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On 1 December, Kevan led a Westminster Hall debate on the decision by the England and Wales Cricket Board to sanction Durham County Cricket Club.
The decision by the ECB means Durham will start next season in Division Two of the County Championship on minus 48 points, stripped of the right to host Test cricket and given a string of financial sanctions as agreed conditions to the governing body’s £3.8m bailout of the club in October.
Kevan described the treatment of the Club by the England and Wales Cricket Board as a “scandal” and urged the sport's governing body to publish the method by which the punishment was calculated.
Kevan stated that, while Durham were in financial difficulty, the club has not actually gone bankrupt and therefore ECB regulations, which he has obtained through a source inside the governing body, should not have been applied.
Speaking in his debate, Kevan said:
“I don’t think openness and transparency is what comes to mind when it comes to the ECB.
“The regulations should be public documents. What have they got to hide, unless they are trying to cover something up?”
Later on in the debate, which was attended by a number of MPs, Kevan said:
“The way this has been done is a scandal. Loyal fans who have supported the club over many years through a passionate love of cricket have been completely disregarded.
“You have to ask, what is the purpose of the ECB? Is it to protect interests and act a cosy club? Or is to support those people who want active involvement in cricket? That is the clear question. This type of secrecy and lack of transparency in 2016 cannot continue.”
At the end of the debate, Kevan called for a meeting with the Sports Minister to
discuss in more detail not only Durham, but wider governance and the ECB, and the funding situation in cricket.
To read the debate in full click here: https://goo.gl/eTPJ4L
To watch the debate click here: http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/c0e4b474-8cc2-4e28-a11d-ee42d56... (Kevan's debate begins at 15:00:26)
On 23 November, Kevan spoke in a debate on the transport situation in the North East.
Speaking about transport provision in North Durham, Kevan said:
"We have no large employers in my constituency, which is a former coal-mining area, and many people move out to work around the region. The other main network for my constituents, apart from the buses, is the railway and Chester-le-Street station. It is 10 minutes from that station to Central station in Newcastle. However, trying to get any investment, not only in upgrading the station but by ensuring that the operators stop more regularly and at times when people actually want to travel, is very difficult.
"That could be dealt with straightaway by ensuring more stopping services and hourly services not only during the day—that is what we have at times; at other times they are half hourly—but at peak times, to ensure that we have regular stopping services at Chester-le-Street. That would avoid many people having to use their cars to travel into Tyneside, as they do at the moment.
"We need investment in rail—whether it be the Blyth-to-Tyneside route, the Leamside line or others—to increase capacity on the east coast main line, but I fear that over the next 20 to 30 years, most of the money will be sucked into the vanity project that is High Speed 2 and High Speed 3."
To read Kevan's speech in full, and the rest of the debate in full, click on the link below:
On 23 November, Kevan challenged North Durham CCG to scrap its new contract with private healthcare company, About Healthcare, which will charge £10 per letter to review GP’s referrals before they are passed on to hospitals.
Speaking about the issue in the House of Commons, Kevan said:
"The decision of the North Durham CCG raises some fundamental questions about how the NHS is run in North Durham, and our constituents’ relationship with the NHS.
"The decision changes the fundamental relationship of trust between a patient and their GP. My constituents have never been asked for permission for our private medical information to be passed to a private company.
"I have questions about the way the contract was let. We have had no information about how that happened. Was it by competitive tender? Did any individuals employed by the CCG have any pecuniary interest in awarding the contract? How will it be evaluated? What ability will patients have to say whether they agree with the outcomes? I challenge the North Durham CCG to publish the contract and all information and decision making about how it was awarded, because the cloak of secrecy around it is a disgrace. I also challenge it to scrap the contract and answer a basic question: why is it treating its patients with such contempt?"
To read Kevan's full speech and the rest of the debate in full, click on the link below:
From Saturday 5 November onwards, Kevan's surgery in Stanley will be held at The Venue (former Stanley Day Centre) on Wear Road.
His surgeries will therefore be as follows:
9:00am - 10:30am St. Mary’s & St. Cuthbert’s Parish Centre, Church Chare, Chester-le-Street
11:00am - 11:45am Great Lumley Methodist Church, Front Street, Great Lumley
12:00noon- 12:30pm The Library on Plawsworth Road, Sacriston
1:00pm - 2:30pm The Venue, Wear Road, Stanley
All constituents are welcome, and no appointment is necessary.
On 1 November, Kevan led a Westminster Hall debate on coeliac disease and prescriptions. A number of CCGs across the country have put forward proposals that would see the withdrawal of gluten-free foodstuffs from prescription.
During the well-attended debate, Kevan spoke about how some 40% of CCGs in England are now choosing to restrict or remove support for patients with coeliac disease, which is leading to increasing health inequalities and what he described as a postcode lottery for NHS care, depending on where someone is diagnosed.
