Archives For Health

Diane Dodds

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley is backing Macmillan Cancer Support’s campaign for all patients to be treated with the highest levels of dignity and respect, and for NHS staff to be supported to do so.

At an event in Parliament, Mr Paisley met people affected by cancer who shared their own experience and raised the importance of being listened to throughout their journey. Macmillan healthcare staff at the event, also shared their stories about caring for people living with cancer and highlighted the importance of feeling supported and engaged in order to deliver the best possible care.

Macmillan’s new report ‘The people behind cancer care – Patient and Staff stories’ emphasises the importance of putting people at the heart of our cancer care by hearing from cancer patients and staff alike. The report presents stories from 10 patients about their experiences of care at different points of their cancer journey. It also features insights from staff into the good and bad aspects of their work and how their own experiences determine the quality of care provided.

Ian Paisley MP at the Macmillan Cancer Awareness Raising Event this week

Ian Paisley MP at the Macmillan Cancer Awareness Raising Event this week

Ahead of the general election in May, Macmillan is calling on all political parties to make a commitment in their manifestos to ensure that all patients, including cancer patients, are treated with the highest levels of dignity and respect, and that staff are supported to deliver this.

Speaking on the subject, The MP said: “Every person diagnosed with cancer should be treated with dignity and respect and not as a set of symptoms. NHS staff work incredibly hard to deliver high quality care in challenging circumstances. However, as Macmillan’s report shows, there is still room for improvement to tackle cases of poor care and staff disengagement.

“If patient care is to be improved across the NHS, both staff and patients need to be listened to and their feedback acted on. This can make a major difference to how patients experience their care and even recover from cancer treatment. Macmillan’s campaign aims to ensure all patients are treated as individuals and I am very proud to support it.”

Sex-selective Abortion

February 27, 2015

North Antrim DUP MP Ian Paisley has welcomed the fact that a review in to sex-selective abortion will now be undertaken following a debate in parliament this week as part of the Serious Crime Bill in Westminster. The British Pregnancy Advice Service has described the law as “silent” on the issue and the former Director of Public Prosecutions Kier Starmer has also pointed out that it is not expressly prohibited. The comments were made in relation to UK doctors who were secretly filmed agreeing to carry out such sex-selective abortions but were not prosecuted.

Mr Paisley said, ‘I welcomed this amendment when it was tabled as I am of the belief that we do not have the right to choose whether or not a child is born based on their gender. I am encouraged that a review into the issue will now be undertaken and more clarity will hopefully be achieved as a result.”

The vote that took place this week won’t directly affect Northern Ireland given the differences in current abortion laws.

The MP concluded “With over 200 MPs supporting the amendment it is only right that this further action is conducted, given that almost a third of the House voted in its favour. Another issue that the Serious Crime Bill addresses which disproportionately affects girls is Female Genital Mutilation, I believe it is right that a specific prohibition on sex-selective abortion be included also.”

Peanut Allergies (Announcements on UK Flights)

