Kingston and Richmond Covid-19 Update: May 21
HELP FOR STUDENT NURSES
Earlier this spring I had the pleasure of meeting a hardworking nursing student living in the constituency. She recently told me that when Covid-19 struck, third year nursing students were asked to forego their final term of placement training and go straight to work on the front line of the crisis. They rose to the challenge bravely and have been there protecting us ever since. However, they are still paying tuition fees for that last term of learning. It is not right that these students are paying fees for tuition they aren’t receiving, as they risk their own health to care for our loved ones during the pandemic.
I have written a letter today to Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, which was co-signed by my Liberal Democrat colleagues Munira Wilson, our spokesperson for health, and Layla Moran, our spokesperson for education. Our letter asks the Government to step up and directly reimburse tuition fees to student nurses, and also to student paramedics and midwives who are in the same situation. These student started their training after bursaries were scrapped in 2016 and will finish their studies before bursaries are reinstated this autumn. Giving them this term's tuition back, while they protect our health with their own, is the very least we can do for them.
If you want to see an interview with one of the affected nurses, please have a look at this article in the Huffington Post about our initiative. https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/refund-tuition-fees-student-nurses-on-coronavirus-front-line-matt-hancock-told_uk_5ec53601c5b61a65c6819ac1?guccounter=2
You can see the full text of our letter here:
VIRTUAL PARLIAMENT MAY NOT RETURN AFTER RECESS
I am very disappointed that the Government has decided not to renew the provisions that enabled a Virtual Parliament to take the place of physical proceedings during the current crisis. The effect of the decision is to enable only 50 MPs to attend at any one time, shutting many MPs – and their constituents – out of crucial debates and scrutiny. Furthermore, many MPs will have difficult decisions to make about whether they should travel to London and risk spreading the virus either to their colleagues, or back to their communities. The Virtual Parliament had its constraints, but it enabled all MPs to participate and meant that everybody was represented. This has now ended, and people’s rights to democratic scrutiny are compromised.
SCHOOL OPENING SURVEY
My colleague, Layla Moran, the Liberal Democrat spokesperson on education, is running two surveys this week, to try to find out what both parents and school staff think about the plans to reopen schools next month. If you have time to fill one out, she would appreciate your contribution. The questionnaires are completely anonymous, and will help build a better picture of what parents and teachers really think.
This survey is for parents: https://oxonlibdems.typeform.com/to/Vo5DA5
This survey for head teachers, teachers and other school staff: https://oxonlibdems.typeform.com/to/R1Yw04
I know that many local residents were concerned about the travelers who set up camp in Ham last week. I wanted to let you know that the travelers have now moved on and the Council is cleaning the site today and tomorrow.
THANK YOU TO VOLUNTEERS
As today is Thursday and we will be clapping tonight for carers, I wanted to send my special thanks this week to our army of local volunteers. Many of my constituents have told me how much they have benefited from the efforts of local voluntary organisations offering support to people who are shielding or unwell. One of my constituents called today to let me know how much it means to her to have a hot meal every day, cooked fresh and delivered by volunteers from Castelnau Community Centre, who are working with the Barnes Fund, the OSO and the Council to deliver meals in Barnes. If you are one of those people helping your community, either as part of a charitable organisation or just as a neighbour, thank you very much for supporting our most vulnerable residents at this time.