John's blog headlines
This week John McDonnell MP raised concerns in Parliament about the closure of the Heathrow Control Unit which is now desperately needed to confront Ebola.
In an oral question to the Secretary of State for Health John asked “In May the Government announced the closure of the health control unit at Heathrow airport in my constituency. It contained the staff who undertook the monitoring, screening and treatment of passengers who were sick. I believe many of those staff have now been made redundant, so can the Secretary of State tell me what the staffing arrangements will now be at Heathrow airport? Also, will a training programme be developed for airport staff themselves, including cabin crew and others?”
John was concerned at the decision last May to close the unit containing staff highly skilled and experienced health control staff at a time when many countries are strengthening their public health screening procedures at ports of entry. These countries believe Infectious diseases and pandemics such as SARS, H1N1, MERS and Ebola Virus are now primarily spread through aviation as a mode of transport.
John said, "Once again cuts to essential areas of service provision have been made by this government to find savings without thinking through the consequences and, in this instance, possibly putting the health of the nation at serious risk. I am naturally especially concerned for the health of my constituents working at Heathrow."
In responding to John’s question the Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt, announced that the Government will invest in about 200 staff to screen for EBOLA at Heathrow and Gatwick Airports. Continuing concerns has been expressed however at the confusion displayed by the Department of Health in implementing the new screening procedures.
Press Release: Local MP Condemns Brutal Detention System and Calls for Local Action.
This week, the voluntary organization Detention Action launched its report ‘The State of Detention.’ www.detentionaction.org.uk
The report reveals that detention has expanded too fast, with insufficient checks and scrutiny. Political priorities to detain and deport have overridden practical considerations of effectiveness, as well as basic concern for the people detained. In the words of the Chief Inspector of Prisons, following the death in handcuffs of an elderly man with dementia, “a sense of humanity has been lost.”
The report also highlights the fact that the UK is the only European Country that routinely detains migrants in prisons, a practice that is unlawful in the rest of the EU. They are also criticised for detaining a larger number of migrants, for longer periods of time with their sentence being indeterminate with a high percentage being eventually released into the community.
With two detention centres in his constituency, Harmondsworth and Colnbrook, local MP John McDonnell spoke at the launch of the report.
John said; “This is a shocking indictment of the detention system that is operating place within our community. Many detainees are trapped in the detention system for long periods of time without even knowing when they will be released. Many suffer from mental health problems or are victims of torture and should never have been detained in the first place. Thousands are then released without support into the community.
John McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington praises of Hayes and Uxbridge Citizens Advice Bureau’s impact on improving the nations mental health
This World Mental health Day 10th October 2014 is echoing the call of Citizens Advice staff and volunteers and urging people to seek advice for their debt, benefits and employment problems.
New national research from Citizens Advice finds:
- 2 in 3 Citizens Advice clients feel stressed, depressed or anxious as a result of the problem they came to the charity for help about
- Almost three in four people (73 per cent) seeking debt help from Citizens Advice said their money worries were making them feel stressed, depressed or anxious
- After debt problems benefits are the issue second most likely to damage people’s mental health (67 per cent)
- Employment problems are third most likely to cause people distress (65 per cent).
After getting advice, 4 in 5 people said they felt their mental wellbeing improved as a result of the help they received from Citizens Advice.
John said: ”over the years I have worked with staff from Hayes and Uxbridge CABs and I am very grateful to them for the service that they provide to my constituents at a time when they are most vulnerable”
Like us to spread the word