Ian Paisley (North Antrim) (DUP): A few months ago, my constituent Helena Erwin and her young daughter Emily visited me at my constituency advice centre in Ballymena. Helena told me of her desire as a mother to ensure that her child was kept safe while travelling. Emily has a very severe peanut allergy that requires her to be kept away from contact with peanuts for fear of anaphylactic attack, which could be deadly.
The family only became aware of this condition when they were on a family holiday and Emily was taken seriously ill. Subsequently, her consultant reported that she has “an instant and extreme allergic reaction.”
Any parent of a child who requires special attention or care knows that that means constant care and attention daily, which has a broad impact. That is the case with this child, Emily. Her GP told her mother that in future, for all air travel, she will need to inform the carrier of her daughter’s condition. Her older sister has been taught how to recognise signs of anaphylaxis and what to do in an emergency, and her contemporaries, cousins, family and school friends have had to be told what consumables Emily cannot be exposed to. The adult members of her family have each been trained to use an EpiPen and know how to administer her medication, which must accompany her at all times.
The Erwins go abroad for work and recreation, and as a result of their travel experiences, Helena contacted me to raise awareness of the needs, particularly when travelling, of the many people who, like her precious daughter, suffer from anaphylaxis and could be helped by greater awareness and safety announcements, particularly onboard aeroplanes.
It is important to put things in perspective. In 2013, there were 1,300 emergency admissions to A and E units in English hospitals following adverse food reactions and shock, and there have been six deaths in the past 13 months across the UK from anaphylaxis caused by food. Today, when we board a flight, we hear several standardised announcements, all of which we are very familiar with and are designed for our own safety: “Fasten your seatbelts”, “Put your folding table away”, “Stow your baggage”, “Keep window blinds up for take-off and landing”, and “Put down your seat’s arm rest”. There are also announcements about when and where smoking is permitted, and where and when a passenger can use a telephone or computer. We are well used to these announcements; those are just seven that I, as a regular commuter to Parliament, hear each week while flying.
From time to time, but randomly—the crux of the issue—I hear allergy announcements. When I do, I accept that they are made for my safety and that of fellow travellers, and that they should be obeyed. However, it is the random nature of the peanut allergy announcements that has prompted this debate. The Minister and his Government can do something practical and positive to help. He can ensure that tonight we begin a process to
achieve a consistent style of announcement on all flights, so that public safety is increased. I am not campaigning for prohibitions; I am championing the case for consistent safety announcements when required or requested by a traveller.
Let me tell the House about the current inconsistent state of affairs. I have with me a report on 36 air carriers that fly to the United Kingdom and their policies on food allergies and announcements. Is there one consistent approach? No, there are 36 different approaches. To be fair, some airlines are doing their best, but a consistent, universal approach would actually be welcomed by the airlines as a beneficial starting point.
I want to tell the House a little about what Emily experienced on a recent flight. I asked her mother to write out the details, and it is important that they be put on the record:
“We incurred a 6 hour delay. An aircraft and crew were flown in from Paris to take us home. It was very obvious from when we stepped onto the flight that the crew were not happy at being there. We spoke to the crew member who knew nothing about us and didn’t even understand what a nut allergy was due to the language barrier. I do carry a translation card but this was in Spanish and not French.
Eventually with much explaining from ourselves and some other passengers seated around us, the crew understood what we meant but refused to make an announcement. Their reason being simply they didn’t have to. My husband and I were by now beginning to get distressed as was our 6 year old daughter Lucy. We repeatedly asked and asked for the announcement to made, eventually we were told in a minute, other passengers were now starting to pass the information back and shouting at the crew on our behalf. The doors of the aircraft had been closed and my husband and I were now thinking about asking to get off the flight rather than take the chance. At this point the crew member agreed to make the announcement and when he made it was given a round of applause by all the passengers. As a family this was a very humiliating situation to be in and very upsetting for Lucy. About 2 hours into the flight the crew member actually apologised to us but we did not get an explanation why he wouldn’t announce it to begin with.
On returning home I called the CAA and got speaking to a Doctor from the medical department. He gave me a few pieces of advice. He felt any risk posed to my daughter would be from 3-4 rows in front or behind me and had I considered policing these rows myself to see what people are eating? All this while I am responsible for 2 small children and also adhering to the seatbelt signs. Another suggestion was just don’t fly. Take a boat!”
I think that tells its own story about the inconsistency, and shows that airlines require what I am suggesting. They probably need an impetus to drive them to come up with a policy that will work.
Since I secured this Adjournment debate, I have been inundated with calls and e-mails from people across the United Kingdom. The story of Andy Hyams is well documented. He and his suffering daughter were alleged to have been bullied off a flight because no announcement was made. It is easy to understand why a parent would not want their child to stay on a flight in those circumstances; they could not move away if there was a problem. If the issue arises in a hotel or in public, people can at least leave, but they cannot get off an aeroplane when it is in flight.
Another constituent, Francis, wrote to me to say that “unless you actually go through the stages of death by anaphylactic shock, until you are left with your lifeless child in your arms, it is very hard to imagine what happens.”
Frank had that experience, and said that it was only when people saw it happening that they realised the huge need to address this issue.
Another lady, Danielle Toner, wrote to me to say of airlines that “yes some will make an announcement, others will not. When you have a child in a confined space with a life threatening condition I feel it is a must that airlines should be accountable for all passengers on their flights.”
I think she makes a very good point on behalf of her little six-year-old boy, who suffers from this condition.
These allergic reactions affect one in 50 children in the United Kingdom, and I think the Minister knows that something needs to be done about this now. Putting in place a requirement that a consistent announcement, agreed with the Civil Aviation Authority, be made on a passenger’s request should not be beyond the scope of this House, or the care of this Government.
I do not believe that new legislation is necessary, but if it is, there is an opportunity to make the Consumer Rights Bill, currently in the other place, the legislative vehicle to get this job done. I appeal to the Minister to put Emily’s law in place. Let us do something to make the airlines announce consistent messages on peanut and other food allergies, so that people can travel in safety and feel that they are not being hindered in any way or having their rights taken away from them. I appeal to the Minister to do something about this.