During his speech, Kevan shared his concern that cutting prescriptions for gluten-free products is a simple and easy target for CCGs under financial pressure. The entire prescription cost to the NHS in 2014 was £26.8 million or 0.27% of the total prescription budget—£194 per patient.
In his speech Kevan said:
"What some CCGs are doing is a false economy, because one hospital admission will cost more than the annual cost of prescriptions for an individual who adheres to a gluten-free diet.
"The CCGs that have already removed access to prescriptions for gluten-free products have not outlined or implemented policies that offer alternatives to safeguard patients, such as access to specialist dietary or nutritional advice. When a coeliac patient is taken out of a CCG’s responsibility because their gluten-free food prescription has been withdrawn, that CCG can no longer monitor them or determine the changed policy’s impact on that patient’s health. This is an important factor, and I am concerned that it has not been taken into account by a number of CCGs."
At the end of his speech, Kevan called for urgent intervention on the issue, and said that a pharmacy-led system, similar to what is in place in Scotland, could be delivered better and more effectively.
You can read or watch the debate in full by clicking on the links below:
Read - https://goo.gl/xL7gvj
Watch - https://goo.gl/M1w8pe
On 27 October, Kevan spoke in a debate on young people's mental health which was being debated in Parliament following the publication of the 2015 Youth Select Committee's Mental Health Inquiry report.
The Youth Select Committee is a British Youth Council (BYC) initiative and is supported by the House of Commons. It mirrors the UK Parliament Select Committee structure and gives young people the chance to scrutinise issues and hold inquiries on public matters they find important.
Kevan paid tribute to the work of the Youth Select Committee during the debate, praising its member for giving MPs another opprtunity to raise mental health issues in the Commons.
During the debate Kevan said:
"The unique thing about the report is that it gives those of us more advanced in years an insight into pressures on young people today that were not there when we were younger and into the challenges for parents and schools in dealing with them. The core of the report is very important, because it deals with a lot of issues that also affect adult mental health services."
Later in his speech, Kevan highlighted how cuts to youth services were having an impact on mental health, he said:
"It is no good just looking at mental health in terms of the Department of Health, because the cuts that have taken place in local government are having a direct impact on the provision of mental health services—I am talking about the closure of youth services and voluntary sector organisations that provide mental health services locally. This is a false economy. If we are putting more money into health and taking it out from elsewhere in the system, we will create an ongoing problem."
To read Kevan's speech in full, along with the rest of the debate, click on the link below:
On 20 October, Kevan introduced a bill to make cosmetic surgery safer.
Kevan's 10 minute rule bill, a type of private members' bill, would ensure people carrying out cosmetic surgery are properly trained, establish a code to ensure patients are properly informed about any risks, and set out what sort of treatment can be offered.
During his speech Kevan said, “aggressive” marketing techniques should be banned - and said the way some cosmetic surgery firms behaved was “more appropriate for selling double glazing”.
He told the House of Commons: “We have here a classic example of the market not only failing but being used to exploit people, which is ruining their lives and costing the NHS millions of pounds a year.”
Kevan became aware of the scandal around the £3.5 billion-a-year cosmetic surgery industry through a constituent who had surgery which left her unable to close her eyes. To this day she needs to apply special eye-drops every two hours to stop them drying out.
The NHS was now having “to pick up the bill” for her care, Kevan told MPs.
The law currently allows any qualified doctor - rather than a surgeon - to perform cosmetic surgery without undertaking additional training or qualifications.
Kevan's Bill aims to close this loophole. It has the support of the Royal College of Surgeons and will receive a second reading on March 24 2017.
To read Kevan's speech in full, follow the link below:
Radio 4's You and Yours also covered the story:
On 12 October Kevan spoke in the Commons debate on Parliamentary scrutiny of leaving the EU, following the June referendum result.
During the debate Kevan said, "I welcome the debate. I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton South East (Mr McFadden) when he said that it was rather sad that anyone asking for scrutiny of the Government’s strategy, or lack of it, is being accused of wanting to reverse the decision of 23 June. That is clearly not my position. I can tell the right hon. Member for New Forest West (Sir Desmond Swayne) that what it means to me is that there is no going back, no second referendum and no deals to try to keep us in the EU by the back door."
"I agree with the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union when he said on Monday that Britain’s mandate to leave the EU was “clear and unarguable”. I agree, but the vote did not give the Government a road map or a vision of what post-Brexit Britain will look like. We now need to get the best possible deal for our constituents, to protect their interests and also their livelihoods. That is our duty as elected Members of Parliament."
To read the rest of Kevan's speech, and the debate in full, click on the following link:
On Friday 7 October, Kevan attended the official opening of the Venue, a new community facility in Stanley, by HRH The Duke of Kent.
Kevan is pictured below with County Councillors Carl Marshall and Carole Hampson.
On Friday 7 October, Kevan called in a Macmillan Coffee Morning organised by Councillor Alison Batey, county councillor for Pelton.