Nic Dakin MP

Standing up for Local People

News

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Two years after the first ever parliamentary debate on pancreatic cancer, Scunthorpe County MP Nic Dakin is still working to improve the lives of people with the disease, which 781 people in Yorkshire and the Humber are diagnosed with each year.

After losing her husband to pancreatic cancer, September 2014 saw local Scunthorpe resident Maggie Watts submit a petition calling for better awareness, swifter diagnosis and more research funding for pancreatic cancer, which achieved more than 106,000 signatures.

The petition led to the first ever debate about pancreatic cancer in parliament, which was co-sponsored by Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Pancreatic Cancer and local MP, Nic Dakin.

Two years on the APPG, spearheaded by Chair Nic Dakin, continues to work tirelessly to raise the profile of pancreatic cancer. Since its formation in 2012, the APPG has published two reports setting out a series of recommendations aiming to keep pancreatic cancer high on the political agenda and to influence policy to improve the lives of patients.

The most notable of the recommendations implemented so far has been the development of a National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Guideline and Quality Standard of pancreatic cancer care by medical professionals. The guideline will positively impact on patient experience and treatment and set a standard that anyone with pancreatic cancer should be able to expect, it is expected to be published in January 2018.

The APPG has also recommended that there is still a need for a significant increase in research funding for pancreatic cancer. While funding levels have increased from £7 million in 2014 to £10 million in 2016, only 1.4% of total cancer research spend is dedicated to the disease.

Nic Dakin said that while he has seen an improvement in the awareness and recognition of pancreatic cancer in the past two years, there is still plenty that needs to be achieved.

“Pancreatic cancer survival rates have barely improved for the past 40 years, with only a shocking five per cent of patients living for five years or more after diagnosis. For the 781 Yorkshire and the Humber residents who are diagnosed with the disease each year, we need to continue campaigning for better access to treatment, support and an increased investment in research. We are very proud of what we have achieved so far, but remain determined to continue working to make a real difference to people with pancreatic cancer and their families.” Mr Dakin said.

Head of Policy and Campaigns at Pancreatic Cancer UK, Preth Rao, said the determined campaigning of the APPG has been crucial to ensure pancreatic cancer remained on the political agenda and in the forefront of people’s minds.

“Pancreatic cancer is tough to diagnose, treat, research and survive, but we are taking it on by campaigning for change; for better care, treatment and research. The involvement of the APPG has been paramount in helping us to be a voice for everyone affected by this dreadful disease. It’s only by bringing together MPs, people with the disease and their families, researchers, and healthcare professionals across the UK that we can truly on this disease.” Ms Rao said.

Nic Dakin attended the most recent APPG meeting took place on September 14 and focused on pancreatic cancer treatments.

Pancreatic Cancer 2 Years On

Two years after the first ever parliamentary debate on pancreatic cancer, Scunthorpe County MP Nic Dakin is still working to improve the lives of people with the disease, which 781...

Today the Boundary Commission for England will be publishing their initial proposals for new constituencies in England.

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The initial proposals for the boundary changes first came under the Conservative- Lib Dem coalition, with the Conservatives pushing for the boundary changes to take place before 2015. However, their defeat in Parliament meant that 2018 would be the earliest time they would be implemented.

The boundary changes will reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 and that all constituencies must have electorates within 5% of the electoral quota (with the exception of four island seats).  This is the total number of voters in the UK divided by the total number of constituencies. For the 2018 Review, this means constituencies must have electorates between 71,031 and 78,507.

The figures that are being used to calculate the number of electors in a constituency, however, are not accurate. The calculations are based on a snapshot of the electoral register from December 2015 but since then more than 2 million voters have signed the electoral register. I am concerned there are people locally, and nationally, who are being ignored and left out of the calculations.

In the Yorkshire and the Humber region this means that the existing constituencies will be reduced from 54 to 50. The report shows that the only change that has been made to the Scunthorpe constituency is the addition of Burringham and Gunness, and Burton upon Stather and Winterton. You can see the proposals for Scunthorpe, and the whole of England here www.bce2018.org.uk

You can have your say about these changes by giving the Commission their views on these proposals during the 12-week consultation period, which starts today, either via the commission website or in person at public hearings which will be held at:

13th – 14th October - Leeds

17th – 18th October - Sheffield

20th – 21th October - Northallerton

24th – 25th October - Hull

 

Boundary Changes

Today the Boundary Commission for England will be publishing their initial proposals for new constituencies in England.   The initial proposals for the boundary changes first came under the Conservative-...

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Do you have to be Superman/Superwoman to be US President?

Are you studying politics?

Are you 16 or over?

Will be studying during the academic year 2016-17?

If so, you might be interested in the Political Studies Association (PSA)’s Schools’ Short Video Competition. The winners will receive their award at the PSA’s Annual Awards Ceremony in Westminster. 

This year’s competition asks students to explore the question: "Do you have to be Superman/Superwoman to be US President?”. Groups of students are invited to submit short videos on this subject, examining what attributes are necessary to be a political leader and advantages and disadvantages of presidential systems.

