🦠 Over the past week, Harrow has seen 323 cases of coronavirus, which is up 27 cases from last week. As Local authorities continue to monitor the spread of the Omicron variant, it is worth recognising that three vaccination doses offer the best protection against coronavirus at this time.
As Dr Lloyd of the Ridgeway Surgery shared with me last week
, as the protective effect of the first two doses are beginning to wear off, he implores everyone to get a booster job. Dr Lloyd also informs me Intensive Care Units, like ours in Northwick Park, are currently full of unvaccinated patients, including many who are diabetic, obese, or pregnant. So I continue to
urge everyone that has not yet done so to book their vaccine here
– not only to keep yourselves safe but to reduce the spread, save lives and reduce the pressure on our NHS as it deals with a winter crisis that has started early this year. Vaccines are now being offered to all those who are 12 and older. While
I and well over half of Harrow have now been fully vaccinated, we still need people to get their doses when they are called.
Harrow remains the best performing borough in NW London for booster vaccinations and we are currently considered a leader nationally – please make a plan to get your booster when you are called. Again, we owe a huge thank you to everyone that has brought us to this level and continue to make this happen - all of our NHS staff at London Northwest Healthcare Trust, community pharmacies, and local volunteers who have been quietly supported by Harrow Council staff and numerous others.
I hope readers continue to stay safe and regularly check in on loved ones. As always, people are being urged to remain vigilant for any symptoms of Covid-19 If you're feeling unwell with any of the symptoms of
Covid, a new continuous cough, high temperature, or a loss of or change to taste or smell, it's vital that you get tested. If you feel fine and are leaving the house on a regular basis – please do get a free
rapid test and help stop the asymptomatic spread via https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test
The response to Coronavirus is being directed by Government centrally working with Public Health England, the Government’s advice is available here. Government
assistance specifically for businesses is available here.
A reminder that if you need to get in touch about the issues covered here – or anything else – please contact my office on 0207 219 4243 or e-mail me at [email protected]. Please
bear with us, as we have received five times our regular casework correspondence in recent months.
In May, the Government announced lists for travelling abroad. Red list countries are not permitted for travel for the purpose of leisure and the only people allowed to enter the UK from these countries are UK or Irish nations, or UK residents but they will have to pay for and self-isolate in a pre-booked government-approved hotel for 10 days.
The current red list countries are:
If you are entering the UK from a foreign country (apart from Ireland), you have two days to take a PCR test - a lateral flow test will no longer be accepted. The PCR test must be booked before you travel, and bought privately from a government-approved list of providers.
While you are waiting for a result, you must self-isolate - whether or not you have been vaccinated. You can stop self-isolating if your test is negative.
Last week, I paid a visit to the busiest A&E in London, at our hospital, Northwick Park. The excellent teams there have been working incredibly hard, dealing with the levels of pressure that would usually be expected in winter.
At the same time, the team have to prepare for even greater pressures for the winter ahead. Covid exposed the need for critical care beds nationally and this visit has shown me that Northwick Park is in need of 50% increase in the number of critical care beds.
Last week in Parliament, I voted against the Government’s Health and Care Bill, which is the wrong Bill at the wrong time and will cause unnecessary distraction that won’t fix the crisis in the NHS.
Patients and their families will expect ministers to explain how a structural reorganisation in the middle of the biggest crisis the NHS has faced will bring waiting lists down, radically improve cancer survival rates and deliver the quality mental health care many people desperately need.
Every day that NHS staff are forced to spend on this top-down reorganisation is a day less spent by the NHS on tackling waiting lists, working with local government to fix social care, fighting Covid and preparing for one of the most challenging winters in living memory.
Indeed, we need a proper solution for rescue and reform that brings waiting times down, including a credible, long-term strategy for NHS staff recruitment and retention. This must come alongside a long-term plan for the care workforce as part of wider reforms to fix social care.
