Weekly Round-Up :: 13 January 2023

Parliament returned this week and it was a pleasure to join the Fawcett Society for the launch of their report “A House for Everyone”. Their report has looked into the experience of female. We need women in Parliament. We need people from different classes, different religions, different races. Because that is Britain today and our Parliament should be representative of Britain today. Being an MP, or an elected politician at any level is great! Being able to help your community, stand up for what you believe in and be the change you want to see is so rewarding. The report highlighted the many areas we must look at and work harder in to encourage more women to take part. If you are considering taking part in politics, no matter your political persuasion, then do! I love every single minute of it and I know you will too.

A new year means new duties in scrutinising legislation. One such piece of law that I have been working on was in the Delegated Legislation Committee regarding the NHS Payment Scheme Consultation Act. Delegated Legislation Committees may not seem the most energetic aspect of politics, but they are vital to ensuring that our laws are fit for purpose. This is particularly important at the moment with legislation passed relating to healthcare. We need to ensure that the health service is funded properly but also that the funding is used efficiently and gives the best possible outcome for patients within the service. We need a system that allows flexibility for NHS managers across the different regions that are facing different challenges and strains on the health system. We need a system that will incentivise quality of service and that will offer taxpayers’ value for money. It is also important that community and mental health services are considered at the same time as hospitals and GPs’ surgeries because these are vital to improving cost efficiency and outcomes across the sector. Mental health must no longer be secondary to physical health; the two are interlinked and must be considered as such in planning.

Labour’s Opposition Day debate focused on the NHS and the Government’s long-term strategy or apparent lack thereof. The Government have promised time and time again to fix social care, to fix the NHS, to fix mental health care and time and time again they have failed and reneged on those promises. They have spent colossal amounts of money but we cannot see where that money has gone – it certainly hasn’t been efficiently spent on frontline services. They have failed to ensure that capacity has kept up with demand and they have run down our staff until they are at breaking point. Nurses using food banks, junior doctors exhausted after ridiculously long shifts, patients lining corridors because there aren’t enough beds – this is the result of a failure of long-term strategy and a failure to work closely with NHS managers to ensure that money is spent efficiently and where it is needed most. We need transparency first of all and we need efficiency. This Government is not known for its transparency but that needs to change now if we are to get to grips with the problems facing the NHS and come up with a long-term strategy that will work in 21st century Britain.

This morning I very much enjoyed taking part in the Bedminster Lantern Parade by raising the flag. When the parade starts proper, I know many of you will have a fantastic evening – so make sure you are available for what will be a great event.

If there are issues you want to raise with me as your local MP, please get in touch by emailing Karin.smyth.mp@parliament.uk or by calling 0117 953 3575.