Friday 31 October 2014

Wigan Healthwatch takes views to Westminster

Representatives from Healthwatch Wigan travelled to London to join forces with more than 100 fellow local Healthwatch organisations to raise the real life concerns of people using health and social care services.

Attended by more than 80 parliamentarians, as well as key decision makers from across the health and social care, the event provided an opportunity for us to speak with myself and parliamentary colleague, Julie Hilling MP, about the work they have been doing to shape local services on behalf of the citizens of Wigan and Leigh, including:

  • Voicing the public’s concern about the Healthier Together proposals and recent consultation about changes to hospital services in Greater Manchester
  • Working with local Healthwatch in Greater Manchester to investigate the Non-emergency Patient Transport Service and demanding improvements
  • Providing an opportunity for children and young people to share their views and concerns about health and social care services

For more information visit Healthwatch Wigan 

Thursday 23 October 2014

Campaign to protect shopworkers from violence, threats and abuse

Pic. with John Hannett,
Usdaw General Secretary
I have joined with members of the retail union Usdaw to campaign for respect for shopworkers as part of the Freedom From Fear Campaign, which seeks to prevent violence, threats and abuse directed at retail staff.

Attending a campaign event in the House of Commons, I pledged to support a protection of workers bill that would introduce a specific offence of assaulting a worker serving the public.

Too often retail employees are confronted with violence, threats and abuse and it is really important we stand together and ask people to respect shopworkers.

I’ve been very disappointed to see Tory and Liberal MPs, on five occasions in the current Parliament, combine to block this measure when proposed by Labour.

Making the assault of a worker serving the public an offence in its own right would simplify sentencing. Under existing guidelines, assaulting a worker is an aggravating factor, but there are concerns this is not being applied when decisions are made about prosecutions and sentencing.

I will continue to campaign with Usdaw for a change in the law to ensure that proper punishments are given out. We must give a clear message that assaulting workers who are serving the public is totally unacceptable.

Respect for Shopworker Week 2014 takes place on 10 – 14 November. It is an annual event where shopworkers talk to the public about the problems of violence threats and abuse, asking customers to ‘keep their cool’. Part of the campaign will be encouraging shopworkers not to accept abuse as just being part of the job and report incidents to their manager.

Friday 10 October 2014

World Mental Health Day

This World Mental Health Day I am echoing the call of Citizens Advice staff and volunteers and urging people to seek advice for their debt, benefits and employment problems.

New national research from Citizens Advice finds:

2 in 3 Citizens Advice clients feel stressed, depressed or anxious as a result of the problem they came to the charity for help about

Almost three in four people (73 per cent) seeking debt help from Citizens Advice said their money worries were making them feel stressed, depressed or anxious

After debt problems benefits are the issue second most likely to damage people’s mental health (67 per cent)

Employment problems are third most likely to cause people distress (65 per cent).

After getting advice, 4 in 5 people said they felt their mental wellbeing improved as a result of the help they received from Citizens Advice.

The purpose of today is to give voice to the millions of people across the UK who will experience mental illness this year and to speak out against the stigma that tries to silence them.