‘Tis the season to be jolly, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
SIA in Whitehall and Westminster – the regular blog from our campaigns team
As we approach the end of the year,
as the winter solstice draws near,
with the holiday season getting into swing,
the campaigns team have reason to sing.
Glyn and I have spent a lot of time in Westminster over the past few weeks: meeting MPs and Peers, politico-spotting and using the limited down-time to take walks through history. We lunched at the famous pub where mandarins usually dine and work; obviously doing our own SIA work from there, not just eating! Through my expositions on which departments reside in which building I have discovered that Glyn is a patient listener, as I not only go into the history behind it all but also stray into political gossip, past and present. It wasn’t all glamour though – we did get caught in torrential rain a few times!
The All-Party Parliamentary Group’s (APPG) third meeting of the year finally went ahead last month, graciously chaired by Chris Stevens MP. It truly was a trials-and-tribulations sort of experience; organising the meeting amidst a lot of obstacles that weren’t within our control. Many important issues were discussed at the meeting: the cost-of-living crisis, the need for all healthcare staff to have more specific information to recognising pressure ulcers in different skin tones, and the support available to rugby players who sustain spinal cord injuries. We live streamed this APPG meeting for the first time and gained an audience of around 120. For those who missed it, the meeting is now enshrined on SIA’s YouTube channel.
We briefed Baroness Andrews and other Peers who were taking part in the House of Lords debate on the Lords Select Committee report on adult social care ‘A gloriously ordinary life’.
We also had very productive meetings with:
- Andrew Mcdonald MP
- Chris Stevens MP
- Gil Furness MP (who is also the shadow minister for DWP)
- Helen Morgan MP
- Helen Grant MP
- Rob Butler MP
- John Glen MP (the current Paymaster General and minister for the Cabinet Office)
- Ben Everett MP
- Lord Allan
- Baroness Hollins
- and Lord Hunt amongst others
All of them are on board with our campaigns on bowel care, women’s health after spinal cord injury and the issues faced by those with different skin tones when dealing with pressure ulcers. Some of them are already beginning to submit oral and written questions in the ballots of both Houses. MPs have also confirmed that they are planning to organise Westminster Hall debates on the women’s health and bowel care campaigns.
We also had very useful meetings with lead officials for long term conditions at the Department for Health and Social Care as well as the Director of Access to Work at the Department for Work and Pensions. I also had an informal chat with senior officials at the Home Office on the actual status of the Migration Advisory Committee’s report of April 2022, on the social care sector.
Some of the female MPs and Peers, including a shadow minister, have agreed to be part of a task group to lead on women’s health issues after sustaining a spinal cord injury. We look forward to working with them in the new year to take this important campaign forward.
We’re also in the process of organising a roundtable at Westminster on Thursday 29 February next year, to convene all stakeholders and decision-makers in one room to discuss next steps and solutions on the bowel care campaign.
It’s been a significantly busy end to this year, and it is looking to be a busy start to the new year. We’re excited by all the things coming up on the horizon and look forward to sharing more new development with all of you. In the meantime, for all those celebrating Christmas, have a great time, and for everyone else, happy holidays.
If we can help you with anything, do let us know by emailing [email protected]
Dharshana and Glyn