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Carers Week: Portsmouth MP pays tribute to city’s care providers

Stephen Morgan MP has paid tribute to care providers in Portsmouth as the city marks Carers Week.

The City MP met with a range of local care providers on Friday, to thank them for their efforts in supporting some of society’s most vulnerable.

Mr Morgan visited Portsmouth Carers Centre, which provides support and advice to local care givers, to meet with local carers taking part in the centre’s ‘Chop Cook Chat’ sessions, a cookery group for those who are either carers or at risk of social isolation.

The Portsmouth MP also met with Portsmouth Alzheimer’s society, to discuss its experiences of the social care system and how it could be improved, particularly regarding the social care workforce.

Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges unpaid carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.

According to research from Carers UK, more than 4.6 million unpaid carers are concerned about their physical and mental health and over 2 million carers are worried about their ability to cope financially.

In addition, more care is being provided by unpaid carers than ever before, even more than during the height of the pandemic. The number providing 20+ hours of care per week has risen by 42% across the UK since October 2020, while the number providing more than 50 hours has increased by 30%.

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

“On Carers Week it’s important we recognise and thank our carers for the incredible work they do to support our most vulnerable.

“Many carers are still struggling with the ongoing impact of the pandemic. It is clear from the continued strain on social care services, many of which remain unavailable to carers, combined with the current cost of living crisis, have left carers urgently needing more support.

“It was really useful to meet with the Carers Centre staff and Portsmouth Alzheimer’s Society to learn about their respective challenges and plans to support our carers and thank them for their efforts over this past year. 

“I will continue to speak up for the thousands of people providing unpaid care in Portsmouth and across Britain, and push Government to urgently fix our social care system as we emerge from the pandemic.” 

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Portsmouth MP calls for Health and Care Heroes for NHS Awards as deadline looms

Stephen Morgan MP is calling for nominees to enter the official NHS Parliamentary Awards in recognition of staff who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.

Nominations close midnight, Thursday 14 April.

The NHS Parliamentary Awards offer a chance to celebrate NHS staff, carers and volunteers for all the hard work they do to look after our loved ones when they are at their most vulnerable.

The City MP is now searching for outstanding nominees for the 2022 Awards who have innovated, impressed and made a real difference to how the health and care system provides care for patients.

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

“The NHS is one of the nation’s most loved institutions and hardworking NHS staff make it what it is today. 

“The stories I hear from local health services make me incredibly proud of the fact that Portsmouth contains people willing to provide such fantastic care to our most vulnerable residents. NHS staff, volunteers and carers make a true difference to the lives of their patients, and I want to recognise those individuals and teams at this year’s NHS Parliamentary Awards. 

“I want to hear from you about any outstanding care you have received in the last year so that I can nominate our local heroes for these awards. There’s still time to nominate, so please do send your suggestions to my office via email.”

For more information on how to nominate and the criteria for each category, visit: www.nhsparliamentaryawards.co.uk

Suggestions for nominations can be sent to Stephen Morgan MP’s office via: stephen.morgan.mp@parliament.uk

Professor Stephen Powis, chair of the judging panel and NHS National Medical Director, said:

“Throughout the NHS’s history there are examples of how staff and volunteers have contributed to making the health service the greatest care team in the world. 

“The NHS Parliamentary Awards are a unique opportunity for MPs to highlight the amazing work done by NHS staff in their local areas, and I look forward to working with all of the judges to review the nominations we receive.” 

This year there are 10 award categories, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Rising Star Award and, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Covid Response Award.

The Parliamentary Awards 2022 launched on 2 March 2022, and all those who make the national shortlist will be invited to an award ceremony in Westminster to celebrate their fantastic achievements.

The Portsmouth MP is calling for potential nominations in the following categories:

 

  • The Excellence in Healthcare: This award recognises individuals or teams who go above and beyond to improve outcomes and experiences for patients living with and beyond major health conditions or work to prevent them.

 

  • The Excellence in Mental Health Care Award: To the individual or team that has worked across organisational boundaries to develop new and effective services to help people living with mental health problems in their community.

 

  • The COVID Response Award: The brand new COVID Response Award is for any individual or team who have met the challenges of the pandemic with creativity and innovation to provide the best care possible for their patients.

 

  • The Excellence in Urgent and Emergency Care Award: To the individual or team that has made improvements to how the NHS treats people in life or death situations.
  • The Excellence in Primary Care and Community Care Award: As the needs of patients and the wider NHS evolves, so does the role of these professionals, and this award seeks to recognise practitioners and teams in primary or community care that are working with patients to help them stay healthy and avoid long stays in hospital or being admitted in the first place.

