My Speech at Plenary, Cancer debate

Madam President, what makes cancer so dangerous is that it is such a complex disease. Tumours that come under the same umbrella are often quite different. There are many different kinds of breast cancer, but they’re still called breast cancer. Hodgkin’s lymphoma attacks young lives, not old, and it is 95% curable, which is wonderful. But other cancers are still an automatic death sentence. In addition, genetic instability means that tumours go through an evolutionary process which means they can quickly become resistant to treatments that were working. But we know that one in three cancers might be curable, so we need to do more.

Advancements in genomic research are allowing research on tumour mutations to move quickly. Further studies in epigenetics are allowing researchers to look deeper, beyond DNA, and to combine the medical data with critical information about the kind of external and environmental factors that have been mentioned here today.

We must seize the opportunities created by these advancements in biomedicine, bioinformatics, big data and artificial intelligence to help us in this fight. So I call on Ursula van der Leyen to make the fight against cancer an absolute priority of the next Commission, in scientific research as well as in the medical area.

Judith Bunting calls for end to injustice on mental health and social care

Judith Bunting outside West Berkshire Community Hospital

Judith Bunting, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Newbury constituency, has outlined Lib Dem plans to end the “injustice” against people with mental ill health.

Speaking at the start of Dementia Awareness Week, ahead of a visit on Wednesday (17th May) to West Berkshire Dementia Action Alliance’s event at Newbury Corn Exchange, Judith Bunting said:

“Under this Conservative Government, NHS services have been stretched to breaking point. This is at a time when the prevalence of mental ill health appears to be rising.

She said: “Neither Labour nor the Conservatives have explained how they will fund mental health services. Our priorities are clear and will be funded by the injection of £6bn a year into the NHS with an additional penny on income tax.

“We want to in improve waiting time standards for mental health care in the NHS, end the degrading use of force against people with mental ill health and prioritise action to reduce the number of people who take their own lives.

“The Lib Dems want this country to be a world leader in mental health care. These are not just empty words – in Government it was the Lib Dems who introduced a legal duty on the NHS to promote parity of esteem for mental health and invested £400m to increase access to talking therapies.

“I am well aware of the pressures our wonderful local NHS teams are under both at GP level and at our fantastic West Berkshire Hospital which is struggling to keep up. On top of this, mental health and social care issues are a ticking time bomb for West Berkshire. Our Lib Dem commitment to healthcare will give the NHS in West Berkshire the investment it needs NOW.”

Lib Dems Our Plan for Health: Save the NHS by putting a penny in the pound on income tax to give the NHS and social care services the cash they need. Make waiting times for mental health care match those for physical health care. Limit the amount elderly people have to pay for social care.
Summary of the Lib Dem plan for Health & Social Care. Find out more: http://www.libdems.org.uk/health

Judith Bunting on BBC Radio Berkshire talking about Mental Health Funding

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Mental health awareness week ended yesterday and this morning, Judith Bunting, was speaking on BBC Radio Berkshire about Mental health.

BBC Radio Berkshire Andrew Peach Show 15/05/2017

The interview starts from 25 minutes into the show, but is preceded by a relevant interview on funding cuts from Reading Your Way, a local mental health charity.

If you’re a user of West Berks Mental Health services and want to feedback your experiences to the local authorities, Healthwatch West Berks have a Thinking Together event on Thursday.

Find out more about how the Lib Dems want to end an historic injustice in mental health care by providing ring-fenced funding.

Find out about the Lib Dem’s Five Step Plan for the NHS and Social Care.

#itsgottobeJudith

Lib Dem candidate Judith Bunting challenges Council to work with Newbury Community Football Group

Judith Bunting, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Newbury constituency has challenged Hilary Cole, Acting Deputy Leader of West Berkshire Council to provide assurances that they will work with Newbury Community Football Group on to protect and enhance the town’s Football Ground on Faraday Road.

JB football2

Speaking last Thursday to West Berkshire Council’s Executive on Football and children’s health and wellbeing, Judith Bunting said: “As the Council’s adopted Core Strategy requires the protection and enhancement of green infrastructure and cultural facilities in West Berkshire, … what investment is planned to safeguard and enhance the protected community green infrastructure and cultural facility at Newbury Football Ground in Faraday Road?

