York Press column: Focussed on health both in Westminster and the constituency
September 27, 2023
As we enter conference recess, we are in the final stages of this parliamentary session with the King’s first State Opening of Parliament set for November.
Recess does not mean holiday though, simply more time to spend in York meeting with constituents and local businesses to help push forward my agenda for an event better York.
Before I took a break from Westminster, I had the opportunity to attend a Parliamentary drop in event hosted by Kidney Care UK and NHS Blood and Transplant to mark Organ Donation Week. This event was a great opportunity for me to hear from people with first-hand experience of what it is like to donate or receive a kidney transplant, as well as talk to individuals who are in need of a transplant.
Kidney Care UK and NHS Blood and Transplant do some fantastic work alongside each other to support those living with kidney failure and raising awareness of the importance of organ donation. There has been some great steps taken in the right direction to address this significant health issue over recent years, namely The Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act. This important piece of legislation changed the law to mean that an individual agrees to become an organ donor when they die if they are over 18, have not opted out, and are not in an excluded group.
As a result of this opt-out law, we have seen real and positive change with its consequences unimaginably changing people’s lives for the better. It has literally saved lives, seen by the fact that in the first year of this law being on the statute books, the organs of 296 people were donated leading to 714 organs being transplanted. However, more work is needed to be done and it remains incredibly important that we work hard to drive down waiting times for transplants and the best way to do that is by encouraging more people to register as potential organ donors.
I know from my correspondence with many of my constituents that healthcare is a significant concern, particularly access to NHS services. This is a concern that I share with you and many of you will have been following the work that I have been doing in relation to NHS dental care in the York area.
Over recent months I have been engaging with Ministers in the Department for Health and Social Care, as well as our local Integrated Care Board (ICB) on various health related issues, ranging from dementia diagnosis rates, technology to support those living with diabetes, and autism assessment criteria.
I was pleased to meet with Healthwatch York last week where the discussion largely focused on our work to increase access to NHS dental care in the York area following the disappointing closure of Bupa Holgate Park Dental Care Practice. This was a really positive conversation on an array of health related issues where I was able to hear more about the good work Healthwatch York have been doing locally. I am sure this is the first discussion of many more to come in the future and I will work with all stakeholders to help deliver better healthcare for my constituents.
I ended last week with a visit to Neo Walk in Huntington, which was founded by Lyndsay Watterson after a devasting MRSA infection led to her left leg being amputated. I first met Lyndsay last year when we appeared on a panel together at the British Society for Antimicrobial Infection Conference for a talk between a Member of Parliament and a constituent about the political approach to fighting antimicrobial infections.
Lyndsay’s business has gone from strength to strength, giving those with disabilities newfound confidence through the styles and colours her walking sticks offer. Her products have even found celebrity fans with Christina Applegate and Selma Blair using Neo Walk walking aids on the red carpet.
It is great to be able to champion a York success story and I hope Lyndsay’s example can inspire many more great businesses in our city.