West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper met with older people from across the country at an event in Parliament organised by the charity Age UK.
The ‘Age Champions’ event was the charity’s annual summer reception and highlighted the challenges of an ageing population and opportunities in later life.
MPs heard how they can tackle issues affecting older people in West Lancashire and across the country, including loneliness and isolation, social care and the importance of a decent income.
Rosie Cooper MP said:
“It was great to join so many of my colleagues at Age UK’s annual reception in Parliament, the event was a brilliant opportunity to discuss the work they’ve done in the last year and set out an ambitious vision for the future.
“I was really encouraged to see so many other members taking these issues seriously- I hope that as Parliament goes on more and more of my colleagues join me as an Age Champion MP.
“I’ve been championing older people’s issues for the 12 years I’ve been an MP and I’m committed to continuing my efforts in West Lancashire.
“I’d urge any of my constituents that feel they need support to get in touch with me about the issues that affect you as an older person.”
Speaking at the event, Age UK Chief Executive, Tom Wright CBE, said:
“I am delighted to say that we now have over 130 Age Champion MPs from all sides of the House and I hope that many others will want to join as this Parliament proceeds.
“This new Parliament offers a great opportunity for policymakers to work together with organisations like Age UK with a view to ensuring that every older person can live with dignity and enjoy a fulfilling later life.
“Issues like the fragility of our social care system and the chronic loneliness that affects too many are not going away and our older population badly needs us to find solutions for them.”
The event also heard from Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke, who spoke about the Department’s work, as well as the challenges and opportunities of an ageing population.
Throughout the event MPs learned more about how Age UK can help them to improve the lives of older people in their constituencies and make the most of their role as an 'Age Champion'.
For more information about your local Age UK and Age UK's work more generally please visit www.ageuk.org.uk
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper met with senior figures from United Utilities in Parliament, to discuss the company’s investment programme.
The event was an opportunity for the MP to meet with the company that plays a key role in flood management across the constituency.
Management of the sewage network is a vital part of the flooding and drainage picture here in West Lancashire, and needs investment if it is to fulfil its role in the prevention of future flooding issues.
Rosie Cooper MP commented:
“After having met locally with United Utilities earlier this year, I was encouraged by the work already being done. I wanted to meet with them in Parliament to gain a better understanding of where West Lancashire fits in their wider investment programme.
“I of course welcome the planned £6billion investment into the North West by 2020, but I’ll be pushing to make sure the money is spent in the right areas. West Lancashire was devastated by floods and continues to be affected 18 months later, as homes and businesses rebuild from the ground up.
“We know from reports we are at capacity in Burscough when it comes to the sewage network and with the increasing numbers of houses being built in the area, significant investment will be needed as a priority if we are to cope.
“What I have always called for is a proactive approach to providing effective flood resistance and water management.”
Having been contacted by dissatisfied constituents about their treatment by Virgin Care,
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper raised a question of the Health Secretary during Parliamentary Questions on issues surrounding Virgin Care and its current service and delivery within West Lancashire.
One resident whose leg wound opened after getting stitches removed, was told to go and buy her own dressings from the chemist.
MP Rosie asked Jeremy Hunt MP:
“What advice would the Secretary of State give to my constituents who receive their urgent care from Virgin Care, and are told that wounds should be dressed only once and that, in the event that they need to re-attend, they should purchase further dressings from the local chemist? Free at the point of delivery?”
The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt responded:
“I suggest that the hon. Lady gets in touch with the details. What I would say is that when care is not satisfactory, whether it is delivered by the public sector or the independent sector, we have an independent inspection regime to root out the problems.”
Rosie Cooper MP commented on the issue:
“When this £65 million contract was awarded last year to Virgin Care, it was done so behind closed doors and kept health care professionals and residents in the dark. The response I gave then to my constituents was, if these services fail you, let me know. That is exactly what they have done.
“Other constituents have complained that services are being moved, others mentioned having been told that the blood test HbA1c is now only being done once a year for each patient.
“Patients have been concerned about diabetic and other services being moved and their access to those services. What is the consultation process?
“The Ormskirk Urgent Care Centre hours were reduced from 8am to 10pm before Christmas saying there were staffing difficulties with everyone expecting them to revert to the original hours when staffing was sorted. Instead of that, since the contract was awarded to Virgin, its opening hours have reduced further to 8pm.
