Children’s Mental Health Week 

I recently participated in a Parliamentary debate on children’s mental health, held to mark Children’s Mental Health Week. Even before the pandemic, there was a crisis in children’s mental services that has been ignored by the Government for far too long.  

In my speech, I acknowledged the fantastic work done by local charities that try and fill the gap left by the Government, but they too are overstretched and underfunded. Parents expect the Government to deliver the support that children need, which is why I backed Labour’s alternative plan to give our children the support they need. 

Mental health must be treated with the same importance as physical health. To address the mental health crisis, we need:  

  • guaranteed mental health treatment within a month  
  • the recruitment of 8,500 new staff  
  • open-access mental health hub for children and young people in every community  
  • specialist mental health support provided in every school  
  • improved service quality  
  • mental health to receive its fair share of funding  

You can watch my full speech below. 

Protecting Democracy in our Healthcare System 

The Government recently published its Integration White Paper. In my question to the Minister, I stressed the importance of local democratic accountability over health and care services, particularly through the existing Health and Wellbeing Boards. Our health and care systems are too important to be left without any democratic oversight. 

Tackling Crony Contracts 

Time and again this Government has been exposed for its wastefulness, dodgy dealing and crony contracts. Such as the billions wasted on the failed ‘Test and Trace’ system or Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) contracts handed out to unsuitable companies based on recommendations made by government ministers.  

Following the release of new documents relating to the Randox scandal, there was an Urgent Question in Parliament where I questioned the Government about its procurement procedures. 

Transparency and open competition in Government procurement is crucial. Yet, two years into the pandemic and after these dodgy deals have come to light, the Government is still using the emergency procurement regulations, risking more of these crony contracts. It’s time the Government ended emergency procedures and restored transparency and accountability to its procurement process. 

I asked the Minister why these regulations are still in use, yet she avoided answering my question. 

Welcoming Denbigh High School Students to Parliament 

I was delighted to welcome students from Denbigh High School – my former high school – to Parliament recently. They received a tour and learned all about the workings of Parliament. It was lovely to meet them for a Q&A session, they asked such excellent questions!  

Visit to Headway 

I was pleased to visit Headway Luton to learn about all the great work their staff do to support people with brain injuries. It was lovely to meet some of the clients and to see the wide range of activities designed to aid recovery, from brain training puzzles to music, to sit down yoga.  

Support services for people with acquired brain injury have long been uneven across the country. Last year, I was proud to support the Acquired Brain Injury Private Members Bill in Parliament and joined campaigners when they delivered the Bill to Downing Street. The Bill required the Government to prepare a comprehensive strategy to meet the needs of individuals with acquired brain injury across the entire country. Following pressure from across the political spectrum, the Government agreed that it would implement the measures in the Bill. 

WhatsApp Broadcasts 

I’ve set up a WhatsApp broadcast where I will be sending out regular updates on my work in Parliament and in Luton South. Please sign up and share! 

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