It’s been a busy week in Parliament and in the constituency. Just a snapshot of some of the things I’ve been involved with, both here and in Westminster.
I was proud to close the debate on Acquired Brain Injury on Monday in my role as shadow health minister. The debate sought to bring greater awareness to the issues surrounding Acquired Brain Injury, including the need for improvements to long term rehabilitation services. I was especially grateful for input from 2nd Chance Headway, a local charity that made the excellent point – ‘If a life is worth saving, it has to be worth living!’
On Tuesday I pressed again for the implementation of better mental health and wellbeing services for children and young people. I also spoke out on the need to ensure mental health trusts are safely staffed and patients are not injured, after concerns were raised that insufficiently trained agency and bank staff may be contributing to an increase in patients suffering injury through restraint.
Insecure Work & the Gig Economy
Research from the GMB union shows that a majority of workers with insecure contracts go to work while feeling unwell for fear of losing pay, hours or even their jobs. I raised concerns in Parliament about those people on relentless shift patterns, the impact that this has on their mental health, and that we need to improve people’s working standards in order to improve their mental health.
The cost to the public purse in poor employment practices – their avoidance the minimum wage, holiday pay and sick leave can be counted through lost national insurance contributions. Moreover, it is unfair both to workers who are likely to be cut adrift to the welfare state when their health fails, and to those employers who do pay their taxes, make pension contributions and invest in their workers skills and training. It is not right that we are all footing the bill for the businesses who take advantage of insecure work.
Keep Britain Tidy
I was glad to meet with Allison Ogden – Newton from Keep Britain Tidy to discuss my ‘Little Litter Heroes’ campaign. I’m excited to be inviting local primary schools to take part in a competition, as part of an ambitious drive to tackle litter and pollution – we need to get young people inspired to be part of the solution.
Muscular Dystrophy UK – Changing Places
Changing Places is a consortium of groups that believe, simply, that all major public buildings should have a Changing Places toilet. They’re different to a disabled toilet, as they have extra equipment and more space to meet people’s additional needs. Access to a changing places toilet is a basic but essential need for over 250,000 people in the UK.
I was glad to meet with representatives from Muscular Dystrophy UK, who currently co-chair Changing Places ahead of a 10 -minute rule bill that I will be presenting to Parliament next week. Whilst a 10-minute Rule Bill is unlikely to bring change to legislation, it is a great opportunity to bring an issue before Parliament on a subject like Changing Places, and it is a campaign that I am proud to get behind.
New Nursing School – Dewsbury Hospital
Back in the constituency, I was glad to attend the opening of a new nursing school at Dewsbury Hospital, to view the new facilities (and I had chance to practice my CPR skills!). Great to see this facility opening at our local hospital.
Boothroyd Academy & Pentland Infants
It was lovely to meet with staff and students at both of these local schools. As well as catching up with any issues and concerns of staff, it’s great to meet the children and to hear about what they’ve been up to and answer any questions they have about my role as an MP. The children at Pentland Infants had invited me to their Great Get Together community picnic.
Over this weekend, I’ll be joining a number of the Great Get Together events around the constituency – the initiative to celebrate the legacy of the work of Jo Cox, encourages communities to come together in the spirit of having ‘more in common’.