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Webchat with Dan Jarvis MP, Tuesday 26 April, 12.30pm

(54 Posts)

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BojanaMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 22-Apr-16 16:56:35

Hello,

We’re pleased to announce a webchat with Labour MP Dan Jarvis on Tuesday 26 April at 12.30pm. Dan is currently campaigning on excess winter deaths among older people.

The ONS estimates that 43,900 excess winter deaths occurred in England and Wales in 2014/15. The majority of excess winter deaths for both sexes occurred amongst those aged 75 and over, with women aged 85 and over having the greatest number of such deaths. (‘Excess winter deaths’ are calculated by comparing the number of deaths between December and March to the average number of deaths in the preceding August - November and the following April - July.) Dan’s aim is to find out why this is happening, and to persuade local authorities and other agencies involved in the care of older people to work together to address any gaps in services.

Before becoming an MP Dan served in the Parachute Regiment and was deployed to Kosovo, Northern Ireland, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan. He was in the shadow cabinet during the last Parliament, most recently as shadow minister for justice, and is now on the back benches.

Please do join us on the day to talk about excess winter deaths and the best way to care for older people in our communities - or leave a question here in advance if you can’t make it. And, as ever, do remember our webchat guidelines.

Thanks
MNHQ

DanJarvisMP Tue 26-Apr-16 12:37:30

andrewb72

Fuel poverty is expanding to younger people and disabled people, with the problems with Barnsley's 0-19 year old strategy do you feel the advice won't get to hard up parents of children or people with disabled children?

Hi,

The majority of people dying are older people, but this is an issue that impacts on many people within our communities. I think we should remember that these are people, young, old, and vulnerable, who are suffering and dying needlessly. I think there is much more that can be done to prevent this from happening. This isn't just about additional resource, it's about the way in which we commit existing resources and better co-ordinate the work that is taking place around the country.

As an example, Barnsley Council have a scheme where they have secured funding for a Warm Homes programme, which offers free central heating replacement to those on low incomes without gas central heating. So there is good work taking place around the country but more could be done to share best practice.

DanJarvisMP Tue 26-Apr-16 12:39:09

RowanMumsnet

Some questions from Twitter...

From @manfred698: How are you recovering from the marathon?

Hi,

My legs are a bit stiff but it was great to be out there on Sunday. The support from the crowds was amazing and I was very pleased to be able to raise awareness of the important work Cancer Research UK are doing.

DanJarvisMP Tue 26-Apr-16 12:40:25

NicknameUsed

I agree with GiantYorkiePud that perhaps the fuel allowance should be means tested.

My concerns are the lack of resources to deal with age related health issues, especially dementia. The lack of funding for support for people with dementia, and places in good care homes is frightening.

Hi,

I think the winter fuel allowance is an important measure for tackling fuel poverty, especially among the elderly. But people are right to point out that there are some people who don't need it. It's something that's worth looking at, but it would have to be looked at alongside other issues as well, such as how we can better insulate homes and how we reduce energy prices.

How we provide the high standard of care for an increasingly elderly population is one of the biggest policy challenges we face in this country today.

woeface Tue 26-Apr-16 12:42:32

Dan, I'd like to know how you voted in last night's immigration bill amendment, which would have allowed 3,000 unaccompanied Syrian children to find desperately needed safety here in the UK.

And what would you say to those MPs who voted it down, meaning that these children - children like yours and mine - are still out there alone, afraid, and vulnerable?

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 26-Apr-16 12:42:41

From @Gwynnita on Twitter: how did you vote on letting in cold and starving refugees?

DanJarvisMP Tue 26-Apr-16 12:43:32

Northernlurker

What part do you think fuel poverty has to play ?

Hi,

I think fuel poverty is a big part of the issue. Many excess winter deaths are caused by cold homes and those homes are cold because people can't afford to heat their homes. I think the energy companies should be doing more to bring energy prices down. Prices have fallen in recent months, but I don't think that they are falling fast enough. Energy companies are still making massive profits at a time when many people are struggling to pay their bills.

