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Jim Fitzpartick
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12 Mar


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The NHS and Tower Hamlets Council take a stand on smoking

March 12, 2015 | By | No Comments

1531 - NHS tobacco

The NHS and Tower Hamlets Council are taking a stand against the harm caused by tobacco by presenting the NHS Statement of Support for Tobacco Control [1] at the Tower Hamlets Health and Wellbeing Board. The statement was presented to the board on 10 March 2015 ahead of No Smoking Day on 11 March.

The NHS Statement, which is endorsed by NHS England, the Public Health Minister, Public Health England and the British Medical Association (BMA) amongst other leading health organisations, is a set of commitments made by local NHS organisations to tackle the harm caused by smoking.

Tobacco remains an enduring public health challenge and the leading cause of premature death and health inequalities in England [2]. Smoking is responsible for 5% of all hospital admissions in those aged over 35 [3] and the cost of smoking to the NHS is estimated to be £2 billion annually [4].

In Tower Hamlets, about 19 per cent of people smoke. Smoking is the biggest cause of premature death in the borough. Also, more people are admitted to hospital with smoking-related problems than most other parts of the country.

The Statement provides a public commitment to work towards further reducing smoking prevalence; to demonstrate a commitment to take action; and to publicise the NHS’s dedication to protect local communities from the harm caused by smoking. It also reinforces the signatory’s commitment to protect tobacco control work from the vested interests of the tobacco industry.

Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse, attended the parliamentary launch of the statement on 23 February 2015 said:

“If we are to protect the health of future generations and prevent our young people from taking up a deadly habit, it is crucial that the whole health system works together. I’m delighted to see so many local NHS organisations signing the NHS Statement of Support for Tobacco Control.”

Sir Sam Everington, local GP and chair of NHS Tower Hamlets CCG, said:

“Tackling tobacco provides one of the great opportunities to transform public health, and the NHS has a key role to play. I am delighted to see NHS organisations in Tower Hamlets signing the Statement of Support and leading the way in preventing the harm caused by smoking”

Stopping smoking is the best thing you can do for your health. By stopping, you reduce the chances of you and people around you who inhale your cigarette smoke, getting lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and other related illnesses.

“With the right attitude and support, you can stop. Take the time to speak to your local pharmacy, GP, or the NHS Stop Smoking Service today.”

For further information on local stop smoking services visit: www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/stopsmoking

23 Jan


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January 23, 2015 | By | No Comments

Like many hospitals in England, services at the Royal London Hospital are struggling.

The NHS has been put under unprecedented levels of pressure because of the failings of the government, and the problems in A&Es demonstrates the scale of the Tory NHS crisis we face.

Attendances at hospital A&E departments across the country increased by 600,000 in the first four years of the Tory-led government and last week it was revealed that only 7 out of 140 hospital A&Es hit the target to see 95 per cent of patients within four hours.

The Tory NHS crisis in A&E has its roots in the Government’s cuts to adult social care, the abolition of NHS Direct, the closure of almost one in four walk-in centres and its disastrous decision to throw the NHS into the chaos of reorganisation.

David Cameron promised he’d protect the NHS but his Tory NHS crisis proves you can’t trust the Conservatives with the NHS.

This week in Parliament I voted to take action to save our NHS and deal with the Tory NHS crisis. Unfortunately we lost the vote thanks to Conservative MPs and a Prime Minister who refuses to take any responsibility, or even acknowledge that an NHS crisis exists.

Only Labour has the long-term plan to save and improve our local health service.

Firstly, we will invest in training and recruiting 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs to ensure that the NHS has the time to care for you and your family.

Secondly, we will ensure a binding waiting time guarantee to make sure everyone can get a GP appointment within a maximum of 48 hours. We will also guarantee that nobody will wait more than one week for a cancer test and result.

Thirdly, we will hire 5,000 more care-workers to join up services from home to hospital and ensure that the NHS is more efficient and care is better.

All of this will be paid for through fairer taxes on properties worth over £2 million, on hedge funds, and on tobacco companies. None of our manifesto commitments, including on the NHS, require any extra borrowing.

Building the NHS was one of our greatest achievements and we’re determined to protect it. Only a Labour government can ensure that the NHS will always be there for you and your family when you need it.

14 Jan


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On the General Election

January 14, 2015 | By | No Comments


The forthcoming election in my view will be about fairness, how to the run the economy fairly and reduce the deficit in a fair way.

