Nicola Blackwood MP
- Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament for Oxford West and Abingdon
Nicola Blackwood MP
- Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament for Oxford West and Abingdon
Provide free menstrual products in UK schools! #PeriodPotential
When I was 12 and on my period, I was forced to borrow menstrual products from my school friends or use tissue, as I felt too guilty to ask my mum for money. I knew we didn't have much money, and I also knew how expensive they were. This carried on through college. I would go to reception and tell them I was unable to attend the rest of my classes as I had started my period. They said that I could buy sanitary products in the bathrooms, but my maintenance allowance (EMA) was spent on ensuring I was able to eat. When I became really desperate I would save my lunch money to buy them instead of eating. Stories like mine are becoming more common, and it’s even worse now that EMA no longer exists. Children in the UK are missing school because they are unable to afford sanitary products, with some being absent for a week every month. This has enormous effect on their education and future job prospects. A bill is about to go through the Scottish Parliament to make it a requirement for Scottish schools to provide free pads and tampons. We call on the Prime Minister, Theresa May, to make sure sanitary products are free in schools across the UK schools. Teachers are even taking the issue into their own hands and paying for students’ sanitary products out of their own pocket - but because of the stigma surrounding periods, many students will feel unable to ask for help. This taboo needs to end with proper education, but first, free sanitary items need to be provided, so that no one has to miss school because of their period. That's why the National Union of Teachers are backing this campaign. Tampons and pads are necessities, not luxuries, so just as toilet paper is provided in schools for free, so should sanitary items. This is something that has already been recognised in New York, where free tampons are available in schools. I am part of the Fourth Wave: London Feminist Activists, who are leading this campaign. Please sign and join us to ensure all children achieve their #PeriodPotential Follow the Fourth Wave: London Feminist Activists on Twitter and Facebook - we'd love to hear from you. To contact us, and for our press release, please email: email@example.com  Girls 'too poor' to buy sanitary protection missing school - www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39266056  Holyrood Member's Bill aims to tackle period poverty - www.heraldscotland.com/politics/15157921.Holyrood_Member_s_Bill_aims_to_tackle__period_poverty_/  'Menstrual equity': Free tampons for New York City schools and jails - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-36597949 News coverage on the issue: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39266056 www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/girls-skipping-school-periods-cant-afford-tampons-sanitary-pads-a7629766.html www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/british-schoolgirls-skip-school-every-month-because-they-cant-afford-tampons-a3490201.html www.tes.com/news/school-news/ breaking-news/greening-look- free-sanitary-products- poorest-pupils www.theguardian.com/society/ 2017/mar/17/girls-from-poorer- families-in-england-struggle- to-afford-sanitary-protection
STOP vaccination with the Influenza Nasal Spray Vaccine in our schools.
Schools are establishments for Education NOT places for Mass Vaccination * GM strains of influenza used in the nasal spray flu vaccine have NEVER been studied for safety. * There may be a risk of inhalation of particles to those not consenting to the vaccine. * Recently vaccinated children can transmit the flu to others within their community. The nasal spray flu vaccine (Fluenz Tetra or Flumist Quadrivalent) currently administered to Early Years children in UK primary schools annually. 1 This new vaccine is genetically modified (GM) and contains four strains of live influenza virus designed to replicate in the nasal passage. 2. It has a Black Triangle label, which means it requires active surveillance. 3. It should therefore be administered in medical establishments such as GP surgeries, community health clinics, or hospitals where a nurse will have full access to medical records and where parents can be present during the procedure so they can seek specific advice regarding their individual child's health. By administering it to children in schools, the Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine Programme directly violates the Secretary of State’s declaration in The Health Protection (Vaccination) Regulations 2009 which says there is no provision for imposing or enabling any restriction or requirement which has, or would have, a significant effect on a person’s rights. 