Bristol South

Bristol South MP Karin Smyth calls on the Secretary of State for Health to pause the potentially disastrous NHS commissioning plans for Bristol

Bristol South MP Karin Smyth will today (January 7th) use a House of Commons debate to call on the Secretary of State for Health to pause the potentially disastrous NHS commissioning plans for Bristol.

Karin Smyth MP said:

“The Government has today launched its 10 Year NHS Long Term Plan, committed to integrating care locally and seeking to change the disastrous NHS Reforms freeing Commissioners from the procurement rules introduced in 2012. However, tomorrow we have the local Bristol and North Somerset, South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) embarking on its own 10 year plan to tender community services.

“Before the Christmas break I wrote to the CCG asking them to hold off on a service tender ahead of the NHS Plan – and today, I am calling on the Health Secretary Matthew Hancock to intervene and pause the process.

“I am concerned to see the CCG pursuing a complex legal procurement process for just some of our community services, without a clear understanding of what is required and without any attempt at cooperation with other partners who also provide vital services.

“This approach creates potential conflict where there should be collaboration between service providers, which is not in keeping with the national direction. What is proposed is a complex set of negotiations with providers outside of the NHS, held entirely in secret. This is not how the NHS should be managed.

“Only by working together to create a joined-up approach to services can we — NHS England, the CCG, NHS staff, local authorities and the public — succeed in delivering quality health and social care for people. The NHS Plan actually offers an opportunity to create new NHS Trusts which could be used to bring together community services if that is the objective.

“We have a brilliant asset in South Bristol Community Hospital which we should be making the most of. I’m concerned that re-tendering services here may have a negative impact on the hospital and supporting services.

“We need a considered and strategic approach with increased accountability in order to ensure patients in Bristol South and beyond have the services they need and deserve.”

ENDS

 

BNSSG CCG Governing Body Meeting

Date: Tuesday 8th January 2019

Time: 1.30pm

Location: The Weston College, Knightstone Road, Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset, BS23 2AL

Agenda: https://bnssgccg.nhs.uk/library/governing-body-paper-8-january-2019-agenda/

Karin Smyth MP lays down an important amendment on air weapons during proceedings on the Offensive Weapons Bill

After it was cancelled twice previously, I was finally able to present my amendments to the Offensive Weapons Bill. This new clause would require the government to publish a report on the safety of air weapons.

This is an important matter of public safety and I believe would help us move one step closer to preventing further deaths or injuries through the misuse of air weapons in the future.

Read the full debate here.

 

Original posted 28th November, 2018

Karin Smyth MP’s submission to the Transport Committee on local bus services

I submitted evidence to the House of Commons Transport Committee when they visited Bristol in November to evaluate the health of the bus market.

My view is that local representatives should have the same powers as the Mayor of London, and be able to set bus routes, timetables and fares. This would mean buses run for passengers and not profit.

Many residents of south Bristol contact me with concerns about the reliability, fares and routes of buses, and I continue to represent your views to the bus companies and the local authority.

Bristol South needs a decent public transport service to keep us moving and improve air quality.

Karin Smyth MP’s submission to UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights on the impact of Government cuts to the people of south Bristol

Last week Professor Philip Alston, the United National Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, was in Bristol taking evidence as part of his assessment of poverty in the United Kingdom and in particular on so-called peripheral estates in large cities.

This is the letter I have written to Professor Alston highlighting the impact of austerity on residents of Hartcliffe & Withywood ward since 2010, which has been devastating.

I will continue to challenge government decisions which impact so badly on people living in Bristol South and I look forward to reading the full report when it is published next Spring.

 

Karin Smyth MP spoke on abortion and same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland in her role as Shadow Minister.

I was proud to speak from the Front Bench during the reading of the Northern Ireland Bill in support of an amendment put down by Stella Creasy and Conor McGinn on abortion and same sex marriage. I highlighted the hypocrisy of this Tory Government committing to increase access to family planning in countries across the world but not for the women of Northern Ireland. I was delighted the amendment was successful.

Full transcript of the reading can be found here

Original posted 25th October, 2018

 

Karin Smyth MP responds to report by researchers at the University of Bristol on educational inequality in Bristol

The recent report from researchers at the University of Bristol, “Reversing the Educational Inequality crisis in Bristol”, is shocking but sadly not a surprise to anyone with a knowledge of education in south Bristol.

It clearly sets out the gaps in provision and opportunity for young people in my constituency compared to more affluent areas of the city. The report shows how the this lack of post-16 provision has an impact on the chances of young people going on to university – with far fewer students going on to higher education than predicted by their GCSE results.

This is an appalling waste of potential and something I’ve been working to change since becoming the MP for Bristol South.

But the issue isn’t just about access to university. Young people in south Bristol are also not gaining access to the highest quality apprenticeships in engineering, construction and IT, nor are they getting other training that would improve their life chances.

There is much that must be done.

