I had a very positive update from Jo Farrar, the Chief Executive of Kingston Hospital and Mairead McCormick, the Chief Operating Officer this morning. The Hospital is coping well with the Coronavirus outbreak and the leadership team believe that the peak of infections has now passed. Jo Farrar told me that this is a reflection of the response to lockdown and social distancing measures introduced by the Government, and paid tribute to the local community who have responded so effectively.
I was reassured to hear that the Hospital have sufficient supplies of PPE for its staff and that they are confident that they have enough oxygen to treat patients who need it. Staff absences due to Coronavirus symptoms are lower than expected; all staff can be tested on site and the results received within 24 hours.
The Hospital are seeing lower than usual rates of admissions for non-Coronavirus related conditions and I want to re-emphasise that if you are at all concerned about your health – especially if you have an underlying condition – please continue to visit your GP as normal.
Finally, the Hospital want to say a huge Thank You to the local community for their incredible support. Over £200,000 has been raised for the Kingston Hospital Charity since the lockdown began and the hospital staff have been very moved by the gifts of everything from homemade masks to hot food that have been donated from individuals and businesses across the area. It has meant a great deal to the people working on the front line, and those supporting them during this difficult time, to know how many members of the public are thinking of them and showing their appreciation.”
VIRTUAL PARLIAMENTARY BUSINESS
I get my first chance to be a virtual Parliamentarian next week when I will be attending the Public Accounts Committee session on Gambling Regulation on Monday afternoon and Questions to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on Tuesday morning. The first virtual sessions from the Commons chamber have gone well but we are still waiting for a mechanism to cast votes remotely.
CALL FOR SCREENING AT AIRPORTS
As the Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson I called on Matt Hancock today to introduce screening for Covid-19 at all UK airports. Across the UK people are being asked to stay at home, avoid non-essential travel and work from home where possible. These are vital measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, protecting the NHS and saving lives. That's why the vast majority are taking these measures extremely seriously. However, the Government has been far less robust in its approach to people arriving in the UK from overseas, potentially carrying the virus. It is shocking that for weeks the Government has failed to take steps to reduce - or even to assess - the risk posed by people arriving in the UK off overseas flights, with no screening or testing measures in place at UK airports. If we are to get a grip on this virus, testing and contact tracing will be absolutely key. Those arriving in the UK are no exception. The Government must act rapidly to step up testing at UK airports or risk undermining its own social distancing measures in the weeks ahead.
Kingston Councillors Supporting Mental Health Kingston Councillors have produced a short and informative video with their mental health and wellbeing tips for residents. They want to ensure that residents are aware of the many ways to maintain their mental health during this time. They are also working to promote new connections within the community through initiatives with groups such as the Kingston Community Catalysts.
Kingston Music Service Launches Programme of Online Music Lessons In addition to instrumental and singing lessons from beginner to advanced level, we offer music theory lessons and music technology courses. A full list of instruments can be found on our website. You can:
Learn a new instrument from scratch
Pick up an instrument you have played in the past
Start singing lessons
Brush up on your music theory
Join a music technology course
Waste and Recycling Collections Boosted
Richmond Council has laid on more lorries and crews to cope with a 42 per cent increase in household recycling since lockdown began. With recycling collections rising from 33 tonnes to almost 47 tonnes per day, compared to the end of March, additional pressure has been placed on new waste and recycling contractor Serco.
If the augmented collection service is able to cope with the high volume of demand and provided safe distancing working practices can be maintained at depots, then the Council may lift its suspension of garden waste collections, it says.
The Council asks for residents’ patience over the next few weeks. It is committed to maintaining the service, however with more waste being discarded than at Christmas, there may continue to be disruptions. Any collections missed will be collected, but possibly not on the scheduled day.
The Council has launched a campaign to help support households manage their waste and recycling, with ideas around using food and composting. See the council website for more information.
York House goes Blue for Keyworkers
Richmond Council showed its support for colleagues in the NHS, adult social care and the voluntary sector, by lighting up one of its buildings last night (Thursday, 23 April). To coincide with a planned Clap for Carers event, where people across the nation simultaneously stand on their doorsteps and applaud to show their support for the health and care service, York House in Twickenham was lit up in blue – the colour of the NHS.
Cllr Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council, said this was one small way the Council could show its support. “The strength and resolve of our borough at the moment is incredible. Those working in the NHS, social care and in the voluntary sector are doing amazing work, day-in day-out. It is important we demonstrate our support. “I have seen so many videos and photographs on social media of people coming out and clapping, right across the borough, and I am glad our residents are joining in with this national show of appreciation for our health and care workers.”
As always, please contact me if you need assistance, and please subscribe to my newsletter at www.saraholneymp.org.uk/subscribe if you have received this from someone else.
Sarah Olney MP
Member of Parliament for Richmond Park
Phone: 020 8876 29876