Congratulations to Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds on the birth of their baby boy this morning. I hope that all three are doing well.
GET CARE WHEN YOU NEED IT
The news of the new arrival is a reminder that the NHS exists to serve our healthcare needs throughout our lives - both big and small. The head of the NHS has launched a drive to remind the public to seek health care and treatment when they need it. Delays in getting treatment pose a long term risk to health. Seeking medical help is one of the four reasons people can leave their home, in accordance with Government guidelines. Despite coronavirus, the NHS is still there for patients who need care for other conditions. This obviously includes emergency services for stroke, heart attack and other serious conditions, and of course, you should continue any ongoing cancer treatment, maternity appointments or mental health support. However, you should also call your GP surgery as normal if you have worrying symptoms that don't suggest coronavirus. Your GP can give you a phone appointment, and if they feel you should be seen in person they will arrange it. If you aren't sure whether to call your GP, please call 111 and they will be happy to advise. Routine and non-urgent dental care is not available, but you can still access urgent dental care through your regular dentist, or by calling NHS 111 if you aren’t registered with a dentist. They can provide advice, antibiotics and/or painkillers if you don’t need an urgent face to face appointment. If they think you require urgent face to face treatment they can refer you to a specialist unit where you can access care safely.
Healthwatch Richmond Survey Healthwatch Richmond is asking for people to share their experiences of care during the crisis. Your responses will be anonymous and will help them understand the state of care locally. If you want to help them, please click here to fill out their form.
Support for Local Business Over the past few weeks, the Government has launched a series of grants and funding streams for small businesses and individuals across the country, to help them during coronavirus. However, not everyone is eligible.
In Richmond, a large number of small business are not eligible for grants because of the rateable value of their business premises or the sectors in which they operate. Many rateable values do not reflect business size, but instead simply London’s high property values. For example, there are a large number of local businesses with a rateable value of more than £51,000 which are unable to access the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund.
Many businesses such as physiotherapists and dentists are not included on the lists of eligible business types which can qualify for support.
To address this the Council is asking the Government to re-assess the thresholds for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure (RHL) Grant Fund (£51,000 currently) for businesses, to ensure that small businesses are not penalised as a result of which region they operate in and to broaden the categories of business which can access the funding.
The Council is supporting a letter to the Minister written by London Councils, highlighting these issues and asking for urgent action. In addition, the borough is supporting the Raise the Bar campaign requesting the business grant threshold is expanded.
Cllr Geoff Acton, Lead Member for Business for Richmond Council, feels the Government needs to do more, he said:
“Our local economy is under threat and we need to do what we can to ensure that our business community survives. Our staff are working hard to make sure that businesses eligible for the small business and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants, get their money as quickly as possible, and those businesses who have benefitted from that have already told us they are grateful to be helped out quickly."
One of the local groups that has recently contacted me is Express CIC. They are an independent not-for-profit organisation based in Kingston set up by Annette Williams and Tracey Gaggiotti to help support young people on the autism spectrum and to raise awareness of autism in the community. Their aim is a social environment where young people on the autism spectrum are able to gain valuable social skills and work experience opportunities. They are doing fantastic work during this crisis, and are still running group and 1:1 sessions for children and young people. In addition, their mums support group has gone online using Zoom and WhatsApp. At the moment they have launched an appeal for assistance so they can extend their help to more people during this time. You can support them here or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 020 83904273.
Social Distancing in Kingston I have spoken to Kingston Council, and they continue to be concerned about the number of people using our parks and open spaces. There will be new signs going up in the next few days in an attempt to reinforce social distancing messages - as we all know people stop seeing things after a while and they become part of the scenery. So they will be looking to reinforce messages, particularly around the pinch points across the Borough like Canbury Gardens and the footpaths from Half Mile Tree up to Teddington Lock. Please share these spaces as responsibly as you can.
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.
Phone: 020 8876 29876