“The Urgent Care centre was opened to allow access to a GP when surgeries were closed and to ease the burden on A&E. These opening hours do not meet that need and it now transpires that Virgin do not always have a GP on site!
“West Lancashire CCG and Virgin Care promised us that patients would receive quality treatment and care but the reality has been starkly different. This isn’t what the CCG promised, it is cut price medicine which doesn’t fit the bill. It is yet another clear example of their actions not matching their words.
“This treatment is exactly what I, local GPs and health service patients were worried about. Virgin Care have sent a very strong message to my constituents – we offer a basic cheap service and after that you’re on your own.
“There needs to be comprehensive scrutiny of decisions taken by West Lancashire CCG and they publicly need to be held to account about the management of Virgin Care and the clinical outcomes.”
On 12 July, Rosie Cooper MP asked a Prime Minister’s Question which was directed to the First Secretary of State, Damian Green MP, in the Prime Minister’s absence.
MP Rosie brought to the attention of the House the unfair funding arrangements set by central Government to deal with flooding in West Lancashire, and specifically addressed the threat by the Environment Agency to turn off Alt Crossens pumping station.
Damian Green MP said these concerns were ‘reasonable’ and invited MP Rosie to discuss it further with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
The question comes as we pass the 18 month mark from the Boxing Day 2016 floods which devastated homes, business, and land in West Lancashire yet there is still no sustainable solution agreed to manage flooding in the area.
Rosie has long campaigned for the setting up of an Internal Drainage Board but this relies heavily on funding which local agencies don’t have, and the Government has so far refused to take responsibility.
Rosie Cooper, Labour West Lancashire:
How can the Government continue to justify not providing fair and equitable funding arrangements for West Lancashire to support water level management organisations, otherwise known as drainage boards, to help protect homes and the agriculture and horticulture industries critical to the local economy, instead of causing the Environment Agency to threaten to turn off the Alt Crossens pumping station?
Damian Green, First Secretary of State and Minister for the Cabinet Office, Conservative, Ashford
The hon. Lady raises a reasonable point about the Environment Agency. It is the Environment Agency’s duty to ensure that water supplies are good and safe. If she wishes to bring up this issue with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, I am sure he will be happy to talk to her about it.
After the Question, West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper commented:
“Residents in West Lancashire are being devastated by flooding increasingly regularly to the point where many live in fear each time it rains.
“Since the Boxing Day floods in 2015, we have seen little to no progress on the setting up of an Internal Drainage Board, and a lack of leadership from the designated Local Lead flood Authority, Lancashire County Council.
“To add to this we have been served the notice of the closure of five satellite pumping stations, which will only exacerbate the situation.
“I will take this opportunity to follow up with the Secretary for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and keep campaigning until we reach an agreement on protecting West Lancashire from further floods.
“We must find a solution to protect residents, businesses and farmland, land that generates £230 million of income and provides 2,500 jobs and is a vital sector of our local economy.”
Last week West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper spoke in Parliament about the challenges designated New Towns face.
The debate took place in Westminster Hall on 12 July and was raised by fellow MP, Lucy Allan.
MP Rosie spoke about the town centre, transport facilities, educational establishments, and housing and infrastructure in Skelmersdale.
She also mentioned some of the problems trying to get government action on the Burscough Curves – despite Government Ministers’ promises during the General Election.
MP Rosie looked at decisions by Borough and County Councils, private commercial companies, and national governments which have failed to capitalise on the town’s potential.
During the debate, the West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“We have a shopping centre that pretends to be the town centre, but it is just a building. When the local council attempted to build a genuine town centre and a modern high street, the owners of the Concourse took out High Court injunctions and made appeals to block it.
“Although Skelmersdale became a designated New Town in 1961 and a bright new future was projected, its tracks were pulled up and its train line was shut two years later. It is a town failed by a lack of foresight and that is desperately fighting to get a railway station
“The Secretary of State for Transport visited during the general election campaign and told my constituents that bringing back the Burscough Curves would be a quick win. I am still waiting for that announcement.”
