11 JUL 2018

Albemarle Avenue major carriageway improvement scheme

As part of the programme of works being undertaken by Hampshire County Council they will be undertaking a major carriageway improvement scheme on Albemarle Avenue in Gosport, which is a residential road suffering from severe cracking and pavement deterioration, and in need of essential repairs.

The road is constructed of reinforced concrete slabs with asphalt surfacing. The concrete slabs have deteriorated over time due to the soft clay foundation and the road previously being a bus route. This has resulted in cracking on the surface and a poor ride quality for drivers.

The works involve removing the asphalt surfacing and replacing the sections of the concrete slab that have badly deteriorated and broken up. The slab joints will then be sealed and the road will be resurfaced.

The phasing of the scheme will be as follows:

On 23rd & 24th July, they plan to close the entire length of the road to traffic so that the existing surface can be removed to allow the concrete slabs to be examined and the repairs targeted to specific areas. Once the surface has been removed, traffic will be able to use the road.

From 30th July for approximately 16 weeks they will close discrete lengths of the road in the sections described below and shown on the attached plan. The concrete repair works will be phased to allow access for residents wherever possible.

Provisionally, there are 7 repair phases:

  1. Melville Road/Palmyra Road/Coombe Road/Albemarle Avenue cross roads,
  2. Palmyra Road to Tewkesbury Avenue,
  3. Tewkesbury Avenue to Reeds Road,
  4. Reeds Road to Amberley Road,
  5. Amberley Road to Goodwood Road,
  6. Goodwood Road to Findon Road,
  7. Findon Road to Elson Road

 

Vehicular access to properties will not be possible whilst there are open excavations in the carriageway. In these instances, residents will be required to park away from the front of their properties; this could be for several days. Trained traffic management operatives will be on site to advise residents.

Once all of the concrete repairs are completed the road will be resurfaced which is anticipated to take 2 days.


06 JUL 2018

CAROLINE'S NEXT SURGERY TO POP-UP IN GOSPORT

Local MP Caroline Dinenage will hold a pop-up surgery at McDonald's in Gosport High Street, on Friday 13 July.

Caroline's pop-up advice surgeries give her constituents the opportunity to discuss their concerns about both local and national issues without making an appointment beforehand.

Caroline recently held a pop-up surgery in Gosport Discovery Centre, where a number of constituents came to discuss personal, local or national issues or just to say hello.

Caroline commented:

"My pop-up surgeries are part of my commitment to be accessible to my constituents and tend to be really popular, particularly with people who might not get a chance to book an appointment at my office.

Every single one of my constituents – from the tip of the Gosport Peninsula to the top of Stubbington – has the right to talk to their MP, raise problems and receive advice."

Caroline's pop-up surgery will take place between 11:30am and 1:00pm on Friday 13 July at McDonald's, High Street, Gosport, PO12 1DR.

For more information about Caroline's surgeries, please call Caroline's constituency office on 023 9252 2121.


05 JUL 2018

CAROLINE CELEBRATES LOCAL BUSINESS SUCCESS IN PARLIAMENT

"Huhtamaki's clear commitment to recycling is a demonstration of their corporate responsibility for future generations." Caroline Dinenage MP

Local MP Caroline Dinenage met with the company at the All Party Parliament Corporate Responsibility Group awards in Parliament.

Caroline had nominated Huhtamaki as the Gosport Responsible Business Champion for 2018.

The company, based in the constituency, was recognised by the MP for their commitment to plastic recycling, with the introduction of the Gosport Cup recycling scheme.

Keith Crossley, General Manager, was invited to Parliament to be awarded with a certificate.

Commenting Caroline said: "these awards were a good opportunity for me to publically recognise the work that Huhtamaki are doing locally to improve the environment.

When I gave up plastic for Lent I learnt that all of us can do our bit to stem the plastic tide that applies to corporations too. Huhtamaki may make the plastic cups that we all use so much, however they're also part of the solution to recycling them.

It was fantastic to open the first recycling bin at the Gosport Ferry Terminal in January and it is great to see Huhtamaki driving this forward."


02 JUL 2018

MP ON BOARD TO SUPPORT CAMPAIGN FOR ACCESSIBLE TRANSPORT

"For centuries the railway has been a key driver of independence and freedom. Disabled people should be free to have the same independence and we must ensure railways remain accessible for all." Caroline Dinenage MP

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has met with disability campaigners in Parliament to support a campaign to make the railways as accessible as possible.

