Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or find the published column on the Sunderland Echo website.
The age-old proverb: “out of sight, out of mind” always springs to mind when we have some old electricals tucked away at the back of the cupboard or stowed up in the loft.
They sit there for years on end gathering dust and filling up useful storage space, and we always think, “I will get that fixed soon” or “I’ll get round to throwing that away eventually”.
According to United Nations experts, the electronic waste (e-waste) which is discarded by consumers globally totals over 42 million tons a year with less than 16% of that astronomical figure being diverted to recycling or reuse.
This is all alarming news when it is reported that the electrical items we throw away each year contributes up to 4,400 tons of ozone depleting chemicals being let off into our environment.
We all talk about “going green” or “doing more for the environment”, but sometimes we easily forget the effect of throwing away an old camera or mobile phone can have on our environment.
However, a new initiative aims to change all of that. It’s called Restart, and it aims to help empower consumers to address the growing issue of waste and learn life skills to recycle, repair and reuse old electricals which may still have some life left in them – if only they were given some TLC.
The project is currently only based in London, but hopes to expand out across the country.
To do that they held a Restart party in Parliament, where MPs were able to take their old electronics and repair them themselves.
I, for one, was delighted to personally repair an old clock of mine that I had been tempted to throw away but now can put up again in the house with no need to buy a new one or add to the yearly levels of e-waste we are producing.
Restart hopes to set up local Restart parties across the country where local people can come together and learn more about how they can recycle and repair their old electrical items so we can all take positive steps towards reducing harmful e-waste in the UK whilst also learning valuable life skills we can use in the future. You can find out more about Restart by visiting their website: https://therestartproject.org/
The initiative is only in its infancy, but it is set to grow in popularity where more and more people will learn about repairing or recycling their old electrical items, and can finally empty out that cupboard full of old electrical items and give them a restart to a new life.
You can see some photos of Sharon below at the RESTART reception in Parliament:
Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or find the published column on the Sunderland Echo website. The age-old proverb: “out of sight, out of mind” always springs to mind...
In her capacity as Co-Chair of the APPG on Ticket Abuse, Sharon organised a cross-party group of MPs and Peers led by along with Nigel Adams MP, Chair of the Music APPG, and were joined with famous faces, such as Imogen Heap, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child producer Sonia Friedman, and Josh Franceschi of You Me At Six!. The photo call called on the Government to accept the “Ban the Bots” amendment during Report Stage of the Digital Economy Bill on the 28.11.16.
The photo call took place outside of Parliament, where MPs and Peers backed an amendment drafted by Nigel Adams MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Music, and tabled on a cross-party basis by the entire Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, and supported by Sharon Hodgson MP, Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse, and Tom Watson, Labour’s Culture Secretary and Labour’s Shadow Culture, Media and Sport team, which would ban the use of bots to buy tickets. The Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s move follows years of campaigning by Sharon and the APPG for Ticket Abuse to consider how to tackle different aspects of a multi-faceted issue.
The photo call also linked in with the #ToutsOut campaign by Fan Fair Alliance, who have been galvanising the industry to tackle ticket touting and ensure fans are put first in the market.
This came off the back of a Parliamentary Petition which saw more than 83,000 people call for further transparency measures in the market to help empower fans and protect them from the unscrupulous actions of touts.
Following the photo call, Sharon, said:
“It was excellent to see our cross-party campaign to take another step forward after many years of campaigning on the many issues in the ticketing industry which are locking fans out of seeing their favourite artist, sports team or theatre show. The chorus of concerns from industry, fans and Parliamentarians a like is becoming hard for the Government to ignore. It’s time the Government acted.”
Sharon organises Ban the Bots & Touts Out cross-party photocall ahead of Report Stage of the Digital Economy Bill
In her capacity as Co-Chair of the APPG on Ticket Abuse, Sharon organised a cross-party group of MPs and Peers led by along with Nigel Adams MP, Chair of the...
As Shadow Minister for Public Health, Sharon responded to a debate on reducing health inequalities and the need for the Government to take action to address variations in health outcomes across the country. In her speech, she raised two specific interventions that the Government could go on: childhood obesity and publication of the Tobacco Control Plan.
You can read Sharon's speech here: Sharon Hodgson MP Reducing Health Inequalities Backbench Business Debate 24.11.16
Speech pasted below:
As Shadow Minister for Public Health, Sharon responded to a debate on reducing health inequalities and the need for the Government to take action to address variations in health outcomes...