Speaking after the debate, Rosie Cooper MP did acknowledge the good news that Skelmersdale has received over the last 18 months:
“We have had positive updates on the town centre, movement on the railway, some progress on bus routes, and a multi-million pound business investment.
“I’m realistic about progress but what we need is action beginning now with work on a new town centre, not words describing another vision.”
Rosie Cooper MP called on Theresa May today (Wednesday 22 March 2017) to investigate pay increases of up to 80% at NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) as they embark on funding cuts to frontline health services and NHS staff receive a below inflation 1% pay increase.
A freedom of information request to Liverpool CCG from Commons health select committee member, Rosie Cooper, revealed members of the governing body received bumper pay rises mainly in 2014/15.
Notable increases include a 15% increase for the chief officer from £135,000 – £140,000 (2013/14) rising to £155,000 - £160,000 (2014/15). She also received £1,500 in expenses in 2014/15.
At the same time the chief finance officer received an inflation-busting 16% salary increase, taking his pay from £125,000 -£130,000 rising by at least £20,000 to £145,000 - £150,000. In 2014/15 he also had £600 in expenses according to published accounts.
However, these rises don’t compare to the 50% increase for the CCG Chair with a whopping £50,000 pay rise from his £100,000 – £105,000 salary in 2013/14 rocketing to £150,000 - £155,000 the next year.
For his Deputy Chair, a 42.85% salary increase taking their salary from £70,000 - £75,000 to £100,000 plus one year later.
In light of this information MP Rosie Cooper called on the Prime Minister to investigate the lack of governance and accountability that allows clinical commissioning groups to pay this level of salary and to only have two non -executive directors instead of the usual five.
In response the Prime Minister confirmed that NHS England would now be investigating the remuneration of members of the governing body of Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group.
Speaking after her challenge to Theresa May at Prime Minister’s Questions, Rosie Cooper MP said:
“The tremendous pressures on frontline NHS services to meet demand is not a secret.
“Whilst the CCG were handing out these scandalous pay rises to reward themselves, the CCG stood by and allowed grotesque failings to occur at Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust in which patients and staff were harmed by the culture of bullying and horrific management failures.
“The actions of Liverpool CCG reveal the extent to which, in this new health system, nobody is really holding CCG’s to account. They are a law unto themselves. It is clear in Liverpool they can do as they please and believe they do not answer to anyone.
“I believe there are serious questions that needed to be asked of, and answered by, the CCG in relation to the size of their pay increases, the number of people receiving these astronomical increases and how they justify the current salary levels especially at a time when community health services have seen £4.6 million cut from current funding, when frontline services are being cut and NHS staff are handed a 1% salary increase.
“There are now plans to merge Liverpool CCG with neighbouring South Sefton CCG and Southport and Formby CCG. Can you imagine the salaries they’d hand themselves from commissioning health services across three communities as well as the lack of proper governance in choosing the chief executive officer?
“All I am asking is for this situation to be reviewed and for there to be real public accountability.”
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has called on the Policing Minister to ensure the Home Office eradicates previous funding calculation errors and that police funding reflects the demands on police forces.
Speaking in Home Office questions in the House of Commons on Monday 6 March, MP Rosie raised concerns ahead of the revised National Police Funding Formula being finalised and used to calculate future funding arrangements.
Rosie asked the minister:
On a previous attempt to recalculate the national police funding formula, Lancashire police was set to lose £25 million a year. That was revised down to £8 million in year when inaccuracies were identified. That is on top of the £76 million that it had already saved since 2010. What steps is the Policing Minister taking to ensure that the national police funding formula will not repeat the same mistakes and will accurately reflect the demands on police forces?
In responding the Policing Minister attempted to offer his assurances on the matter saying ‘we will see where it goes for all in order to get a fair formula for the future.’
Speaking after the Parliamentary Question time, MP Rosie Cooper said
“As we see fewer and fewer police officers on our streets, police and community support officers rapidly dwindling and police stations closing it is unsurprising people are concerned as to the future impact of the new funding formula on our police service.
“The glaring errors of the Home Office’s first two attempts to calculate the funding formula are far from reassuring. Perhaps it will be third time lucky and they will get it right.
“We shall see if the Policing Minister will honour his commitment of a fair funding formula.