Ed Miliband and Ed Balls have been spelling out our plans to put working people first by:

  • Rewarding hard work with measures such as a £8 minimum wage, ending the exploitation of zero hour contracts, supporting the wealth-creating small businesses and jobs of the future in green industries, and keeping Britain in Europe.
  • Providing opportunities for our children with measures such as training hundreds of thousands of new engineers or raising the quality of vocational education and apprenticeships.
  • Combatting Tory Welfare Waste with measures such as repealing the Bedroom Tax, funding local authorities to help people move to suitable accommodation and using the funding set aside by the Government through Discretionary Housing payments.
  • Protecting our vital public services like the NHS with measures such as a guaranteed GP appointment within 48 hours, a one week wait for cancer tests, and a £2.5 billion Time to Care fund to support more midwives, care workers, doctors and nurses.
  • Balancing the books as soon as possible in the next parliament.

In Poplar and Limehouse the above will have a huge impact as they will across the country. But further than that, we will also freeze energy prices until 2017, move on rent controls to prevent annual hikes for people renting their homes, and hit bank bonuses to pay for jobs.

Since the Bedroom Tax was introduced around half a million low-income households have been forced to find, on average an extra £700 a year. In Poplar and Limehouse, 1203 people have been hit by the Bedroom Tax.

It is clear the current Coalition Government is out of touch. Instead of tax cuts for millionaires, Labour will introduce a Mansion Tax on properties above £2million to raise funds for the NHS. The threat to our GP services needs to be eliminated. The NHS needs better financing and we will provide just that. The deficit needs to be address but by everyone including those able to pay a little more.

09 Jan


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BBC London 94.9

January 9, 2015 | By | No Comments

On Tuesday I was on BBC London 94.9 with Vanessa Feltz. We discussed a whole range of things including the NHS and the Mansion Tax.

If you didn’t get the chance to tune in, not to worry, here is the link, forward it to 01:02:00 and enjoy!

03 Jan


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The NHS as you know it cannot survive five more years of David Cameron

January 3, 2015 | By | No Comments

Labour’s election chief tomorrow (Sunday) declares that the future of the health service will be on the ballot paper in May because the NHS as you know it cannot survive a second term of Tory-led government.

Douglas Alexander, the Chair of General Election Strategy, uses a State of the Race memorandum to mobilise party activists for a four-month campaign – beginning tomorrow – to save the NHS.

He is publishing a 27-page dossier revealing the scale of David Cameron’s broken promises to protect the NHS, setting out new projections for what five more years of Conservative government would mean, as well as underlining Labour’s plan to save and improve the health service.

In online posters being unveiled tomorrow (Sunday), Labour seizes on the fifth anniversary of David Cameron’s air-brushed advertising on the NHS to parody his claims before the last election warn that a second-term Tory government would mean longer waiting times, spending levels back to where they were in the 1930s and more privatisation.

The dossier reveals that seven out of the 15 patients’ rights enshrined in the NHS constitution have been breached including those setting maximum waiting times of four hours at A&E, 62 days for cancer treatment, and six weeks for diagnostic tests.

If the NHS service standards continue to decline as they have under the Tories in the last four-and-a-half years, in 2020 the NHS would be course for:

  • Nearly 2 million people waiting longer than four hours at A&E
  • Waiting lists reaching 4 million
  • Ambulance response times reaching up to nine minutes
  • Over 20 million patients left waiting for a week or more to see a GP or unable to get one at all
  • More than half a million older people no longer getting access to social care services

The dossier shows how independent experts have questioned George Osborne’s proposal to cut public spending to levels not seen here since the 1930s when the NHS did not exist. Countries such as Mexico achieve such levels only because half their health care is privately funded – but to do so in the UK would require unfeasible measures such as the complete abolition of central funding for local government. And, in any case, cuts in other areas like social care will further increase pressure on the NHS.

The dossier warns that the Health and Social Care Act, which has opened up the NHS to the full force of competition law, is on course to double the scale of privatisation if left unchecked. On current trends the NHS is on course for over 4,000 private sector contracts being awarded over the next five years with up to £10bn of the NHS budget being spent on private providers.

The dossier shows how there is clear choice at the next election between a Tory second term that will threaten the future of the NHS as we know it and Labour’s plan to save the health service and improve it to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.

Labour’s plan would:

  • Create a £2.5 billion a year NHS Time to Care Fund to support 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GPs, 5,000 more home care workers and 3,000 more. This is fully-funded and over and above baseline budgets.
  • Guarantee a GP appointment within 48 hours, and on the same day for those who need it.
  • Guarantee a maximum one-week wait for cancer tests and create a new Cancer Treatments Fund to improve access to drugs, radiotherapy and surgery.
  • Repeal David Cameron’s NHS Health & Social Care Act that puts private profit before patients, to ensure NHS professionals can focus on your care, not competition law.
  • Give patients and the public a say when changes to local services are proposed.
  • Bring together physical health, mental health and social care into a single service to meet all of a person’s care needs – whole-person care, built around patients.

