This week, Keir Starmer launched Labour’s Child Health Action Plan.
Over the last 14 years, the Tories have overseen plummeting child health outcomes in the UK. Tooth decay is the number one reason for hospital admission among kids aged between six and ten; one in four children are obese by the time they leave primary school; and 200,000 children are stuck on an English mental health waiting list.
Labour wants the next generation to be chasing their dreams, not a dentist appointment.
Labour's Child Health Action Plan will create the healthiest and happiest generation of children ever. Our plan is based around three simple goals for Britain's future, each of which is supported by bold action as first steps on the road to delivery.
A future where children are healthy:
Implementing the 9pm watershed for junk food advertising on television and ban paid-for advertising of less healthy foods on online media aimed at children
A free breakfast club in every primary school so every child is able to start the day with a healthy breakfast and parents are able to get to work
Banning vapes from being advertised to appeal to children, and make sure that the incremental smoking ban passes through Parliament
Introducing a targeted national supervised toothbrushing programme for three-to-five-year-olds in our fully funded breakfast clubs.
A future where children are happy:
Cutting waiting lists for mental health services by recruiting thousands more staff
Introducing specialist mental health support for children and young people in every school
Delivering an open access children and young people’s mental health hub for every community.
A future where children can get the NHS care they need:
Cutting paediatric waiting times by delivering two million more operations, scans and appointments
Giving the NHS the tools and tech it needs to see children more quickly by doubling the number of MRI and CT scanners
Delivering 700,000 extra urgent dental appointments per year and recruit dentists to areas most in need, so more children can see a dentist when they really need one
Creating a cross-departmental mission delivery board that prioritises child health and includes a focus on inequalities, well-being, physical and mental health.
Link to Labour's plan below:
This week, Labour tabled a motion in the House of Commons to rescue NHS dentistry.
After 14 years of Tory government, the NHS is dying a slow death. Labour analysis has found that more than half of dental surgeries in England aren’t accepting any new patients – with 8 in 10 refusing to take on adults and 7 in 10 shutting their doors to new child patients. In Louth and Horncastle, the Health Secretary’s constituency, not a single practice is accepting new adult patients.
As one Birmingham dentist put it: "the system is on the verge of collapse – and the only stakeholder that will eventually lose out is the patient.”
The Tories voted down Labour’s plan to rescue NHS dentistry. Our motion proposed:
• 700,000 more urgent dentistry appointments
• Incentives to recruit dentists to the areas most in need
• Supervised toothbrushing in schools for three- to five-year-olds
• Reform of the NHS dental contract so everyone who needs a dentist can get one
We would fund our rescue plan by scrapping the non-dom tax status, because our constituents need dentists' appointments more than the wealthy need tax breaks.
On Thursday, I spoke in a Westminster Hall Debate about securing a smokefree future.
One of the clearest cases to do more on smoking is the impact on children. 9% of mothers were smokers at the time of delivery last year – still some 50% above the government’s 6% target. At the current rate of progress, we will not hit that goal until 2032.
Children born to households that smoke are more likely to be born with heart defects, to be born underweight, and to grow up to be smokers themselves, if they grow up at all.
Smoking in pregnancy doubles the likelihood of stillbirth, increases the risk of pre-term birth and miscarriage, and trebles the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
Labour would make sure all hospital trusts integrate ‘opt-out’ smoking cessation interventions into routine care, with a named lead on smoking cessation, so parents have all the support they need to quit and every interaction with the NHS encourages quitting.
Health Mission Tour
This week, I joined Keir Starmer and Wes Streeting in Manchester to launch Labour’s Health Mission Tour.
It was great to chat with health leaders from across the North West, those representing national charities, Royal Colleges, and NHS leaders about Labour’s plan to make an NHS fit for the future.
As you may know, the UK has been seeing higher numbers of measles infections than usual. There are now 180 cases in Birmingham, and nationwide a National Incident has been declared. The disease spreads very easily and can lead to serious problems for some.
The best way to prevent measles is to have the MMR vaccine. This vaccine is available at every GP practice, and it is free.
The MMR vaccine is safe for every faith. There is a type of MMR vaccine that does not contain pork gelatine, so it can be used for people who do not touch any pork products.
More information on the NHS website here:
On Wednesday 17th January, the MHRC will be visiting Westfield Road, Edgbaston, B15 3JF. The centre will be open between 7am and 12:30pm, so do come along if you’re local and have bulky household waste to dispose of.
If you would like to support me campaigning and join me doorknocking, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preet Kaur Gill MP
Birmingham Edgbaston covering Bartley Green, Edgbaston, Harborne and Quinton