A belated happy new year. Sadly, it’s been a challenging start to the new year as we quickly found ourselves in another national lockdown.
I receive regular briefings on the latest coronavirus data in London and I am extremely concerned about the pressures on the NHS across the capital. I cannot reiterate strongly enough the importance of following the guidance to stay at home, other than for essential activities as outlined in law and government guidance.
All the latest rules and details regarding support can be found here. I received a briefing from Deputy Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Stephen House last week. It’s clear the police will be taking a more robust approach during this lockdown compared to previously.
I hope you find this update on local information, as well as my work nationally and locally, useful. Please encourage your friends and neighbours to sign up at: https://www.munira.org.uk/email-signup/
Latest Covid numbers
At the time of writing, from 1 to 8 January, there were 1142 cases of coronavirus in Richmond upon Thames. This represents an increase from the previous week. The incidence rate is 576.7/100,000, compared to a London-wide incidence of 1092.1/100,000 and England-wide rate of 689.9/100,000.
Data source: https://www.datarich.info/covid-19/
Local Covid-19 vaccination information
I have understandably received a lot of correspondence regarding the local rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines. The main message is your GP will contact you when it is time for your vaccination. Please do not contact your GP regarding your vaccination as this risks slowing the progress of the rollout.
Kingston Hospital is our local hospital vaccination hub and a number of GP-led community vaccination hubs across Twickenham, Teddington and Hampton have started rollout to priority groups including those in care homes, frontline health and care staff, as well as the over 80s. It is expected that the majority of over 80s in the area will have received their first dose of the vaccination by the end of January.
I had the privilege of visiting the West Twickenham GP-led vaccination hub last week at Acorn Group Practice. Under Dr Yvonne Harrington’s leadership, the hub was operating very efficiently with fantastic volunteer support. There was an immense sense of optimism, hope and community spirit.
You can find further information on vaccination here which I will be updating regularly.
Twickenham Riverside Consultation
Exciting plans have been published for major improvements to Twickenham Riverside between Water Lane and Wharf Lane.
Click here find out more, see the plans and give your feedback. The next public presentation is on 23 January.
Altered South Western Railway Timetable
South Western Railway have altered their timetables due to staff shortages and reductions in people travelling. You can see their new timetables here.
oneRichmond secures £100,000 lottery grant
The National Lottery Community Fund has awarded £100,000 to oneRichmond.
The funding will be used to support local charities and community groups who are best placed to deliver activities and services for vulnerable young people who have been affected by the Covid-19 crisis.
For further information including how to apply for funding, please visit: https://www.onerichmond.org.uk/category/grants/
Over the Christmas period, I was able to meet and thank many volunteers who have been serving those in our community who are alone or struggling to get by:
- Food for Thought on Heathfield Recreation Ground reducing food waste by distributing surplus food to the local community
- St John’s Hampton Wick Christmas Day lunch. The Bishop of Kensington and I had the privilege of delivering lunch and a gift to local residents
- St James’s Pope’s Grove Christmas Day lunch
- Richmond care leavers’ Christmas Day Dinner. Due to Covid restrictions I couldn’t visit the volunteer hub, but I was able to help with some present wrapping!
Standing up for you
Prioritising school and early years staff for vaccination
During a debate in Westminster earlier this week, I made the case for ensuring school and early years staff are included in the vaccine prioritisation list, after health and care staff and the most vulnerable are vaccinated. In particular, those working in special schools and early years find it impossible to socially distance and are at increased risk.
Read more here.
Questioning the Govt on problems in Covid-19 vaccination supply chain
Swift rollout of the vaccines is crucial to beat the virus, but it’s unclear what’s causing the supply issues that are preventing an even faster rollout.
I asked Ministers for clarity this week but it’s still unclear where the pinch points in the system are.
Read more here.
Urging the PM to use community pharmacies in vaccine rollout
We’re in a race against time to save lives, jobs and freedoms. We need to bring a 24/7 vaccination programme to every high street in the country.
Independent community pharmacies like Goode’s in Twickenham can play a vital role but the Prime Minister last week did not confirm if they will be used.
Read more here.
Raising concerns over problems with IT systems holding up the vaccine rollout
I am concerned by reports that the IT system being used to organise vaccines is causing hold-ups. I have asked Matt Hancock what’s being done to speed up systems and ensure they can cope with the all the additional sites that are due to be added in the coming weeks.
Pushing Govt for clear exit strategy from lockdown
During the debate last week on the new lockdown restrictions, I urged the Government to publish a clear exit strategy from lockdown that is not solely focused on vaccination, but also on improving the Test, Track, & Isolate, together with clear communications and criteria for exiting lockdown.
Read more here.
Urging Matt Hancock to use the Nightingale hospitals
Just before the new year, I asked Matt Hancock why the Nightingale hospitals were not being used given that hospitals in London, Essex and Kent were already at crisis point. Read more here.
Voting against Johnson’s threadbare Brexit Deal
On 30 December, I voted against Johnson’s threadbare deal. It is bad for jobs, bad for businesses & bad for the environment. I could not in good faith support such a deal that will ultimately make my constituents poorer.
You can read my full statement here.