Debates between Simon Fell and Matt Hancock during the 2019 Parliament

Mon 14th Dec 2020
Tue 8th Dec 2020
Mon 19th Oct 2020

Health and Social Care Update

Debate between Simon Fell and Matt Hancock
Thursday 18th March 2021

(2 years, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Matt Hancock Portrait Matt Hancock
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I am very happy to provide the hon. Lady with a briefing, because she should be very proud of her country. AstraZeneca is providing the Oxford vaccine free of charge—it is not charging for any intellectual property rights—right around the world. That is not true, as she implies, for all the vaccine companies, but she should be really, really proud of ours.

Simon Fell Portrait Simon Fell (Barrow and Furness) (Con) [V]
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I was listening to the excellent “Covid Confidential” podcast on the BBC and was surprised and delighted to find out that when the various vaccines were nearing production they were named after submarines built in my constituency, so may I first thank my right hon. Friend for his choice of names? Secondly, not to labour this analogy, a good defence rests on having a good range of options, and Kate Bingham recently said that not having monoclonal antibodies as part of our defence is the gap in our armour, so can my right hon. Friend give an update on where his Department is on this?

Matt Hancock Portrait Matt Hancock
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Yes, this is an incredibly important subject and we are working very hard on it with clinical leads and external experts. I said earlier that success has many fathers, and I am sure that the people of Barrow are very proud of their role in making sure that we could keep what needed to be kept confidential confidential. We have now had to change all those names, because everybody knows about it.

Covid-19 Update

Debate between Simon Fell and Matt Hancock
Monday 14th December 2020

(3 years, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Matt Hancock Portrait Matt Hancock
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We want to support businesses as much as we possibly can. The support that is available—the record sums—has been as outlined by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor. That will of course be available to businesses as we go into tier 3.

Simon Fell Portrait Simon Fell (Barrow and Furness) (Con)
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We are delighted to have the first vaccinations rolling out in Furness this week, but we know that information is key to understanding and tackling this virus. With that in mind, will my right hon. Friend consider adding data to the Government’s coronavirus website on the number of people, by cohort, who have been vaccinated and on the number of people who have been infected by this new variant of the virus?

Matt Hancock Portrait Matt Hancock
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Of course, we will be publishing data on the number of vaccinations done—that is important. Meanwhile, let us all keep getting out there to make the case that the best way to keep you, your loved ones and your community safe is by getting vaccinated when the NHS calls.

Covid-19 Vaccine Roll-out

Debate between Simon Fell and Matt Hancock
Tuesday 8th December 2020

(3 years, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Matt Hancock Portrait Matt Hancock
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The roll-out of the vaccine is being managed by the NHS, and it is entirely unfair of the hon. Lady to describe the NHS in that way.

Simon Fell Portrait Simon Fell (Barrow and Furness) (Con)
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It was a delight to turn on the radio this morning and hear some good news for once, but my right hon. Friend is right to describe the roll-out of this vaccine as a Herculean task. In the light of that, what measures is he putting in place to accelerate the development of capacity to make more vaccine, and also covid therapeutic antibodies?

Matt Hancock Portrait Matt Hancock
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Yes, today has been a celebration of progress we have been able to make, but there is a huge amount more to do, not just in the roll-out but in making sure we have the future vaccines that may be necessary, and the capacity in this country to manufacture and deliver the next generation of vaccine technologies. The advance in vaccine technology over the past 11 months globally has been extraordinary and it is critical that we in the UK have that future capability. That is something the Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, my hon. Friend the Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Nadhim Zahawi), the Minister with responsibility for vaccine roll-out, is concentrating on very clearly.

Matt Hancock Portrait Matt Hancock
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My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government is having exactly the discussions that are needed to respond to the circumstances in, for instance, the north-east. The hon. Lady will understand that it is for him, rather than me, to discuss council finances with the councils. We are putting in extra support for Test and Trace, and linking up the data systems within the north-east. I will again leap to the aid of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor about the extent of the support he has put into areas that are particularly affected by the virus, including those with level 2 and 3 restrictions, and areas right across the country.

Simon Fell Portrait Simon Fell (Barrow and Furness) (Con)
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Last week, the borough of Barrow in my constituency went into the high tier. I thank my right hon. Friend and his team for the work they have done to engage with local leaders. South Lakeland in my constituency remains in the medium tier. Constituents and businesses in towns such as Ulverston are concerned that people are travelling from one tier to the other and not sticking to the guidance and the rules. What advice would my right hon. Friend give on the importance of sticking to those rules in order to turn the tide on the virus for all of us?