As Shadow Minister for Public Health, Sharon responded to a Backbench Business Debate on contaminated blood and blood products, secured by Diane Johnson, MP for Hull North, who has led on this issue for a number of years. In her speech, Sharon spoke about the support given to those affected by this scandal under the new system and those missed out, the involvement of private for-profit companies in the administering of payments, and also the need for an independent Hillsborough-style panel.
You can read Sharon's speech in Hansard here: Sharon Hodgson MP Contaminated Blood and Blood Products Backbench Business Debate 24.11.16
Speech pasted below:
As Shadow Minister for Public Health, Sharon responded to a Backbench Business Debate on contaminated blood and blood products, secured by Diane Johnson, MP for Hull North, who has led...
As Shadow Minister for Public Health, Sharon spoke in a debate on diabetes technologies and what more needs to be done to support those living with diabetes.
You can read Sharon's speech in Hansard here: Sharon Hodgson MP Diabetes Technologies Westminster Hall Debate 23.11.16
Speech pasted below:
As Shadow Minister for Public Health, Sharon spoke in a debate on diabetes technologies and what more needs to be done to support those living with diabetes. You can read...
As Shadow Minister for Public Health, Sharon responded to a debate on Self-Care. In her speech, Sharon raised the need to ensure self care was fully supported by the Government o help reduce pressures on the wider NHS and health services and also the impact of cuts to public health funding will have on self care.
You can read Sharon's speech here: Sharon Hodgson MP Self Care Westminster Hall Debate 22.11.16
Speech pasted below:
Mrs Sharon Hodgson (Washington and Sunderland West) (Lab)
It is an honour to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Walker. I welcome this important debate and the fact that it has been secured during Self Care Week -
Sir Kevin Barron
Just after it.
Just after Self Care Week. I commend my right hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Sir Kevin Barron) for securing this debate and for his excellent speech, which shows his deep knowledge of and passion for all matters relating to the health of our nation, especially with regard to preventive health measures. I thank him for that.
This debate is especially important, as it is the first time we have had a dedicated debate on self-care in a very long time. We heard an excellent contribution from the hon. Member for Linlithgow and East Falkirk (Martyn Day). Before we hear from the Minister, I want to look at the issue of self-care and the wider picture of preventive measures through the lens of the cultural shift in the NHS away from care and repair to prevention and wellbeing promotion. I will also look at how aspects of current Government policy, such as the cuts to public health funding—I know I keep banging on about that, but it is important—is detrimental to our shared vision for an improved NHS and to achieving a healthier nation.
When NHS England’s “Five Year Forward View” was published just over two years ago, we were promised a radical upgrade in prevention and public health. That belief in reshaping the approach of the NHS and our health services away from a sickness alleviation service towards a wellbeing service that promotes healthier lifestyles choices, improved wellbeing and the prevention of ill health through behavioural change is supported across the NHS and in wider society.
That shift is paramount when we see the NHS in a state of crisis, with longer A&E waiting times and GP appointments becoming harder and harder to come by. One in four patients wait at least a week to see their GP. My husband had to wait three weeks to see the GP because it was not an emergency, but he thought it was an emergency; sometimes we do not know, and it is up to the doctor to decide what is important and what is not.
Some parts of the NHS are at crisis point. That is not a party political point at all; it is supported by health organisations such as the Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation, which professed this time last year that the NHS was at risk of a “catastrophic collapse”. If the worrying trends in waiting times that I have described are ever to be reversed and we are to save the NHS, we need to have a wholesale rethink about the way we approach health policy. Prevention must be the key, and self-care should be a central part of that reconsidered approach.
Self-care is about empowering people and patients to maintain their own health through informed lifestyle choices, better awareness of symptoms and better awareness of when it is important to seek professional advice—for example, for possible cancer symptoms, where early diagnosis is absolutely crucial and a matter of life and death—and when an ailment can be treated by someone themselves in the appropriate manner by talking to their community pharmacist, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley described on the occasion of a family holiday. With improved confidence, people can take control of their own health or long-term conditions much better and make decisions that are far better for the NHS.
It is completely understandable that when we are unsure about the cause of symptoms or the best course of treatment or care, our first port of call is the NHS. However, being more aware of how we can treat ourselves and having preventive practices in place that reduce the prevalence of ill health will help go some way towards pulling the NHS back from the brink. The NHS is a trusted bastion, but sadly we are seeing more and more people accessing NHS services when there is no need and when a chat to one of our excellent community pharmacists would have sufficed—for example, in the cases we have heard about today of splinters, paper cuts, hiccups or broken nails. A bit of common sense is all that is needed, certainly not a trip to A&E.
