Mental Health In-patient Services: Improving Safety

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Wednesday 28th June 2023

(9 months, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Steve Barclay Portrait Steve Barclay
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We are investing more in mental health services as a whole, and that includes the important area of cleaning and catering services. Obviously, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on that specific contractual dispute, but industrial action, in its wider sense, is clearly disruptive and I am very keen for it to be resolved as quickly as possible, whether in the context of consultants or cleaning and catering services.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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I welcome my right hon. Friend’s statement and the move to put the EPUT inquiry on a statutory footing. He mentioned that putting it on a statutory footing means it will take longer. On behalf of constituents and those who are keen to get closure on these important issues, can he give any kind of indication of when the findings might be available?

Steve Barclay Portrait Steve Barclay
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The chair is to be appointed, and given that statutory basis and the independence of the chair, it would be wrong for me to pre-empt the terms of reference. People can look to other statutory inquiries and come to a conclusion. The inquiry is not starting from scratch, and part of the reason we originally went with a non-statutory inquiry was because of the desire for speed. Of course, Dr Strathdee has done a huge amount of work and it will be available to the new chair of the statutory inquiry. One can look to other inquiries and draw conclusions, but I would expect it to move more quickly in this instance because a significant amount of work has already been done.

Oral Answers to Questions

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Tuesday 19th April 2022

(1 year, 12 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Gillian Keegan Portrait Gillian Keegan
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The hon. Lady raises a very important point. I know that children’s mental health services are treating more young people than ever. However, the demand has quadrupled since the pandemic and that is why we have invested £79 million in these services. By 2023-24, an extra 345,000 more young people will be accessing support. I mentioned the call for evidence. It is important that we work through our vision for our 10-year plan. We are also introducing mental health support teams in schools, which will help, plus access to community and mental health hubs, and more young people will have access to eating disorder services, but there is a lot of work ongoing.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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I know from discussions with constituents that needle phobias are a real thing. Will my right hon. Friend therefore tell the House what support the Government are giving to intranasal vaccine delivery systems to ensure that the maximum number of people take up the vaccine?

Maggie Throup Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care (Maggie Throup)
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The Department of Health and Social Care commissioned research through the National Institute for Health and Care Research, co-funded with UK Research and Innovation, for an Imperial College London study, worth £580,000, looking specifically at the safety and effectiveness of two covid-19 vaccines administered by respiratory tract. The study is ongoing, but it is in the later stages of the phase one clinical trial, and the results will be made public in due course, following peer review.

Elective Treatment

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Tuesday 8th February 2022

(2 years, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Sajid Javid Portrait Sajid Javid
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Yes. My hon. Friend is absolutely right to talk about the importance of technology in delivering world-class care. He will know that I have already announced that the parts of our health system that contribute to the best use of technology, NHSX and NHS Digital, will become part of the wider NHS so that we have a more joined-up strategy. “My planned care” will start as an online platform, but will move to an app-based service as soon as possible. My hon. Friend is right to talk about the importance of having something similar for out-patient care; we are already on it.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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Will my right hon. Friend work with our excellent GPs to increase access to primary care? Will he encourage them to open up more channels of communication such as email, text and chat apps to ensure that people feel able to raise their health concerns at the earliest possible stage rather than putting them off until they become more serious, when it is potentially too late?

Sajid Javid Portrait Sajid Javid
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Yes. I join my hon. Friend in thanking GPs up and down the country for all their phenomenal work throughout the pandemic amid the huge pressure that they have had to deal with. He is right about making sure that channels of communication with GPs are as varied as possible and are available to everyone in all age groups so that we can better support early diagnosis.

Elective Care Recovery in England

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Monday 7th February 2022

(2 years, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Urgent Questions are proposed each morning by backbench MPs, and up to two may be selected each day by the Speaker. Chosen Urgent Questions are announced 30 minutes before Parliament sits each day.

Each Urgent Question requires a Government Minister to give a response on the debate topic.

