Weekly Round-Up :: 22 September 2023

My week started with a visit to the Senedd in Cardiff. The Welsh Parliament was the setting for the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly (BIPA). For those of you not aware, BIPA was founded in 1990 as a vital link between the UK Parliament and Houses of the Oireachtas. In 2001 membership was enlarged to include the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, the Northern Ireland Assembly, the High Court of Tynwald and the States of Guernsey and Jersey. In 2008, the name British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly was adopted to reflect a new era of relations between Britain and Ireland. These meetings are vital for securing lasting peace on the island of Ireland, but to also learn from each other’s successes so we can deliver a more prosperous future for all.

With Parliament in conference recess, it means I have had the opportunity to meet up with local groups, organisations and institutions in Bristol. I have held meetings with Headteachers of our primary and secondary schools to hear about the opportunities and challenges they are facing. In addition, I held a meeting with the Principal of St Brendan’s College where we discussed Further Education provision in south Bristol and how to secure the best possible outcomes for our young people.

A health service only works if it puts patients at the heart of everything it does. I was pleased to sit down with local GPs and nurses to talk about the increase in demand and complexity of care they are providing. The long-term security of the NHS will depend upon a quality social care system that relieves the pressure upon hospitals, allowing for waiting lists to fall and enabling healthcare professionals to focus on patient outcomes instead of fighting backlogs.

On Wednesday I met with Chief Inspector Steph Mckenna, at Broadbury Road police station, in Bristol South. We discussed local crime issues including anti-social behaviour, drug use, progress with tackling domestic abuse, and motorcycle crime. I often hear about the challenges of living with the impact of anti-social behaviour and drug-resultant behaviour from constituents and I know that they are concerned to see this dealt with effectively. It’s important that the community know that the police are working to deal with these issues but also that they have contact with their local police officers and can build trust.

This week, I also visited Well Pharmacy. The pharmacy is the first point of call for many when dealing with a medical issue and they provide a vital service in the community. When we talk about supporting the health service, we must also remember pharmacies as an important element of that support. It was great to discuss these issues with Well Pharmacy Area Manager Leanne Passaway and regional manager for the Southwest Andrew Jones about the challenges for pharmacies in the coming 5-10 years and what needs to be done to ensure that they remain a vital and present part of our communities.

On Thursday, I visited the Knowle branch of Lloyds to see how they are supporting constituents. Our focus was a discussion on the digital training that Lloyds offers to help constituents deal with their finances online and enable them to work to prevent fraud. With scams a dominant concern for many constituents, this digital training from Lloyds is a vital part of our fight against fraudsters who seek to use more digital means in the 21st century to steal money. It is heart-breaking to hear some of the stories of people who have been scammed and defrauded and this digital training from Lloyds is a great first step in combatting this crime.

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.