I would like to begin my twelfth weekly message to residents throughout Sutton Coldfield by congratulating Councillor Jane Mosson who has been elected to serve as our Royal Town Mayor.
I am concerned that many of my constituents because of the Covid crisis will not have been attending hospital for perfectly understandable reasons but who need to do so to combat cancer and other diseases which have taken a backseat to the Covid crisis. In that connection I have been talking to Jacqui Smith the Chairman of Good Hope and the other hospitals in the group. They are temporarily reconfiguring services so that elective surgery will not take place on all three sites, as they wish to ensure that there is no cross contamination with Covid. We know that people who have had surgery are much more susceptible to Covid and find it far harder to recover. This is why it is important that the various sites are segregated. I am watching to ensure that service reconfiguration at Good Hope is indeed temporary and not permanent but also to ensure that my constituents receive the necessary routine support and appointments as quickly as possible.
This week is Carers Week, an important opportunity to raise awareness of the vital contribution made by the care sector and all those who care for family members or friends. New research shows that an additional 4.5 million people in the UK have started caring for someone who is older, disabled or living with a physical or mental illness since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. I would like to pay tribute to all those in Sutton Coldfield looking after loved ones at this difficult time.
I know that the additional stress of lockdown is having a profound affect upon carers. Many of us will have been supporting loved ones from afar, helping with food shopping, collecting medicine, managing finances and providing emotional support. Some will have taken on intense caring roles, helping with personal care, administering medication and preparing meals.
We need to find a long-term solution to the challenges in social care. Integration across health and social care has enabled improved co-operation and joint decision-making between health and social care partners but clearly there is much more that needs to be done to support the sector.
This week I travelled back down to Westminster. Yesterday I spoke in the third reading of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bill. You can watch my contribution over on my YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vTLDB_XpPU
I have also filmed a question and answer video which I hope to put up over the coming days on Facebook and YouTube. Thank you to everyone that submitted questions, I tried to get through as many as I could.
Next week the lockdown restrictions will change. Face coverings will become compulsory on public transport and shops selling non-essential goods will be able to reopen. As our economy open ups, I have seen newly published statistics which show that across our Royal Town 11,600 people have benefited from the Jobs Retention Scheme and 2,700 have received support from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. I do appreciate that there continues to be a small group of people who have not been able to benefit from the support measures that the Government have introduced, and you may rest assured that I am raising specific examples with the relevant Minister and the Treasury.
As your MP I am here to help my constituents and businesses so if you feel I can assist with any concerns, please do not hesitate to get in contact by emailing me on email@example.com.