With Small Business Saturday this weekend and Christmas fast approaching, I’m showcasing many of Harrow’s excellent small businesses all week across my social media. Last year, we were able to spotlight over thirty excellent local businesses and I want to spotlight as many small businesses as I can once again.
So, if you are a small business owner in Harrow or a big supporter of one, and you would like me to promote your business in the run up to Small Business Saturday, please send me a quick note with
🔵 A picture that you’re happy for me to use to promote your business
🔵 The business name and a sentence on what your customers like about you
🔵 Where people can find you online and/or in person, your opening hours and any social media pages
Our small businesses have had to navigate through the unprecedented challenge of the coronavirus pandemic. Let’s give our small businesses the support and appreciation that they deserve.
In my role as the Chair of the Mutuals APPG, I have been working with colleagues across the Parliament to scrutinise and dissect the proposed demutualisation and sale of Liverpool Victoria (LV=) to controversial private equity firm Bain Capital.
In April, following an inquiry which heard evidence from key players including the those from the LV board, who are pushing the demutualisation and sale, the All-Party Parliamentary Group published a highly critical report into the rationale, process, and motivations of this contentious proposed deal.
The demutualisation and sale of this a 178-year-old company which was first set up to help the poorest avoid a pauper’s funeral, has rightly garnered considerable media attention.
The Chairman and Board of LV have gone as far as using the courts to change LV’s own constitution to force through the sale and only last week the Chairman of LV, Alan Cook appeared again in from of the APPG. An appearance which Mr Cook admitted that he and the Chief Executive, Mark Hartigan, will stay on the board, following the sale, earning very large sums of money.
I have also, through my role as Chair of the Mutuals APPG, sought, and will continue to seek, answers from the Financial Conduct Authority who, disappointingly, as regulators have met with the Board of LV and its representatives more than 60 times and not once with the consumer owners of Liverpool Victoria.
I am delighted to share that the indefatigable group of South Harrow Litter Pickers received a Harrow Heroes Group Award. Over the past month, South Harrow Litter Pickers collected 272 bags of litter, accruing 188 volunteer hours and reported 82 flytips. This is an incredible contribution and is making a huge difference in South Harrow.
A litter pickers group has recently been set up for North Harrow and across Harrow, dedicated litter picking groups are being set up for roads and local areas. Comprised of friends, neighbours, parkgoers and more, these groups really care about our community and really want to Keep Harrow Clean. If you are a frequent litter-picker, please get in touch. I would love to highlight the work you do, to help clean up our community and hopefully encourage more people to join you.
There is a Facebook Group that Harrow litter-pickers can join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/3756420717703707
A reminder to get a regular test in a rapid test centre - about 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms but can still infect others. The NHS advice is to do a rapid test twice a week (every 3 to 4 days) to check if you have the virus. If people test positive and self-isolate, it helps stop the virus spreading. Even if you’re vaccinated, there’s still a chance you can pass COVID-19 on, so you should keep getting tested regularly.
You can test at sites across Harrow, including at many pharmacies, open 7 days a week.
• You have coronavirus symptoms: 🤒 fever and/or new and continuous cough and/or loss of or change to sense of taste or smell
• You are an ‘essential worker’ who is not having symptoms
• You have been asked by NHS Test & Trace or Harrow Council to have a test
The renewed lockdown measures will have created anxiety and stress for many. Don't be afraid to reach out for help if you are worried about your mental health: Samaritans: 116 123, CALM: 0800 58 58 58, Young Minds:0800 018 2138, The Mix (under 25s): 0808 808 4994, Harrow Council also encourage calling the Coronavirus Hotline: 0208 901 2698
Harrow Talking Therapies
If you're anxious, feeling low or stressed about the impact of the virus on you or loved ones, Harrow Talking Therapies Service is here to help.
Part of the NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapy service, it supports people feeling isolated or worrying about what's going on, as well those dealing with depression, bereavement and insomnia.
