Sharon Hodgson MP

Working hard for Washington and Sunderland West.

News from Westminster

On Tuesday 9th October 2018, Sharon Hodgson MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on School Food, presented CATERed with the 2018 APPG Excellence in School Food Award.

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The Award was presented to CATERed at the Educatering Excellence Awards at London’s Royal Garden Hotel.

This was the first time the APPG on School Food has presented an award, and it is hoped that next year more schools, caterers, charities and individuals will apply.

The application process, which was facilitated by APSE, required applicants to provide an executive summary of their project, background, and what has been achieved over the last 12 months. Applicants were then asked to have their application supported by a Member of Parliament, through a letter of support.

17 applications were received, all supported by MPs across the political spectrum, and a shortlist of 3 was established by the judges: Sharon Hodgson MP, Roberta Blackman-Woods MP and Gillian Keegan MP.

The finalists were: Peel Brow School, School Food Matters and CATERed.


After presenting the award Sharon said:

“Everyone who applied for this award is doing amazing work for school food, and I cannot thank all of them enough for all that they do each and every day to ensure that our children have access to a healthy meal.


“I am so pleased that my parliamentary colleagues were also able to get involved in the awards by offering a supportive letter to applicants, I am sure that they will have also learned a lot from doing so and I have encouraged them to go and visit the school or charity they have supported so that they can experience the fantastic work they do for themselves.


“It was a genuine pleasure to present CATERed with the first APPG Excellence in School Food Award, they were very deserving winners and I hope that they continue to keep up the good work in Plymouth, and also set an example for other cities around the UK.”

 

Brad Pearce of CATERed said:

“Thank you to Sharon and the judges for the recognition.


“It was an honour to win the inaugural APPG Excellence in School Food Award.


“At CATERed we work collaboratively to improve the overall school dining experience for all. Delivering improved service quality, reduced costs, increased efficiencies and economies of scale giving a stronger financial base.


“The Big supporting The Small is our guiding principle to ensure that children and young people across the City can access great tasting, locally sourced, seasonal and freshly prepared hot school food. With our schools as shareholders CATERed believe in Feeding Ambitions, making a Difference and supporting Every Child, Every Time.”

Sharon presents CATERed with the 2018 APPG Excellence in School Food Award

On Tuesday 9th October 2018, Sharon Hodgson MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on School Food, presented CATERed with the 2018 APPG Excellence in School Food Award. The...

Celebrating the 955 potential lifesavers in Washington & Sunderland West this Blood Cancer Awareness Month

To mark Blood Cancer Awareness Month this September, Sharon Hodgson MP attended a reception in Westminster, to celebrate the number of potential stem cell donors in Washington & Sunderland West on the Anthony Nolan register.

This achievement was celebrated by Anthony Nolan on Wednesday 12 September, as part of its Communities vs Blood Cancer campaign, which shines a spotlight on the vital work being done at a local level to ensure every patient in need of a stem cell transplant can find a lifesaving donor.

In Washington & Sunderland West, 955 potential stem cell donors are registered with Anthony Nolan. 34% of these donors are male, and the average age is 38.

In total, more than 700,000 people in the UK are on the Anthony Nolan register, any of whom could be a match for someone with blood cancer and asked to donate their stem cells to give a patient a second chance of life.

Now, Sharon is encouraging more people from Washington & Sunderland West, particularly men aged 16-30 and people from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds, to register as stem cell donors and make sure that a match is available for everyone in need of a transplant. While anyone on the register could be a match for someone with blood cancer, men aged 16-30 are most likely to be asked to donate. They provide more than 50% of donations yet make up just 16% of the register. There is also a shortage of donors from non-white and mixed-race backgrounds.

Sharon said: “I am very proud that Washington & Sunderland West has 955 people who have selflessly volunteered to give someone a second chance at life. Donating stem cells is straightforward but it could make an enormous difference to someone with no other chance of a cure.