She went on to ask: “Are Councillors willing to work with the Newbury Community Football Group on a progressive strategy to protect and enhance the Football Ground with a view to encouraging a positive attitude to exercise, health and wellbeing which are at the centre of the Council’s Health & Wellbeing Strategy?”

Judith Bunting was a prominent supporter of Newbury Town Football Club in its fight against eviction by West Berkshire Council last year.

Speaking this week, she said: “In excess of 500 people including more than 350 children play club-based football in Newbury each week. Physical education is important for our children. In football, they learn good habits of cooperation, discipline and motivation, as well as getting fit and having fun.”

“Richard Benyon’s Conservatives on West Berkshire Council have removed school bus routes, they have cut back drastically on children’s mental health support, and have tried to close our libraries. Now they want to destroy the football club too.

“If the Conservative party, here, do not have some particular axe to grind against the health of our children, I ask them to please think again and try working with Newbury Football Club to encourage the work it does rather than to destroy such a great and useful organisation.”

You can read more about Judith Bunting’s campaign to support Newbury Town Football Club here: Open Letter about Newbury Football Club

Newbury Community Football Group is a new organisation that brings together Ladies, Men’s, Boys and Girls’ and Youth Football groups in Newbury. For more information please go to: NCFG.uk

Liberal Democrat five-step plan for the NHS and Social Care

It is not too late to change Britain’s future. The Conservatives want absolute power, Labour are too weak to stand up to them, so we will. The Liberal Democrats will be the strong opposition Britain needs.

The Liberal Democrats will rescue the NHS and social care. We are prepared to be honest with people and say that we will all need to chip in a little more.

This our five-step plan for the NHS & Social Care:

  1. Introduce a 1% raise in income tax, generating £6bn a year
  2. Ring-fence ALL of this for the NHS and care, investing efficiently and effectively in social care, primary care, mental health and public health
  3. Introduce a dedicated Health and Care Tax, showing on people’s payslips exactly what we spend it on these vital services.
  4. Establish a cross-party health and care convention, consulting and working with patients, the public, NHS staff and care workers, to ensure our systems are sustainable and integrated and put on a sustainable financial footing in the long term.
  5. Introduce an Independent Office of Health and Care Funding to monitor health and care budgets, which would report every three years on how much money the system needs to flourish.

If you want to save our public services and change the future of Newbury, vote for Judith Bunting on June 8th.

 

Find out more:

Twitter: @JudithBuntingLD

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JudithBuntingforNewbury/

#ItsgottobeJudith

 

Liberal Democrats call for £4m extra for NHS and social care in Newbury & West Berkshire

 

Ahead of this week’s budget the Liberal Democrats called for a £4 billion funding boost for NHS and care services. That would have amounted to a cash injection of £4 million for local NHS services in the Newbury and District CCG and £5.9m for social care across West Berkshire. The Budget announced by the Government today will instead see the share of national income spent on the NHS fall in the coming years.

The Liberal Democrats have slammed the Government’s failure to provide enough extra cash for the NHS in the budget, warning that local services will struggle to cope with growing demand.

NHS services in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West, the area which will oversee healthcare here in the coming years, currently face a funding gap of £479m by 2020-21, analysis of local NHS plans has found. The NHS funding crisis also risks being made even worse by the Government’s hard Brexit plans, which are set to increase borrowing by £100bn in the coming years.

Liberal Democrat spokesperson Judith Bunting commented:

“The Government is refusing to stump up the extra cash that NHS services in Newbury and West Berkshire so desperately need.

“This is a woefully inadequate response to the impossible pressure our NHS and care services are under.

“Chronic underfunding of our NHS is leading to longer waiting lists, cancelled operations and loved ones being stranded in hospital.

“Only the Liberal Democrats are being upfront with people that to protect our NHS and care services, we may all need to pay a little more in tax.

“We will also stand up against Theresa May’s reckless plans to pull out of the Single Market that will blow a £100 billion hole in the public finances. It’s clear you can’t have strong NHS and care services with a hard Brexit.”

The £4 billion of extra NHS and care funding , called for ahead of the Spring Budget 2017-18, included £2bn for social care, £1.5bn to improve efficiency in the NHS and £500m dedicated funding for mental health.

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The photo above shows Judith Bunting with Sybil Flinn, at the Hungerford Resource Centre in 2013.