Available via phone or video call: https://talkingtherapies.cnwl.nhs.uk/harrow
The council continues to operate a hotline telephone number during weekends in order to provide support to those in need of assistance in Harrow - if you are in need of support due to Covid please give the hotline a call - 0208 901 2698
Guide to Tax Debt and Mental Health
Some of the topics in the above guide to tax debt and mental health will be of support to constituents, in order to:
Understand the impact of debt to mental health - the different kinds of debt (e.g. tax debt) and how they can be a key source of stress, depression, and anxiety if not planned and managed properly.
Advice for dealing with debt such as setting up a Debt Management Plan or an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA), qualifying for a Debt Relief Order (DRO), or even filing bankruptcy to get some protection and
keep life essentials like pension savings safe from creditors.
What to do if debt problems begin affecting your mental health. This includes recognizing the symptoms and early warning signs of mental health problems associated with debt as well as advice on where to turn
to for help and support.
Other useful information and resources, including debt charities and organisations that are dedicated to helping people conquer their debt problems.
Support for Domestic Abuse Victims
Anyone that is experiencing domestic abuse can now go into a Boots or an independent chemist and seek help. If they say the codeword ‘ANI’ (pronounced Annie), they’ll be taken to a private room and asked
if they want to call 999 or a domestic abuse helpline. ANI stands for Action Needed Immediately.
📞National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247
📞Respect helpline for male victims of abuse 0808 8010327
Due to COVID - FirmFoundation have suspended drop-in facilities. If you are homeless and rough sleeping, you can call Streetlink on 0300 5000 914. Ring Harrow Council on 020 8424 1093 – you can also contact FirmFoundation
through the Contact Us page on their website or call the office on 02084265515.
Fresh Horizons CND
The Fresh Horizons CND charity based in Wembley has supported accommodation available for the single homeless in Harrow during the ongoing coronavirus restrictions. If you or someone you know is in need of supported
accommodation, Fresh Horizons can be contacted by telephone at 0300 321 4702 or via email at [email protected]
London's Community Kitchen
London's Community Kitchen (based at The Bridge, next to Harrow Leisure Centre) run a Free Surplus Food Market open to everyone every Friday from 3-5PM.
This operation continues to serve over thousands of people across Harrow and London. Please consider donating or getting involved in any way that you can with this incredible Harrow-wide response to the coronavirus pandemic:
If you’re ever in need of their support, the Community Kitchen want to help - they won’t ask you for any details, or anything in return, just turn up and they will provide you with food.
The Community Kitchen would love any support to keep their operation running as effectively as possible. Please get in touch with Vivette Morrow: [email protected] and once you
have had a Covid test, she will help set you up as a volunteer!
Harrow Foodbank continues to highlight the impact of in-work poverty and the number of ways that people find themselves at a crisis point. Donations are accepted in collection bins after checkout at all major supermarkets.
The Foodbank continue to emphasise the majority of its users are in work, but many are in need of emergency food provisions. If you can, please consider providing a monetary donation to the food bank, they have acquired
a van and plan to make deliveries to vulnerable residents across the borough in 2021 - send an email to [email protected] or visit Harrow.foodbank.org.uk for
I appreciate that whilst this outbreak of Covid-19 is currently dominating a lot of our thoughts, other concerns and problems do not disappear. However, to help reduce the spread of infection, I am asking members of the public who need to contact my office to do so mainly by phone or email rather than in person. I am slowly returning to in-person appointments but I will continue to primarily hold surgery appointments by telephone and Zoom video conferencing.
Please be assured we continue to offer a full service of advice and support to members of the public who need it. As always, my office can be contacted on [email protected] or by telephone on 0207 219 4243 (Monday-Friday).
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Sent by email from the Labour Party, promoted by Keith Ferry on behalf of Gareth Thomas, both at 132-134 Blenheim Road, Harrow, HA2 7AA Website: www.labour.org.uk to join or renew call 0345 092 2299.