|Qualified physiotherapists, Royal society of Arts and the "Middle East"|
|Monday, 31 July 2006 14:18|
On Tuesday 18th July, I met with 14
students and qualified physiotherapists who lobbied Parliament as part
of a mass lobby of the House of Commons to raise awareness of the lack of jobs
for well trained physiotherapists. There is a big problem of the availability of
jobs for newly trained physiotherapists. There was an increase in the amount of
physiotherapist student places at universities around the country, however, the
number of jobs has not caught up leaving many students leaving the profession
and looking for jobs elsewhere, despite getting into thousands of pounds worth
of debt to train in this vocation. I am taking this matter up with the Health
Minister, Andy Burnham MP. I had written last year to Lord Warner, but there
appears to have been no progress made.
I also attended and addressed a meeting of solicitors and barristers concerned about the recent publication of the Carter Review, which is looking at legal aid. There is a 3 month consultation on the proposals. Practitioners raised concerns about the future viability of smaller firms who often do excellent work for clients and the disproportionate impact this would have on predominantly ethnic minority firms and their clients.I also participated in the debate in the Chamber on the work of the Public Accounts Committee, on which I sit. You can read this online.
On Wednesday I met with a representative of the Royal Society of Arts to discuss various exciting projects they were working on. After PMQs I chaired a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Citizens Advice Bureau to discuss the lack of regulation of bailiffs and the consequences of this which can be devastating. The CAB website is here.
In the evening I had the pleasure of being the main guest at the Leaver's Mass and prize giving at St Anselm's RC Primary School in Tooting Bec. It is rare for Ofsted reports to be spot on, but I think the recent one into St Anselms may just have been - the inspectors concluded that this was an "outstanding school… with exemplary children, a superb headteacher, committed staff, a focussed governing body, and interested families." Richly deserved praise in my view.
I kicked off Wednesday by having the honour of presenting the Artsmark Award to schoolchildren at Furzedown Primary School. The award is presented to schools that show a commitment to the full range of arts - music, dance, drama and art & design. Furzedown Primary School was one of only 5 schools in the whole Borough of Wandsworth to receive the award. Out of 1226 schools who received the award, 561 schools received the Gold Artsmark, of which Furzedown Primary School was one.
In the afternoon there was an emergency debate on the crisis in the Middle East. Prior to this I attended a briefing with the Ambassador of Lebanon, HE Jehad Mortador, who outlined the humanitarian disaster that is unfolding. Unfortunately, despite my best attempts to ask Margaret Beckett a question and speak in the short debate, I was not able to take part – more than 35 MPs wanted to speak too.
In the evening I chaired a public meeting I had organised to deal with concerns raised by local residents about the double murder in Tooting Bec in April. In addition to more than 50 local residents attending, we had the Borough Commander Joe Royle, Independent Police Complaints Commissioner Nicola Williams, Cllr Nick Bowes, the bereaved family as well as the head of the Safer Neighbourhood Teams, Inspector Kieran Power. As a result of the meeting, the police will be increasing patrols in the area to reassure residents, and the IPCC have taken on board all the concerns that were raised by local residents.
On Friday I attended the Headquarters of Wandsworth Community Transport to get a better idea of the work they did. They have been going now for more than 22 years. They run a fleet of around 25 vehicles, serving 350 local groups and over 1000 individuals who find it difficult to use public transport. They can be contacted on 020 8675 7460 or wct@ukonline.
In the afternoon I attended Tooting Islamic Centre for Friday prayers and then visited the neonatal clinic at St Georges Hospital. I saw the provision of care available for premature and sick babies who are born in the hospital. While doctors and nurses are working very hard to care for these babies there is a strain on the system. More and more "at risk infants" are surviving due to the increasing capability of nursing and medical care, supported by more sophisticated technology, and demand for specialist care has increased also. As a consequence of the concerns raised with me, I have made an application to debate this matter in Parliament. MPs can raise issues in this way through Adjournment Debates. You can find out more about what an Adjournment debate is here.
In the evening I made the welcome speech at the Dancing Tooting event held in the Samaj Hall in Tooting Broadway. This is part of a project backed by the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone together with the Arts council of England, which aims to promote all the benefits of dance - physical, social and mental - and also act as a build up to the London's 2012 Olympic Games. The event in Tooting was a huge success with dancers from Furzedown and Franciscan primary schools, Ernest Bevin College, local dance clubs, Natyala, Sharona Stage School, Honeys Academy, Five Star School of Dance and many more. Huge credit for organising this wonderful night need to go to the Town Centre Manager Audrey Helps, Tooting Business Network and the Town centre Partnership.
After the dance, I dashed over to a TV studio to take part in an appeal organised by the charity Interpal for the victims of the attacks on innocent civilians in the Middle East. Other people taking part in the appeal were Lauren Booth, Sir Iqbal Sacranie and many others.
On Saturday I attended the Summer fair at Franciscan Primary School.
On Sunday I attended the Annual Service at the Tooting Methodist Church on Longmead Road.
Promoted by Tooting Labour Party on behalf Sadiq Khan and Tooting Labour Party, all of 273 Balham High Road, London, SW17 7BD. Hosted by 34SP.com, 349 Bury Old Road, Manchester, M25 1PY.