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley has pledged to support the recommendations set out in a parliamentary Inquiry report, which has concluded that NHS treatment for pancreatic cancer is not patient-centered, well co-ordinated or efficient.

On Monday 25th November, during the awareness month for the disease, Mr Paisley attended the launch of the report at a reception held by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Pancreatic Cancer. The APPG warns that much greater focus and resource is needed in order tackle this disease, which is set to overtake breast cancer as the 4th biggest cancer killer in the UK by 2030.

Pancreatic cancer currently has the lowest survival rate of the 21 most common cancers and there has hardly been any improvement in survival rates from the disease in last forty years.

The APPG took evidence between May and September 2013 – including over 50 formal submissions from patients, their families and carers, as well as GPs, secondary health clinicians, nurses, NHS officials, professional bodies, the Department of Health and charities. The group also held five oral evidence sessions.

A new report, Time to Change the Story: a plan of action for pancreatic cancer, developed as a result of the Inquiry highlights a lack of understanding of the disease and its impact. From the evidence presented at the Inquiry, it is clear there is erroneous belief that pancreatic cancer is a rare cancer, affecting small numbers of mostly elderly, male patients.

The report, sets out twelve specific recommendations including the need to:
• raise awareness of pancreatic cancer and its symptoms
• undertake a whole-sale review of referral pathways and diagnostic services (like CT scans) that are available to GPs
• carry out a comprehensive audit of pancreatic cancer treatment in order to understand why everyone diagnosed with this disease may not have access to the same high quality care.
Mr Paisley commented “At present awareness around Pancreatic cancer is worryingly low. The general public may be unaware as to how common a killer it is and it is only through Inquiries like this that real steps can be taken to increase funding for research, raise awareness of the condition and ultimately increase survival rates for those who develop pancreatic cancer.
Eric Ollerenshaw MP, Chair of the Inquiry, comments, “We must, as a matter of urgency, challenge the misconceptions surrounding the disease, in particular the notion that pancreatic cancer is a rare disease which only affects elderly men. In fact, a third of all diagnoses of pancreatic cancer occur in people under the age of 65 and it affects men and women almost equally.

“And whilst it is only the tenth most common cancer, in terms of mortality it is currently the fifth most common cause of cancer death, and predicted to be the fourth by 2030. This report from the APPG sets out a national plan to tackle pancreatic cancer; a plan that must be adopted as soon as possible if we are to ever make progress and improve survival rates.”

Pictured are Baroness Delyth Morgan, North Antrim MP Ian Paisley and Eric Ollerenshaw MP, the Chair of the Inquiry.

Pictured are Baroness Delyth Morgan, North Antrim MP Ian Paisley and Eric Ollerenshaw MP, the Chair of the Inquiry.

The Secretariat to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pancreatic Cancer is provided by Pancreatic Cancer UK.

Ms Alex Ford, Chief Executive of Pancreatic Cancer UK, adds, “We fully support the recommendations set out in this report. We feel very strongly that in order to improve pancreatic cancer survival rates we need to get more patients diagnosed more quickly and ensure that all those with suspected pancreatic cancer get the earliest possible input from experts at specialist centres. This means, amongst other things, giving GPs quicker access to diagnostic investigations and introducing the screening of high-risk patients.”