The fragmentation of the education system does not make it an easy challenge to tackle, with no one body leading the charge. That is why I have sought to bring the key providers together over the past three years and continue to highlight these issues.

This summer I meet with Headteachers from all the secondary schools in my constituency and the Principals of both St Brendan’s Sixth Form College and City of Bristol College. I wanted to see how we can work together better to ensure all young people in Bristol South fulfil their potential. A key issue is pastoral support to young people post-16 who struggle with the transition and subsequently drop down a level or drop out of education altogether.

Other factors that have a critical impact include the government’s failing GCSE resits policy, with compulsory re-sits for English and Maths ultimately damaging motivation which can lead to students dropping out of college altogether.

Lack of investment in schools and colleges is also making it much harder to address educational inequality. Figures show that spending per student in school sixth forms is the lowest it has been since 2002. The cuts to Further Education colleges have been severe. Taking away the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) from 16 year olds by the Coalition Government was disgraceful and must be reversed.

Young people now have many more options at aged 16 but the system is complex. A lack of quality careers advice and understanding of those choices, alongside poor transport links, means that they often lack the information to make the right choice for them. Many parents and carers struggle to know how best to support their children through an ever changing education system.

Improved communications between educational providers could go some way to helping students experience a smoother transition to further and higher education. I also believe there is a real opportunity for the Bristol City Council-led Learning City Partnership – which brings all providers and local leaders together to address the city’s skills challenge – to pool resources and insights to ensure that educational inequality in Bristol South is properly tackled after years of oversight.

High quality careers advice and support must be a key focus. Apprenticeships and jobs fairs are a good way of connecting local employers with young people seeking opportunities to further their careers, demonstrated by the huge success of the events I have organised at the Skills Academy in Hengrove Park over the last two years. The delivery of the long awaited Construction Centre, also at Hengrove, will make a significant contribution to better quality training.

The report calls for an educational board to oversee its recommendations – including ensuring equal opportunities are available to all, and holding FE institutions accountable for increasing the number of students from wards where young people are underachieving. The Learning City Partnership already has much of this within its remit and – with representatives from the West of England Authority and Bristol City Council – seems like it could be the right vehicle to take the agenda forward.

There is no need to create another layer of bureaucracy.

The challenge for me is make sure local and national policy makers make addressing the educational inequality crisis facing young people an educational priority. To ensure that in five years time we are not reading another report on how young people in Bristol continue to be let down by the system.

I will keep pushing Bristol’s educational and political leadership to ensure Bristol South is given the particular attention it needs to reduce the shameful inequality gap so clearly highlighted in this report.

Original posted 12th October 2018.

Long Ashton to Hengrove MetroBus re-added to the routemap after pressure from MP for Bristol South, Karin Smyth

Karin says “The restoration of the Ashton to Hengrove MetroBus link on the route-map was one of the key demands I made in April following the decision to drop it. Since then, I have brought together the key players and made the case for why this route matters so much, and have kept the pressure on week in, week out.

It’s great to see that our campaign has paid off, and this is a helpful first step. What we now need is a clear timetable for delivery of the route, and a confirmed launch date. It’s nothing less than people across south Bristol deserve”.

Karin Smyth MP for Bristol South responds to Tuesday’s formal decision on the Bristol Arena.

Karin Smyth MP for Bristol South vows to keep fighting for what was promised on the Bristol Arena.

“Tuesdays decision is the formal end of a process that has, in truth, been on the cards for some time. While deeply disappointing, in almost every respect it changes nothing for people in Bristol South. We are still waiting for proposals for the site that will deliver the financial, economic, cultural and community rebalancing and benefits we’ve been promised. Until these proposals come forward, I’ll continue to do the only thing we can – keep fighting for what we’ve been promised.

“I have been honest with the Mayor throughout this process, and wish very much that there had been a different outcome. I still hope people in south Bristol get an arena that delivers on the promises made years ago. I remain ready and willing to work with the Mayor to deliver what we both want and what my constituents need – a development that delivers real and lasting benefits.”

Karin Smyth MP restates her position on the Bristol Arena

Bristol South MP Karin Smyth today restated her position on the city’s long-awaited Arena.

“I welcome the discussion around the arena proposals – such debate is a good thing, especially with a project as important as this. However, I am increasingly concerned it is generating more heat than light, with unfair questioning of the motivations of those leading the project. While we may disagree, let’s have as our starting point an acceptance that we are all driven by a desire to do the right thing for Bristol.

“My position remains exactly as it was a few months ago when the Temple Meads site was side-lined in a consultants’ report commissioned by Bristol City Council.

“I said then that ‘… if the decision makers are of the opinion that the Temple Meads arena is not viable, a view I disagree with, they are duty bound to say what will take its place. One thing is certain – another twenty years of talk and associated uncertainty simply will not do.’ That was my position then – and remains my position now.

“The arena was always more than a jobs and business project – it was meant to transform and rebalance the cultural offer for people in South Bristol as well. The plan currently on the table simply does not do that.”