4. Mass vaccination of children with this nasal spray, in a school environment, puts the health of staff, other pupils and their families at risk because ‘the virus has the potential for transmission’ peaking at ‘2-3 days post vaccination in clinical studies’. 5. Public Health England claim that shedding from a recently vaccinated person is negligible but it has been proven, in both school and laboratory settings, that flu vaccine strains have been transmitted to other children and staff.6 7 Even the manufacturers advise that people who are immune-compromised should not come into contact with a recently vaccinated child8. which suggests that there is indeed some risk of transmission. The spread of particles from the nasal spray has not been studied during such mass vaccination programmes so we do not know the effect it may have on non-consenting children and staff. As it contains gelatine made from pork this may have an impact on those observing Halal practice. We therefore believe that Local Education Authorities should not penalise those parents who have made a fully informed decision wishing to exercise the precautionary principle by removing their children from school for the period of vaccination and vaccine shedding. AstraZeneca, one of the manufacturers of this product, has been fined on several occasions for improper and illegal false drug claims and patent fraud.9 Whether the mass vaccination of children in schools even protects them from influenza is unknown. In 2015 the flu vaccine was effective in just 3% of cases10. Dr Tom Jefferson, the lead author of the Cochrane Review on Vaccine for Preventing Influenza in Healthy Children, states that "influenza vaccines are about marketing not science."11 12 13 We object to vaccines being administered in places of education. The mass vaccination of children in schools is a potentially unsafe procedure. Let's stop this happening in UK schools. References: (1). For the first time, the youngest primary school children in 17,000 schools will be eligible to receive the free nasal spray vaccine, making this the largest school-based vaccination programme ever in England. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/winter-campaign-starts-with-largest-flu-vaccination-programme (Accessed: 21 January 2016) (2). Each vial of Fluenza Tetra vaccine mist contains 10 million ‘genetically modified organisms’ for each nostril of each of four strains of reassorted live attenuated. That's 80 million viruses per dose, designed to replicate inside a child's nasal passages. Summary of product characteristics, Fluenz Tetra nasal spray suspension influenza vaccine (live attenuated, nasal), 4.4 Special warnings and precautions for use, updated 3rd Sept 2015 http://www.medicines.org.uk/emcmobile/medicine/29112/spc (Accessed: 21 January 2016) (3). https://www.gov.uk/drug-safety-update/the-black-triangle-scheme-or (4). In accordance with section 45Q(3) of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, the Secretary of State declares that he is of the opinion that these Regulations do not contain any provision made by virtue of section 45C(3)(c) of that Act which imposes or enables the imposition of a special restriction or requirement or any other restriction or requirement which has or would have a significant effect on a person’s rights. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2009/38/pdfs/uksi_20090038_en.pdf (Accessed: 21 January 2016) (5). "The highest proportion of subjects in each group shed one or more vaccine strains on Days 2-3 post vaccination". Although some of the children who received the Fluenz vaccine remained contagious for up to 28 days. Flumist Quadrivalent, Package Insert, PDF, Page 15, Transmission Study http://www.fda.gov/downloads/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/UCM294307.pdf (Accessed: 21 January 2016) (6). ‘With documented transmission of one Type B in one placebo subject and possible transmission of Type A viruses in four placebo subjects’ http://www.fda.gov/downloads/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/UCM294307.pdf (Accessed: 21 January 2016) (7). However, the risk of transmission is not only to the seriously immunocompromised contacts. There has been confirmed transmission of a vaccine strain to a child in a school setting. This means that a non-vaccinated child not consenting to the vaccine could potentially contract the vaccine strain anyway. A randomized, double-blind study of the safety, transmissibility and phenotypic and genotypic stability of cold-adapted influenza virus vaccine, Vesikari T, Karvonen A, Korhonen T, Edelman K, Vainionpää R, Salmi A, Saville MK, Cho I, Razmpour A, Rappaport R, O'Neill R, Georgiu A, G. