Last week was a particularly busy week in Parliament, with the Continuation of the Queen’s Speech.
On Monday, I hosted children from Furzedown Primary School who had accepted my invitation to visit the Palace of Westminster on an official guided tour of Parliament. It was really good to see so many local children at ease in such a powerful place. It was great to see so many confident and articulate local children asking me interesting questions and taking such a real and genuine interest in politics. You can see a photo of the students by clicking HERE.
I then rushed back to Tooting to formally open the new and improved Ultrasound Unit at St Georges Hospital that will benefit from 2 new CT scanners at a cost of £1 million from the Government and a refurbished unit at a cost of £400,000 from St George’s Charity. The Ultrasound Department sees more than 100 patients a day and the CT section sees more than 50 patients a day, and it's important that these patients have access to new state-of-the-art faculties. I am pleased that the Government has equipped our hospital with two new CT scans to use. The newly refurbished department now provides the space, privacy and dignity that patients expect and deserve.
You can see a photo of my visit my clicking HERE.
I then returned to the House of Commons to host the launch of “Million +” – a new Think Tank researching policies and priorities for higher education. I was really pleased that the Secretary of State for Innovations, Universities and Skills, Rt Hon John Denham MP, was the key note speaker as he is a good friend and has a real passion for increasing the skills and knowledge base of young people. To find out more about Million +, visit their website by clicking HERE.
On Tuesday, I recorded a quick clip for BBC “Children in Need” fund on the launch of the “Mosques for Children in Need” campaign.
On Wednesday, I joined the Prime Minister and other Parliamentary colleagues to celebrate the Hindu festival of Diwali and the Hindu New Year in a reception in the House of Commons, organised by the Hindu Forum of Britain.
After voting, I took part in an excellent Public Meeting in St Augustine Church Hall in Tooting, organised by Balham and Tooting Community Association (BATCA) titled “Friends, Strangers, Citizens?” I was really impressed not just by the number of local residents who attended but also the quality of issues raised. Joining me on the Panel were representatives of St Georges Hospital, the local Police, the PCT, the local Church and a former Head of a local secondary school.
On Thursday, I welcomed a second group from Furzedown Primary School to the House of Commons (see above). You can click HERE to see a photo of the second group from Furzedown School.
In the afternoon, I joined Home Office Minister, Vernon Coaker MP on a visit to Earlsfield Police Station to congratulate local stakeholders involved in the “Spark2Life” initiative. Des Brown, founder of Spark2life, local police, the Safer Neighbourhood Team and the Local Council have done a really good job using pioneering initiatives to reduce crime, particularly against young people. I am extremely proud that a Wandsworth initiative to tackle gang and knife crime is being used as an example of best practice for others to follow. You can find out more about Spark2live by visiting their website on www.myspace.com/thespark2life.
In the evening I Chaired a Governing Body meeting at Gatton Primary School in Tooting Broadway.
On Friday, I attended my normal quarterly meeting with Senior Managers of St Georges Hospital NHS Trust. There is really good news with a Budget surplus and the Trust are continuing to try and improve clinical excellence including around MRSA and C Diff. Things have improved markedly and many staff are disappointed by Party Political Opportunists using figures more than 3 years old to try and discredit St Georges. Key challenges are the A & E 4 hour waiting time’s target, complaints response times, the 18 week pathway-performance against local milestones and the 28 day guarantee following cancellation of admission. You can follow progress at St Georges by visiting their website on www.stgeorges.nhs.uk
On Saturday, I held my usual appointment surgery at Tooting Library.
In the evening I attended, and was the Chief Speaker, at the wonderful Variety Show organised by the Hindu Society to celebrate Diwali. The Society put on a fantastic show and I particularly enjoyed the dancing performances by local children. The Hindu Society does a fantastic job in teaching local children how to speak Hindi.