In 2014, A&E departments across the country dealt with 3.7 million visits for self-treatable conditions such as those mentioned today, as well as the common cold, flu or muscle pain, combined with 52 million visits to the GP for similar conditions. It is no wonder people cannot get an appointment when some people are going to see their GP for that sort of thing. That has an estimated cost to the NHS of more than £10 billion over the past five years, which is not a small or insignificant amount of money.
Self-care is a crucial preventive measure that must be developed further to ensure that the NHS is as resilient as possible and can respond in more effective and meaningful ways to the nation’s health. With all that in mind, it is deeply worrying that the vision set out in the “Five Year Forward View” has progressed little or not at all. That is seen most clearly through the Making Every Contact Count initiative, which aims to make NHS staff members an important part of boosting awareness of healthy living, rather than only administering healthcare to the sick. It is a fantastic initiative. In theory, that strategy can go far in addressing issues around lifestyle choices such as smoking, drugs, diet and alcohol consumption by just adding a one or two-minute conversation when a healthcare professional already has someone in front of them.
It is worrying that the progress and roll-out of that scheme is patchy, despite there being lots of good practice across the country, such as the social prescribing service in Rotherham that my right hon. Friend talked about. Where such system change is flourishing and showing that it can support a reduction in pressures on NHS services such as A&E and GP practices, it should be encouraged, and the roll-out should be far more substantial.
I hope the Minister can give us some reassurance on three key asks for the Make Every Contact Count initiative: first, that we see progress made on the scheme in the new year, as promised by Professor Fenton from Public Health England during the second oral evidence session for the APPG on primary care and public health inquiry; secondly, that best practice is made more readily available to improve provision across the country through the Self Care Forum’s database of best practice; and thirdly, that he commits to ensuring CCGs prioritise implementation of the scheme in their local areas and that training is provided for staff, to equip them to provide consistent self-care messaging.
It should not go without saying that there are examples across the country that show the innovative and positive impacts of improving self-care, such as a scheme in my own neck of the woods in South Tyneside—the neighbouring borough to my own—where a borough-wide conversation has been developed that shifts away from asking, “How can I help you?” and instead asks, “How can I help you to help yourself?”
Those initiatives need funding and encouraging from Government to succeed. However, what we are currently seeing has been described as a frustrating and perverse approach to preventive measures, with cuts to public health funding of £200 million in last year’s Budget, along with an average real-terms cut of 3.9% each year to 2021, announced in last year’s autumn statement. Hopefully tomorrow we will see our new Chancellor go some way to rectifying and reversing that; we can live in hope, unless the Minister has some insight into what the Chancellor will announce. We will keep our fingers crossed.
The Minister is well aware of my opinion on those cuts, because we discuss them every time we meet, and the need to rethink the whole approach, but it is not only me saying this. Only recently, the Health Committee, chaired by the hon. Member for Totnes (Dr Wollaston)—who I am sure would have been here today if not for the health debate coming up in the Chamber very soon—uncovered serious concerns about the finances and funding of the NHS and public health. In a letter to the Health Secretary in October, the Committee said:
“All the indicators suggest that demand is continuing to grow and that we need to go further on prevention”.
I could not agree more. These cuts are a false economy and are exacerbating the situation within our health services. We are seeing funding directed to our crisis-ridden A&E departments, which are having to crisis-manage failures that could have been addressed a lot sooner.
The Minister needs fully to understand that to make cuts to one part of our health service without considering the impact on other parts is leading us down the road to rack and ruin. To give him some understanding of the cuts, I suggest that he look at the Health Committee report “Public health post-2013”. The Select Committee does good work, but the Chair is not here to hear me highlight all this work. The report that I have just mentioned highlights research by the Association of Directors of Public Health, which found that local authorities are planning deep cuts to public health services due to the cuts coming from central Government to local authorities. It shows a marked rise for 2016-17 compared with 2015-16.
The Government need to have a wholesale rethink of the funding of the NHS and public health services that sees a redirection to prevention, which will go some way towards addressing many of the problems in our health service that are now being documented weekly. I hope that the Minister takes some time in his response to consider the points that I have raised in relation to public health funding and how current actions are failing the vision of the five year forward view and the health of our nation. Self-care needs properly to be funded and supported to be innovative, so that we ensure that the continuing crisis facing the NHS can be reversed. We cannot continue as we are, because our NHS is too precious to let it fail. The health of the nation needs to be protected, where possible, to enable people to lead long, happy and fulfilling lives.
