Ed Vaizey Parish News December 2016
In Parliament this month I took part in a debate on press freedom and the Leveson inquiry. I also took part in the debate on the third reading of the Investigatory Powers Bill, on the same issue. Finally, I helped present the Defibrillator (Availability) Bill 2016-2017 to the House of Commons, a Private Members Bill drafted by my colleague Maria Caulfield. This Bill would require all schools, sports centres and other public facilities to have a defibrillator and a train their staff to use it.
Myself and other local MPs have held a number of meetings to discuss the A34 with Ministers and representatives from Highways England. The meetings covered the upcoming safety review of the A34, which will focus on the M4 to M40 stretch with the most accidents. The review will also look at which laybys need to be closed, upgraded or used solely by the emergency services. The Minister for Highways assured us that he intends to make sure that short term measures and improvements are delivered as quickly and cost effectively as possible.
In local news, the Wantage based charity Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) Action, of which I am President, has had their digital safety tool EpSMon accepted onto the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) Programme. The tool was chosen as one of the 8 innovations to be selected for the programme as it can have a significant impact on the safety as well as the personal and financial costs of epilepsy. The charity is also funding a clinical trial of a Wearable Apnoea Device to stop epilepsy deaths.
I was extremely angry at the news this month that the consultation that will directly affect the future of Wantage Community Hospital is now not due to start until after the County Council elections next May. The Oxfordshire Healthcare Transformation Consultation is to be split into two phases with services provided out of community hospitals such as Wantage being considered later in the year. I was not happy at the announcement as it will prolong the closure of the hospitals 12 bed in-patient service which was closed in early summer while its long term future was decided by the consultation. There is now only a very tight window for the consultation to take place, so it is essential that the date does not slip again.
In other news, I was pleased to hold a meeting with the County Council and Environment Agency to get some action on preventing future flooding in Cholsey; catch up with Sovereign Housing Association; and attend the Didcot First Business and Community Awards, now in their eighth year. I also spoke at a very enjoyable lunch hosted by the Betjeman Society in Wantage.
So finally, as the festive season arrives, I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all those who serve in the Armed Forces and emergency services, many of whom will continue to work at a time when most of us are enjoying ourselves with our family and friends. I was able to participate in the Remembrance Day services at Wallingford and Didcot this year.
My very best wishes to you for a happy and peaceful Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
Parliamentary Assistant to Rt Hon Ed Vaizey MP
Member of Parliament for Wantage and Didcot
Tel: 0207 219 6350 W: www.vaizey.com