 

  • The Future NHS Award: This award seeks to highlight individuals, teams and organisations that are successfully embracing the opportunities that come from advances in medical technology, data, and connectivity.

 

  • The Health Equalities Award: This award is for an individual or organisation that has helped the NHS to do its bit by bringing together different groups and organisations to reduce health inequalities and prevent ill health in different communities.

 

  • The Nursing and Midwifery Award: This award is for any nurse or midwife, that has used their skills to ensure that patients experience care and compassion. This award is also open to any one of the thousands of student midwives, nurses, AHPs and medical students who started their careers early to support the NHS’ response to coronavirus.

 

  • The NHS Rising Star Award: This award looks to celebrate younger members of staff, volunteers or members of the public who give up their time, lend their experiences and deliver better services for themselves and others in their area.

 

  • The Lifetime Achievement Award: This award is for an individual who has worked within a health or care setting for 40 years or more who has left a legacy.
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World Social Work Day: Portsmouth MP urges action to tackle social workers leaving ‘important’ profession

Stephen Morgan MP thanked social workers for the important role that they carry out as the city marked World Social Work Day yesterday, for their role in supporting people with additional needs and through difficult periods in their life.

The City MP also, however, stressed that the Government must take action to tackle the number of social workers leaving or planning to leave the profession. This is in response to a report published by the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) which found that increasing workloads due to the pandemic has exacerbated working conditions in social work, which is driving staff to leave.

These fears arise despite more than 60% of respondents to BASW’s survey saying that they were “happy working in the social work profession”. The survey was the first of BASW’s annual state of social work survey, which unveils a picture of increasing caseloads across adults and children’s services against a backdrop of long-term underfunding of social services.

Echoing a concerning outlook on social worker retention, the Department of Education’s Children’s social work workforce statistics, released last week, shows the number of children and family social workers leaving during 2021 was 4,995, up by 16% compared to 2020 and the highest number in the last 5 years.

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

“Social workers go above and beyond for so many vulnerable people, but the working conditions they are facing are unsustainable and unfair.

“Social workers need rest, balance and support. If they do not receive them, we cannot be surprised that people in the profession are burning out or leaving.

“As we marked World Social Work Day this week, the best way we can thank Portsmouth social workers is for the Government to take urgent action on working conditions so that we can encourage social workers to stay in the profession.”

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Portsmouth MP pushes for John Pounds Medical Centre to reopen

Local residents, Labour councillors and Stephen Morgan MP have united to lobby for the John Pounds Medical Centre to reopen, following its closure in July 2020.

Lake Road Practice, which John Pounds Medical Centre merged with, said at the time, ‘“With Covid-19 affecting us all this year” the GP service site would temporarily close, with a view “to restarting clinics at John Pounds as soon as we can offer a suitable Covid secure service.”

However, despite covid cases now lowering and local vaccination rates higher, the GP service has still not reopened.

The Portsmouth MP has written to Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) raising concerns his constituents have shared with him on this issue, and on the level of access to alternative GP services in the Portsea area.

Many local residents are either vulnerable or disabled, but have said they are now faced with little choice but to walk up to 30 minutes longer to access the medical attention they need at Lake Road GP practice.

The City MP’s constituents have also said that alternative forms of local transport for this route are either unreliable or expensive.

It comes as the local Labour team, led by Cllr Kirsty Mellor, helped to collect signatures for a petition residents have produced, calling for the John Pounds Medical Centre to reopen.

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

“The John Pounds Medical Centre is vital for people in Portsea to get easy access to the healthcare they need. While it remains closed with no clear explanation for it being so, residents who depend on it face unneeded uncertainty and anxiety.

“That’s why I have written to decision-makers to clarify reasons why John Pounds Medical Centre remains closed and when we can expect it to reopen.

“Local Labour councillors have been doing important work alongside the community on this, and I am grateful for the petition local residents have produced. Our NHS has been left creaking at the seams by Ministers in Whitehall and urgent intervention is needed to bring down local waiting times across our city.

“I will continue to make the case in Parliament for the action and support that’s required to secure the health and social care services our city deserves.”