As Shadow Minister for Public Health, Sharon responded to a debate on Self-Care. In her speech, Sharon raised the need to ensure self care was fully supported by the Government...
Sharon met with ex-service men and women volunteer poppy sellers, who are giving up their time this month once again, to raise money and awareness, for this year’s appeal. 2214 (Usworth) Squadron, Air Training Corps Cadet volunteers were also out in good force to help make sure the appeal is a big success.
(pictured above) Sharon with the volunteer poppy sellers - the Washington Branch of the Royal British Legion and the 2214 (Usworth) ATC Cadets - at ASDA in the Galleries, Washington
Sharon met with ex-service men and women volunteer poppy sellers, who are giving up their time this month once again, to raise money and awareness, for this year’s appeal. 2214... Read more
Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Oct-Nov 2016 number 89
Read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - News from Westminster - Oct-Nov 2016 number 89
Sharon Hodgson MP's report - Oct-Nov 2016 number 89 Read Sharon Hodgson MP's report - News from Westminster - Oct-Nov 2016 number 89 Read more
Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or find the published column on the Sunderland Echo website.
Last week saw Nissan solidify its relationship with Sunderland and the North East further when the company announced that their two new car models, the new Qashqai and the X-Trail SUV, would be built here in Sunderland.
The news which was expected later this month, was brought forward and definitely lifted a weight off the shoulders of those who work at the Sunderland plant and within the supply chain, here in the North East and across the country.
It is not surprising that many people were apprehensive about the impending decision, especially after comments by Chief Executive, Carlos Ghosn, on future investment here in Sunderland due to Brexit. But what this news has done is allowed families who depend on Nissan for their jobs and livelihoods to plan for the future, now that they are secure.
It is only right that we celebrate the good fortune our City and the wider North East region received last week, and recognise the sigh of relief for the many tens of thousands of families, rather than dampen the jubilant mood felt across the region with scepticism. There will be time to discuss what deal was struck and the content of the letter, but for now, this is good news and that should not be forgotten.
+ This week saw LACA’s National School Meals Week return.
National School Meals Week is a year-round initiative which promotes pupils taking up school meals and showcases the improvement seen over the years. Our school catering workforce is larger than the British Navy but can often be overlooked when it comes to celebrating the improvements we have seen in school food over the last decade.
That is why it is important that we recognise all of their contributions to the health, education and well-being of our children.
It was for this reason that I was delighted to invite Audrey Chappell of Albany Primary School to come down to London and cook in Parliament’s kitchens, and for me to go along and see her in action and hear about her day’s experiences. It was lovely to hear about everything Audrey got up to on her visit and how it would not be an experience she will forget.
Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or find the published column on the Sunderland Echo website. Last week saw Nissan solidify its relationship with Sunderland and the North East...
On Thursday 27th October, Sharon attended the launch of the Sunderland Cultural Partnership at Ryhope’s Engine Museum as part of Sunderland’s City of Culture 2021 Bid.
The Sunderland Cultural Partnership is a collaboration led by the University of Sunderland, Sunderland City Council and Music, Arts and Culture (MAC) Trust, with support from Arts Council England. The aim of the partnership is to coordinate a cultural vision for the City, along with promoting joint planning and facilitating better engagement between partners across Sunderland.
Following the launch, Sharon said:
“It was wonderful to attend the launch of the Sunderland Cultural Partnership at Ryhope’s Engine Museum and see what Sunderland has to offer culturally being showcased, bringing together our industrial heritage and the vibrant culture which flourishes here in Sunderland.
“The Partnership will be an important way for everyone to get involved, from businesses to young people to the wider community, and come together to show exactly what Sunderland has to offer as we bid for UK City of Culture 2021. I look forward to seeing more from the Partnership in the coming weeks and months, ahead of our formal bid next year.
“Sunderland has so much to offer culturally to the country, but also to the world, and winning the City of Culture bid in 2021 will help put Sunderland on the cultural map and will have such a positive impact on our City’s economic, social and cultural future, Wearsiders and the wider North-East. It is a win-win situation.”
You can find out more about the Sunderland Cultural Partnership here.
On Thursday 27th October, Sharon attended the launch of the Sunderland Cultural Partnership at Ryhope’s Engine Museum as part of Sunderland’s City of Culture 2021 Bid. The Sunderland Cultural...