Leonard Cheshire, a leading disability charity, found that over a third of disabled rail passengers faced problems such as inaccessible stations, feeling trapped on a train or not being alerted to the right stop.

Commenting Caroline said: "Our train connectivity at Fareham and Portsmouth are vital for the local area and the local economy.

The Government is committed to reducing the disabled employment gap but with so much of the local workforce forced to travel out of the constituency, how can we do this if disabled people do not have an accessible railway?

Disabled people have the same entitlement to live independent lives as everyone else and I want them to feel able to travel on the railway with confidence."


26 JUN 2018

CAROLINE CONGRATULATES SCHOOL FOR PRESTIGIOUS AWARD WIN

"As we look towards the future, we know we need equip our young people with skills to succeed. Gomer's innovative approach embedding STEM across the curriculum will make a big difference for local children for years to come." Caroline Dinenage MP

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has today congratulated Gomer Junior School for winning an award at the prestigious TES School Awards last week.

The Junior School won the Science, Technology, and Engineering Teacher or Team of the Year for the grassroots STEM programme. This approach embeds STEM subjects at the heart of the curriculum delivering three hours per week; an exceptional amount for a primary school.

The school has developed the programme in conjunction with the Royal Academy of Engineers and is exporting its model across the Gosport and Fareham Multi-Academy Trust including 4000 students at its secondary schools.

Lord Wilson School in neighbouring Fareham was also shortlisted for the prize.

Commenting Caroline said: "I offer my sincerest congratulations to Gomer. 

This is a fantastic confirmation of a local innovation that gives the next generation the skills they need to succeed in the work place of the future.

It is fantastic to see primary school age pupils so enthusiastic for STEM subjects. Congratulations Gomer!" 


20 JUN 2018

GOSPORT PANEL INDEPENDENT REPORT

Local MP Caroline Dinenage has today welcomed the publication of the long awaited report by the Gosport Independent Panel into deaths at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital between 1988 and 2000.

The report, after a 4 year investigation, makes for chilling reading. It exposes consistent failings in patient care by the hospital and those in charge of it, as well as inadequate investigations across a host of services. It concludes that the lives of at least 456 people were shortened as a direct result of the pattern of prescribing excessive levels of opiates.

"This is an utterly damning report which uncovers a catastrophic failing by healthcare professionals to detect and tackle bad practice as well as inadequate investigations across a host of services. It talks of a 'disregard for human life' and a 'culture of shortening lives'" said Caroline.

"The Government, health services, the police and the Crown Prosecution Services must urgently consider the full detail in this report and set out how they will respond to its findings. The families will rightly expect serious action to be taken. They have waited far too long already for justice for their loved ones."

Problems at the hospital first came to light in 1998 and 1999 when several police investigations took place and was followed by the CPS announcing in 2001 that there was insufficient evidence for prosecution. This was followed by a CHI (Commission for Health Improvement) Investigation and then an investigation by Professor Baker. A further investigation by the police into 81 deaths at the hospital then took place but the CPS announced in July 2006 that none of the cases would go to court. An Inquest in 2009 found that Dr Jane Barton contributed to 3 deaths as a result of the drugs she had prescribed. The GMC found Dr Barton guilty of multiple instances of serious professional misconduct and she was subjected to special conditions to practice as a doctor.

The Baker report, which was published in 2013 confirmed that opiates were often prescribed before they were needed, suggested that they had almost certainly shortened the lives of some patients and even that a number of patients may have been discharged from hospital alive if they had not been prescribed this medication.

The Hillsborough style panel was established in 2013 after Caroline, along with a number of families of those who had died at the GWMH, met with the then Health Minister, Norman Lamb. In December 2013 Bishop James Jones was formally named Chairman of the Gosport Independent Panel, which was originally scheduled to finish its work in December 2017.

Caroline said "I have always supported the families of the deceased to get the full facts and answers they have been demanding for far too long. It breaks my heart that, along the way, some relatives have passed away, never knowing the truth of what happened to their loved ones, never seeing justice. While I am pleased that the Government has fulfilled their commitment to fund this £13M Independent Panel, as a vital step towards uncovering the truth, it has been a very long and hard journey for all those involved and we must finally now see justice done."

