Sharon Hodgson MP

Working hard for Washington and Sunderland West.

News from Westminster

Sharon Hodgson attended a launch event for National Fitness Day in Westminster this week (15 May), and is now urging her constituents of Washington and Sunderland West to put themselves forward to be a regional fitness hero ahead of the event, which takes place on Wednesday 26 September.

Sharon called on people to share a message about what fitness means to them online, using Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and the hashtag #Fitness2Me. From those who champion healthy lifestyles in their towns and communities, to those who have overcome the odds through physical activity, beaten depression or inspired young people to get active, the search aims to celebrate the role of fitness in every walk of life.

National Fitness Day is an annual campaign that celebrates the fun of fitness and physical activity, while highlighting the benefits leading an active lifestyle can have on our overall health on the most active day of the year.

The most inspiring #Fitness2Me heroes will be selected from 12 regions by organisers ukactive, the not-for-profit health body. Each hero will be invited to help get their local community active on National Fitness Day and their story will be promoted to a national audience in the run-up to the day.

Sharon Hodgson MP said:

“National fitness day is an opportunity to encourage more people to become active and take part in activities across their community and have the chance to enjoy and share their love of physical activity.

In my position as Shadow Public Health Minister, I recognise the importance that physical activity has on everyone’s health and wellbeing. That is why I will be encouraging my constituents to get involved in National Fitness Day, and encouraging them to stay fit and active throughout the year.

It’s so easy to take part and is a brilliant way to bring the community together to celebrate the joy and health benefits that physical activity can bring.”   

Last year, National Fitness Day saw more than 20,000 free activities take place across the UK and 5.1 million people getting physically active on the day.

Legendary ballerina Dame Darcey Bussell has declared her backing for National Fitness Day 2018, with the Strictly Come Dancing judge set to kick-off proceedings on the day with her dance fitness company DDMIX.

And the Department of Health has added its support by recognising the crucial role of physical activity in the nation’s health and wellbeing.

Public Health Minister Steve Brine said:

“Being active is so important – it adds years to our lives, saves billions of pounds for our NHS and helps to manage and prevent over 20 chronic conditions, including heart disease, type-2 diabetes and mental health problems. That’s why I’m delighted to support National Fitness Day – which can play a crucial role in getting the nation moving.”

AXA PPP healthcare has also renewed its commitment to supporting healthy workplaces by extending its headline partnership of National Fitness Day for another three years. The partnership includes a focus on supporting employers to promote a physically active workforce through AXA PPP’s ‘Flying Start’ campaign, which calls on employers to help their staff enjoy an active start to National Fitness Day.

Gordon Henderson, Marketing Director at AXA PPP healthcare, said: “We’re excited to be partnering with National Fitness Day, for 2018 and beyond. Busy work schedules and family commitments can mean it’s hard to make time for physical activity but we believe employers have a key role to play in helping their people to get moving. National Fitness Day is a great way for workplaces to get involved and build being active into their working day.”

CEO of ukactive Steven Ward said: “National Fitness Day is all about celebrating the personal experiences and stories that physical activity brings to our lives. Whatever fitness means to you, we’re calling on you to share that message with the nation so that more people can be inspired to live healthy, active lifestyles.

“National Fitness Day continues to go from strength to strength and we’re delighted that AXA PPP healthcare has committed to a further three years on our journey, helping us to reach into Britain’s workplaces with their Flying Start campaign.”

How to get involved:

  • There are lots of ways to share what fitness means to you: post a message to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, add a photo of yourself or upload a video message – just don’t forget to include the hashtag #Fitness2Me
  • If you would like to share your fitness story in more detail, email nationalfitnessday@ukactive.org.uk
  • To discover more or to register your activities and events for National Fitness Day, visit: nationalfitnessday.com

 

Sharon Hodgson MP calls on local fitness heroes to lead the way in run-up to National Fitness Day

Sharon Hodgson attended a launch event for National Fitness Day in Westminster this week (15 May), and is now urging her constituents of Washington and Sunderland West to put themselves...

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

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Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) recently launched a public consultation on urgent care centres in the city.

Two of the three centres that will be affected by the new proposals are in my constituency, Bunny Hill and Washington.

I am appalled by the revelation of this consultation, especially as I was only alerted to its existence on the same morning, just hours before the general public, and I share the concerns and frustration constituents may feel about it.

Closing down urgent care centres in local communities, who may not have access to transport to travel further afield or the time to do so, is a shameful symptom of this Conservative Government’s austerity measures, who continue to deprive the most vulnerable in society from the services they need.