In his memo tomorrow, Mr Alexander says:

“There is nothing which better symbolises the difference between Labour’s vision for the future and that of the Tories than our NHS.

“But we need your help to save it. Today we are launching a four month campaign to make clear that our health service as you know it won’t survive another five years of David Cameron.

“The Tories are already breaking half of the waiting time guarantees to patients enshrined in the NHS Constitution, including on cancer and A&E.

“A Tory second term would put us on course for ever-longer waits for patients because they have no plan to give the NHS the cash it needs and want to take public spending back to 1930s levels.

“And another five years of this rotten government could put us on course for a doubling of the scale of privatisation as competition is put before patient care.

“That is why the NHS is on the ballot paper at this election. And that is why we will work morning, noon and night to save it.”

21 Nov


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NHS Bill

November 21, 2014 | By | No Comments

023 - NHSs Bill

Today, Labour MP Clive Efford’s Bill on the National Health Service (Amended Duties and Powers) received its second reading with 241 votes to 18.

It is now being decided by Government whether to let the Bill go to the Committee Stage.

The Bill will repeal some of the more controversial elements of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 supported by the current Coalition Government.

I supported the Bill in response to the overwhelming amount of emails I have received from my constituents in Poplar and Limehouse voicing their concerns.

If passed, the Bill will exempt our NHS from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Treaty (TTIP).

This will mean our NHS will be legally immune from procurement or competition obligations, thus ensuring it is protected from foreign health care providers and remaining entirely our health service.

I am concerned that without the passing of this Bill, our NHS will be open to competition and private interests, particularly from US healthcare providers which may eventually lead to a wholly privatised health service in the UK.

It is also important to ensure the NHS is providing the best possible care in the best possible interests of its patients – us, and this Bill will seek to do this by repealing some of the worst elements of our existing legislature.

I believe supporting this Bill is the decent and right thing to do, it will ultimately put patients’ needs above profit which the NHS is not currently bound by law to do.

The Bill undoubtedly received a negative reception from the Tories; however, I am glad to say I voted to save the NHS from the clutches of private interests.

17 Sep


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Improving cancer survival rates with earlier diagnosis

September 17, 2014 | By | No Comments

I recently highlighted the importance of improving earlier cancer diagnosis as a means of increasing one-year cancer survival. In Tower Hamlets, only 65% of people with cancer will live for a year after diagnosis.

At the moment, the UK lags far behind its international and European neighbours in cancer survival. We know that early diagnosis of cancer leads to better survival rates for patients. The one-year cancer survival rates will highlight areas where improvements need to be made. I have written to the Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning group for an update on initiatives to encourage earlier diagnosis, and look forward to working with them on behalf of local cancer patients. By matching Europe’s best survival rates, the Government estimates that the NHS in England could save 10,000 lives a year. This should be our aim: to give people in our area the best chance in their fight against cancer.

08 Jul


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Today I took an HIV test at ‘Halfway to World AIDS day’ event in Westminster.

July 8, 2014 | By | No Comments

HALVE_IT_001 (3)

Today I was one of the record number of legislators who took an HIV test at a ‘Halfway to World AIDS day’ event hosted by the Halve It Coalition and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on HIV and AIDS. MPs and Peers took a test administered by clinicians from the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, in an act of solidarity with all those living with HIV across the world every day of the year, and in demonstration of the UK’s policy commitment to HIV testing. During the event members of the Halve It steering group, including leading HIV clinicians and CEOs of patient and policy organisations, spoke with parliamentarians about HIV testing and related sexual health issues. 

14 May


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Latest on GP Surgery Closures

May 14, 2014 | By | No Comments

Yesterday I called on the Government in a Parliamentary debate to think again on planned changes to NHS funding which has directly threatened five GP surgeries in the borough with closure.

The Government has decided to phase out a funding arrangement called the Minimum Practice Income Guarantee (MPIG) over a seven-year period, beginning in April. As a result, 98 surgeries in areas across the country will have their funds cut and may have to close. Five of the 98 threatened surgeries – including Jubilee Street Practice – are in Tower Hamlets.

We need answers before any decision is made and I’ll continue to campaign against any proposals which are going to lengthen waiting lists, shut down good surgeries and bring down resident’s standard of healthcare.

You can read the full debate here.


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Jim Fitzpatrick MP