This is not a decision I have taken lightly but I am confident that my caseworkers will provide the usual standard of service in my absence. They will of course discuss any actions with me as necessary after the surgery.
On Friday 5th September Parliament debated and voted on the second reading of the Affordable Homes Bill, a Private Members' Bill put forward by Liberal Democrat MP Andrew George.
I have been contacted by many Lewisham Deptford residents who are struggling to cope with the hated bedroom tax, which was introduced by the Coalition Government. In London alone 48.989 people have been affected by this unfair policy. Unfortunately Mr George's bill would not abolish the tax, but if passed it would protect the most vulnerable people, such as those with disabilities and people for whom the local council in unable to find suitable alternative accommodation.
The Labour Party has been clear and consistent in its opposition to the bedroom tax from the outset. It is an unfair and unworkable policy that causes misery to thousands of people by forcing them out of their homes.
Up to now the Liberal Democrats had repeatedly backed the Tories over this policy, but on Friday many of them voted with Labour. I was in the House to vote for the bill and the results were as follows:
Closure Motion (to stop the bill being talked out on Friday):
Second Reading (to progress to the next stage):
In spit of Conservative attempts to talk the bill out or to derail parliamentary process, the bill will now proceed to the committee stage. Labour will now seek to amend and strengthen the bill and we remain committed to scrapping the bedroom tax entirely if we win next year's general election.
Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust is celebrating the achievements of its “unsung” local healthcare professionals with the Trust’s first ever staff awards scheme.
The Trust is asking local people to nominate “healthcare heroes” who they feel have gone the “extra mile” and made a difference to their lives.
Claire Champion, Director of Nursing and Clinical Services, said:
“We have around 6,000 staff working at University Hospital Lewisham, Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Greenwich, Queen Mary’s Sidcup and in a range of community settings in Lewisham.
“We know from patient feedback that we have hard working and caring staff who make a real difference to the lives of patients and their families. I am proud of this organisation, and it’s important that we celebrate the good work that happens on a daily basis.”
If you would like to nominate a member of staff – or a team – for this award, please email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to: FREEPOST LGT. You can also download a nomination form from the Trust’s website - www.lewishamandgreenwich.nhs.uk - or pick up a copy in patient waiting areas and main reception desks around the Trust. Please call 020 3 192 6555 if you would like information.
The closing date for nominations is 19th September 2014.
Sir Robert Francis QC is currently conducting an independent review into creating an open and honest reporting culture within the NHS.
As part of this review he has issued an invitation to all NHS workers, employers and other organisations to share with him their experiences - both good and bad - of raising concerns in the NHS or supporting others who have done so.
Sir Robert is keen to understand all aspects of the issue and to hear suggestions and ideas on what would make a difference. He is also hoping to meet with a limited number of people to discuss their contributions in further detail.
The closing date for submitting contributions is Wednesday 10th September 2014. Further information, including details of how to submit your evidence, is available on the Freedom to Speak Up website at freedomtospeakup.org.uk.
One in three people in the UK has high blood pressure. It is a major cause of death and disability as it can cause heart attacks and strokes. This year the campaign aims to highlight the fact that there are 8 million people, both young and old, in the UK who are suffering from high blood pressure but not being treated for it.
High blood pressure has no obvious symptoms so the only way people will know if they have the condition is if they have their blood pressure checked. Once diagnosed, high blood pressure can be successfully managed. Public Health England states that checking the blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and lifestyle of people aged 40 to 74 could prevent 1,600 heart attacks and 4,000 cases of diabetes a year.
Free blood pressure checks will be available at various 'Pressure Stations' in pharmacies all over the country. To find your nearest one, simply enter your postcode into the search box on the 'Know Your Numbers!' website.