The Department of Health & Social Care have put in place a support package for those affected by events at the Gosport War Memorial – call 01132545290 or e-mail gosportenquiries@dh.gsi.gov.uk


19 JUN 2018

GOSPORT WAR MEMORIAL HOSPITAL

This week the Gosport Independent Panel, which has been looking into deaths at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital between 1988 & 2000, will publish their long awaited report after a 4 year enquiry. Since becoming Member of Parliament for the Gosport Constituency in 2010, I have been determined to support those affected by events at the Hospital to get access to the facts.

My first meeting with someone who had lost a loved one at the hospital during the period in question came in the first few weeks after I was elected. A local taxi driver, Ian Wilson, came to see me to explain the events surrounding the death of his father, Robert in 1998.

Problems at the hospital first came to light in 1998 and 1999 when several police investigations took place, which resulted in the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announcing in 2001 that there was insufficient evidence for prosecution, however, the CPS asked CHI (Commission for Health Improvement) to look at events at the hospital.

That CHI Investigation concluded that there was poor practice at the hospital, which led in turn to the Department of Health looking at the hospital death rates. Professor Richard Baker was asked to investigate. This in turn led to the police being asked to investigate 81 deaths at the hospital over a prolonged period (2002-2006). The CPS announced in July 2006 that none of the cases would go to court.

In April 2009 a long awaited inquest in the deaths of several patients found that Dr Jane Barton contributed to 3 of those deaths as a result of the drugs she prescribed. Following that inquest the General Medical Council found Dr Barton guilty of multiple instances of serious professional misconduct and she was subjected to special conditions to practice as a doctor.

In the months after I was elected as the Member of Parliament for Gosport a number of other constituents had contacted me to share their concerns about the way events at GWMH had been handled. It was clear that there was a worrying lack of openness and transparency, in particular the findings of the Professor Baker Review, which had taken place in 2002, had never been made public. The families deserved answers, nothing less, and I was determined to help achieve this.

However, I was also extremely aware of the importance of proceeding with great care and respect. Since May 2010 I have also been contacted by a number of constituents who worked at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital during the years in question, and indeed their loved ones. They spoke of their care and compassion for their patients, their professional integrity and their distress at the allegations that were circulating in the community.

I applied to the Department of Health for the Baker report to be released, but because a further inquest was pending, my request was turned down. My letter requesting the Secretary of State for Health (Andrew Lansley) meet with some of the relatives, with a view to establishing a full public inquiry into the events, was turned down for the same reason.

Frustratingly the last of the inquests did not take place until April 2013, but during those years I took every opportunity to push for when this final inquest was to be concluded, the Baker Report to be published, and to lobby Ministers for a public enquiry to take place, not least because of the distress this delay was causing to the families concerned.

Once the inquest was complete I wrote to the Department of Health requesting that the Baker report be made public and they confirmed in July 2013 that it would be. The report was issued in August 2013. Professor Baker's report was very concerning, but not surprising. It confirmed that opiates were often prescribed before they were needed, suggested that they had almost certainly shortened the lives of some patients and even the possibility that a small number of patients may have been discharged from hospital alive if they had not been prescribed this medication.

Following the publication of this report things moved quickly, I was invited, along with a number of families of those who had died at the GWMH, to meet with the then Health Minister, Norman Lamb, where the offer of an enquiry was put forward and several different options discussed. The families agreed that a 'Hillsborough' type Independent Panel was of interest, but needed further information.

On 21 November 2013 a meeting was held at my Constituency office at 167 Stoke Road, Gosport with Bishop James Jones, the former Bishop of Liverpool who had chaired the Hillsborough Independent Panel, others who had been involved with that Panel, Constituents and others who had lost loved ones at Gosport War Memorial Hospital. The Bishop explained the Panel process, answered many questions, and left it to the relatives to decide whether this was the type of enquiry they would prefer. My staff collected the relatives' response, which was in favour of the Independent Panel Process, but with the request that the Bishop himself be the Chair.

In December 2013 Bishop James Jones was formally named Chairman of the Gosport Independent Panel, which was originally scheduled to finish its work in December 2017. I have met with the Bishop on a number of occasions since then for an update on the progress of the Panel (although I was never updated on any details of the process or findings, because of the vital importance that the Panel remain scrupulously independent.) Initially the meetings were to ask for my support in appealing for those who thought they might be affected by events at the Hospital to come forward. My office were also asked to submit all our evidence and correspondence to the Panel – we handed over 44 items. Last year the Bishop updated me that, because of the higher than expected number of people who had come forward to give evidence, the date would be extended to 20 June 2018 when, as promised, families of those involved would be given first sight of the Report at Portsmouth Cathedral.

