Politics at a national level has dominated our headlines over the past few months but locally, I want to ensure that the important issues of education, healthcare and big infrastructure changes don’t get drowned out. I benefit greatly from hearing your views at my continuing pop-up surgeries. Since my tour started, I’ve visited 20 parishes and this month more venues are planned for Bassingbourn, Whittlesford and Hinxton. Please do come along to share your thoughts or concerns with me. It’s a great opportunity to support the many wonderful local pubs and cafes who allow me to host.
At one of my most recent surgeries, a brilliant young constituent approached me to raise the issue of plastic pollution both at a local and national level. During the summer holidays, I also received some articulate, thoughtful and beautiful letters from pupils at Hardwick Primary School on the same topic. The environment and how we care for it has rightly gained traction recently and I’m determined to support local and national initiatives that legislate for more change, more quickly. We can all do our bit, with even minor changes having big impacts as I learnt when I visited an Eco Home in Coton as part of the Open Eco Homes awareness day. The two constituents living here had retrofitted their house with ecological improvements, thus reducing their carbon footprint by over 60%. If you’d like to find out how your house might benefit, please visit www.cambridgecarbonfootprint.org.
The quality of the Hardwick pupils’ letters reminded me of how fortunate we are to have some brilliant teachers and leaders in South Cambs. I saw this in action at a recent visit to Queen Edith Primary School where staff highlighted the difficulties that funding pressures are causing. The school regularly outperforms on national measures and has a thriving nursery and after school provision but there can be no doubt that teachers and support staff are going the extra mile to secure these wonderful results, in spite of cost pressures. To highlight my schools’ concerns, I recently met with the County Council’s Director for Education, Jonathan Lewis to understand how the new funding formula might affect South Cambs. Schools will see an uplift but the sector as a whole needs more funding. I’ll continue to push government for this whilst the funding formula is rolled out. Whilst promises of extra cash are welcome, some parts of our education sector need action now and I was delighted to work with Homerton Maintained Nursery school to demand an interim package from the Education Secretary whilst funding makes its way through the system. At the other end of the education spectrum, I also counter signed a letter from 93 MPs to Chancellor Sajid Javid urging him to boost education funding for 16 to 18 year olds. Young people get one chance at education – we need to ensure that within Cambridgeshire, it is properly funded.
South Cambs is blessed not only with inspirational educationalists but with exceptional healthcare workers and I spent a brilliant day with the Women and Children’s Services Unit at CUH learning about plans for the new children’s hospital. This superb new facility is proposed to open in 2023 and will house many of the outstanding staff at CUH currently treating very poorly children with outstanding skill and care. Staff remain the backbone of our NHS and I was delighted to share in the vision of future GP services at the inaugural Primary Care Innovation Academy weekend organised by Cambridge University and Granta Medical Practice. This platform allows GPs to become leaders of the future, delivering services that are truly innovative and beneficial for our local communities. We need to ensure that we retain experienced GPs as our primary care evolves and I recently wrote to the Chancellor and Health Secretary demanding they look at ways to retain this talent within our NHS.
We have a thriving healthcare community and volunteers play an enormous part in this. A constituent recently visited me at one of my surgeries to ask for my help in raising awareness of a potentially serious late onset genetic health condition. Genetic haemochromatosis (GH) is a genetic disorder that results in your body experiencing iron overload. Arthritis found only in the first two finger joints, chronic fatigue, abdominal pain and many more symptoms can be suggestive of GH. It’s vital that suffers get a diagnosis and treatment so if you have any concerns please visit https://haemochromatosis.org.uk/haemochromatosis/symptoms/ and discuss your symptoms with your GP.
As ever, my newsletter can only provide a snapshot of my work but if there is anything you would like to talk to me about, please visit my website for details of my upcoming surgeries – https://heidiallen.co.uk/constituency-surgeries/. In the meantime, if you would like to contact me, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office on 01223 830037. My team and I are always available to help constituents with any concerns. I look forward to sharing more news with you next month.