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  • Writer's pictureKarin Smyth

Weekly Update: 26th January 2024

Listening to Labour Party leader Keir Starmer celebrate the work of charities and civic institutions, in a speech to the Civic Society, was a very positive start to the week. His message of hope for the year ahead is a welcome one for us all. Here’s what else has been happening in Parliament:


Tackling the measles outbreak

The recent rise in measles cases across the country has been highly concerning. At the end of last week, I wrote to the health minister to ask what steps the Government has taken to tackle this outbreak.


On Monday, I was on the front bench of Parliament with colleagues in Labour’s Health Team to question the Government again about this pressing issue. The warning signs for this outbreak have been visible for years, with the UK losing its measles free status in 2019, yet the Government has failed to act. I was, however, pleased to see a renewed commitment to increasing MMR vaccination rates from ministers, with the NHS announcing a ‘catch-up plan’ to drive uptake of the vaccine.


Improving efficiency in the NHS

On Tuesday, I gave a speech at the Institute for Government to announce Labour’s aim of cutting wasted spending in the NHS. Up to £10bn of taxpayer money is lost in the NHS through missed appointments, postage costs, repeated tests, and other issues. I want to see improved efficiency in the health service, to ensure staff can deliver the best healthcare possible to patients.


Supporting constituents in Parliament

It’s always lovely to welcome people from Bristol South into Parliament. At the launch of a new campaign by the Children’s Charities coalition, I spoke with young people who are passionate about making children’s voices heard in political decisions – including one of my constituents. It was great to hear about their concerns, ranging from mental health support to SEND education.


I also questioned the Minister for Scotland in Parliament about an issue facing a family from south Bristol. One of my constituents contacted me asking for help, as she was denied funding for her nursing course in Edinburgh by both the Scottish and English governments due to being domiciled in England. I raised this unjust problem with the Minister and will be meeting with him to discuss it further.


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