Decision Maker

Matthew Hancock MP

  • Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General

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Petitioning Matthew Hancock MP, The Royal College of Physicians, The British Paediatric Neurology Association, Simon Stevens

Stop the NHS Denying Patients Access to Medical Cannabis

On 19th June 2019, hard battle to get my son Alfie Dingley, who suffers from epilepsy, access to full extract medical cannabis on prescription after he received the first permanent medical cannabis license, he then went onto receive the first NHS prescription when the law changed in November 2018.  This fight not only helped my son, it played a big part in getting the law changed to allow access to medical cannabis under prescription in the UK.   This change came into effect on 1st Nov. With it the hopes of thousands of patients were raised.  But the NHS asked the Royal College of Physicians and the British Paediatric Neurology Association to create and publish guidelines on when it should be prescribed, and the guidelines they produced are so restrictive that almost no-one will get access to medical cannabis.  This is simply shattering. These guidelines are not being seen as guidance by many they are being seen as a complete block on prescriptions so we do not know of any doctors who will prescribe.  The guidelines are so restrictive that if it wasn’t for the fact that Alfies story helped to change the law and therefore he now has an NHS prescription, he would never be given a prescription today.  Thousands of patients have now had their hopes dashed and face intense disappointment and further suffering. In particular, I know of many families with severely epileptic children who are now having to try and fundraise to go abroad to get access to the full medical cannabis that we have just made legal here!  We are suddenly back to square one. The Recommendation from the Royal College of Physicians is that there is insufficient evidence to warrant prescription for pain. That is nonsense and flies in the face of several publications and even the opinion of the Chief Medical Officer. That Recommendation effectively stops doctors prescribing. A similar non sensical situation has arisen with BPNA’s Recommendation about childhood epilepsy. Sad, unnecessary and wrong.  This is a case of the NHS and some of the medical professional bodies snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.  The NHS must review the guidelines immediately so patients can have access to medical cannabis. Please support Indie-Rose (pictured) and the many other patients who are suffering by signing this petition.

Hannah Deacon
622,820 supporters
Petitioning Theresa May MP

Defibrillators to be provided in all public places

Our son Tom Cooney died at the age of 28. He was playing rugby when his heart stopped beating. The post mortem showed that he suffered from an undiagnosed genetic heart condition, Arrythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy. Between 10 and 12 young people aged 18-35 die every week from this and other undiagnosed heart problems. Often such deaths occur when playing competitive sports. Tom’s friends tried to give him CPR but it didn’t work. In cases like these CPR is only effective in 6% of the time. Defibrillators are a device that can dramatically improve the chances of survival in this situation. Tom might still be alive today if there had been a defibrillator at the sports club he was playing at. Some schools and sports grounds have taken it upon themselves to get a defibrillator, but there is nothing that makes it compulsory in law. In 2017 a Bill was presented to Parliament which would have made Defibrillators compulsory in schools, leisure centres, sports centres and major public places, but due to the 2017 election the Defibrillator (Availability) Bill was tabled never became law. We don’t want Tom’s death to be meaningless, so we have started this petition for this Bill to come into effect - we want to make sure all major public places are required by ław to have a cardiac defibrillator. To avoid other families going through the heartbreak of the loss of a child, please sign this petition to introduce defibrillators in public places. Thank you Alison and Kevin Cooney.      

Alison Cooney
606,485 supporters
Petitioning Matthew Hancock MP, Theresa Coffey MP