Matt Hancock Portrait Matt Hancock
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My hon. Friend makes an incredibly important point: everybody needs to follow the rules to give Barrow the best chance of coming out of level 2 restrictions. If people live in a level 2 area, those rules apply to them even if they travel to a level 1 area. If people live in a level 1 area and travel to a level 2 area, when they are there the level 2 restrictions apply. I hope that is very simple for everybody to follow. He has provided great leadership in Barrow in describing so clearly why it is important for everybody to follow the rules. If we do, we can get this virus under control and get Barrow back into level 1, where I am sure everybody who lives there will want to see it.

Covid-19 Update

Debate between Simon Fell and Matt Hancock
Monday 21st September 2020

(3 years, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Matt Hancock Portrait Matt Hancock
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Nobody has addressed the problems and challenges in the testing system more than me. We need to resolve those problems, as we have in very large part resolved the problem of people being sent long distances. I would love to know the example that the hon. Gentleman cites, because I am told that that problem in the system was fixed last week, and if there is a more recent example, I want to know about it.

Simon Fell Portrait Simon Fell (Barrow and Furness) (Con)
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I welcome my right hon. Friend’s commitment to the expanding of testing, which is clearly key to identifying the virus and stopping its spread. I direct him to an article in The Times today about private businesses expanding testing capacity. BAE in my constituency is testing almost 6,000 employees on a weekly basis and is keen to expand that into the community. I know that my right hon. Friend has already started to engage on this issue, but I urge him to do everything he can to cut through any red tape, expand such testing as quickly as possible and use every tool at our disposal.

Matt Hancock Portrait Matt Hancock
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Of course we support businesses and others who want to get tests outside the NHS Test and Trace system; last week we published a paper on how they can go about doing that, and we encourage businesses to do that for their employees. The critical thing is that if people test positive, that data must, by law, flow to Public Health England so that we can do the necessary contact tracing and enforce the isolation that is going to be mandatory from next Monday. We strongly support that sort of action, whether it is taken by employers or, indeed, the University of Cambridge, which proposes to do the same for its students.

Coronavirus Update

Debate between Simon Fell and Matt Hancock
Tuesday 14th July 2020

(3 years, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Simon Fell Portrait Simon Fell (Barrow and Furness) (Con)
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The experience of this virus in Barrow and Furness is that it has hit most those with underlying health conditions or who live in areas of deprivation. Surely a lasting legacy from coronavirus should be a move towards early intervention, so we can lift people out of health inequalities and deal with issues before they become intractable problems. Will my right hon. Friend share his views on this approach?

Matt Hancock Portrait Matt Hancock
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I strongly agree with the point of view so eloquently expressed by my hon. Friend. It is critical that, as well as tackling coronavirus and the economic consequences of the action that we have had to take, we tackle the deep-rooted health inequalities that have exacerbated this disease and its impact on many people. This is a critical part of the levelling-up agenda. Issues such as obesity in particular clearly have an impact on how badly people are affected by coronavirus, and we need to take action in order to ensure that people get more equal life chances across this country.

Covid-19 Response

Debate between Simon Fell and Matt Hancock
Tuesday 2nd June 2020

(3 years, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Matt Hancock Portrait Matt Hancock
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As the hon. Lady knows, I have put significant effort into trying to resolve this matter. We have made some progress. I am sorry to hear about the conditions that she describes, and I will ask my hon. Friend the Minister for Health to take this forward immediately after this statement.

Simon Fell Portrait Simon Fell (Barrow and Furness) (Con)
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I congratulate my right hon. Friend on getting the track and trace system up and running. In Barrow and Furness our shipyard employs about 10,000 people, but we will struggle to gain the confidence of the community and the workers as they begin to bring their workforce back unless we can demonstrate that we are tracking and isolating infections. Can my right hon. Friend confirm that his Department will be working with large employers such as mine to ensure that confidence can be built back in the community and the workforce?

Matt Hancock Portrait Matt Hancock
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Absolutely. The work in Barrow and Furness is incredibly important, not least because at an earlier stage in the crisis a higher number of people tested positive. That is partly because there were so many tests in Barrow and Furness, and that itself is testament to the local health authorities that worked hard to make that happen. My hon. Friend has been an assiduous representative throughout this crisis, making sure that I am kept constantly informed of developments and the needs of Barrow and Furness.