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Portsmouth MP votes against government ‘con’ to fix social care crisis

Stephen Morgan MP has voted against the government’s ‘backward’ proposals to fix the social care crisis.
The government is proposing a £86,000 cap in personal care costs in its Health and Care Bill.
However, in new details published last week, government said support payments from councils will not count towards the cap, with charities warning the move would unfairly hit the poorest.
Labour’s Shadow Social Care Minister, Liz Kendall MP, also said that the £86,000 cap “would still mean many people will have to sell their homes to pay for their care – against everything Boris Johnson promised.”
Torsten Bell, chief executive of the Resolution Foundation think tank, also pointed out the plan could “double your care costs” for someone who has about £90,000 in assets.
According to the Health Foundation, the government’s changes to the Bill “will no longer protect those with lower assets from catastrophic costs.”
The charity said that under “the current system people can lose all but £14,250 of their assets. For someone with £100k this represents 86% of their wealth. Under the Care Act, this would be reduced to 43%.  But under the Government’s proposals the maximum loss would be £80k – 80% of their assets”.
The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“This is a care con, not a care plan.
“We already knew most people won’t hit the cap because it doesn’t cover board and lodging in care homes, but now it has been revealed that the poorest pensioners will have to pay even more.
“Ministers have slipped out a significant change that means if you live in a £1m house, perhaps in the Home Counties, 90% of your assets will be protected.
“But if you need social care and live in an £90,000 in home in Hartlepool or even Portsmouth, your care costs could be doubled under new government proposals. That is not fair.
“That’s why I voted last night to reject these proposals and continue to press Ministers for a fairer option.”

Mr Morgan recently held roundtables with local care users and providers to better understand local issues and concerns, has asked a range of parliamentary questions on the issue and lobbied the Health Secretary on challenges the sector faces.

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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 blasts government for £3.85m drop in local public health funding

Stephen Morgan MP has blasted the government after recent analysis which has revealed a £3.85m drop in local public health funding over the last five years.
The Labour 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.
Cuts public health budgets have meant difficult decisions about where they spend money, alongside carrying out vital work to control the spread of Covid-19, including local outbreak planning, and crucially, promotional work to support the vaccine rollout.
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.
Local public health teams are also responsible for stop smoking services, sexual health services, health checks, public mental health, drug and alcohol services, children’s public health services, programmes to tackle obesity, amongst other key public health programmes. Their work is crucial because it supports people in Portsmouth to stay well and helps prevent health problems.
The £3.85m real terms cut to the team’s funding fails to prioritise this vital work, despite public health staff having spent almost two years working flat out to tackle the worst public health crisis in living memory.
In last month’s Autumn Budget and Spending Review, the Government announced no real terms change to the total public health grant, which means no more funding for local public health teams in 2022/23.
The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan MP, said:  

“I know the public health team in Portsmouth have worked so hard to keep us all safe during the pandemic.
“It is difficult to believe that, despite their hard work, the services they run have experienced such devastating cuts.
“The words ‘Levelling Up’ will mean nothing unless the Government invests in public health and prevention, which is key to improving local people’s lives and keeping them healthy for longer.”
Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said:
“Our NHS is in crisis and patients are waiting longer for treatment thanks to years of Tory cuts and a failure to recruit the doctors and nurses needed.
“In communities across the country the Tories have cut the vital public health services that prevent people becoming seriously ill, ultimately putting more pressure on local hospitals.
“To save lives we need to keep people well, but instead public health services are set to be stretched again thanks to this Conservative government.”

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City MP votes against government Bill to raise National Insurance as Labour offers alternative vision for Social Care

Stephen Morgan MP has voted against a government Bill that will raise National Insurance for local working families as Labour sets out its alternative vision for social care reforms.

The Health and Social Care Levy Bill, which is being debated in the House of Commons today before votes this evening, would raise National Insurance by 1.25% for working families and businesses across the country.

The government legislation is facing wide-ranging criticism for how the social care reforms will be funded, particularly for those on low income.

Under current proposals, a graduate on a typical entry level salary would a pay marginal tax rate of almost 50%.

In addition, The British Chamber of Commerce, Make UK, the CBI and the Federation of Small Businesses have all slammed the government’s suggested solution to the social care crisis as harmful for businesses and for our economic recovery, with the FSB saying it will lead to 50,000 fewer jobs being created.

Labour has set an alternative plan, which would:

  • Give older and disabled people the chance to live the life they choose, shifting the focus of support towards prevention and early help.
  • Ensure every older and disabled person who needs care and support gets it when and where they need it, improving their lives and delivering better value for taxpayers’ money and;
  • Build a strong and skilled social care workforce, with a new deal for care workers to create a well-motivated, skilled and properly rewarded workforce, with more support for unpaid carers

The member of parliament of Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, commented:

“When it comes to social care, for many, it’s personal. This is about services for our loved ones. Our friends. Our neighbours.

“For me, it was the lack of social care available for my grandad that was one of the key reasons I put myself forward for public office.

“The barriers to access affordable social care for people like him was unacceptable then, and it’s unacceptable now.

“That’s why I voted against these deeply regressive proposals today and will continue to fight on behalf of local people for the better access to the vital services they need.”

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Reactive statement to social care reform proposals – Stephen Morgan MP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

  

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth MP said:

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

 

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

 

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

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