First of all this month, Summer 2017 may have often seemed like four seasons in one day but one thing you can always rely on is my Summer Tour. It took place as usual during Parliament’s recess (across August and September) and this year included some work door to door in the constituency as well as a street surgery outside the Kings Worthy Post Office and even a supermarket ‘surgery’ at Sainsbury’s Badger Farm.
Summer Tour is simple and it’s one of the best things I do as our local MP; a statement borne out by the response from constituents again this year. You can check out full details via www.stevebrine.com/summertour
My work in Parliament continues via the Department of Health where I am a new Minister and, as I mentioned last time, hold the Cancer brief which I am really getting stuck into. That means driving down smoking rates even further but also taking forward our work to challenge the obesity crisis – and alcohol harm – that presents so many health dangers including of course an increased risk of developing cancer.
I have also been busy working through the Government’s COBRA committee to bring public health advice and the life-savings services of the NHS to British nationals in Overseas Territories affected by last month’s devastating hurricane’s in the Caribbean and United States. It’s hard work but hugely rewarding and a real privilege to be involved in. There is so much else going on, it’s hard to be selective but we are also working on plans that will eventually see us reform mental health legislation whilst continuing to invest in better services. It’s early days but we want to look at why detention rates are increasing, understand why there are a disproportionate number of black people detained under the existing Act and review the use of Community Treatment Orders; to see if they remain fit for purpose in helping people leave hospital to receive better care and support in the community.
We also want to consider how the rights of family members to get information about the mental health and treatment of their loved ones can be improved and ensure those with mental ill health are treated fairly, protected from discrimination, and employers fulfil their responsibilities effectively.
It’s a major task but I am determined we will make mental health a priority in the NHS to see further improvements in early intervention and better recognise the worth of talking therapies as two very obvious examples.
One thing no column here would be complete without is the Cart & Horses junction on the A33! Cllr Porter and I with Cllr Humby at HCC last month and the bottom line is, progress IS being made but it’s not the fundamental change we know residents want to see. Either way, it’s good to be working cross-party again on this important issue once again. More on this following Rob Humby’s next Decision Day which I will post to www.stevebrine.com/A33
Finally, Cllr Lisa Griffiths and I met recently with Seaward Homes who have now of course lodged an application for outline planning permission for 320 houses off Sun Lane, Alresford. Understatement of the year but this is obviously a big deal for Alresford so I want to know every detail and stay on top of this as it develops. I am especially anxious to ensure we take every opportunity around this development for school-time drop off/pick-up outside the schools as well as future GP provision in the town and am doing my best to facilitate constructive engagement with the relevant people. www.stevebrine.com/alresfordSunLane
You can find more about my work, locally and in Westminster, via my website.
MP for Winchester, Alresford & Itchen Valley