Anne Marie's Weekly Column

Westminster Week

I was excited to have the second reading of my private members bill on the regulation of Physician Associates in Parliament last week. Regulating Physician Associates is key for the future of the health service, it would strengthen provision and ensure better patient safety. It is vital that patients, employers and other health professionals are assured that those providing care can practise safely within appropriate professional standards. Due to lengthy debates on the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation), Civil Partnerships, Marriages, and Deaths (Registration) and Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) bills before it, the Physician Associates (Regulation) bill was unable to complete its Second Reading and pass onto Committee Stage. It will have another chance to be debated at its Second Reading on November 23rd 2018.

On Tuesday, I met with representatives from Genetics Alliance UK to discuss their #ProtectERNs campaign. European Reference Networks (ERNs) connect patients, clinicians and researchers across Europe and allow knowledge and expertise about rare diseases to be shared, providing patients with access to diagnosis and transformative care, without the burden of long-distance travel. Genetics Alliance UK are a national charity alliance of over 200 patient organisations, working to improve the lives of patients and families affected by all types of genetic conditions.

The Public Accounts Committee last week took evidence on the Department for Transport’s progress on implementing the UK’s exit from the European Union. The Department has clearly made a determined effort to address the significant and complex challenge of delivering a wide-ranging programme of work to support EU exit, however a number of challenges remain, including a new trailer registration scheme, road haulage permits, international driving permits and European Maritime Safety Agency systems. I raised the issue of how the department could guarantee that the new trailer registration scheme would be completed by the end of the year, as promised. Whilst progress is being made, the end of December is only 8 weeks away.

Teignbridge Matters

I was very disappointed to have confirmed by Gigaclear last week that there will be significant delays to the Phase 2 rollout of superfast broadband. My colleagues and I fought hard for central government funding for Connecting Devon and Somerset Projects and it is unacceptable that Gigaclear keep letting down residents. I met with Gigaclear representatives in Parliament who outlined their new plans to right this wrong and get the rollout back on track. Faster broadband would be transformational for our rural communities and residents deserve better.

I was shocked and dismayed to see the major fire in Newton Abbot on Sunday 21st October, which has destroyed the old Carriage and Wagon Repair Shop in Ford Close. It appears mindless vandals started the fire deliberately at the site, which is due to be turned into an Aldi supermarket. Anyone who witnessed the incident or who has information is asked to contact police on or call 101, quoting CR/097864/18.

The Department for Transport have been carrying out detailed ground investigation to understand what is happening to the cliffs and coastline in areas around Dawlish and Teignmouth. Once this investigation work is completed, they will analyse the results which will then feed into the design of larger, longer-term projects to make the railway between Teignmouth and Dawlish more resilient to the extreme weather. These detailed options will be discussed with the local community, local council and other stakeholders. To keep everyone up to date, representatives from Network Rail and its engineering experts will be available to speak to local people about the project at the following drop-in events: Tuesday 30th October (Dawlish Methodist Church, Dawlish, EX7 9PB from 14.30-17.30), Wednesday 7th November (Teignmouth Library - 19A Fore St, Teignmouth TQ14 8DY from 16.00-19.00), and Thursday 15th November (Holcombe Village Hall, Holcombe from 16.00-19.00).

My next surgery is on Friday 16th November at 2pm in Newton Abbot. Please call my office on 01626 368277 to arrange an appointment.