In January I was appointed Minister of Care at the Department of Health and Social Care, however I took the decision at that point to officially recuse myself from any Ministerial involvement in these historic cases at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital, or the Independent Panel, so that I could continue to fully represent the interests of my Constituents when the Report was published, without any conflict of interest.

My underlying motivation, since that very first meeting with Ian Wilson back in 2010, has been to support the families of the deceased to finally get the full facts and answers they have been demanding for far too long. It breaks my heart that along the way some relatives, including Mr Wilson, have passed away, never knowing the truth of what happened to their loved ones, never seeing justice. I have always called for openness and transparency - the families deserve nothing less. While I am pleased that the Government has fulfilled their commitment to fund this £13M Independent Panel, as a vital step towards addressing the concerns and uncovering the truth, it has been a very long and hard journey for all those involved.

My team and I have worked hard to ensure that there is a support network in place for those who may be affected by the contents of the report and I am pleased to say that the Department of Health & Social Care have put that in place. Those affected should call 01132545290 or e-mail gosportenquiries@dh.gsi.gov.uk where comprehensive support will be provided, including counselling where necessary. As ever, my office stands ready to support any constituents.


18 JUN 2018

CAROLINE WELCOMES NHS WINDFALL

"Our NHS is precious and helps us at our times of need. The funding announcement will ensure we continue to receive the very best care anywhere in the world." Caroline Dinenage MP

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has welcomed the Prime Minister's announcement that the NHS will receive significant new investment over the next five years.

This weekend it was announced that the NHS will receive an extra £20 billion in real terms by 2023/23. This equates to £600 million per week in cash terms.

The additional funding forms part of an ambitious 10 year plan to utilise technology, integrate social care and reduce waste.

Commenting Caroline said: "As we face huge challenges of an ageing society it is clear there is nothing more precious to the British people than the Health Service and it is right that we redirect our money to it.

Thanks to the Conservatives keeping our deficit low, we can now invest in our public services. This will build on previous commitments such as training more doctors and midwives, and the investment in theatre capacity at the QA Hospital.

The NHS is safe in our hands."


15 JUN 2018

DEVELOP HEATHROW LINKS TO SUPPORT BUSINESS & PLEASURE

Local MP Caroline Dinenage met with Heathrow Southern Railway this week to support the push for better transport links between Heathrow and the South Coast.

Caroline has supported the scheme since it was founded in 2017. The project aims not only to introduce direct access to Heathrow Airport by train from the South, but also improve the air quality around the area which is congested with cars. It aims to bring reliable journey times, ease motorway conjunction and support both local and national business. The new rail link is expected to be open to passengers between 2025 and 2027.

Commenting on the HSRL scheme, Caroline noted:

"The transport links between South Hampshire and Heathrow have long needed addressing. It's ridiculous that air passengers from our area need to travel in to Central London and back out again in order to get to Heathrow. This issue is felt even more acutely in Gosport, the largest town in the UK with no railway. Better links are not only vital to attract inward investment but will support holiday-makers, ease congestion and reduce pollution. I am very pleased to see how far the project has come so far and look forward to hearing about progress."

 

For more information about the Heathrow Southern Railway, and exact details of the prosed transport routes, please visit www.heathrowrail.com or email info@heathrowrail.com.


13 JUN 2018

THE PERILS OF PAVEMENT PARKING

This week Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage went to visit Laura and her guide dog Atlas who explained the daily problems they encounter with pavement parking.

The charity Guide Dogs is calling for a national law to end problem pavement parking. A survey taken by the charity showed 97% of blind or partially sighted people encounter problems with street obstructions and 90% of those had experiences trouble with a pavement parked car. Laura explained this makes daily activities such as going to the shops more difficult and pose a threat to pedestrians.

After meeting the representatives from the charity, Caroline said:

"It was a pleasure to meet Laura and Atlas, who demonstrated that this is an everyday issue that can be avoided. Guide Dogs is a fantastic charity that is raising awareness and creating solutions to help those with sight loss. Within Gosport we have a problem with pavement parking and keeping the streets safe for everyone is something that is always a priority."

For more information about Guide Dogs campaign please emailed publicaffairs@guidedogs.org.uk or call 01189838162. Caroline can be contacted on 020 7219 0198.


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