Make it compulsory to have a mental health first aider at work #wheresyourheadat

When I was 10 I started having panic attacks. Not knowing what was happening, I went to the doctor and was wrongly diagnosed with asthma. They had overlooked that my symptoms could be caused by something mental rather than something physical. I didn’t truly get the help I needed until I was in my thirties – and in the meantime, I developed toxic coping strategies including an eating disorder which lasted 7 years. I think a big part of the problem was that the people around me - doctors, teachers, family and employers - didn't know how to respond or care for me as they would have done if my illness had been physical.  I don’t want other people to suffer in silence as long as I did, so ever since I have been fighting to change our relationship with mental health - I’m a campaigner for better mental health support - and now I’ve joined forces in partnership with some of your favorite brands, from Heat magazine, Grazia and Empire, to Kiss FM, Magic Radio and Absolute Radio, to start this petition calling for all businesses and colleges to introduce mental health first aiders.  The workplace is where we spend most of our adult lives but unfortunately it’s also a place that, in my experience, mental well-being is the most neglected. We feel the need to soldier on when we are struggling with mental illness in a way we never would if we had the flu or broken a leg.  And this is reflected in our laws. Under the Health and Safety at work act, most workplaces have to train someone in medical first aid - it means if we come to work and end up getting hurt or sick, there’s someone that knows what to do. Unfortunately, despite statistics showing 1 in 4 of us struggle with mental health every year, most workplaces don’t have anyone on hand that knows how to help.  Evidence shows the earlier a mental health issue - like stress, anxiety or depression - is detected the easier it is to manage and treat.  By making it easier for people to talk about their mental health at work & and by training colleagues on site who know where to point people to get the help, we could dramatically improve the mental well-being of the country. Mental Health First Aid courses are available, and whilst most organisations don’t have them, those that do (like Unilever and Ford) have found them to be transformative. Please join me in calling on Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Amber Rudd to commit to updating the Health and Safety At Work Act to ensure that businesses have the same obligation to provide mental health first aiders as they do medical first aiders.  

Natasha Devon
211,949 supporters
Petitioning Matthew Hancock MP

A national grief day to remember those we've lost

I’m Stephen, also known as Professor Green. I’ve been speaking a lot about grief lately - the grief of losing my dad and my nan. The thing about grieving is, it never stops. It’s something you learn is part of life once you’ve encountered death. I realised when talking about this that it's something we aren't used in the UK. I put a call out for people to share photos of themselves with someone they’ve lost, using the hashtag # wishthatitookmorephotographsof us. The overwhelming and emotional response I got made me realise we desperately need to talk more about grief. I find it hard to believe we have had no other way of connecting our experiences of grief, no day on which we can celebrate the lives of those we mourn to remind us it’s okay to grieve, to stop us internalising our grief and sweeping it under the carpet until it manifests in a far more ugly way. That’s why I’m calling for a National Grief Awareness Day.This day will be an opportunity to call for more support and education around grief, and to give people a chance to remember and celebrate the lives of lost loved ones. It exists in the US already - there’s no reason we can’t do the same here. Christmas can be an extremely difficult time of year, when loved ones have been lost and feel more absent than ever. We are calling on the government commit to doing this by Christmas, and for the day itself to be around this time too.This petition is being backed by Cruse, the bereavement charity who offer support when someone dies. 

Stephen Manderson
111,869 supporters
Petitioning Matthew Hancock MP, Sajid Javid

Give Teagan access to medical cannabis now!!

My daughter Teagan has a very rare genetic epilepsy condition called Idic15. It can cause severe seizures which are unresponsive to almost any medications. She can have up to 300 seizures a day. It’s so severe that she's recently needed to be placed into and induced coma just to give her body a break. Teagan's seizures are resistant to all medication and she is severely ill. Teagan has now been in hospital for 21 days having life threatening seizures constantly. We are in London far from home with no understanding of when we’ll get home. We have asked our doctors to prescribe cannabis based medicines for Teagan either the pharmaceutical cbd only medicine Epidiolex or full extract oil such as Bedrocan. We are told both are unavailable to Teagan at this time. They will try for Epidiolexafter the 1st November 2018 when the Home Office intends to change the law allowing these prescriptions to happen, but have been advised this won't be the date we can physically have the medication. This situation is urgent we are asking the Secretary of State for Health to please help us to help Teagan by issuing urgent guidance and education for Specialist Doctors so they have the tools to make this happen for us. We feel they want to help but can’t because they have no support with it. Please sign and share this petition and help me make our family’s only wish come true. And please like our Facebook and Twitter pages Help For Teagan for all updates on Teagan's journey.Thank you x