“I strongly hope that more people from our community will be inspired to sign up and show that together, we can provide a cure for blood cancer.”

Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan, said: “Since 1974 thousands of caring, selfless people have joined the Anthony Nolan register and thousands of lives have been saved as a result.

This Blood Cancer Awareness Month residents can be proud of all the lifesavers in your community. It’s wonderful to have the support of Washington & Sunderland West in achieving our goal of saving and improving the lives of people with blood cancer and blood disorders.”

For more information about the Community vs Blood Cancer campaign visit www.anthonynolan.org/communities

Anthony Nolan uses its register to match potential stem cell donors to blood cancer patients in desperate need of a stem cell transplant. It also carries out vital research to make stem cell transplants more successful, and supports patients through their transplant journeys.

Sharon Hodgson MP Celebrates Community's Efforts to Cure Blood Cancer

Celebrating the 955 potential lifesavers in Washington & Sunderland West this Blood Cancer Awareness Month To mark Blood Cancer Awareness Month this September, Sharon Hodgson MP attended a reception in...

Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or by going to the Sunderland Echo.

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At time of going to print, there are just 197 days until the United Kingdom (UK) leaves the European Union (EU).

Considering that there are still many important and outstanding issues to address as part of the negotiations, you would expect the Government to be diligently focusing on getting the best Brexit deal possible.

Unfortunately, this could not be further from the truth.

Parliament returned from its summer recess last week, and since then the headlines have been dominated by sordid details of Boris Johnson’s private life, and talk of his impending leadership bid.

This country deserves better than to be led into one of the most historic periods of our history by a Government that spends more time talking to itself than it does with our negotiating partners in the EU.

According to the former Brexit Minister Steve Baker, MP, there are now a significant number of Conservative MPs who are actively working to try and derail the Prime Minister’s Chequers plan and have signalled that they won’t vote for it in the House of Commons.

I know that people did not vote to leave the EU only for that decision to be manipulated into an internal battle within the Conservative Party.

Taking this into account, I believe we should be prepared for the very real possibility that the Prime Minister may fail to deliver the Brexit deal that our country needs.

Our withdrawal from the EU is one of the most complex issues our country has faced in generations, and I know that there are strong views on how best to approach it.

That’s why I want to hear from constituents about what they think should happen in this eventuality and other potential scenarios, and more generally their thoughts on how Brexit has played out thus far.

More than 500 people have already taken part in the survey that I launched last month, and I want as many of my constituents to do so as possible. It will be running throughout the rest of the month and into October and can be completed in either of the below ways:

Please note that this survey is intended for residents of my constituency only – you can find out if that applies to you by inputting your post code into this website: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/

Sunderland Echo website

ECHO COLUMN: A real possibility PM may fail to deliver Brexit deal country needs

Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or by going to the Sunderland Echo. At time of going to print, there are just 197 days until the United Kingdom (UK)...

Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Public Health, is looking for the ideal candidate(s) to join her hard-working, fast-paced and committed team in Parliament to assist in her Parliamentary work.

This opening is either one part-time (25 hours per week) OR a job share for two part-time candidates (15 hours per week). Applicants should make it clear which option they would prefer in their covering letter. Hours subject to agreement, however it would be preferable if a candidate could work Wednesdays.

This would be an ideal opportunity for a student, or someone looking for part-time work, who is interested in politics and looking to work for a frontbench spokesperson who is an active Member of Parliament.

Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:
• Drafting political responses to constituent correspondence and keeping records on the caseworker.mp software;
• Regularly updating social media pages;
• Editing draft press releases from outside organisations;
• Dealing with and monitoring incoming telephone and visitor enquiries, responding to emails and letters, efficient data and file management;
• Opening and dispatching mail where necessary;
• Undertaking photocopying, scanning and formatting of documents;
• Ensuring office records are kept and an efficient filing system is in place and up to date;
• Adhering to the Data Protection Act principles and GDPR, and respecting the confidentiality of data at all times;
• Liaising on behalf of Sharon with relevant groups/personnel within Westminster and within the Constituency, including liaison with outside organisations and the general public;
• Assisting other members of staff where necessary;
• Performing other duties as and when required.

