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  • Bristol South

Weekly Update: 9th February 2024

This week, I spoke in Parliament both in my capacity as a spokesperson for Labour’s health team, and to raise important issues for residents in Bristol South. With Parliament taking a break next week, here’s what I’ve been up to in Westminster in recent days: 


Tackling knife crime in our communities


The tragic deaths of two teenagers in Knowle West has been horrible reminder of the terrible consequences that knife crime inflicts on communities. I spoke with local residents about their concerns in the aftermath of the incident, and this week I gave them a voice in Parliament.


In a debate brought by Labour, which called for tighter restrictions on the buying and selling of dangerous weapons, I reiterated the issues faced by communities in south Bristol. Across the area, residents have seen resources taken away, funding for youth services cut, and basic public services fail.


While cracking down on criminals and the supply of weapons is crucial to stemming knife crime, people locally know that this must go hand in hand with improving opportunities for young people. I called on the Government to reverse cuts to vital services in south Bristol, bringing resources back into the area to enable young people to thrive.


Rescuing NHS dentistry


In a week that saw three days of queues outside a newly opened NHS dentist in Bristol, I joined colleagues from Labour’s health team in responding to the Government’s plan for NHS dentistry.


Patients in Bristol and across the country are desperate to get access to an NHS dentist, but barely any practices are taking on new patients. Government action on this issue is welcome, and includes many policies that Labour has been calling for.


However, while these emergency measures will hopefully bring improvements to the present crisis, the Government has overseen the decline of NHS dentistry over 14 years and failed to lay out a long-term plan. There was no commitment to reform the dental contract, which is vital to increase the recruitment and retention of dentists - the only way to ensure NHS dentistry is built to last.


Reform in the NHS


At the Spectator’s Health Summit, I joined a panel discussing whether the NHS was ‘badly run’ as system. It was an insightful debate, and I took the opportunity to reiterate Labour’s reform agenda for the NHS.


While the service is not badly run as an entire entity, it’s important that we harness successful innovation in the health service – taking the best of the NHS to the rest of the NHS in our mission to make it fit for the future. By making the service more efficient, and cutting wasted spending, we can provide better care for patients at better value for the taxpayer.


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