This information is provided by Parallel Parliament and does not comprise part of the offical record

Edward Argar Portrait Edward Argar
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My hon. Friend makes an important point. What we have seen throughout this pandemic, and we continue to see it now as we look to tackle the waiting lists, is people across the health and care system innovating and coming up with exciting new ideas and new ways to achieve the outcomes that we desire. I will certainly look into the specifics that she talks about, and I congratulate all those involved on their willingness to innovate and come up with new ways of doing things.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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I welcome today’s statement, and I take this opportunity to thank all those healthcare workers who have worked on the frontline throughout the pandemic, particularly nurses, who have worked so hard to keep services operating. I am therefore reassured that we have seen a 21% increase in nursing applications in the past year alone. Will my hon. Friend confirm first that that will help us meet our manifesto commitment to recruit 50,000 extra nurses, but, more importantly, that it will help make their lives easier by reducing their workload somewhat?

Edward Argar Portrait Edward Argar
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My hon. Friend is right on a number of counts: first, to pay tribute to the work of nurses up and down the country during this pandemic; and, to highlight the significant progress we have made on the trajectory to meeting our 50,000 nurses manifesto commitment. The reason we made that commitment is exactly as he says: we know we need more nurses in the NHS, and we are committed to recruiting them, which will have a positive impact on all those already in our NHS as they are joined by many newly qualified professionals to help share that load.

Oral Answers to Questions

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Tuesday 18th January 2022

(2 years, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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I am very pleased to hear that no decision has been made on this important topic, and I hope the situation remains as it is. Will my hon. Friend take this opportunity to remind those who are paying for their prescriptions that a pre-payment certificate is available that can save a significant amount of money for those who regularly use their pharmacy?

Maria Caulfield Portrait Maria Caulfield
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My hon. Friend is absolutely right, and he does well to highlight the pre-payment certificate. If people go for a 12-month certificate, which is about £2 a week, for two items they can save £116.30 and for three items, £228.50, so it is well worth the investment.

Covid-19 Update

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Thursday 13th January 2022

(2 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Sajid Javid Portrait Sajid Javid
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I join the hon. Gentleman in commending Wales for the roll-out of its booster programme. In fact, in Scotland, Northern Ireland and every part of the UK we have seen a very good, positive approach that is protecting more and more people. In terms of the JCVI, I point him to two recent announcements that he may be aware of. First, just before the Christmas break, the JCVI recommended to the Government that at-risk five to 11-year-olds be offered the paediatric vaccine. I have accepted that and that will start this month; I believe that that will start across the UK, including Wales. Secondly, we received another recommendation, I think at the end of last week. After looking carefully at the very latest evidence—some of the evidence from the UKHSA that I referenced in my statement—the JCVI decided that we should not offer a fourth dose to over-85s, or others at risk at this point. It was comfortable that the protection that is provided—it looked at waning protection—was still incredibly strong for older people.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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I add to the chorus of approval for the decision to reduce self-isolation to five days. But can my right hon. Friend ensure that the NHS covid-19 app and the Government website are updated as soon as possible to avoid the confusion that seemed to exist around the reduction to seven-day isolation, so that people fully understand their obligations, when their isolation starts and when it can finish?

Sajid Javid Portrait Sajid Javid
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I thank my hon. Friend for his support. I will ensure that the website is updated in the way he suggests as soon as possible.

Vaccination Strategy

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Wednesday 12th January 2022

(2 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Maggie Throup Portrait Maggie Throup
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As I understand it, the location of vaccination sites in the devolved nations is the responsibility of those nations. I can only speak for England in that regard, so the hon. Gentleman may wish to take the matter up with the Minister of Health in Northern Ireland.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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May I take this opportunity to put on record my thanks to my daughter, and to all her colleagues across the NHS who have worked on the frontline throughout the pandemic, caring for those who have sadly needed hospital treatment?