Experience of social media communications and campaigns would be an advantage. Full training will be given on the caseworker.mp software and work in a Westminster office.

Initial contract will be for 10 months, pending a successful probationary period of 4 months and further review towards the end of the contract.

Upon appointment you will be required to comply with the Baseline Personnel Security Standard, undertaken by the Members’ Staff Verification Office (MSVO).

The deadline for applications is 6pm on Thursday 30th August. Interviews will take place on Thursday 6th September. We may hold second interviews on Tuesday 11th September. If you anticipate a problem with interview dates, please make this clear when you apply.

Candidates will be notified by email on Monday 3rd September if they have been offered an interview with further instructions.

Please send a short covering letter (maximum 1 side of A4) detailing why you are interested in the job and your CV (maximum 2 sides of A4) to Jessica.faulkner@parliament.uk putting SHPT18 as the subject line.

Sharon recruiting for a Part-time Junior Parliamentary Assistant

Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Public Health, is looking for the ideal candidate(s) to join her hard-working, fast-paced and committed team...

Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or by going to the Sunderland Echo.

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Last week the NHS celebrated its 70th birthday. Our NHS remains one of Britain’s greatest institutions, and it is a Labour Government that proudly introduced it in 1948.

The NHS was founded on three core principles: that it meet the needs of everyone; that it be free at the point of delivery; and that it be based on clinical need, not ability to pay.

As a local Labour MP, and Shadow Minister for Public Health, I am committed to defending these founding principles, so that our NHS is available for many, many more decades to come.

Sadly, the future of our NHS is under threat by this Tory Government.

Not only have they starved it of the funding it so desperately needs, but they have also failed to commit sufficient funding to public health and social care.

This comes at a time when demand on NHS services is growing.

A&Es are over-stretched and overcrowded; increasing numbers of people are waiting too long for operations; and key performance targets are being missed month after month.

This demand is coupled with a NHS workforce crisis. We should all show our appreciation for the thousands of people who work tirelessly to provide people with health care every single day.

Whether that’s the nurses and doctors in A&E, the porters and cleaners who keep our hospitals clean, or the cancer surgeons who perform ground-breaking operations, I know that we have all had reason to be thankful in one way or another.

But the truth is that the workforce is in crisis. Across the NHS there are more than 100,000 staff vacancies, including 40,000 nurses and 11,000 doctors.

Eight years of austerity have left their mark on the ability of the NHS to carry out its intended aims.

As of May this year, around 4.2 million people were waiting for non-urgent hospital treatment in England, and over the winter the rate of people being seen in A&E within four hours fell below 80% in some months. The target (set at 95%) has not been met since July 2015, a shocking indictment of this Government’s record.

We must not underestimate the extent of the long-lasting damage that the intentional under-funding of the NHS has already had.

NHS staff and patients deserve so much more from a Government that puts the health and wellbeing of everyone first.

It is no longer good enough for the Government to provide piecemeal increases, whilst people wait for the care they need.

A Labour Government founded the NHS 70 years ago, and it will only be a Labour Government that will continue to fight for it and give our NHS the funding it rightly deserves.

Sunderland Echo website

ECHO COLUMN: our NHS needs the funding it deserves

Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or by going to the Sunderland Echo. Last week the NHS celebrated its 70th birthday. Our NHS remains one of Britain’s greatest institutions,...

Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or by going to the Sunderland Echo. 

Sharon_Echo_col_header_FIN.jpg

This week (June 15 to 25, 2018) marks Royal Life Saving Society UK’s (RLSS UK) Drowning Prevention Week.

In partnership with the RNLI and Swim England, RLSS UK aim to reduce the number of drowning and near-drowning incidents that occur in the UK every year, by showing people how to be safe and have fun near water.

