021/22, the public health team (like all other public health teams in England) also took on responsibility for costs associated with the provision of the anti-HIV drug pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and services related to it, including sexual health.

For World Aids Day 2021, leading HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust is focusing the importance of HIV testing.

THT has also said testing is ‘key’ to ending HIV transmissions. More people are accessing HIV testing to find out their status and in new ways. But online testing is still not available all year round in every area, and over half a million people a year leave sexual health clinics not having had a HIV test, disproportionately women and black people.

Earlier this week, the Portsmouth MP met with local campaigners and pledged to continue to lobby government for improvements in access to local sexual health services and for better support for people living with HIV.

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

“40 years on from the beginning of this terrible epidemic, our country has made huge strides to tackle the harms of HIV, including drugs like PrEP which is now available on NHS.

“The ambition for no new HIV cases by 2030 is the right one, but we have a long way to go if we are to make it a reality, and testing will play a key role in doing so.

“That means government has got to properly fund community sexual health clinics with the support they need to boost HIV testing rates in communities, end the postcode lottery for treatment and stop UK HIV transmissions by 2030.”

The Portsmouth MP is set to meet and visit with local commissioners and sexual health providers in the new year to better understand local challenges and issues, including on HIV testing, following his roundtable this week.

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Portsmouth MP urges government to tackle ‘blackhole’ of NHS waiting list as it passes 43,000 mark locally

Stephen Morgan MP has urged the government to tackle the ‘blackhole’ of local NHS waiting lists, as latest NHS figures revealed that at the end of September 2021, there were 43,797 people on the waiting list at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust.
The figures also showed 1,462 people had been waiting for more than a year for an appointment.
In March 2020, at the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, there were 4,235,970 people on the NHS waiting list in England. Nationally, the standard of 92% of people seen within 18 weeks of a referral has not been met since 2016.
However, the pandemic had a devastating effect on an already-fragile NHS, with the national waiting list is now 37.7 per cent higher than it was before Covid-19 hit the UK (an increase of 1,598,451 people). The current figure means that just over 1 in 10 people in England are on the NHS waiting list (10.3 per cent).
The Government is yet to publish its plan to address the vast NHS waiting list, with hospitals around the country already reporting unsustainable pressure and an inability to provide high quality care.
Nationally, the NHS is short of 100,000 staff, including 7,000 doctors and 40,000 nurses. In the Budget last month, the Chancellor did not set out a plan to recruit, train, and retain the staff needed to solve this waiting list crisis.
The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan MP, said: 

“If people in Portsmouth can’t get the timely care they deserve, there will be devastating consequences. 43,000 people on our local NHS waiting list is simply unsustainable.
“The doctors, nurses, and other health care staff at our local hospitals are doing amazing work, as I saw first-hand last week at QA hospital, but there’s only so much they can do after a decade of underfunding and without the staff numbers they need.
“Government has got to take action and come up with a plan to properly staff and support the NHS in order to tackle this blackhole of local waiting lists.”

Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said:

“We’ve heard serious warnings from hospital chiefs about the unsustainable pressure the NHS is under. These figures are confirmation of the dangerously lengthy waiting times patients are forced to endure and the scale of pressure on overwhelmed A&Es.
“The coming winter weeks are set to be the most challenging in history for the NHS. It’s now urgent Ministers fix the stalling vaccination programme, resolve the immediate crisis in social care and bring forward a long-term plan to recruit the health care staff our NHS desperately needs, which Rishi Sunak has failed to provide despite imposing a punishing tax rise on working people.”

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Portsmouth MP says ‘urgent action’ needed to tackle a predicted rise in local waiting times for heart diagnosis and treatment

Stephen Morgan MP has met with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to discuss the need for urgent action to address the pandemic’s devastating impact on heart care.

A new report from the BHF has estimated that 725 people in Portsmouth could be waiting for life saving heart diagnosis and treatment two years after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic – 44 per cent higher than the waiting list before the pandemic began (1).

The Portsmouth MP has heard that the BHF is calling for Government to take significant action to reduce the heart care backlog and build a stronger NHS for the future. The charity argues that this must include a clear plan for cardiovascular services and rapid and substantial long-term investment to build more capacity into NHS England and relieve pressure on exhausted health workers, as well as better support for heart patients while they wait for vital treatment.

The BHF warns that without this immediate intervention, alongside the necessary investment at the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review, there is a risk that thousands more people could die from heart and circulatory diseases, despite the NHS going above and beyond during the pandemic.

At a recent meeting at Labour party conference, the city MP met with the BHF’s policy team to discuss the case for building a more resilient health system to save more lives from heart and circulatory diseases for years to come.

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

“It was eye-opening to speak with the BHF about the significant local disruption to vital heart care during the pandemic and what will be needed to urgently address this growing backlog.

“I agree that urgent action is needed to end the untold heartbreak now. A clear plan is vital to build capacity back into the health service and relieve the pressure on overstretched health workers in Portsmouth and across the country.

“I will continue to work with the BHF to ensure this is a priority for the Government and will be raising issues in the House of Commons on behalf of constituents”.

Dr Charmaine Griffiths, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation, said:

“Every number on a waiting list is a loved one facing a potentially agonising wait for care that could save or improve their life.

“Vital heart tests and surgery can’t be put off – long delays lead to debilitating anxiety and put people’s lives at risk. The voices of people with heart and circulatory diseases must be heard as the Government considers the action needed to tackle both the mounting backlog in cardiovascular care and the pandemic’s wider impact on vital heart treatment.”

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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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City MP responds to 3% pay rise for some NHS staff

Responding to the government’s announcement that nurses and other NHS workers will receive a 3% pay rise, Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

“Ministers have been dragged kicking and screaming to a 3% rise, which will still be bitterly disappointing for the NHS staff who cared for our City during the pandemic.

“Millions of other public sector staff including police, teachers, junior doctors, care workers and our armed forces will still face a real-terms pay cut this year.

“This was a moment to recognise and reward the service of our key workers, yet this government continues to squander taxpayers’ money on crony contracts and vanity projects.

“Ministers must get their priorities right. This is not just about money, it is a test of who we are as a nation.”

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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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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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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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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.