emma appleby
74,318 supporters
Victory
Petitioning Matthew Hancock MP

Don't weaken the Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act established the broad principle that public bodies must release information if the public interest in doing so outweighs the public interest in it remaining secret. We, the undersigned, urge the Government not to do anything which would detract from that principle. In particular we urge you: to ensure that the Act continues to allow for the release of internal discussions at local and central government level when there is a public interest in doing so not to seek to create any new veto powers over the release of information not to introduce charges for Freedom of Information Act requests or appeals. Any charges could dramatically undermine the ability of requesters, including regional press journalists and freelances in particular, to use the Act to hold authorities to account. Investigative journalism is time-consuming, expensive and sometimes difficult to justify for news organisations which are under financial pressure. It needs to be nurtured and encouraged, for the benefit of society and democracy, not subject to Freedom of Information charges which would be effectively be a tax on journalism. This petition was launched by Press Gazette as part of the Society of Editors' Hands Off FoI campaign. It also has the backing of the Campaign for Freedom of Information. Note to signatories: If backing this on behalf of an organisation, or news title, please indicate which one you represent. If you are a journalist, please give your job title and organisation if you can. Please do so in the section where you are invited to share your reasons for signing the petition.

Dominic Ponsford - editor of Press Gazette
42,909 supporters
Petitioning Houses of Parliament, Matthew Hancock MP

Simon’s Law

My husband Simon Dobbin, was attacked by 12 thugs on March 21st 2015. This was an unprovoked attack that lasted 90 seconds, he was stomped on repeatedly. He suffered a cardiac arrest, it took paramedics 7 minutes to restart his heart  Simon now has hypoxic brain damage, he is unable to walk, talk or move independently, he is fed via a tube, he has a tracheostomy and needs Round the clock care. 12 men were charged and sentenced to prison for a violent public disorder, this sentence carries a maximum time of five years.but Simon has a life sentence. How can someone be clinically dead for 7 minutes and this be a violent public disorder?. The law needs to changed around theses cases, and a higher sentence given. I want the government to put Simon’s Law into  place. Simon’s law will state that If an individual is  charged and  found guilty of a violent public disorder, causing harm to any other, then a percentage of earnings through employment or benefits, are taken from them and paid back to our NHS for the rest of their lives hopefully this will be a deterrent and these crimes are drastically reduced, I’d hate to guess, but I’m sure it ran into hundreds and thousands of pounds to keep Simon alive and well enough for him to return home a year later. Simon’s Law will support any individual, and  our emergency services who are also on the receiving end of these crimes. Lets put Simon’s Law into place .

Nicole Dobbin
40,011 supporters
Petitioning Boris Johnson MP, Simon Stevens, Matthew Hancock MP, The Department for Health and Social Care, Dr Duncan Selbie, Prof Dame Sally Davies

Prevent Stillbirth and Preterm Labour by Monitoring Women who have had Cervical Treatment

