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

The voices of more than 700 adults, many of whom have significant communications difficulties, are making themselves heard with a response to the consultation on the NHS White Paper, Equity and Excellence – Liberating the NHS, thanks to Stevenage-based advocacy charity, POhWER.

The response was presented to local MP, Stephen McPartland at POhWER’s office by Chief Executive, Valerie Harrison, and trustees Judith Smart, Arthur Bate, Neil Hoskins and Owen Parry. Stephen pledged to personally give the response to the Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley, and added, “This response is exactly what the White Paper is aiming at, we want to involve as many people as possible in determining the future of the NHS. POhWER and its work personify what we mean by ‘the big society’. I am very proud to give the views of so many disadvantaged people over to Andrew Lansley, and I know he will be equally delighted to receive them”.

POhWER Chief Executive, Valerie Harrison says: “The principle of ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ means a great deal to us and we are very glad the government has decided to adopt it. We hope our response will make a meaningful contribution to the consultation and our energy and passion will inspire the NHS to not only to listen and respond to people like us, but value our experience and respect the level of commitment it often takes for us to achieve what for others may seem straightforward tasks”.

Phase Four of the Lister Hospital development programme has been given the go ahead. Stephen McPartland MP said “This is fantastic news for Stevenage and I have been pressing Ministers for clarification on the reconfiguration of health services in Hertfordshire. We have been working hard to ensure this project is given the green light and the Lister becomes a centre of clinical excellence.”

Stephen continued, “I am delighted that we have managed to secure another £71 million investment in healthcare in Stevenage. This comes to around a quarter of a billion pounds that the new government is investing in Stevenage health and education.”

Stephen added “Protecting and improving our local NHS is a key priority and I will continue working with Unions, managers, Staff, clinicians and patients to deliver the best healthcare possible for local people. This is just the start and we need to campaign hard to make sure we deliver real results. There has been too much talk over the last thirteen years, it is time for action”.

Local people from Stevenage participated in the nationwide World’s Biggest Coffee Morning to raise funds in support of Macmillan Cancer Support. There were activities in the town centre as well as coffee mornings in residents’ homes.

Stephen McPartland MP said “Macmillan Cancert Support undertakes important work in the help it provides to those suffering with cancer. It is fantastic to see events of this sort to raise awareness and funds for the charity, and I am glad to give my support by attending.” Stephen is pictured with Jenny Keen and Anita Parsley, both firm supporters of Macmillan.

Stephen McPartland MP’s campaign for a new cancer treatment unit with radiotherapy is going from strength to strength. It has already attracted strong support from clinicians and the general public and most recently Stephen met with staff union representatives from the Lister Hospital.

Anne Wells (Royal College of Nursing), East and North Herts Staff Side Chair, and Kim Hedley (Amicus), met with Stephen and discuss care and staffing implications of the proposed new unit. Anne and Kim said, “The staff side of East and North Herts NHS Trust are happy to fully support Stephen’s campaign to open a radiotherapy service in Stevenage. This is a much-needed facility for our patients, who have to travel in excess of 80-miles round-trip for this service at present. These patients are already extremely poorly, and obviously will be experiencing the side effects of radiotherapy. It will also help in the delivery of care closer to home which is beneficial to every patient.”

Stephen said, "I am delighted to meet with the RCN and Amicus representatives at the Lister, and to hear that the staff side have backed my campaign, which I am running in partnership with The Comet, for a new Radiotherapy Unit at the hospital. This is a great boost for the campaign and shows we are gaining support across the whole hospital community, the town of Stevenage and across Hertfordshire. We have a real opportunity to help make a difference to thousands of people and I will continue to lead the campaign with The Comet to ensure we are successful".

Stephen McPartland, local MP for Stevenage raised the issue of his campaign for a radiotherapy unit at Lister hospital in Parliament and asked the Secretary of State for Health several questions in the House of Commons on the issue.

Stephen said: “I have now raised this important local issue with the Secretary of State for Health and hope this brings attention to the raw deal cancer patients received from the last government, when the planned cancer unit at Hatfield was scrapped. By asking these questions in Parliament I wish to highlight the effort towards improving cancer care in Stevenage”.

To date over 2,500 individuals have pledged their support. Stephen said, “It is essential to keep the momentum of this campaign moving forward. I urge all local residents to sign the petition, join the facebook group and tell their friends about what we are trying to achieve”.

Last month Mr McPartland launched the campaign in conjunction with the Comet newspaper to bring much needed cancer services to the Stevenage area. Currently patients requiring radiotherapy have to travel over 80 miles for a round trip to the Mount Vernon Hospital in Northwood, Middlesex. Since its launch the campaign has attracted widespread support and many local residents have been in contact with their own personal experiences.

Stephen added: “Cancer patients typically make 53 trips to hospital during treatment. For patients in Stevenage that works out at over 4,000 miles of travel on average whilst suffering from the illness.”

Two local mothers, Sam Owen and Sam Faulkner, are campaigning with the Families Fighting for Justice campaign group to lobby the government for tougher jail sentences for murderers. Both lost sons through violent acts and want to fight for justice for other families affected in the way that they have been.

Stephen McPartland, MP for Stevenage, met with the two mothers to hear directly from them about their experiences and the issues they faced. Stephen said, "I agree with Families Fighting for Justice that life should mean life for first degree murder of innocent victims and we need much tougher sentences for manslaughter.  Listening to the experiences of those whose childrens' lives have been taken from them and the devastating impact it has had on their families is heartbreaking.  Account needs to be taken of not only the loss of the life of an innocent victim but also destroying the hopes and dreams of the families who have lost a loved one."

Families Fighting for Justice is not only a lobby group but also provides support for families of victims. For more information visit their website at www.familiesfightingforjustice.com.

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.

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