This week I met again with the Council, NHS and public health chiefs for an
update on the situation in our local hospitals and on the vaccine rollout
in Birmingham. Daily new coronavirus cases, hospital admissions and cases
among the over 60s in our area are now all at highs, and the pressure on
frontline services is immense.
Across the NHS we are hearing stories of vital treatments and operations
being delayed; of ambulances queuing outside hospitals waiting for a bed to
become free; and patients being ferried sometimes over hundred miles away
from home to find a space when they need it.
Battling through this on the frontline are ordinary health care
professionals in our NHS, to whom we can hardly express our gratitude. It
is coming up to a year since the coronavirus health crisis took hold, and
the doctors, nurses, emergency workers, porters, and all other clinical
staff are close to exhaustion.
A new report published this week illustrated just how much the people we
rely on to care for us are suffering themselves. It found that up to 45% of
NHS doctors, nurses and clinical staff reported symptoms indicative of
PTSD, depression or anxiety disorders. This is absolutely tragic, and
highlights the profound importance of my colleague Dr Rosena Allin-Khan’s
Care for Carers campaign .
It could hardly be more important that we all do our best to support the
national effort against the virus . In particular, public health
officials have told me that we need businesses to do more, by making sure
they are only asking their staff to leave home for work if it is absolutely
essential, and to support those workers that are to get tested for Covid
every 3-4 days.
For my own part, I have this week written to the Health Secretary to ask
that he bring forward the desperately necessary and deserved NHS pay rise
for our frontline workers.
You can read my letter by clicking here .
Following our intervention last week,  Birmingham MPs and Councillors
gratefully received a prompt response from the Health Department to our
letter about the organisation of the vaccine rollout in our city.
However, several key questions remain unanswered. We again wrote to the
Health Secretary yesterday to request more transparency on the rollout, the
chain of command, and who and how many people have received the jab across
Birmingham so far.
READ OUR LETTER
INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE STATEMENT
On Thursday I responded to a statement on tackling sexual exploitation and
abuse of aid beneficiaries.
The Covid-19 pandemic and measures taken to contain it have exacerbated
gender inequality around the world. These power imbalances increase the
risk of abuse and exploitation, and the government has a duty to stop them.
We have asked for it to stop reoffending aid workers moving through
organisations with impunity, and to formally adopt the Strategic Vision for
Gender Equality to tackle systemic power imbalances that create space for
people to take advantage of vulnerable individuals.