I think the Government need to do more. They should be looking at how they can promote home insulation, but also, looking at specific measures targeted to support more vulnerable groups.

howtorebuild Tue 26-Apr-16 12:45:51

Mnhq, Open borders activists are all over mn today.

apricotdanish Tue 26-Apr-16 12:46:59

Hi Dan, I wanted to ask about what is going on in the Labour party at the moment. While I understand that in a party there will be a range of different opinions, as a member of the public I find it immensely frustrating that as a party they will not show a united front to the public and show of support to the leader in order to stand a chance of being taken seriously and re-elected. It feels as a voter that the failure to do so means that party members put their own opinions and desire to be right ahead of us, and the future of the country. We need a united party to oppose the current government. What are your feelings on this?

andrewb72 Tue 26-Apr-16 12:48:10

I think some older people not able to get on the internet and look at best provider for their gas and electric, people need empowering to make a decision in their best interest and relevant and succinct advice

DanJarvisMP Tue 26-Apr-16 12:48:20

TresDesolee

Hi Dan. Is it your argument that local authorities should do more? And if so, who's going to pay for that? Local authorities are on their knees already. Surely social care departments need more money if they're going to look after people better?

Hi,

You raise an important point. This isn't just about paying more - this is about making better use of the resources available. So to give you an example, working with my own local council, we have brought together all the local stakeholders to better co-ordinate activity and share best practice. This means that our response locally is now more effective and the only real cost of this has been a relatively small amount of time required to bring people together.

I also think it's important that Government nationally plays its part. I think the Government should outline a national strategy for reducing, and ultimately eliminating, excess winter deaths. It's clear that cold homes and fuel poverty are two of the major causes, so any strategy would need to tackle those two issues.

DanJarvisMP Tue 26-Apr-16 12:50:14

BojanaMumsnet

Hi everyone,

Thanks for all your questions so far - we've got a few more from Gransnet:

"How do you know when a woman over 85 dies that it is an excess death? I thought statistics had always said that there are more deaths in January to March anyway. Is it not better to persuade the government rather than local authorities? The government is cutting the grants to local authorities so there is not enough money in the pot for them to do anything about it." from durhamjen

"Hello Dan. Many older people are living in poorly heated and poorly insulated homes, putting them at risk. www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/357409/Review7_Fuel_poverty_health_inequalities.pdf
The coalition government cut back ECO funding (spinning it as "Green Taxes") despite the evidence that investing in home insulation can help prevent premature deaths in the winter and take pressure over the NHS.
I would hope that when we get a Labour government more money can be invested in this. It is a double win as improving energy efficiency is the most cost effective way of reducing carbon emissions.
Are you involved in developing Labour policy in this area? If not, who is? While we await an election is there anything else that can be done by individuals?" from JessM

"Is the number of so-called "excess" deaths falling? For example, is the figure for 2014/15 lower by a significant amount than it was, say, fifty or a hundred years ago? And if so, can this pattern be seen in general with regard to this issue?" from thatbags

"Dan what is your reaction to the report in yesterdays press that the 111 service is causing excess deaths by being slow to respond and giving inaccurate advice and indeed that this has been known about for some time?" from Teetime

"I'm wondering if a lot of elderly people who find it difficult to travel to a surgery stop having the flu jab and it's more difficult these days to get someone to do a house visit to give them the jab." from Tegan

Thanks
MNHQ

Hi durhamjen,

Just to be clear, an "excess winter death" is a technical term and it's defined as occurring as a direct result of the cold, meaning somebody has died who otherwise would not have died.

I think many people will be shocked to know that last year, 43,000 people died as a result of the cold. There are a number of ways in which we can reduce these numbers but I think you are right to draw reference to the fact that the Government nationally is reducing the amount of funding which goes to local authorities which will undermine their ability at a local levelt o tackle this important issue.

This is why it's essential that local government co-ordinates the effort that is taking place, bringing together the local authority, the NHS and clinical commissioning group, as well as the charitable sector.

DanJarvisMP Tue 26-Apr-16 12:53:48

andrewb72

I think some older people not able to get on the internet and look at best provider for their gas and electric, people need empowering to make a decision in their best interest and relevant and succinct advice

Hi,

You're absolutely right - there are some older people who don't use price comparison websites. I think there's more that could be done to protect those people. I'd like to see the energy companies doing more to ensure that elderly and vulnerable people are automatically placed on the cheapest tariff.