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16804427 (Accessed: 7 August 2016) (8). Whilst it is a weakened version of the virus, it is still possible to catch the flu from it. "Vaccine recipients should be informed that Fluenz Tetra is an attenuated live virus vaccine and has the potential for transmission to immunocompromised contacts." https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/medicine/29112 (Accessed: 21 January 2016) (9). The company paid a fine of $520 million to the U.S. Department of Justice for illegally promoting Seroquel and settled thousands of lawsuits involving Seroquel for $647 million. https://www.drugwatch.com/manufacturer/astrazeneca/ (Accessed: 7 August 2016) (10). The year’s flu vaccine effective in only 3% of cases. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-31155332 (updated 5th Feb 2015, accessed 15th Jan 2016) Vesikari T1, Karvonen A, Korhonen T, Edelman K, Vainionpää R, Salmi A, Saville MK, Cho I, Razmpour A, Rappaport R,O'Neill R, Georgiu A, Gruber W, Mendelman PM, Forrest B; CAIV-T Transmission Study Group. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2006 Jul;25(7):590-5, PMID: 16804427. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16804427 (Accessed: 21 January 2016) (11). The Cochrane Review on Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy children published in 2012 reviewed 75 studies on flu vaccines with about 300,000 observations. It found "extensive evidence of reporting bias of safety outcomes from trials of live attenuated influenza vaccines (LAIVs) [which] impeded meaningful analysis" and "evidence of widespread manipulation of conclusions and spurious notoriety of studies." http://www.cochrane.org/CD004879/ARI_vaccines-for-preventing-influenza-in-healthy-children (Accessed: 21 January 2016) (12). Doshi, a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, argues that the vaccine might be less beneficial and less safe than has been claimed, and the threat of influenza appears overstated. ‘Expert questions US public health agency advice on influenza vaccine’, published 16th May 2013. http://www.bmj.com/press-releases/2013/05/16/expert-questions-us-public-health-agency-advice-influenza-vaccines (Accessed: 21 January 2016) (13). Is the government wrong about giving children the nasal spray flu vaccine? Luisa Dillner, 15th Oct 2015. http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/oct/05/government-wrong-nasal-spray-vaccine (Accessed 22 January 2016)
The NMC and it's subtle destruction of the nursing profession
Nursing must have a regulator. However as we have seen in recent media coverage the current system is failing miserably. It is neither protecting the public or the registrants and ultimately is putting both group's lives at risk.The current systems leaves it wide open to abuse by vexatious managers or colleagues with a grudge. Many registrants are referred on allegations that are not evidenced based and even if the NMC finds no case to answer at the end of their investigation the damage has already been done. The NMC decisions affects nurses who have previously had no issues raised and unblemished careers, many for a number of decades. The profession is struggling to retain experienced nurses and midwives. Recent figures show up to 45% increase in nurses leaving the profession than joining it. The current Ftp process has resulted in nearly 10,000 registrants being removed from the register since 2008 and currently a registrant has a 1 in 20 chance of being struck off. Many who go through the FtP leave the profession as a result. In a small survey we conducted has found: - 62% of respondents stated that their mental health was the most affected by referral to NMC- 64% stated they did not know where to go for support- 100% stated having difficulty sleeping- 90 % stated poor self confidence- 80% stated difficult trusting people- 77% stated they had feelings of paranoia More than half admitted to having some suicidal thoughts and all stated that they were never the same as prior to referral. The current system creates fear and a lack of transparency as nurses are in fear of their regulator. A process of luck and decent employer determines whether you are called in-front of the NMC. Some moves have been made with the Morecambe Bay Investigation and the PSA report into it https://www.professionalstandards.org.uk/docs/default-source/publications/nmc-lessons-learned-review-may-2018a0851bf761926971a151ff000072e7a6.pdf?sfvrsn=6177220_0 however so far nothing has changed in the process and daily between 30 & 80 registrants ( nurses and midwives ) undergo hearings at the NMC at a cost of £13,000 per case. We need 100,000 signatures for this to be raised in Parliament and taken seriously as an issue affecting and destroying our profession. PLEASE sign and share and share and let's get it changed for the better as ultimately the only people who will suffer are our patients.
