Stephen McPartland MP
Working hard for you
in Stevenage, Knebworth, Codicote, Datchworth and Aston

Stephen McPartland, MP for Stevenage, is highlighting the need for support for the rising number of cases of dementia locally. Stephen raised questions in parliament asking what funding and provisions the government will be making available to the East and North Hertfordshire Primary Care Trust (PCT), which covers the Stevenage area, to cope with the rising numbers of dementia cases.

Stephen commented: “Dementia is a devastating illness that causes great distress to those suffering from the illness, their family and their friends. With the number of dementia cases rising rapidly it is crucial that the government, which has already pledged extra funding for diseases such as cancer, provides enough support to dementia patients, their carers and their families. I am determined that Stevenage should have the support it needs and I will fight every step of the way to ensure that local residents get the provision they need. ”

Cases of dementia are rising with Paul Burstow, the Care Services Minister, confirming, in answer to another question from Stephen McPartland, that diagnosed cases rose from 2,092 to 2,361 between 2006 and 2009.  This is similar to the national trend with dementia currently affecting 820,000 people and expected to rise to over a million by 2025.

HEART UK took its message on the importance of knowing your cholesterol to Westminster as part of the UK’s first National Cholesterol Week. Local MP for Stevenage, Stephen McPartland, supported the event and took the opportunity to have his cholesterol level tested.

Stephen said, “I am delighted to support HEART UK’s National Cholesterol Week. Heart disease is the biggest killer in the UK, so it is good that something as simple and painless as a quick cholesterol test can give early warning of heart problems. It may make the difference between a long, healthy life or shorter life expectancy, so I urge my constituents to get their cholesterol level tested through their GP’s surgery.”

Aldo Zilli, the celebrity chef, also attended this event in his role as Ambassador to HEART UK. “I am delighted to be here this afternoon supporting HEART UK’s National Cholesterol Week,” he told MPs. “I am determined to raise awareness of the problems of too much cholesterol. Many people don’t fully understand how important it is to keep cholesterol in check or how to do it. People need to look at what they are putting into their bodies. Remember you only have one body and one heart.”

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is found naturally in the body, but high levels of it can cause the arteries to narrow. This makes it more difficult to pump blood around the body and can ultimately starve the heart of oxygen causing a heart attack. A raised cholesterol reading is an excellent indicator of cardiovascular problems and so testing early is a good way of helping to keep your heart healthy.

The campaign for a cancer treatment unit with radiotherapy at the Lister Hospital in Stevenage has attracted widespread support since the launch of the campaign last month.  Stephen McPartland MP, who is leading the campaign, has been expressing his thanks to all those who have been active in progressing the cause.  "The response has been very strong",said Stephen, "and it is fantastic to have the support of clinicians, such as Tom Holme and Nihal Shah, who I have been discussing the campaign with.  It is estimated around 80% of East and North Herts patients could be treated on-site with a cancer treatment unit with radiotherapy at the Lister."

Tom Holme, Consultant General Surgeon, commented, "There has been a case for such a unit at the Lister Hospital to serve patients in North and East Herts for many years, and it remains a highly beneficial proposal.  Actually achieving the unit is a very exciting proposal.  I am glad to support the campaign and welcome priority being given to this area."

The numbers of people signing up to the campaign, via The Comet and through the Facebook group, is showing that the public are also right behind the campaign.

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland recently launched a campaign for a new cancer treatment unit with radiotherapy based at the Lister hospital.  The campaign is in partnership with the Comet newspaper and reinforces Stephen's commitment to protecting and improving our local NHS.

Since the launch there has been a fantastic response from local people with more than 800 people joining the independent facebook group, Campaign for a Radiotherapy Unit at Lister Hospital, and many hundreds signing the Comet’s petition through the form available on-line or in the paper version of the newspaper.   Please use the links to register your support.

Stephen said “not only do we have the support of clinicians at the hospital but it makes sense to locate any new machines at the Lister to deliver the best healthcare possible for local people. I am encouraging residents from across the county to help support our campaign”.

Stephen added “Cancer patients received a raw deal from the last government, when the planned cancer unit at Hatfield was scrapped. It is imperative that we move cancer services closer to people’s homes. It is unacceptable that currently cancer patients in Stevenage have to travel to Mount Vernon Hospital in London to receive radiotherapy treatment, which is a very difficult journey of 40 miles and is required to be made many times during the course of treatment. We need to campaign hard to demonstrate that there is a real need for a radiotherapy unit based at the Lister Hospital, which could provide services to most patients in Hertfordshire and many in Bedfordshire.”

