Wednesday, 15 March 2017

The Smashed Project visits Woodlands School

I was pleased to be invited to Woodlands School to watch a presentation by the Smashed Project, an international theatre-in-education programme dedicated to breaking the culture of underage drinking.

The Smashed Project is proven to raise pupils' awareness of the dangers of alcohol and designed to help them make informed decisions about consuming it in the future.

I was especially pleased to see how well all the pupils responded to this important message.

You can find out more about the Smashed Project here.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Safer Sleep Week: Helping new parents receive advice

This week I am supporting baby charity The Lullaby Trust's Safer Sleep Week campaign which aims to raise awareness of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and help new parents receive the proper advice from health professionals on how to sleep their baby safely.

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, while the overall SIDS rates for England and Wales showed a 17% decline since 2013 and a 39% overall decline since 2004, the rates in the East of England have decreased more slowly showing only a 3% reduction since 2004 and remaining higher than the national average.

Adding to this worrying picture is a national survey commissioned by the Lullaby Trust which found that over 38% of parents in the East of England are unsure of one of the most fundamental steps to reduce the risk of SIDS: sleeping a baby on its back for every sleep.

Evidence shows that babies who slept on their back for every sleep are 6 times less likely to die from SIDS than those who sleep on their front or side.

The survey shows 35% of parents in the East of England are unsure whether they can sleep a baby on their front and 39% are unsure whether to sleep a baby on their side. The results are a troubling indication that parents are still not equipped with the information they need to reduce the risk of SIDS and that more needs to be done to ensure all parents in the East of England are aware of life-saving safer sleep advice.

Find out more about Safer Sleep Week here.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Supporting female engineers on International Women's Day

This International Women's Day I'm supporting The Institution of Engineering and Technology's (IET) #9percentisnotenough campaign to boost the number of female engineers.

Through its Young Woman Engineer of the Year aware, the IET is highlighting the work of young female engineers and encouraging more girls to engaging in the crucial STEM subjects.

Find out more about the campaign here.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

My question to the Prime Minister

I was pleased to have the opportunity to ask the Prime Minister a question during the weekly Question Time in Parliament.

Earlier in the week I chaired a seminar at the Royal Society, looking at the priorities for the UK science community as the Government starts the process of our withdrawal from the European Union.

A report of the meeting will be published in Parliament on 21 March and I asked Theresa May to take into account the views of the science community.

You can watch a recording of my exchange with the Prime Minister below:

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Visiting St Teresa's Catholic Primary School

I was glad to visit our local St Teresa's Catholic Primary School, which was recently given a Good rating by Ofsted after previously being placed in special measures.

It is testament to the hard work of all the staff at the school that this turn around has happened.

On the day I visited, the school was coming to the end of its "History Week" and both pupils and teachers had dressed up in an attempt to bring history to life.

It was fantastic to see how well the school is doing and I look forward to visiting again in future.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Supporting World Cancer Day 2017

I was pleased to attend an event in Parliament to show my support for World Cancer Day 2017, which took place on Saturday 4 February.

I met with representatives from seven of the UK's leading charities who joined forces to unite the nation and help people affected by cancer.

Cancer Research UK, Breast Cancer Care, Breast Cancer Now, CLIC Sargent, Anthony Nolan, Bowel Cancer UK, and Marie Curie called for people across the country to show their support by wearing a special Unity Band or making a donation.

Every year World Cancer Day aims to raise awareness of cancer care and support and bring people and charities together to help defeat the disease.

One in two people born in the UK will develop cancer at some point in their lifetime. By wearing a Unity Band and making a donation we can make a real difference and transform millions of lives.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Backing calls to lower the bowel cancer screening age

I attended a reception hosted by the charity Beating Bowel Cancer to hear the case for reducing the bower cancer screening age.

Variations in the screening age across the UK could be leading to thousands of bowel cancer patients in their 50s having a delayed diagnosis.

Beating Bowel Cancer is calling for the screening age in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland to be lowered from the age of 60 to 50, to bring it in line with the screening age in Scotland.

I was interested to hear Beating Bowel Cancer's plans for the future of screening and pledged my support for them.

We all need to do our bit to support any improvements to early diagnosis rates if we are to stop bowel cancer being one of the biggest cancer killers in the country.

Being diagnosed with bowel cancer at the earliest stage offers a 97% survival rate. But without screening, the majority of patients between 50 and 59 might not be diagnosed until a later stage through their GP or A&E. At that point the cancer can be more difficult to treat and if diagnosed at a late state their survival odds could be as low as 7%.

To find out more about bowel cancer please visit the charity's website or call their Nurse Helpline on 020 8973 0011.