Make contraception safe for women and men
It’s 2016. Why do we still struggle to have effective safe birth control methods, where both sexes have responsibility over their reproductive health? As young women wanting to have control over our reproductive health, we feel it comes at far too great a cost. It has made us wonder, why is the onus placed on women, and why is male contraception still unavailable? Furthermore, why must we risk our health to prevent unwanted pregnancy? That is why, we call on the UK government to make contraception safer. This recent article published by The Independent on the Friday 28th October 2016, illustrates that contraception deserves more attention. It discusses the year-long trial of a male contraceptive injection, that was carried out on 320 men. Of these, 20 experienced ‘unbearable’ side effects including: depression/mood swings and acne. This led to the trial being halted, while further research is conducted to reduce these symptoms. Below are the side effects of the most popular and long-standing female contraceptive pill, Microgynon 30: Less serious side effects: nausea, stomach pain, depression/mood swings, weight gain, painful breasts, headaches. Serious side effects: harmful blood clots i.e. deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism, heart attack, stroke, breast cancer, cervical cancer, mini-stroke, blood clots in liver, stomach/intestine, kidneys or eye. Ultimately, this illustrates the inequality that pervades reproductive health; female contraceptives, which are currently available pose far greater health risks. Despite this, there has been no effort to revise female contraception and make safer, more favourable alternatives than those available now. It is not ok that such health risks are posed to women. We call upon the UK Government to: Revise contraceptives currently available and ensure that contraception is a safe and shared responsibility. Improve education on female contraception, and the side effects/health risks that are entailed. Please sign this petition, and help push to make contraception safer for all. Thank you, Cleo & Jess
NEW FIRE SAFTEY LAWS FOR ALL RESIDENTIAL HOMES
To those doctors,
To those doctors, you know who you are, right? The ones that turn people away when they can't even leave the house. The ones that can look someone in the eye and tell them that they are fine, just after they attempted suicide. The ones that make people feel so damn uncomfortable, in a place that they are supposed to feel safe in. You, were the ones that were supposed to help us. How much do you know about mental health? I'm assuming you've read the books, done the training and all of that. But how much do you know? Do you know how much courage it takes to bring yourself to an appointment and open up the darkest parts of yourself to a stranger? Do the books explain that? Do you know how it feels to live with a condition that is frowned upon in society, to finally put your trust into someone, and then be refused help? Does the training teach you how that feels? See, you are most of the time our only chance of survival. You work each day to keep people well. And yet, so many people will not face the first step in their recovery. Coming to you. Mental illness is a battle just as significant as any battle with physical illness. I was turned away at 12 years old, with such crippling anxiety I couldn't go to school. My friend attempted suicide, and her doctor told her she was fine and did not require help. My best friend is scared to go back to the doctors, scared to be made uncomfortable and to justify how she feels again. "This disease comes with a package: shame. When any other part of your body gets sick, you get sympathy.” - Ruby Wax. Awareness is increasing. There are more talks, there are more charities, there are more people that are beginning to understand. Prince's William and Harry are acknowledging that mental health needs help, isn't it about time that every GP understands that aswell? That they understand that every person that comes to them with their mental health issue has had to face a huge challenge. If someone can face that amount of dread and nerves, can you begin to imagine how much their illness impacts their lives? Its time that GP's took notice that seeing them is the first crucial step in someone's recovery, and should not be the step that makes them give up entirely. Please sign and let's come together to ask that GP's treat mental illness correctly and equally. "Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways." #SpeakUpStandUp #MentalHealthAwareness
Plastic bottle deposit scheme in the UK to encourage recycling
Many countries have a bottle deposit scheme. This means you pay a small deposit for the bottle packaging at the shop and, if you return the bottle later, you can get that deposit money back again. It works a little bit like the 5 pence charge on plastic bags, except, in this case - you can get the money back if you recycle! I experienced this when I lived in Germany and it works for a number of reasons: 1. It encourages recycling. In 2017, of the 38 countries that have this scheme, return rates were as high as 95%. (See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxeWGVsm818) 2. It's great when you get a little money back! 3. Homeless people and anyone strapped for cash help out. Though I hate to think people are using this as their main source of income, it does work towards solving the environmental issue. People would actually come up to you and offer to recycle the bottle for you. 4. Supermarkets get customers coming back to their stores because often the bottle deposit machine is placed inside their stores. 5. It stops plastic bottles entering our oceans which is better for marine life and also for your beach holidays. So why don't we have this in the UK? I'd like to know because, Greenpeace shares, 35 million bottles get discarded every day in the UK. Please sign this petition to create change and stop waste. It's easy to be sceptical about how much a petition can really change things but: - this petition will be shared with many politicians, courtesy of Change.org - this petition will also encourage the University of Nottingham to trial and showcase how a plastic bottle deposit scheme could work for the rest of the UK. - If you want to see some examples of petitions that were successul in creating change, go to: https://www.change.org/en-GB/victories I also encourage sign Greenpeace's petition on the same topic, to create double the impact: https://secure.greenpeace.org.uk/page/s/bottle-deposit After researching the pros and cons of this scheme in other countries, I have developed a list of solutions to potential problems the UK may face when developing this scheme. Hence, this petition: 1. Does not support the collection of the bottles by any means that is not sustainable. (I.e. they must, for example, be collected by cars powered by electric made by a renewable source, or, by cycling couriers) 2. Supports including an option to give to charity on the machine. Upon every return machine there is a button which you can press which gives the money to charity instead of to yourself. For this, you don't get a reciept. They have a system like this at a university in Scotland and this lessens the amount of receipts printed. (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Se-eWJcogQ&list=WL&index=96&t=1s) 3. Supports having a receipt-free machine. Rather than a receipt, this petition supports the money coming directly from the machine to stop wasting paper. 4. Supports a policy whereby those companies which are contributing highly to plastic waste, they must account for the cost of the deposit the customer would usually pay themselves. I.e. If company wants to sell their product in a completely non biodegradable plastic, they cannot demand that the consumer pay the deposit. Then, the customers simply get extra pocket money for recycling it. For every apparent problem, there must be a way of finding a solution! I'd love to hear other people's suggestions. :) Cheers for reading!