I am also bitterly disappointed that of the nine forthcoming public discussions, just three of them are outside of typical working hours (after 5pm), with just one starting at 6pm.

I am deeply concerned that this means that some working people will not be able to participate in these discussions, and may be excluded from the consultation.

I am also aware that there is no consultation at the Bunny Hill Centre, so the people these changes will impact the most will be excluded from the consultation process.

The Bunny Hill Centre was once home to one of Labour’s fantastic Sure Start Children’s centres, but this is sadly no longer there as was a casualty of austerity and one of the over 1000 centres that have been closed down since 2010, despite reassurances from David Cameron who said Sure Start was safe in his hands.

Families need support, and to take away that support is to remove a life line they may one day desperately need.

Unfortunately, I do not have any more sway over the consultation than local residents, but I will be meeting with David Gallagher in the coming weeks ahead to discuss my concerns and will be making representations on behalf of my constituents.

In the meantime, constituents should participate in the consultation by either attending the public discussions or completing the online survey, details of which can be found online here: http://www.sunderlandccg.nhs.uk/get-involved/urgent-care-services/public-consultation-get-involved/


ECHO COLUMN: Threat to Sunderland urgent care centres is shameful

Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or by going to the Sunderland Echo website.  Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) recently launched a public consultation on urgent care centres in...

Updated 16/05/2018 - Sharon writes to Baroness Cumberlege regarding the Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review

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Click on the image above to download the letter.

Previous post of 13/04/2018 below

Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review

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Over many years, Sharon has met with victims, campaigners and charities who support and campaign for justice for victims of Primodos, Valproate and Vaginal Mesh.

Update - Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review

Updated 16/05/2018 - Sharon writes to Baroness Cumberlege regarding the Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review Click on the image above to download the letter. Previous post of 13/04/2018 belowMedicines... Read more

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This week marks male cancer charity, Orchid’s Male Cancer Awareness Week, which provides an opportunity to raise awareness of male specific cancers – prostate, testicular and penile cancer.

Whilst these cancers aren’t widely talked about, over 50,000 men in the UK will be diagnosed with a male specific cancer in the next 12 months.

The focus of this year’s Male Cancer Awareness Week is on a cancer which one in eight men in the UK will develop at some point in their lives – prostate cancer.

Despite the fact that prostate cancer is due to be the most prevalent cancer in the UK within the next 12 years, a report published by Orchid this week found that over 60% of men are not confident in identifying the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer.

Like many cancers, if prostate cancer is diagnosed early, then the likelihood of survival increases.

However, Orchid report some worrying statistics:

· 37% of prostate cancer cases are diagnosed in the late stages;
· 42% of prostate cancer patients saw their GP with symptoms twice or more before they were referred;
· 23% of all cancer cases are diagnosed through A&E, with the majority of these cases at the late stage.

That is why this week is so important in raising awareness of male specific cancers, so that the signs and symptoms can be spotted and action, if needed, can be taken.

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I am therefore encouraging constituents to take a look at Orchid’s ‘F.A.C.E up to prostate cancer’ campaign, so that they can think about and are aware of 4 key risk factors: family history; age; change in urinary habits and ethnicity.

If patients and health professionals are equipped with the knowledge and confidence to spot signs and symptoms of cancers, it could be detected and diagnosed early, which can increase the likelihood of survival.

If you are affected or worried by any of this, then you should have a conversation with your GP.

To see the infographic in larger print click here

You can find a copy of Orchid's latest report here

Details of Orchid's national male cancer helpline can be found here

Male cancer awareness week

This week marks male cancer charity, Orchid’s Male Cancer Awareness Week, which provides an opportunity to raise awareness of male specific cancers – prostate, testicular and penile cancer. Whilst these...

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

Sharon_Echo_col_header_FIN.jpg

Last week, the House of Lords passed a motion calling on the Government to postpone their changes to free school meals, which would see over a million children in poverty miss out on a free, hot and healthy school meal.

This follows from a heated debate in the Commons earlier this month where Conservative MPs cried fake news instead of addressing the fact that children growing up in poverty are missing out once again.

The Lords vote gives the Government an opportunity to think again on their policy and consider how all children living in poverty, including those in working families, can be guaranteed at least one decent meal each day.

If the Government pushes through with these proposals, the very aims of Universal Credit to always make work pay, are redundant as the proposals will create a cliff-edge which will remove the incentive for working parents below the £7,400 threshold to take extra hours at work or seek a promotion.

