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2014.07.09_Halve_It_photo-op.JPGIn the UK over 98,400 people live with HIV every day of the year; 22% of these are undiagnosed and 47% are diagnosed late. The sooner HIV is diagnosed the sooner appropriate care can begin, and thanks to medical advancements the life expectancy of someone living with HIV has increased markedly in recent years. By ensuring that HIV testing becomes routine there will be significant long-term savings; with one early HIV diagnosis saving the NHS £63,061.

I attended, on 8th July, the ‘Halfway to World AIDS day’ event hosted by the Halve It Coalition and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on HIV and AIDS. At the event 22 MPs, Peers and Councillors took a test administered by clinicians from the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, in an act of solidarity with all those living with HIV across the world every day of the year, and in demonstration of the UK’s policy commitment to HIV testing. During the event members of the Halve It steering group, including leading HIV clinicians and CEOs of patient and policy organisations, spoke with parliamentarians about HIV testing and related sexual health issues.

HIV testing has never been easier and the majority of people diagnosed can expect to lead healthy and productive lives with a near normal life expectancy.  As many people as possible should get tested, particularly in groups at increased risk, as early as possible to ensure that they receive a diagnosis and treatment sooner rather than later and improve their life chances. Halve It has done excellent work to raise awareness in this area and help reduce the stigma around HIV testing.

Halfway to World AIDS day

In the UK over 98,400 people live with HIV every day of the year; 22% of these are undiagnosed and 47% are diagnosed late. The sooner HIV is diagnosed the...

2014.07.02_Arthritis_Care_reception_-_Lightening_the_Load_2.JPGThere needs to be a greater focus on the links between osteoarthritis and obesity and we need to start acknowledging the role obesity plays in related conditions to protect our NHS.

I attended a Parliamentary event hosted by Arthritis Care in which the link between osteoarthritis and obesity was explored, and the alarming scale of the problem was starkly presented to assembled MPs, Peers and experts.

 

Speaking at the event, Professor Philip Conaghan, Professor of Musculoskeletal Medicine at the University of Leeds and Medical Adviser to Arthritis Care, warned that obesity is a risk factor both in getting osteoarthritis and compounding the problem for osteoarthritis sufferers.

It was illuminating to hear about Professor Conaghan’s work in Leeds and with Arthritis Care. An incredible 8.5m in the UK suffer from osteoarthritis and many of them suffer more than they have to because their weight and joint pain makes it difficult to exercise. Yet this is a vicious cycle, as exercise can actually help relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis, partly by keeping people trim.

Each individual is of course responsible for their own weight but the Government needs to invest in measures such as better weight management programmes. Spending money today can save much, much more money tomorrow and I will be working with the local Clinical Commissioning Group and public health teams to highlight the importance of ensuring that people with osteoarthritis have access to diet and exercise facilities to enable weight loss to take place and be maintained in the long term.

Arthritis Care can help people with arthritis take the first step through their Helplines, courses and the information they provide. 

Obesity and Arthritis

There needs to be a greater focus on the links between osteoarthritis and obesity and we need to start acknowledging the role obesity plays in related conditions to protect our...

2014.07.08_Cancer_Research_UK.jpgOn 2nd July, I joined Cancer Research UK scientists in Westminster to find out more about the charity’s inspiring new plan to accelerate progress and help save more lives in London.

I was there to find out the part I could play in helping to achieve Cancer Research UK’s ambition that within 20 years three in four of all cancer patients diagnosed will survive at least ten years.

I had the opportunity to participate in interactive experiments with cancer researchers, learning about the biology of cancer and cutting-edge work to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.

There have been major advances in the fight against cancer over the last 40 years and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress. 

Two in four people diagnosed with cancer today in the UK will survive their disease for at least ten years, compared to just one in four in the early 1970s.

In London, this means that around 14,000 people each year can now expect to survive the disease for at least ten years.

 

But despite the successes, Cancer Research UK believes much more can be done to help more people in London and across the UK beat cancer sooner. 

I found out about what the Government can do to improve early diagnosis and ensure that all patients get the best treatment possible.

The good news is that there have been significant steps forward for cancer patients. More people are surviving the disease and living longer and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of this progress. 

But there is more to be done to help people beat cancer. I wholeheartedly support Cancer Research UK’s aim to improve survival through the earlier diagnosis of cancer and greater access to the best treatment possible.

For more information on how to get involved in Cancer Research UK’s campaigning work, visit cruk.org/campaigns

Cancer Research UK’s ambition to save more lives

On 2nd July, I joined Cancer Research UK scientists in Westminster to find out more about the charity’s inspiring new plan to accelerate progress and help save more lives in...


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