 

Newbury Football Fun Day and update

It was lovely to meet everyone and see the action at Newbury Football Club today. The annual Fun Day and Penalty Shoot out at the ground in Faraday Road drew a huge crowd. Lovely sunshine, good turnout and an impressive amount of activity on the pitch – what’s not to like?

At the moment though the club is in limbo. West Berkshire Council (Conservative)’s plans for the development of the London Road Industrial Estate are still uncertain and little practical is expected to happen for 3 – 5 years. This week the Council offered Newbury Football Club a one-year extension on their lease. While that’s to be welcomed, NFC Chair Lee McDougall has proposed a longer extension with a break clause in it, to come into effect only when action actually takes place on development at the London Road Industrial Estate. The club would agree to move when that day comes. This is a very professional approach to the issues at hand, but no answer is yet forthcoming from our lovely Council.

When my own son was growing up, we were fortunate enough to live in the catchment of Brentford FC. Brentford runs a fantastic Football in the Community scheme and their Council in Hounslow and neighbouring Richmond and Twickenham, then LD, used to bend over backwards to help them do their work. They recognised the importance that lively community football could bring to the health and spirit of our children.

In Newbury, we are really lucky to have an efficient, active team at NFC. If only our Council could see the importance of this. By the time I left the Fun Day, Richard Benyon had dropped in [a little surprising given his formal position that this is a “local matter” in which it would be inappropriate for him to get involved (!)], but no one from the Council had visited to see the club in action.

On the club’s website Lee McDougall says: “We passionately believe football, like all sport, inspires young people and provides a focus  for personal and physical development from early years into adulthood. We’ve seen first-hand how sport can turn lives around. Newbury does not have enough community football facilities, the only all-weather outdoor, floodlit , artificial turf training venues are in a few large secondary schools and in high demand from commercial organisations. Also, the town is lacking quality grass pitches to meet the sporting demands of local children. If you value local youth sport, please help us by watching the video, signing the petition and sharing them with your friends and family …” Read more here.

Once again, children are bearing the brunt of this Council’s lack of engagement and indecision. I understand there is the potential for outside funding to pay for 3G Astroturf to create a pitch that could allow a couple of hundred additional boys and girls to play each week, on top of the 360 that train with the club already, but with no certainty of tenure and no alternative location being suggested, the club can’t pursue such possibilities. And NFC do pay rent for this pitch, by the way, and they pay themselves for the upkeep of the ground.

Back to the positive in of all this, though. Seeing so many Newbury youngsters fit, healthy and engaged with their sport, today, made for an uplifting morning. Keep up the good work Newbury Football Club and Newbury Community Football Group. Our kids need you!

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Couldn’t resist adding this photo with my own kids at Wembley to watch Brentford in the play-offs in 2013. A lovely day, tho Brentford lost (again!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Junior Doctor Strike

It is unacceptable that the relationship between the Government and NHS workforce has broken down so completely and it is increasingly difficult to see how this can be resolved.

A cross party group of MPs, including our own Norman Lamb, has written to the Secretary of State this weekend proposing a sensible compromise of trialling the new contract in a small group of hospitals to see what the effects are on the workforce. If Jeremy Hunt is serious about resolving this dispute and rebuilding his relationship with NHS staff will he sit down with the group to work out how to avoid strikes going ahead?

It will be disastrous for patients if strikes effect emergency care. This must not be allowed to happen. The Government must show they will listen to reason and remove the threat of imposing the contract so that talks can resume.

This is the only way of breaking the stalemate which is damaging our NHS and threatening patient safety.

Lib Dem Manifesto 2015 – in full

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Today we published the Liberal Democrat Manifesto for 2015.

Our five top priorities are: 

  • A World Class Education for all: Guarantee education funding from nursery to 19 and qualified teachers in every class.
  • Prosperity for all: Balance the budget fairly and invest to build a high-skill, low-carbon economy
  • Quality health care for all: Invest £8 billion to improve our NHS and guarantee equal care for mental health.
  • Fair taxes: Raise the Personal Allowance to £12,500, cutting your taxes by an additional £400.
  • Our environment protected: Protect nature and fight climate change with five green laws.

The full manifesto also gives details on our policies on housing, policing, security, foreign policy and equal rights.

Read the full manifesto, herehttp://bit.ly/1IKxqKZ.