According to the Office for Budget Responsibility, only 3% of families with children are currently on Universal Credit, so only 3% of children will have their Free School Meals protected, regardless of their parent’s earnings.

Free School Meals are a lifeline to thousands of working families up and down the country, as they ensure that their children receive a hot and healthy meal at least once a day.

As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on School Food, I have seen how pupils from all backgrounds can benefit from a free school meal, as it gives them the energy they need to learn, grow and develop.

I am therefore calling on the Government to ensure that every child on Universal Credit receives a Free School Meal so that no child growing up in poverty misses out on a free, hot and healthy school meal.  


ECHO COLUMN: Free school meals a lifeline to thousands of working families

Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or by going to the Sunderland Echo website.  Last week, the House of Lords passed a motion calling on the Government to postpone...

As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on School Food, Sharon welcomes the Government's recent announcement that they will invest £2 million to fund holiday hunger initiatives. 

You can read the Department for Education's press release here 

You can apply for the Holiday Activities and Food Research Fund here

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Sharon Hodgson MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on School Food, said:

“I am thrilled that the Government have today announced the “Holiday activities and food research fund”. This will ensure that disadvantaged pupils benefit from a hot and healthy meal, like they do during the school day, during the school holidays.

This is something the APPG has been looking at since 2013 and what campaigners and I have been calling for for a number of years now. This has been a long time coming as too many children return to school after the holidays tired and malnourished as they haven’t eaten properly for weeks.

I am pleased that the Government have now opened their eyes to the ever growing problem of holiday hunger, and will support organisations in their delivery of meals during the holidays.”

[Ends]

Sharon welcomes new Government funding to tackle holiday hunger

As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on School Food, Sharon welcomes the Government's recent announcement that they will invest £2 million to fund holiday hunger initiatives.  You can read...

Sharon met with Sarah in Parliament, to hear first-hand her experience of being a Business Apprentice and to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2018, which runs from 5 to 9 March.

Co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service, National Apprenticeship Week 2018 is the 11th annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships in England and is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses, local communities and the wider economy.            

During the Week employers and apprentices from across England will come together to celebrate the success of apprenticeships whilst encouraging even more people to choose an apprenticeship as the pathway to a great career.

Sharon said:

“It is great to meet apprentices here in Parliament. Apprenticeships are so important to those undertaking them – giving them the skills they need to succeed in life and in a role they want to progress in – and to employers, giving them the opportunity to mould and shape the workforce they need.

“I am delighted to support National Apprenticeship Week this year, and pay tribute to employers who are contributing to local economies through apprenticeships whilst demonstrating that apprenticeships work for individuals, employers, and the community.’’

Sharon celebrates National Apprenticeship Week 2018

Sharon met with Sarah in Parliament, to hear first-hand her experience of being a Business Apprentice and to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2018, which runs from 5 to 9 March....

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

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Today marks International Women’s Day; a day to celebrate the success of women around the world but also a day to reflect on how far we still have to go.

This year’s theme is #PressForProgress, which aims to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.

It is no doubt that days like today still need to exist, even in 2018.

Despite making up 51% of the population, women are still outnumbered in almost all professions.

In the House of Commons, there are twice the number of men than women elected in Parliament, and at the current rate of progress it will take 50 years to achieve gender equality in Parliament. In a 100 years since some women got the right to vote, I am the only Sharon elected since 1918, compared to 403 men named John in the same period.

Similarly, a FTSE 100 CEO is more likely to be named David than be a woman, and will earn on average 77% more than their female counterparts.

If these high profile positions cannot practice and promote gender equality in the workplace, then it is difficult to expect others to follow.

That is why the Government must therefore take decisive action to ensure that companies deliver on gender equality in the workplace, and take steps to encourage gender equality in Parliament.

This is something Labour have been championing for many decades now, and I am proud to be one of the 119 female Labour Party MPs sitting in the House of Commons today, making up 45% of Labour MPs.

To #PressForProgress, I will be building on the past achievements of Labour women who have come before me and pushing for full equality and protection of women: financially, in the workplace, in families and homes and in public spaces.

ECHO COLUMN: International Women's Day is also a reminder of how far we still have to go

Read Sharon's latest Sunderland Echo column below or by going to the Sunderland Echo website. Today marks International Women’s Day; a day to celebrate the success of women around the...

Sharon Hodgson, Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Public Health Minister, and Cold Feet actress Fay Ripley have joined forces this March to help Marie Curie provide care and support to more people living with a terminal illness.

