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Local MEP to chair health group in Europe

gw picA local MEP has been chosen to chair the European Parliament’s Health Working Group.

Labour MEP Glenis Willmott was re-elected as co-chair of the group, which works to give members of the European Parliament access to research and expert advice on wide-ranging health topics.

Glenis Willmott, East Midlands MEP and Labour’s European Health Spokesperson, said:

“I’m delighted to have been re-elected to chair this important group in the European Parliament.

“Although national governments are responsible for healthcare, there is much that can be done at a European level.

Glenis has been a staunch campaigner on health issues and during the last parliamentary term led work on new legislation on clinical trials; she is now negotiating stronger regulation of medical devices.

Glenis Willmott said:

“One of the issues we previously looked at in the Health Working Group was childhood cancer.  This helped to inform our discussions on the new European law on clinical trials, which will facilitate research into these rare cancers and improve transparency by making sure the results of all trials are published.

“The working group offers MEPs a forum for more in depth discussion on important health issues. I’m looking forward to continuing this important work over the next five years.”

Labour MEP urges women to get tested during Cervical Cancer Prevention Week

Heart & stethoscopeAn East Midlands MEP has added her voice to a charity’s campaign to spread awareness of cervical cancer and encourage women to get a screening at their local GP. This week is Cervical Cancer Prevention Week and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust have started the #SmearForSmear campaign by asking women to post a picture of themselves smearing their lipstick to raise awareness of cervical cancer and smear tests.

Glenis Willmott, Labour MEP for the East Midlands and European health spokesperson, said:

“Cervical cancer kills around 1000 women each year and often has no symptoms, especially in its early stages. But it can be easily detected with a cervical screening, or smear test as it is often called. These are easy to get and can detect abnormal cells early which is vital to fighting this less common type of cancer.”

The NHS invites all women aged 25 to 49 for free cervical screenings every three years and every five year for women aged 50 to 64. After the tragic death of television personality Jade Goody from cervical cancer aged 27, there was an increase in the number of women getting tested but this number has fallen in recent years. It is estimated that early detection and treatment can prevent up to 75% of cervical cancers.

Glenis Willmott MEP added:

“Awareness of cervical cancer is still low amongst many women and so I hope the campaign by Jo’s Trust will help women get informed and encourage them to get screened by talking to their GP.”

More information about cervical cancer, smear tests, treatments and volunteering for the charity can all be found at the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust website.

A hopeful, positive campaign from Ed Miliband

Ed MilibandThey say that the politics of hope always wins over the politics of fear and division; that is exactly the message Ed Miliband will be sending in the run-up to this year’s general election.

It will be the most important for a generation and the starting gun of the campaign has been fired this week. We have already seen the same brand of negative campaigning from the Conservatives that voters are tired of hearing. Blaming the global financial crash on the last Labour government and falsely claiming Labour’s plans are unfunded only frustrates the public who are fed up of having heard the same empty accusations for over five years.

This month, Ed Miliband set out a positive, hopeful vision for Britain’s future.

After years of little or no economic growth, rising inequality and embarrassment in Europe, it is clear that our country needs a new direction. Ed Miliband has set out how a Labour government would reward hard work and tackle exploitation by raising the minimum wage to £8 and ending the misuse of zero hour contracts.

Britain also needs real leadership when it comes to standing up to powerful vested interests. Recently we have seen wholesale energy prices fall by 20% yet we should be grateful for the big energy companies giving us just 5% off on our bills. Ed Miliband would allow the regular Ofgem to force companies to pass on all reductions in wholesale prices. He would also freeze energy bills for 20 months and reform the market so that the Big Six cannot continue to rip off their customers. Labour would also tax bankers’ bonuses to provide apprenticeships to hundreds of thousands of young people. This would be coupled with increasing the quality of vocational education including new technical degrees.

We also need strong and intelligent leadership in the European Union to make sure we secure the reforms we need to make the EU work better for Britain. Cameron’s tantrums and toddler diplomacy haven’t helped him win any arguments in Brussels and have only isolated him from other leaders and weakened Britain’s standing and influence. His approach to Europe is clearly not in the national interest and will not convince other leaders to support his reforms.  I know Ed Miliband will be able to rebuild the bridges that Cameron has burned and work towards a Europe committed to jobs and growth, not endless austerity.

I look forward to joining that campaign by talking to voters on the streets and doorsteps in the East Midlands.

UKIP’s disregard for the health of the British public

cigarette in ashtrayIt is estimated that smoking causes 100,000 deaths in the UK every year and costs the NHS an estimated £2 billion a year. With these startling figures in mind it is shocking that UKIP have announced plans to bring back smoking in public places.

Glenis Willmott, Labour’s health spokesperson in Europe, said:

“The Labour Party both in the UK and in the EU have worked tirelessly to bring about legislation to try to prevent thousands of deaths every year. Nearly 1 in 2 of all smokers will die from a smoking related illness1 and smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in the UK.”

UKIP have launched 100 pledges, 1 a day until the General Election on 7 May 2015. One suggestion includes amending the smoking ban to promote ventilated smoking rooms.

Glenis Willmott, Labour’s leader in the European Parliament, said:

“UKIP claim to support the NHS, however allowing smoking in public places would not only put people’s health at risk, but could also cost the NHS even more money and resources.

“Workers in the UK have the right not to be forced to breathe second hand smoke. UKIP have shown a complete lack of respect for the rights of the UK workforce as well as their wellbeing.

“The real victims of second hand smoke are children. A study found that children’s exposure levels declined by nearly 70% by 2007, the year the smoking ban came into place, with the biggest drop coinciding with the national mass media campaign. This demonstrates the importance of clear health information as well as practical protective measures to protect children from harmful exposure.”

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