I have been very supportive of the Government’s approach to the pandemic and their actions, but I tend to agree that as the facts change, we should change our approach. What we have learnt about omicron is that the rationale behind mandatory vaccination has now shifted from protecting others to protecting oneself. Should we not revisit that, given the figures that the Minister has been quoting about the vaccination status of those in hospital and in intensive care units?

Maggie Throup Portrait Maggie Throup
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When we protect ourselves by having a vaccination, we protect others. My hon. Friend mentioned omicron, but we have seen other variants before, and we will no doubt see more in the future.

Covid-19 Update

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Monday 29th November 2021

(2 years, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Sajid Javid Portrait Sajid Javid
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The hon. Gentleman will know that we have kept rules in place that will allow people to claim sick pay from day one. As for the question of whether further support is needed, we keep that under review and provide further support if it is necessary.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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I thank my right hon. Friend for the work that he has been doing and the speed with which he has been doing it. Can he confirm to my constituents that as soon as more is known about the new variant and if it is deemed to be less of a threat than first thought—as is starting to emerge from the evidence in South Africa and the people who first identified it—he will act swiftly to remove restrictions, particularly the one on self-isolation, regardless of vaccine status, especially in the run-up to Christmas?

Sajid Javid Portrait Sajid Javid
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Yes, I can give my hon. Friend that assurance.

Covid-19 Update

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Monday 15th November 2021

(2 years, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Sajid Javid Portrait Sajid Javid
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The hon. Gentleman speaks with great experience on this issue and has talked about it many times in this House. He is right to link this to long covid. I hope I can reassure him. Work is going on in the NHS, in the Department and in some of the research institutes on long covid, which the Government are supporting with millions of pounds, and the NHS is working with people who are suffering from long covid, listening to them about what more we can do.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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Last week, while I was on a school visit, I was shocked to hear about the extraordinary abuse a headteacher had experienced from parents opposed to in-school vaccination clinics. I am glad to hear that we are making progress on getting 12 to 15-year-olds vaccinated, but will my right hon. Friend join me in encouraging schools to continue to do this and thank them for all the work they have been doing? Can he also tell me what more we can do to reassure parents and students alike that the vaccine is safe, effective and to all our benefit?

Sajid Javid Portrait Sajid Javid
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That is such an important issue in respect of the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. One of the strongest reassurances we can give to everyone is that the decision about whether this vaccine, or any vaccine, is safe and effective is made independently of the Government and Ministers by world-leading clinicians in our independent regulator, the MHRA. They look at the very best evidence available and continue to monitor the data and information. As I mentioned in my statement, when it comes to the vaccination of, for example, 16 and 17-year-olds, one reason why the JCVI was very comfortable in recommending to me that we offer a second dose to that cohort was the continuing close working together of clinicians and the MHRA. I hope that helps to reassure my hon. Friend.

Oral Answers to Questions

Stephen Metcalfe Excerpts
Tuesday 13th July 2021

(2 years, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Sajid Javid Portrait Sajid Javid
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As the Government have said, we want to make sure that every person in this country has the dignity that they deserve in old age. We have recognised that the current system needs substantial reform. The process of reform has already begun in, for example, the Health and Care Bill that will have its Second Reading tomorrow, but we do need a new, sustainable way to fund care and we will come forward with the plans later this year.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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I know that many of my constituents will be pleased to hear that from 16 August we will end the requirement for people to self-isolate after possible exposure to the virus if they are fully vaccinated. I am sure we all agree that it is right to change the rules as the information changes; however, will my right hon. Friend explain to the House the rationale for making this change on 16 August rather than next Monday?

Sajid Javid Portrait Sajid Javid
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I agree with my hon. Friend that it is good news that we can move away from restrictions and towards guidance. On the rationale for the decision he referred to, it is about vaccine effectiveness: we know that for those with both doses, vaccination is estimated to be 78% to 80% effective against symptomatic covid-19. The introduction on 16 August of the changes to which my hon. Friend referred will mean that more people will have been vaccinated and will help to reduce severe illness.