CEO of the Political Studies Association, Helena Djurkovic, said: “The personalities and conduct seen throughout the US presidential campaigns means we are guaranteed to see some interesting entries as the race to the White House heats up.’’

“The competition is a great way for students to develop new skills, explore their creativity and get in touch with contemporary political issues. The added training that winning teams get from YouGov - at the heart of political polling and public opinion monitoring - makes this initiative ever more worthwhile.”

Shortlisted groups will be invited to The Speaker’s House in the Palace of Westminster to discuss the ideas raised in their video with a panel of politicians, journalists and academics.  Previous jurors have included Baroness Doreen Lawrence and Victoria Derbyshire.

This year’s ceremony takes place on 29 November in London and accommodation is provided for the winning group and their teacher in central London.  On top of this, the winning students get a week’s work experience with the YouGov political team during their school holidays.

Full competition details for 2016 and how to enter are published on the PSA’s website at:  www.psa.ac.uk

The Political Studies Association’s Schools’ Short Video Competition.

Do you have to be Superman/Superwoman to be US President? Are you studying politics? Are you 16 or over? Will be studying during the academic year 2016-17? If so, you...

Sutton_Trust_Logo.jpgThe Sutton Trust pushes social mobility at the top of the political agenda. Their aim is to ensure the most able and disadvantaged young people have access to the best educational and career opportunities.

As a result, The Sutton Trust have introduced a variety of summer schools which allows bright students from low and middle income backgrounds a taste of life at a leading university and the chance to see what it is like to live and study as an undergraduate student. The aim is to de-mystify elite universities and to equip students with the knowledge and insight on how to make high quality applications to these universities.

There is the opportunity for students to get to visit universities such as Bristol, Cambridge, Durham and St Andrews, which more than 2,000 students in this country experienced through the summer school programme. The Sutton Trust covers all programme costs, including residential events, accommodation and travel and there are introductory events and application support in the UK before and after the trip.

They also have Pathways in Coding, STEM, medicine and law.

Pathways to Coding has been established to widen access to the digital sector where there are major skill shortages in the fields of technology and coding.

The Pathways to Law programme was set up in 2006 by The Sutton Trust and The Legal Education Foundation, with support from major law firms, to inspire and support academically-able students in years 10 to 13 from non-privileged backgrounds interested in a career in law.

Pathways to STEM has been established to widen access to STEM degrees and the wide range of careers they open up. The Pathways to STEM programme supports academically able low and middle-income state school students to access the most selective STEM university courses and provide them with the foundation for a STEM career through the development of soft skills, a work placement, careers advice and a mentor.

Applications to these pathways are open now.

These and pathways are a great opportunity for young people in the constituency to get involved with. I hope it can improve aspirations and show that it doesn’t matter what your income or background is; you can apply to university if you wish to and you can study at some of the most esteemed universities in the UK.

4 people from Scunthorpe have been successful in gaining a place on the programmes, if you wish to look further into these summer schools or pathways or even look into applying to one, then visit http://www.suttontrust.com/

Sutton Trust Summer Schools and Pathways

The Sutton Trust pushes social mobility at the top of the political agenda. Their aim is to ensure the most able and disadvantaged young people have access to the best...

Dakin.jpgYesterday I held a debate on the idea of ‘mindfulness’ and I hope that in the future this can be adopted as part of a child’s education.

Childhood is a time for acquiring life skills alongside academic knowledge. Good schools teach young people how to keep their bodies fit, encouraging habits of regular exercise and healthy diet in order to promote good physical health throughout the life-span. Exercise is good for us – and we teach it to our children without hesitation. But as I insisted in the debate, of equal if not greater importance to a child’s long-term wellbeing behaviour, is the equivalent cultivation of good mental health. And that the training of attention is the foundation on which this cultivation rests.

Emphasis on attainment and educational standards is of course vital. But in a changing social climate of complex pressures and spiralling mental ill-health among young people, it is no longer quite enough. A robust solution to these endemic issues must be sought.

32.3% of 15-25 year olds are suffering from one or more mental health difficulties and in adults the use of anti-depressants has increased by over 500% in the past 20 years in the UK. This shows that mental health is a serious issue which needs to be addressed.

You may well be familiar by now with the case for mindfulness – the growing body of scientific evidence for its benefits to resilience, concentration, and the relief of anxiety to name but a few. It’s my firm belief that this evidence-based approach to mental wellbeing has a vital part to play in the way we prepare our children for life. After hearing different cases of mindfulness being successful, and having experienced a mindfulness course myself, I believe that it should be taught in schools. If teachers can go through a course of teaching mindfulness then hopefully they can pass this on to their pupils, and in turn improve their mental health. By improving people’s mental health when they are children, it is likely to reduce the potential of them having mental health issues when they are older.

The debate was very positive, with other MPs intervening and the Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families in agreement that mindfulness does seem to have been successful in places where it has been administered.  The Minister even suggested going into a school to take part in a mindfulness course himself. Hopefully there is a future for this in our children’s education.

Mindfulness in Schools

Yesterday I held a debate on the idea of ‘mindfulness’ and I hope that in the future this can be adopted as part of a child’s education. Childhood is a...

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