On the 24th June 2019, at 26 weeks, my husband and I lost our baby girl. My cervix opened unexpectedly and infection got in. I had an emergency induction to get our baby out, but sadly it was all too much for her. Seeing our beautiful baby girl, Angel, lying peacefully in her pink flowery dress and knowing that we were not going to get to take her home was utterly heartbreaking and has left a void in our hearts that will never heal.  We now know that her death was due to an 'Incompetent Cervix' caused by the LLETS (loop electrosurgical excision procedure) treatment that I had, following an abnormal smear test. Presently, there are NO specific guidelines in place for the monitoring of women who have had this procedure. Thousands of women receive treatment for abnormal cervical cells each year and very few are made aware of the potential risks associated with this procedure. Research provided by Tommy's and Cancer Research suggests that many women are treated unnecessarily for changes that would otherwise have gone back to normal. When I had this treatment in 2015, I was not made aware that the treatment posed a potential risk in pregnancy.  During my pregnancy, I received no extra monitoring. I went into hospital on three different occasions, displaying symptoms including, back pain, light bleeding and vaginal pressure. Had an internal scan been carried out, the scan would have identified shortening of the cervix and a life saving stitch could have been placed.  My husband and I are campaigning for clear guidelines to be put in place for the monitoring of pregnant women who have had cervical treatment. Some hospitals have already implemented the changes needed, but it should be compulsory for all hospitals to monitor women at risk, more carefully. Women SHOULD receive cervical length scans from 14 to 26 weeks. These scans will identify potential cervical weakness and ensure that appropriate treatment is administered before the problem escalates.  1/4 of preterm deliveries are due to cervical weakness. Many of these babies do not survive. Please help us to prevent parents from experiencing the avoidable loss of a baby by signing our petition. Innocent babies' lives can be saved!     

Emma Louise Bird
7,910 supporters
Petitioning National Institute for Health & Care Excellence, Matthew Hancock MP, Boris Johnson MP

Dystonia needs to be recognised by all medical professions & occupational therapists

Dystonia is a neurological condition/illness/disability which cannot be cured, which affects 100,000 people across the UK including 8,000 children.. .  any many more worldwide, and yet this is misdiagnosed or simply not picked up by many doctors. Dystonia is caused by incorrect signals between the brain and the muscles, and can cause muscles to spasm, tremor, to lock in a fixed positions and can be very painful. It can affect people at any age, and can affect just one part of the body, or muscles all across the body. The impact of getting Dystonia can be massive and totally life-changing, but still awareness remains shockingly low. I want Dystonia to be recognised and understood everywhere, starting with doctors or other healthcare professionals being able to recognise it and get people the diagnosis and treatment that they need. To help make sure this happens I would like the Secretary of State at the Department of Health, Matt Hancock, to tell the National Institute for clinical excellence (NICE) to produce a guideline about Dystonia, so that across the health system it can be recognised and the right treatment and support made available. Already many people, including medics, have to "google" Dystonia to find out more about it. You can find out more here: www.dystonia.org.uk

Joanne Hillis
7,680 supporters
Petitioning Jeremy Corbyn MP, Matthew Hancock MP, Nicky Morgan MP

Stop Pharmacy apprenticeships destroying the profession and increasing burden on the nhs

The employer led proposal to introduce apprenticeships to train up pharmacists, is both short sighted and farcical. The proposal tries to find a solution to a problem, which doesn't exist. There is currently a surplus in pharmacists across the profession and pharmacists are on the wrong end of the supply vs demand situation. Locum pharmacists have seen a 30% drop in wages over the last decade while cost of living and inflation has increased. Apart from that there are a multitude of issues in regards to the proposal. The pharmacy degree is a broad qualification, and it's adherents are more than just experts on medication. They are health care professionals, with vast knowledge on health care. This can be seen by the new roles in which pharmacists are thriving, such as advanced clinical practitioners, prescribing pharmacists and various roles across the primary and secondary care sectors. The proposal doesn't explain how this would be addressed.  Apprenticeships don't lend themselves well to this sort of qualification, apprenticeships are good for less fluid crafts and skills. And pharmacy as a whole requires alot more theoretical learning than that of which an apprenticeship can provide. This proposal if successful could possibly produce lower calibre pharmacists, who would then work across different sectors including primary and secondary care. And any substandard performance could lead to deterioration of confidence in pharmacists from other healthcare professionals aswell as the general public.  The proposal only benefits big chain corporate pharmacy chains, who rely on volume to generate revenue. This simply doesn't work in other sectors of healthcare, a substandard workforce would potentially mean increased work load on primary and secondry care. The exact opposite of what all stake holders bar the pharmaceutical companies want. Ultimately this decision would harm everyone (patients, pharmacists, other health care professionals etc). It only benefits the multiples. Please join me in signing this petition to give a strong voice against these proposals. 