The UK does not currently have a formal screening programme for people who are at higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer and therefore a review is needed to establish whether specific patient groups known to have an increased risk should be monitored and screened.

This Inquiry was an ambitious undertaking and as such there were important areas not covered, such as, research and international comparisons relating to survival. As part of its forward work programme, the APPG will delve further into these areas.

For further information contact:
Louise Ellis, Communications Manager, Pancreatic Cancer UK
020 7820 6709
07584 293 039

Breakthrough Breast Cancer

October 10, 2013

Leading cancer charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer held a Parliamentary Reception last week at Westminster to discuss the ongoing issues surrounding breast cancer treatment, the ongoing drug developments and the financial constraints that are posing as a barrier to innovative new treatment being administered to cancer sufferers.

Breakthrough Breast Cancer

The event was hosted by Annette Brooke MP, co-chair of the All Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer, who commented “politicians have an important role to play in putting breast cancer back on the agenda. Breast cancer is not yesterday’s problem.”

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley attended the briefing and spoke of how the task of challenging current legislation lies with Members of Parliament.  ‘Breast cancer is a vicious disease that kills over 12,000 women every year.  These figures are extremely difficult to comprehend and it is a disease that affects women in all of our constituencies.  It is important that we, as MPs utilise our positions of influence to ensure that pricing does not stand in the way of the most modern and effective drugs and treatment being made readily available to all sufferers of the disease.”

Who Benefits?

October 10, 2013

‘Who Benefits?’ were the hosts of an awareness raising event at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster this week where the focus was very much on trying to draw attention to the aftermath of what cancer survivors are often left to face with regards to their career prospects after they recover from the potentially fatal disease.

The coalition campaign aims to give a voice to the millions of people who have been supported by benefits and to change the way we think and talk about benefits. It is backed by Crisis, The Children’s Society, Gingerbread, Macmillan Cancer Support and Mind, and supported by 70 other charities

Who Benefits

Ian Paisley MP, who attended the event commented “A concern of mine is that the public perception of people who win their battle with cancer are, with good justification, real winners within society.  However events like this help to highlight the point that physically beating the disease is in many cases only half the battle.  I have met various different cancer survivors today who have explained to me how they are now having to claim benefits and how the stigma that is attached to claiming benefits makes it a bitter pill to swallow for honest members of society who are left with no choice but to do so.  Many of the people here today were employed in managerial positions, or running their own businesses prior to their cancer diagnosis.  I will look to convey the stories and messages I have heard at the event to the Health Minister for Northern Ireland at the nearest opportunity and offer my support in every way I can to this very worthy cause.”

Ian Paisley MP supports Action Cancer NI with their 40th anniversary event launched in Parliament.

This week in Westminster, our local MP Ian Paisley was supporting Action Cancer NI as they launched three signature legacy projects as part of thAction Cancereir 40th anniversary celebrations in Parliament.

Attending their flagship event, Ian Paisley witnessed the launch of One Life, Different Journeys that will provide cancer prevention, early detection and support services for the months and years to come. The £1m funding required for these projects will be made possible by a contribution from the charity and committed funds from Marks & Spencer; approaches are still being made to a number of Charitable Trusts and Foundations, who Action Cancer hope will support the campaign,
The One Life, Different Journeys is the development of three new programmes by Action Cancer which will provide resources for people at great risk of cancer or living with a cancer diagnosis.

Speaking after the event Ian Paisley MP said:

“The work Action Cancer undertake throughout Northern Ireland is phenomenal and we should never underestimate the positive impact they have on countless families who are living with cancer.

I also commend them highly for coming into Parliament and launching this innovative and exciting campaign which aims to help those in need even further than they already do. I would encourage all Charitable Trusts and Foundations to get behind the ‘One Life, Different Journeys’ campaign and to help make the lives of cancer sufferers and their families in Northern Ireland that little bit easier.”

Action Cancer – 40th Anniversary – One Life, Different Journeys