Sadly, drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death in children in the UK, and over 700 people drown in the UK and Ireland every year – equivalent to one person drowning every 20 hours.

As summer quickly approaches, it is important that children and adults are taught about the dangers of the water, especially open water, and cold water shock.

Whilst jumping in the river on a hot summer’s day might seem an attractive way to cool off, it couldn’t be further from the truth.

As the vice-chairwoman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Water Safety and Drowning Prevention and as a local MP, I have heard many stories of lives being tragically lost in the water; including Chloe Fowler, 14, and Tonibeth Purvis, 15, in July 2013 and Ross Irwin, a 22-year-old, who sadly drowned in the River Wear at Fatfield two days before Christmas in 2016.

A water safety throwline board was unveiled last month, close to the spot where Ross drowned at Fatfield Riverside.

It was unveiled by his father, David Irwin, of the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, Northumbria Police, Sunderland City Council and RLSS.

This was the first throwline board unveiled in the North East, and I hope there will be many more boards alongside our open waterways in Washington and Sunderland and across the region very soon.

I will continue my work with the APPG on Water Safety and Drowning to urge the Government to increase water safety education in schools, and encourage them to install initiatives such as throwline boards, so that we can soon see the number of people, especially young people, drowning in the UK decline.


ECHO COLUMN: water safety campaign to discuss drowning deaths

Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or by going to the Sunderland Echo.  This week (June 15 to 25, 2018) marks Royal Life Saving Society UK’s (RLSS UK) Drowning... Read more

This Clean Air Day, Sharon Hodgson MP is encouraging her constituents to help improve air quality for all by ditching their cars and getting active.

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Constituents in Washington and Sunderland West are encouraged to cycle or walk when they can. This will limit their pollution contribution but also protect their heart health, as air pollution levels can be significantly higher inside a car.

As well as encouraging individual action, Sharon Hodgson MP is also calling for national action to make the UK’s air safe to breathe, especially for her constituents with heart and circulatory conditions whose health is at increased risk from air pollution.

Air pollution is now the largest environmental risk factor linked to deaths in England, with the majority of air-pollution related deaths worldwide (58%) caused by heart disease or stroke. The British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) research has shed light on how health-harmful pollutants such as particulate matter (PM) - small particles found in emissions from diesel engines and wood burning stoves- can cause damage to people’s cardiovascular health and increase the risk of potentially deadly heart attacks and stroke.

Sharon Hodgson MP attended a photo-call organised by the BHF in Parliament ahead of Clean Air Day to express her support for action that will ensure that the health of people living in Washington and Sunderland West isn’t at risk from the air they breathe.

The BHF is urging government to make this happen by adopting World Health Organisation (WHO) air quality guidelines into UK law.

The charity believes it is vital that the UK’s air quality legislation has the protection of health at its core. This will ensure that efforts to reduce air pollution achieve meaningful outcomes, particularly for vulnerable groups whose lives are impacted by outdoor air pollution.

The EU air quality limits that the UK currently follows are equal to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommended upper limits for nitrogen dioxide but are less stringent than the WHO’s guidelines for health-harmful pollutants.

Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, said:

“It’s important that we have better air quality so my constituents living with a heart and circulatory condition don’t need to worry about dirty air damaging their health when they leave the house. Research has shown that even the smallest reduction can make a big difference in preventing new cases of coronary heart disease.

“I’m supporting the call for all effective action to be taken to clean up our air.”

Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation, said:

“It’s great to have the support of Sharon Hodgson MP with encouraging action to promote and protect the nation’s heart health from the effects of air pollution.

“We know that to have good heart and circulatory health, people need to be active. But BHF-funded research suggests that poor air quality can cancel out the cardiovascular benefits of exercise in vulnerable people. Further BHF-funded research has also shown that particulate matter increases the risk of potentially fatal complications for people with a heart or circulatory condition.