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Sharon Hodgson MP and long-term Marie Curie supporter Fay were pictured together with Marie Curie Nurses, Victoria Shodeko and Victoria Oluwalogbon, at a parliamentary event held last week to celebrate the launch of the Great Daffodil Appeal, Marie Curie’s biggest annual fundraising campaign.

Marie Curie’s daffodil pins are now available from volunteers and shops on high streets across the country. With demand for Marie Curie services growing, as more people die each year, the charity hopes that this March, more people than ever will give a donation and wear the iconic yellow flower.

The money raised will help the charity be there for more people living with any terminal illness, providing them and their loved ones with vital care and support at the most difficult time of their lives.

Sharon pledged her support to the appeal and is encouraging local people to help the charity raise more money than ever before by simply giving a donation and wearing a Marie Curie daffodil pin.

Sharon said:

‘‘It was a pleasure to join Fay Ripley, Victoria Shodeko and Victoria Oluwalogbon in Parliament to help launch Marie Curie’s annual Great Daffodil Appeal.

Unfortunately, it is extremely likely that we will all know someone who has been or will be affected by a terminal illness, so the support that Marie Curie provides is absolutely vital.

Making a donation, and wearing a daffodil pin are small individual ways in which we can make a larger collective difference to people’s lives. I look forward to seeing many of them when I am out and about, and supporting Marie Curie’s work in the future.’’

Fay Ripley, who is best known for her role in the ITV series Cold Feet and also as a recipe author, said during the event:

"I’m delighted to be here with Sharon to help launch Marie Curie’s annual Great Daffodil Appeal.

Chances are, we all know someone who’s been affected by a terminal illness, so it’s absolutely crucial that families have the care and support they need at such a difficult time.

I hope that as many people as possible wear a daffodil this March and understand that in doing so, they are making a huge difference for people living with a terminal illness and their loved ones.”

Sharon and Fay Ripley help launch Marie Curie's Great Daffodil Appeal

Sharon Hodgson, Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Public Health Minister, and Cold Feet actress Fay Ripley have joined forces this March to help Marie Curie provide...

Sharon Hodgson, Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Public Health, supports launch of new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer report which finds concerning geographical variation in NHS services.

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Sharon has called for an end to the stark inequalities in breast cancer diagnosis and care across England, following the launch of a new report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer (APPGBC) – and supported by leading charity Breast Cancer Now.

The landmark report – launched in Parliament on Tuesday 27th February – uncovers the true extent of the ‘postcode lottery’ in breast cancer diagnosis and care across England, with women in worst-affected areas found to be more than twice as likely to die from breast cancer under the age of 75 than those elsewhere in the country.

Following a year-long inquiry (October 2016 - November 2017), which gathered evidence from NHS leaders, clinicians, patients and charities, the report found that while overall outcomes for breast cancer are improving, stark geographical inequalities exist across England in screening, early detection and access to treatment and services.

Sharon said:

“As the former chair of the APPG on Breast Cancer at the time this report was initiated, I was very pleased to attend the launch of their report into geographical inequalities in breast cancer. These widespread differences in the diagnosis, treatment and care of women with breast cancer, based on where they live, are shocking. It was incredibly moving to hear from speakers at the event just how difficult it can be for breast cancer patients to get the support they need.

“It’s so important to attend routine mammograms so that we can detect breast cancer as early as possible to give women the best chance of survival.

“While such variation across the region exists, we’re falling short of the Government’s ambition of world-class outcomes for all cancer patients, and we call on NHS England and Public Health England to do all that it can in working with the Northern Cancer Alliance to ensure they receive the support they need to meet this challenge.”

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, which supported the inquiry, said:

“These are really concerning findings. While overall, more women are surviving breast cancer than ever before, this crucial report uncovers variation in breast cancer services on a major scale.

“With patients and healthcare professionals alike already feeling the impact of the workforce shortages across the country, this alarming report must now act as a wake-up call. All women with breast cancer deserve the best possible chance of surviving and living well, no matter where they live, their age or the colour of their skin.

“This report shows too many women miss out on the best breast cancer care this country has to offer. We urge NHS England and Public Health England to take immediate action to ensure all women in the North East and across the country receive fair access to the care, treatment and support they need.”

Sharon calls for an end to stark inequalities in breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and care

Sharon Hodgson, Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West and Shadow Minister for Public Health, supports launch of new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer report which finds concerning geographical...

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