Given the huge profits that the energy companies are making, if they are unwilling to do more to support elderly and vulnerable people, then we should look to ensure that the regulator has the necessary powers to compel energy companies to put elderly and vulnerable people on the cheapest tariff.

DanJarvisMP Tue 26-Apr-16 12:57:05

woeface

Dan, I'd like to know how you voted in last night's immigration bill amendment, which would have allowed 3,000 unaccompanied Syrian children to find desperately needed safety here in the UK.

And what would you say to those MPs who voted it down, meaning that these children - children like yours and mine - are still out there alone, afraid, and vulnerable?

Hi,

I voted in favour of the amendment which would have allowed 3,000 unaccompanied refugee children to find safety in the UK.

It's deeply concerning that 10,000 unaccompanied children are currently missing in Europe. And I know that my colleague Lord Alf Dubs will again raise this matter in the House of Lords. I will be meeting Save the Children later today to discuss what further support can be offered.

badooby Tue 26-Apr-16 12:58:24

Hello Dan

I wish you would stand for the leadership. Do you think you will? And if so, when?

DanJarvisMP Tue 26-Apr-16 12:59:50

Imgonnatouchthebutt

Hi Dan

This is a running question. I'm doing a half marathon in a weeks time, but really want to do a full marathon by my 25th birthday (2 years away arghhhh), what's the best advice you have?

(or what do you listen to on your runs?)

Hi,

My advice for the half marathon is don't go off too quickly, try and find a good rhythm which you can sustain, remember that long distance running is as much about having a positive mental attitude as anything else. That said, it is always worth being as prepared as possible! Above all, enjoy it!

In terms of a full marathon, my strong advice (which I've never followed myself) is to put in the miles and make sure you are as prepared as possible. Good luck!

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 26-Apr-16 13:04:49

Another question from Gransnet, from thatbags

"Is the number of so-called "excess" deaths falling? For example, is the figure for 2014/15 lower by a significant amount than it was, say, fifty or a hundred years ago? And if so, can this pattern be seen in general with regard to this issue?"

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 26-Apr-16 13:06:28

From JessM on Gransnet:

"Hello Dan. Many older people are living in poorly heated and poorly insulated homes, putting them at risk. www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/357409/Review7_Fuel_poverty_health_inequalities.pdf

The coalition government cut back ECO funding (spinning it as "Green Taxes") despite the evidence that investing in home insulation can help prevent premature deaths in the winter and take pressure over the NHS.

I would hope that when we get a Labour government more money can be invested in this. It is a double win as improving energy efficiency is the most cost effective way of reducing carbon emissions.

Are you involved in developing Labour policy in this area? If not, who is? While we await an election is there anything else that can be done by individuals?"

DanJarvisMP Tue 26-Apr-16 13:07:19

LineyReborn

Hello, Dan. I voted Labour in the last election.

What's your view on the Green Deal? Mine is that it was an over-complicated expensive shambles and benefited no older people at all, certainly not in the 85+ age group.

Why do governments design useless crap programmes like this?

Hi,

I acknowledge these points - the Green Deal wasn't perfect, but it was a step in the right direction.

I think the main issue is that the Green Deal expired last year and the Energy Company Obligation expires next year. The Government now need to spell out what measures they are going to introduce to encourage home insulation once both these policies have expired.

There are many other countries which are much colder, but they don't have as many excess winter deaths. Iceland, for example, had half the rate of excess winter deaths over the last decade. We need to look carefully at why this is and draw lessons from it.

We should also remember that of course, insulating an older person's home comes with cost. But there are also costs associated with extra hospital admissions, which come as a result of the cold.

I think this also speaks about the kind of country we want to live in and I don't think anyone really thinks it's acceptable that in 2016 we've got thousands of elderly people dying as a result of the cold. That is a national scandal and we must act to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, these deaths.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 26-Apr-16 13:08:33

This from @putt1ck on Twitter, on means testing the winter fuel allowance:

'it's expensive and gets it wrong; there's no saving to be made, only political noise.'

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 26-Apr-16 13:09:55

From Teetime on Gransnet:

"Dan, what is your reaction to the report in yesterday's press that the 111 service is causing excess deaths by being slow to respond and giving inaccurate advice and indeed that this has been known about for some time?"