“To reduce this risk, we urgently need WHO limits for PM to be adopted into new air quality legislation as soon as possible.”

You can learn more about the BHF’s research and work on air pollution by visiting https://www.bhf.org.uk/airpollutionpolicy

Sharon urges constituents and government to do more on Clean Air Day for heart health

This Clean Air Day, Sharon Hodgson MP is encouraging her constituents to help improve air quality for all by ditching their cars and getting active. Constituents in Washington and Sunderland...

Towards the end of last year, I stepped down as the Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer to the position of Vice-Chair, due to an increasing volume of work. Breast cancer is of course still a hugely important issue for me, and one that comes under my brief as Shadow Minister for Public Health. I thought it may be helpful to provide constituents with an update on some of the breast cancer related events that have been in the news recently.

Breast Cancer Inequality Report

During my time as Co-Chair of the APPG on Breast Cancer, I was proud to be part of the initial work on a report on geographical inequalities in breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and care across England. The report was published earlier this year, and contained some extremely concerning findings.

Although overall outcomes for breast cancer patients have been improving in recent years, there exists huge variety in the level of the treatment, care and support available to women in different parts of the country.

For example, based on where a woman lives she may be more than twice as likely to die from breast cancer under the age of 75 than a woman treated in a different area, and a third less likely to have attended breast cancer screening in the last three years compared to a woman living in another part of the country.

It is entirely unacceptable that access to vital breast cancer care can be so dependent on a postcode lottery of services available. The report made some important recommendations, including that ‘Health Education England and all Cancer Alliances should urgently ensure there are enough healthcare professionals to deliver high-quality and timely diagnosis, treatment and care to local women.’

Following on from the report’s publication, I wrote to the Northern Cancer Alliance to highlight the findings and request a meeting to discuss how they are tackling the challenges within our region. This meeting took place recently, and was extremely informative. I was pleased to hear that once their workforce plans have been finalised, they will be published in order to ensure transparency.

I look forward to seeing these plans once they have been made available.

Breast Cancer Screening Error

Last month, Jeremy Hunt came to the House of Commons to give a statement on a breast cancer screening error that led to thousands of women missing vital examinations.

Although the number of people affected has now been revised down from the figure originally given, the extent of this mistake is truly astounding. Indeed it has had a devastating impact on the lives of many women, and may have led to the premature deaths of up to 74 people.

I now believe that the Department for Health should expand the capacity of the screening programme, and commit to employing more staff in order to ensure that all women are seen in a timely manner.

Figures provided by the Secretary of State show that within Washington and Sunderland West, 110 of women were affected.

I know that many people in our constituency may be worried by this situation. If you think that you may have been affected then there are a number of ways that you can seek more information below:

 

  • Call the breast screening helpline number 0800 169 2692

 

 

 

 

Breast Cancer Inequality Report & Breast Cancer Screening Error

Towards the end of last year, I stepped down as the Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer to the position of Vice-Chair, due to an increasing volume...

Sharon Hodgson MP attended a Carers Week speednetworking event with carers and charities in Westminster, pledging her support to unpaid carers in Washington and Sunderland West.

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The event was in support of Carers Week, to celebrate and recognise the vital contribution made by the 6.5 million people across the UK who currently provide care and support to a family member or friend who has a disability, illness, mental health problem or who needs extra help as they grow older.

It matched up MPs and carers to share experiences of caring and the support they need to take care of their own mental and physical health and well-being.

Eight national charities have come together to call for urgent support for unpaid carers to be Healthy and Connected as new research released at the start of Carers Week reveals the toll that caring can take on many carers’ own health and wellbeing.

Sharon Hodgson MP said:
“I was delighted to be able to show my support for the carers in my constituency at the Carers Week event and I pledge to support the 10,157 carers in Washington and Sunderland West through my work in Parliament.

