It was great to join Nish Kumar and Coco Khan on Pod Save the UK. We spoke about working on the frontline during the pandemic, Labour’s bold mental health plan, and pitying Matt Hancock.
See a clip of the Podcast here:
It was great to be part of the 'Any Questions' panel last night. During the show, I spoke about how every death caused by the Covid-19 pandemic is more than just a number. Each death is a family, torn apart by grief by losing a loved one.
Mask wearing, supporting people with proper sick pay, ensuring that indoor areas are ventilated - these are all things that should have never ended. As winter approaches, the Government must take the risk posed by Coronavirus seriously.
The Government needs to step and take the safety of people seriously.
If you missed the show, you can listen back here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0010nv1
On Sunday, I was back in A&E working in the run up to the England v Italy match. While, unfortunately, it did not come home, it was great to spend time with hard-working colleagues at St Georges.
With infections and hospitalisations increasing, it’s still incredibly important for us all to look out for one another and play our part in stopping the spread of the virus.
Earlier this week, the Prime Minister gave an update on moving to stage four of the coronavirus easing roadmap. This means that from 19 July, the following will apply:
Understandably, many are worried about the repercussions of these eased restrictions. Indeed, many residents have been in touch regarding the use of face coverings on public transport and their anxieties surrounding this.
On Wednesday, Sadiq Khan announced that face coverings will remain mandatory for all, unless exempt, when travelling on the TfL network. This will, no doubt, be a relief to many in the local area, and I pay tribute to the Mayor of London in taking a firm stand against the Government’s recklessness.
Labour is calling for a controlled approach that keeps in place baseline measures that can push down infections, like mandatory face masks on public transport – which we know protect people, reduce the spread of the virus, and don’t harm the economy. By removing mask requirements - the Johnson Variant is being fast-tracked. Cases will soar, as will hospitalisations.
Everyone in Tooting has been fantastic in reducing the spread of coronavirus. With one of the highest vaccination rates in London, I can only ask residents to continue looking out for one another.
Worryingly, coronavirus rates are soaring once again across London. The vaccine is our best defence. If you are yet to receive either your first or second dose, please do so as soon as possible.
To help get Tooting vaccinated, the Pearl Chemist Vaccination Centre is now offering a walk-in clinic for those aged 18+ at St Boniface Church on Mitcham Road (Monday to Saturday 9-5pm).
Appointments are available for first doses as well as second doses. Second doses can be given eight weeks after the first.
Any questions can be directed to Pearl Chemist on 0208 049 6640.
With the re-opening of non-essential retail, I took the opportunity to shine a spotlight on the local businesses/business owners that make our vibrant community such a fantastic place to live and work.
The easing of national Government restrictions marks an important point in our recovery - our community and high street have so much to offer, so for six weeks I showcased the stores, restaurants, cafes, and other small businesses that make Tooting what it is!
A huge thank you to every single business, business owner, employee, and customer who got behind the campaign. The past year has been challenging, so to see our community come together to support the local economy has been truly heartwarming.
While this week marks the final instalment (for now) of Spotlight Saturdays, I will continue to find new ways to shine a bright light on Tooting and our wonderful community.
Wandsworth is in the top 5 for vaccination rates across London!
This is a great step forward and I am proud of everyone here in Tooting who has taken the steps to protect themselves and others by receiving their jab. However, we still have a way to go before everyone is protected against coronavirus. We need to keep pushing to ensure that those who can do so, are vaccinated as soon as possible.
Information on how to book your vaccination appointment can be found here. It is also vital that if, for any reason, you have to change or cancel your vaccine appointment that you let the GP surgery or vaccination centre that you appointment is booked with know. You can manage your vaccination appointment here.
If you are still unsure about having the jab or have any questions, more information can be found on the vaccine and answers to many common concerns on Wandsworth Council’s website here.
The work of biomedical scientists and laboratory staff is incredibly valuable - and this has never been clearer than since the outset of the coronavirus pandemic. Often overlooked as a profession, I was pleased to join others in thanking those working in healthcare sciences.
For every coronavirus test conducted, a biomedical scientist has been behind it, working hard to ensure PCR tests are returned safely.
I would like to thank, in particular, our incredible microbiology team at St George’s. Working in A&E, I know just how much our NHS relies on the incredible efforts of lab staff.
I have included photos of the microbiology team at St George’s, featuring Chris James, a Specialist Biomedical Scientist in Biochemistry who has worked at St George’s for 9 years, and Silva, a Specialist Biomedical Scientist in Medical Microbiology and Virology who has worked St George’s Hospital for the past 4 years, after moving to the UK from Portugal.
Silva’s words about her work as a biomedical scientist are impactful and I hope everyone is able to recognise the incredible work they do. “Being a biomedical scientist is an extremely impactful role in healthcare. Even though it’s not patient facing, our work and the speed and accuracy with which we can produce results is essential for patient care.”
As you will no doubt be aware, the Covid-19 situation remains serious, with the Delta variant spreading rapidly throughout the country.
One of the most important steps we can take to stop the spread of the coronavirus is to get vaccinated as soon as possible. For this reason, a range of walk-in vaccination sites have been launched across South West London.
People aged over 18 are invited to drop into the Tooting and Mitcham United F.C. vaccination centre on Saturday 19th or Sunday 20th 9am - 8pm, to receive their first or second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
Unvaccinated over 40s and over 40s who have received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine before mid-April can also head down to the Roehampton Vaccination Centre, located in the Queen Mary’s Hospital car park, on Sunday between 8am and 7.45pm to receive their second dose.
Together we can stop the spread of Covid-19.
Details of additional walk-in vaccine centres in South West London are available here.
Since the outset of the pandemic, we have lost close to 500 Wandsworth residents to the virus (ONS). That’s 500 families grieving a lost one, 500 people with their own stories to tell, and a community collectively grieving those no longer with us.
To remember those who died, I recently visited the National Covid Memorial Wall outside St Thomas’s Hospital, stretching across the south bank of the River Thames.
The National Covid Memorial Wall was set up by the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK, who I had the pleasure of meeting with in November last year.
Hearing the evidence confirming what we knew and feared, of how severe failures caused countless avoidable deaths, results in a devastating combination of anger and heartbreak. All those bereaved are in my thoughts and will continue to be as we build back from this pandemic.
Several cases of the South African variant of Covid-19 has been found in Wandsworth, and the Council is encouraging everyone over the age of 11 who lives, works in, or travels through Wandsworth to book a PCR test – including those of us who have had the vaccine, even if you are not showing any symptoms.
PCR testing sites have opened across Wandsworth, including one at Tooting Leisure Centre by appointment only.
Tests can also be ordered online, or collected without an appointment at Wandsworth Town Hall.
Tests are also available on a strictly appointment-only basis at many local pharmacies.
It is necessary to book a PCR test because although the widely available rapid lateral flow test can determine positivity for Covid-19, only the PCR test is able to detect specific variants. It is important that we are all tested because one-in-three people who have Covid-19 are asymptomatic, and could be spreading the virus without knowing it.
Let’s all do our part to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 variant.
Click here to order a home testing kit, or to book an appointment at a testing centre or local pharmacy.