DanJarvisMP Tue 26-Apr-16 13:12:16

RowanMumsnet

Another question from Gransnet, from thatbags

"Is the number of so-called "excess" deaths falling? For example, is the figure for 2014/15 lower by a significant amount than it was, say, fifty or a hundred years ago? And if so, can this pattern be seen in general with regard to this issue?"

Hi,

Unfortunately, actually the winter in 2014/15 saw a particularly high number of excess winter deaths (43,900).

The number of excess winter deaths varies each year. Over the last five years, we've seen years have 17,000 deaths and others in the 20,000s and others in the 30,000s.

Given the advance of technology and the fact that Britain, despite challenges, is still one of the richest countries in the world, it's unacceptable that we continue to suffer these very significant numbers of fatalities. By their very nature, these deaths are avoidable and more could, and should, be done both nationally and locally to tackle what is a national scandal.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 26-Apr-16 13:12:35

From Tegan on Gransnet:

"I'm wondering if a lot of elderly people who find it difficult to travel to a surgery stop having the flu jab and it's more difficult these days to get someone to do a house visit to give them the jab."

NameyMcNameface Tue 26-Apr-16 13:26:30

Now you've run 26.2 miles I think you've earned a biscuit, what's you're go to?

DanJarvisMP Tue 26-Apr-16 13:27:50

meditrina

You said in an interview with the BBC in January this year that you thought the Labour Party still had a mountain to climb.

I'd be interested in a description of the key things that make up that mountain, and your thoughts on what will be needed to make that climb

Hi,

We should not lose sight of the fact that we have now lost two General Elections. Whilst we've got an important role to play in holding the Government to account for the decisions that they take it is also important that we fully understand the reasons why the public did not feel they could trust us in Government.

In the next few weeks, we face important elections that are taking place around the country and I'm working hard to support our candidates. Labour councils across the country are addressing important issues such as excess winter deaths. For example, in Sunderland they've been trialling boilers on prescription. The results in May are vital to ensure we maintain Labour representation and protect these crucial services on which people depend.

We will then face perhaps the most important judgement that today's voters will face in their lifetimes, with a decision about whether our country remains within the European Union. So our focus must be on the May elections, but also on making a positive case for why it's in our country's national interest to remain in a reformed European Union.

It is then important that as a Labour Party we work together to build a coherent and compelling vision for the future of the country, based on the challenges we face and on our own values. I will be playing my part in supporting the party on the road back to power.

DanJarvisMP Tue 26-Apr-16 13:37:19

RowanMumsnet

From JessM on Gransnet:

"Hello Dan. Many older people are living in poorly heated and poorly insulated homes, putting them at risk. www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/357409/Review7_Fuel_poverty_health_inequalities.pdf

The coalition government cut back ECO funding (spinning it as "Green Taxes") despite the evidence that investing in home insulation can help prevent premature deaths in the winter and take pressure over the NHS.

I would hope that when we get a Labour government more money can be invested in this. It is a double win as improving energy efficiency is the most cost effective way of reducing carbon emissions.

Are you involved in developing Labour policy in this area? If not, who is? While we await an election is there anything else that can be done by individuals?"

Hi,

I'm very keen to contribute to a national debate about how we develop policy in this area and tackle the scandal of excess winter deaths. One of the reasons why I think there needs to be greater coordination, nationally and locally, is because this is an issue which cuts across a number of different areas, it involves health, local government, energy and many more.

That's why I think it's important that Government outlines a national strategy to better co-ordinate this activity, but also at a local level, councils have their own plans to make the most of the good work that is taking place locally.

I think individuals, where they have ideas, contributions that they want to make, should feed them into their local councillors and their Member of Parliament. This is a matter that I have raised on a number of occasions with the Prime Minister and I am heartened at the level of interest and I will continue to raise this matter in Parliament.

But also, all of us have a responsibility to keep an eye on those people in our communities, our neighbours, who might be considered to be vulnerable. I know that in my town of Barnsley there is a very close sense of community, which means that people do look out for their neighbours. This is perhaps something that is harder than it used to be, but is worth doing.

Doing this will undoubtedly save lives.

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