Faisal Khan
5,756 supporters
Save Further Education in Northumberland

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to this petition set up by Jacqui Dixon. We are focusing the skills budget where it can have most impact. This will focus on providing young adults with the skills they need for sustainable work, skills training for unemployed adults, and English and maths for all those who have yet to achieve a Grade A*-C, recognising these are essential requirements for sustainable employment. Apprenticeships and Traineeships will be a particular priority. Full funding rules are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sfa-funding-rules. Of course, older learners need additional help so we have made more funding available for Advanced Learning Loans, enabling learners to access support to help meet up-front fees, and removing one of the main barriers to learning. The petition suggests that in areas of high unemployment such as the North East, people are discouraged from taking on a government backed Advanced Learning Loan. Applications for loans in their first year of operation (over 66,000 to the end of April) have been strong. In recent meetings with providers and stakeholders from across the FE sector we received positive feedback on the way the loans programme has been implemented. I believe that Advanced Learning Loans provide an opportunity for individuals to undertake learning which should improve their employment prospects at no up-front cost and are only repayable when they are earning £21,000. For younger learners, our priority remains to provide a high-quality study programme for every 16-19 year old, especially 16 year olds who are now legally required to participate. To that end despite a decrease in the population of 16-18 year olds we will be funding in 2014/15 at least as many places as were filled in the academic year 2013/14. We will be reducing funding for 18-year-olds to £3,300 compared to £4,000 for 16- and 17-year-olds. Students without GCSE grade C in English or mathematics and those with statements of special education needs, learning disability assessments or education, health and care plans are excluded from this reduction. Full-time 18-year-olds will still be funded for programmes broadly the same size as the core element of programmes they undertook prior to 2013/14. For the academic year 2014/15 we will cap any losses resulting from this change to the funding for 18-year-olds at 2% of the institution’s programme funding, protecting more than 450 schools and colleges that would otherwise have lost more than 2% of their funding from the 18-year-olds funding reduction. Full funding rules are available at: https://www.gov.uk/16-to-19-education-funding-guidance. I appreciate that any budget reductions are unwelcome and Northumberland College, like all providers, will have had to re-prioritise its provision. However, in order to reduce the budget deficit, reductions to programme funding have been necessary and I believe that the funding priorities we have established are the right ones. The College’s 2014/15 Adult Skills Budget will be £3,092,460 plus an increased Advanced Learning Loan allocation of £756,036, representing a total £890,519 reduction. Its 16-19 budget will be reduced by £60,000 to £7,378,751 (excluding student support funding). One of our key funding priorities is Apprenticeships which equip people of all ages with the skills that employers need to compete and grow. I was therefore disappointed to read in the petition that small employers in the North East are reluctant to take on an apprentice due to bureaucracy. Small businesses are the cornerstone of our economy and high quality training opportunities like Apprenticeships are key to supporting their growth and success. Many small business employers already recognise the benefits of recruiting Apprentices and recent evidence suggests that about half of all Apprenticeship employers are small, with 1-24 employees. However, many small businesses are not engaged and are missing out on the opportunities that Apprenticeships offer for improving productivity and supporting sustainability and we want to address that. We are therefore making it easier to take on an Apprentice by cutting back on bureaucracy and replacing complex frameworks with simple standards set by employers. The Apprenticeship Grant for Employers also provides support for smaller employers taking on young apprentices aged 16-24. The Budget announced an additional £170 million funding over the next two years to support the current very high demand for the grant. The additional support will fund over 100,000 additional incentive payments. The grant has been particularly successful at removing barriers to smaller businesses taking on their first apprentices. Finally, I would like to pay tribute to the college and all the work it does in Northumberland, particularly in view of the employment and skills challenges facing people in the communities it serves. I know that local colleges play an important role in inspiring people and equipping them with the skills that they need to engage more successfully with their local labour markets. Matthew Hancock

5 years ago