Unpaid carers make a huge contribution to our society, providing vital and often hidden support to friends and family members, and it is right that we value them and ensure they have the right support at the right time. I look forward to working with the Carers Week charities, and, with unpaid carers, locally, to make a difference to their lives.”

Heléna Herklots CBE, Chief Executive of Carers UK, on behalf of Carers Week, said:
“Without the unpaid care provided every year by family and friends, our health and care services would collapse. Yet, caring for a loved one too often means carers neglect their own mental and physical health.

Finding the time and space to be healthy, get enough sleep and maintain relationships with others are all huge challenges identified by carers. By working together during Carers Week we have a huge opportunity to make our communities more Carer Friendly and make a difference to those who contribute so much.”

Carers Week 2018 is made possible by Carers UK joining forces with Age UK, Carers Trust, Independent Age, Macmillan Cancer Support, the Motor Neurone Disease Association, MS Society and Which? Elderly Care and kindly supported by Nutricia Advanced Medical Nutrition.

For further information visit www.carersweek.org

Sharon pledges support to help carers be Healthy and Connected in Washington and Sunderland West for Carers Week 2018

Sharon Hodgson MP attended a Carers Week speednetworking event with carers and charities in Westminster, pledging her support to unpaid carers in Washington and Sunderland West. The event was in...

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Over the past couple of days in Parliament, we have been voting on amendments to the EU (European Union) Withdrawal Bill.

As many people may be aware, I campaigned and voted to remain in the European Union. Despite this, I recognise that a majority of people voted to leave, and ultimately I respect the outcome of the referendum.  

Respecting the result of the referendum however, does not mean giving Theresa May and the Conservative Government a blank cheque to force through a hard Brexit. It has been almost two years since the referendum took place, and the Government is still arguing about which negotiating position to take when it comes to important issues such as Customs, and Northern Ireland.

This chaotic instability is already damaging the economy, and putting people’s jobs at risk. The manufacturing industry has repeatedly warned that a failure to secure the right customs arrangement with the European Union could cause significant damage to the sector, and the economy more widely. Indeed the outgoing president of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) warned this week that without a Customs Union, ‘there are sectors of manufacturing society in the UK which risk becoming extinct.’

It appears as though the Government is continuing to ignore these warnings, with its dogged insistence that we must leave the Customs Union, regardless of the cost.

Manufacturing makes up an integral part of the fabric of our region, and I will always vote in the best interests of my constituents. That is why I voted for amendments to force the Government to negotiate a continued customs union with the EU, although unfortunately they did not pass.

One of the most significant drivers for people voting to leave the European Union was the desire for the country to take back control. Sadly, this has not been the case, and the fact that Parliament was given just two days to debate 15 amendments to the Bill is yet another example of how democracy is being side-lined in this extremely important process.

I firmly believe that as elected representatives, Members of Parliament must have a truly meaningful vote on the deal negotiated with the EU. That is why I voted to retain an amendment made in the House of Lords that strengthens the terms of this meaningful vote.

This would have made clear that, should the Government's proposed withdrawal deal be defeated, it is for Parliament to say what happens next, not the Prime Minister. Theresa May faced the prospect of a humiliating defeat on this amendment, and has now promised all things to all people with a proposal to discuss the details at a later stage.

I do not accept that leaving the European Union means accepting whatever deal the Government comes back with, regardless of the real human cost that a bad deal, or ‘no-deal’ scenario could have. I therefore await details of the concession made by the Prime Minister, and will hold the Government to account to ensure it lives up to the promises made in Parliament.

I would like to thank every constituent who has written to me on this extremely important matter, I will be replying individually in due course. I welcome contributions to this debate from everyone in Washington & Sunderland West, the process of leaving the European Union is a matter of national interest, and one that I take extremely seriously.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update on the European Union (EU) Withdrawal Bill

Over the past couple of days in Parliament, we have been voting on amendments to the EU (European Union) Withdrawal Bill. As many people may be aware, I campaigned and...

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