Stephen explained further, “The realistic expectation would be to have two linear accelerators on the Lister site, which would need four staff, a bioengineer and back-up to run this facility.  Such a facility could treat:

  • Breast cancer
  • Colorectal cancer (mainly rectal for radiotherapy)
  • Pelvic cancers including prostate and gynaecological cancers
  • Palliation of bone metastases
  • Palliation of lung cancer
  • Palliation of brain metastases.

It is unlikely this facility would be suitable for head and neck radiotherapy, which would need to be undertaken at Mount Vernon.

We currently have a Clinical Oncologist on site at the Lister most days of the week, so medical cover is not a major issue and it is estimated that perhaps 80% of radiotherapy for our East and North Herts patients could be given in a unit on the Lister site.”

Stephen McPartland visited various space technology companies around the Stevenage area as part of a campaign to understand the future of a fast growing UK space industry, currently estimated to add over £6 billion to the UK economy each year. Tessella, the information technology and consulting services company selected by R&D, science and engineering leaders for business-critical assignments was one of these firms.

Commenting on his tour of Tessella, Stephen said: "The visit to Tessella was extremely interesting and it was fascinating to see and understand the company's offerings in the space sector."

Alan Gaby, Director at Tessella said: "We were keen to show our long standing involvement and commitment in the space sector and briefed Mr McPartland on our plans for the future." Tessella Stevenage has been responsible for the design, analysis and simulation of on-board attitude determination and control algorithms for a number of the European Space Agency’s scientific and telecommunications satellites.

Following a series of discussions with Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education, Stephen McPartland MP has successfully secured capital funding for Nobel, Marriotts and Lonsdale schools.

Stephen said, “This fantastic result could not have been achieved without the full support from the local head teachers and County Council, who provided a unified front for our campaign to raise educational attainment in Stevenage. Over the last thirteen years there has not been any investment in our schools, this is evident when looking at the state of disrepair these buildings are currently in. This is an absolute disgrace and we were shocked some members of the local council were trying to play petty politics instead of supporting me, the head teachers, and the County Council in trying to get the investment our schools so badly need”.

Stephen added, “We must invest in our children’s future, we have worked hard to achieve this result and I will continue to fight for further investment. There has been too much talk and not enough action over the last thirteen years. I am committed to getting on with the job and improving local services for local people”.

Stephen McPartland MP, in partnership with the Comet newspaper, launched a campaign for a radiotherapy unit at the Lister Hospital in Stevenage.  See here for the Comet's story and picture of Stephen with Nick Carver, Chief Executive of East and North Herts NHS Trust, and Tom Holmes, specialist consultant.

Stephen McPartland, MP for Stevenage, visited the Glaxo Day Centre at the Lister Hospital and was shown around by the Manager, Isobel Dunkley, where he had the opportunity to discuss the services that this unit offers to people with Dementia and their carers. During the visit Stephen saw some of the patients engaging in various activities and had the opportunity to meet with some of the carers, and discuss their concerns.

Jan Burt, whose husband has frontal lobe dementia, explained the need for an Admiral Nurse as there are currently none in the Three Counties area. As a full-time carer herself, she has experienced how difficult it can be caring for someone with dementia and how invaluable the support of an Admiral Nurse would be.

Football fever hit Stevenage at the McDonald’s Football Open Day with England and Arsenal legend Martin Keown on hand to share tips with local youngsters and the opportunity to have their skills seen by Eric Harrison, the former Manchester United Youth Academy head credited for helping to created the ‘Class of 92’ including Paul Scholes, the Neville brothers and David Beckham.

Local MP Stephen McPartland, who joined the Open Day, commented: "This was a fantastic day and a real opportunity to showcase our local footballing talent. The commitment of local volunteers, the Academy and players and staff at Stevenage FC made this a great day for parents and children. None of this would have been possible without McDonalds focus on practical community initiatives and I am delighted they have such a proactive relationship with our town. The local franchisee Mike Ghazarian, Is a real inspiration and asset to Stevenage."

Alex Tunbridge, Head of Stevenage Football Club in the Community, says: “We’re delighted to have been involved with the McDonalds Football Open Day and we know from experience that they’re a great way for our community to celebrate and share its passion for football. It was great to have Martin Keown with us.”

Mike Ghazarian, the local McDonald’s franchisee added: "I’ve been involved in helping to improve the standards of grassroots football in and around Stevenage for a few years and this summer’s event follows on from the hugely successful McDonald’s/Stevenage FC partnership in 2009. With the Open Day, we’re encouraging the wider Stevenage community to get involved and give our youngsters access to the very best in football training and coaching.”

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