“Lancashire Police have already had to slash £76 million from their budget and they face a further £2.5 million cut to their government funding grant in the next financial year as well.
“As I told the Minister, police funding needs to accurately reflect the demands on our police forces so that people feel safe in their homes and safe on the streets.”
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper was one of 498 MPs who voted in favour of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill to enable the government to trigger Article 50 ahead of their end of March 2017 deadline.
Speaking to the Champion, MP Rosie Cooper said:
"In 2011 I voted to support a Commons motion calling for a referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union.
"I believed then that the British people needed to have their say on our relationship with the EU. It was clear there was and is huge disillusionment and we need an opportunity to step-back and consider our relationship.
"I voted for the Bill triggering Article 50 last week because the British people have now had their democratic say and a majority have chosen to leave the EU.
"Here in West Lancashire 55% of people voting also chose to the leave the EU.
"Throughout this process I have championed the right of British voters to have their say and absolutely believe those wishes have to be honoured."
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper is encouraging local schools and community organisations to get involved during Parliament Week (14-20 November) to learn more about the work of Parliament.
UK Parliament Week is an annual programme of events that engages and connects people from across the country with Parliament and its work.
For any school, group or organisation wanting to learn more about how they can take part there is more information available at www.ukparliamentweek.org.
Resources such as the UK Parliament Week quiz are available to download from the site. Participants can also use the #UKPW16 hashtag to find out more information and to get connected with others during the annual event.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“If you want to learn more about Parliament, its role and the work that goes on then UK Parliament Week is the perfect time to get started.
“Every year more and more events are taking place with more learning resources being made available too.
“I would strongly encourage any school or community group in West Lancashire to take a look at the website and be part of Parliament Week 2016.”
Rosie Cooper MP, met patients and families at a packed event in Parliament as Pancreatic Cancer UK launched the first ever Patient Charter aimed at making better care a reality for all.
Rosie heard that despite more than 9,400 new cases of pancreatic cancer now diagnosed throughout the UK every year and figures set to soar to over 12,000 by 2030, patients and families routinely experience poor care and support.
Many tell the charity they feel let down as they don’t get the information and help they need. Late diagnosis is common as pancreatic cancer symptoms can be very difficult to spot and a clear support pathway is often missing. Unusually, 45 % of patients are diagnosed via Accident & Emergency, more than twice the number for other forms of cancer. Many say they have had little time to take in what is happening and don’t know what to expect following their discharge from hospital. A shocking 53% say they or their family member were not offered support when told of their diagnosis.
Pancreatic Cancer UK’s Charter is an essential guide clearly detailing the care and support that every patient should expect. A handy booklet, it is aimed at giving patients and families the confidence to ask the right questions and get what they need at a difficult and confusing time.
The charity’s aim is that every patient will eventually be given a copy automatically on diagnosis. It can be ordered or downloaded: http://www.pancreaticcancer.org.uk/information-and-support/our-publications/
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper was joined by patients and family members and specialist nurses she showed her support for the Patient Charter and campaign.
MP Rosie said: “I was delighted to attend this important launch by Pancreatic Cancer UK, to meet patients and their families and to understand more about the challenges faced by many of those diagnosed with this dreadful disease which currently has the lowest survival rate of all 21 most common cancers. The Charter is an excellent tool for patients in West Lancashire and throughout the UK and has the potential to make a very real difference to someone’s treatment and care.”
Pancreatic cancer survivor Lynne Walker said: “The shock, fear and lack of information after my diagnosis was overwhelming. If someone had put this guide in my hand when I was feeling so vulnerable it would have felt like gold dust. This guide may look modest but it gives patients and loved ones a confidence that is essential at an incredibly stressful and awful time. Patients have every right to be able to ask questions and every right to expect reasonable care. I want to see every patient and family given a copy.”
Alex Ford, Chief Executive of Pancreatic Cancer UK said: “We were delighted that Rosie Cooper MP joined us to launch our Patient Charter, the first step of our Gold Standards campaign, aimed at driving better care for all. We thank her for showing her support. We believe that with great commitment on so many fronts, we will begin to see change and a better future for all pancreatic cancer patients.”
For more information about pancreatic cancer, visit www.pancreaticcancer.org.uk