Latest Covid Numbers
At the time of writing, from 16 to 22 January, there were 526 new cases of coronavirus in Richmond Upon Thames. This represents a decrease from the previous week. The incidence rate is 265.6/100,000, compared to a London-wide incidence of 478.6/100,000 and England-wide rate of 374.4/100,000. Data source: https://www.datarich.info/covid-19/
Local Vaccination Update
Last week I attended several briefing meetings for MPs at a local, regional and national level and was pressing Ministers and NHS leaders as to why London appears to be lagging behind other parts of the UK in terms of vaccination rates. I was assured that more supply is being despatched to enable London to catch up.
Across the South West London Health & Care Partnership (which covers several boroughs), over 100,000 jabs had been administered as of Friday lunchtime, with 74% of all over-80s having had their first jab. SWLHCP is ahead of all other sectors in London.
Update from Kingston Hospital
I had a sobering meeting with the Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer of Kingston Hospital last week. Their coronavirus admissions peaked on 8/9 January with some 70% more Covid positive patients than they had at during the April peak. As of last Thursday, they still had some 176 Covid positive patients – still higher than the April peak – but position has stabilised. The pressure on intensive care will continue for some time.
Planned care and outpatient appointments have been paused. Staff are understandably exhausted and struggling with their mental wellbeing, for which the hospital is providing support. 92% of the Trust’s staff have had their first Covid jab.
‘COVID-19 Vaccinations in Richmond: What you need to know’ – Free Zoom event
Healthwatch Richmond, in partnership with NHS Richmond and the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, will be hosting ‘COVID-19 Vaccinations in Richmond: What you need to know’, a free event featuring a panel of the local experts delivering the vaccination programme to answer questions from the community about the vaccine and its rollout in the borough.
This event will be a live Zoom webinar (also accessible by phone) from 3.30 PM to 4.30 PM on 2nd February 2021.
For more information, including how to register for this event, click here
The Mulberry Centre
The Mulberry Centre provides practical and emotional support to cancer patients, their family and friends, carers and those bereaved due to cancer. Since the pandemic started, they have extended their services to anyone affected by Covid. All services are provided free of charge.
Please see this link for more information.
Online webinar for EU nationals
Citizens Advice Richmond is running an online webinar for EU nationals living in the borough to help them understand Settled Status and their rights in the UK.
The webinar will be on Wednesday 27 January at 6pm. Find out more and register here.
Free business support programme for local cafes, bars and restaurants
Richmond Council is providing a number of business support programmes. The first programme begins on Wednesday, 27 January. Cafes, bars and restaurants operating in Richmond upon Thames are encouraged to sign up to get tailored advice and support for their business.
Find out more and sign up here.
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.
Standing up for you
Covid vaccine dosing
Last week I asked the Health Secretary whether he had any plans to review the UK’s dosing policy with the Pfizer vaccine, following data published by Israeli authorities. In particular I urged him to consider giving healthcare staff exposed to the highest levels of the virus both doses of the Pfizer vaccine within the 21 days recommended by the manufacturer.
EU touring work permits and support for musicians and artists
The Government’s failure to secure a visa-free work permit for touring artists in the EU will have a significant impact on their livelihoods, compounding the lost wages they have already suffered as a result of the pandemic.
I asked the Minister for Digital and Culture what assurances she could offer those working in the creative industries that the Government will act to support them.
Read more here.
Pressing Govt on ensuring financial aid prioritised for the world’s poorest
Given the Government’s deplorable plans to slash the UK’s aid budget to the world’s poorest, the Government must do more to ensure spending directly reaches those most in need.
I asked Ministers how the Govt will ensure it prioritises alleviating poverty. Taking away aid will cost lives. Read more here.
Calling on Govt to make it easier for people to self-isolate
People should not be having to make the choice between putting food on the table and self-isolating to prevent the spread of the virus. People need to be empowered to follow the rules.
I wrote to Matt Hancock urging him to make it easier for people to self-isolate, by paying their full wages, providing support for dependants and hotel rooms for those in over-crowded homes.
We must make it easier for people to follow the rules. Read more here.
Demanding Govt fund Covid-safe schools
Local schools have been struggling with the costs of ensuring they’re Covid-secure whilst also losing much of their additional income.
Help from the Government has been limited. When I challenged the Schools Minister, yet again he pointed to the local council which has no additional funds for bailouts.
Read more here.
Pressing Govt not to overlook children with special educational needs & disabilities (SEND)
For many families during the pandemic, access to support for their children with SEND has stopped.
I pressed the Government not to overlook them and ensure access to care is made a priority. You can read more here.
Reform of the Mental Health Act: calling on Govt to expand mental health workforce
I welcome the Government’s long overdue reforms of the Mental Health Act, which outline a more humane and less discriminatory approach to serious mental ill health.
However, action is needed to tackle workforce shortages that could otherwise undermine it. Read more here.