Gaza is collapsing..where are the human rights..
Gaza, a small Palestinian city, where more than two million people live! Besieged from all sides, from land, sea, and air, "Arab, Israeli and American siege." Small Gaza where Palestinians are living refugees who have been displaced from their country occupied by Israel. There are thousands of patients and humanitarian cases need to travel for treatment, all crossings are closed. No travel, no life, nothing, everything collapses,Where are human rights, where are international organizations, where are international courts!Gaza has gone through three wars "2008, 2009, 2012,2014".Every day the children, women and men of Palestine are subjected to arrest, murder and displacement!Palestinian resistance is a legitimate right of the Palestinian people of all kinds. The Palestinian resistance must be supported in order to defend the Palestinian people and repel the occupation.There must be a united position in order to stand by besieged Gaza.The pictures and videos that are published every day summarize the story of pain and pain there.We must stop supporting the Israeli occupation that commits massacres against the Palestinian people.Gaza deserves life, Gaza deserves full support, Gaza deserves to defend it.The occupation must leave the land of the Palestinians.You must move to stand before your responsibilities towards Gaza and the oppressed people of Palestine.
Comprehensive education in school of the female menstrual cycle
I was on the contraceptive pill from the age of 15 or 16 (now 16 years ago), and from then I got put on the implant. I have since come off all forms of contraception because of the effect it was having on me. To put this in to perspective, the pill made me angry/depressed/uncontrollable/anxious, and it's hard to work out at a young age whether these are just your hormones (ie. you), or whether it's down to the hormones you are pumping your body full of. With the implant, which I was on for 7 years, I ended up a zombie. I felt nothing. No highs or lows. Just existing. This last year I have come off all forms of contraception and I have taken to researching and educating myself on my own body. I think this is necessary in school. I didn't have any education on how your menstrual cycle works, the 5 day period where you are highly fertile and the symptoms of that, and also how it affects your mood- so I can actually tell it's me who is slightly psychotic or if it's hormones. At school my only education on the subject was in Biology. I think the country would save thousands in the cost of pills, you'd have less girls suffering from depression (known to be linked to the pill), and we would all be more aware of our bodies, also meaning we can spot when something is wrong. It has been far too easy for the pill to be prescribed to girls, yes it may be necessary in some cases, but we are being handed it out for everything- skin conditions, anxiety, depression, to control weight...I can go on and on. It's scary really. Pumping out bodies full of chemicals should not be the solution to so many problems. In fact it's creating more issues. In an era where women are starting to take back control of themselves, I think this is a vital step to ensuring we have control and knowledge of how our bodies work (because they are amazing), and start opening our eyes to the dangers of the pill/implant.
End the fire services pay freeze and give them the rise they deserve
Our fire service are everyday hero's. They are a treasure to our nation and work tirelessly to keep us all safe. They work so hard to keep us all safe, but their value is not reflected in their pay deals. They have had a 5 year pay freeze, which is completely unacceptable. After recent events in London, where their service has been invaluable, I ask they get what they deserve. Thresea May, I ask you personally for this. Please give the fire service their pay rise. A fair one. It can come out of the mps pay rise budget. I'm sure they would be happy to donate it to the fire service that keeps them, their children and our country safe.