Central Government Release Additional Funding for Local Social Care

It’s fantastic news that West Yorkshire has received over £8.6 million share from Central Government’s Discharge Fund. I’m pleased to hear that this money is now with Integrated Care Boards across our region and is ready make a difference to patients, their families, and their recovery.

Andrea champions new antibiotics

As a health campaigner Andrea has taken a keen interest in the findings of the O’Neill Review into Antimicrobial Resistance (resistance to antibiotics). AMR puts at risk the effectiveness of our existing antibiotics, as more infections become resistant to the treatments we currently have available. The Review recommends more research into developing new antibiotics to combat this.

Andrea recently met with Matoke Holdings who have developed Reactive Oxygen, which has shown to be a whole new class of antibiotics. This is obviously a very exciting development and one that Andrea wanted to champion in Parliament. 

She asked:

“I recently met biotech firm Matoke Holdings, which has developed a new technology—reactive oxygen technology. It has found that this technology forms the basis of a whole new generation of antibiotics that has been proven to combat multi-resistant bacteria, including MRSA.

“This is an incredibly exciting development. Will my hon. Friend and her team agree to meet Matoke Holdings to hear about the new technology and the pace at which it has developed? What are the Government doing to support research into new antibiotics?”

Jane Ellison, the Public Health Minister, replied:

“My hon. Friend will be aware that a key focus of the O’Neill review was how to incentivise the development of new antimicrobials. It is scary to think that there has not been a new class of antibiotics for some decades now.

“The Government are funding an extensive AMR research programme. Matoke Holdings ​has been in contact with the Department, and we are in the process of arranging a meeting to discuss reactive oxygen technology in the coming weeks.

“My ministerial colleague, the Under-Secretary of State for Life Sciences, has indicated that he would also be happy to have such a meeting.”

Commenting after Questions, Andrea said:

“I’m delighted the Government have recognised the potential impact of this exciting technology which can help with the fight against AMR.”

Ian Staples, chief executive of Matoke Holdings Ltd, said:

“We are very grateful to Andrea for championing Reactive Oxygen – a British innovation. She knows from personal experience how deadly superbugs are and the urgent need for new treatment and infection prevention strategies.”

Andrea questions new heads of NHS Improvement

Andrea today questioned the new Chair and Chief Executive of NHS Improvement as part of the Health Select Committee’s post-appointment hearing.

Andrea, who is also Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Patient Safety, questioned Chair Ed Smith CBE and Chief Executive Jim Mackey on foundation trusts, patient safety and safeguards for whistleblowers.

NHS Improvement has a wide brief and is one of a myriad of organisations that monitors and supports the NHS. Jim Mackey noted that they have a significant role in ensuring patient safety, while Mr Smith discussed requirements around foundation trusts.

Andrea pushed for clarity from both witnesses, moving the discussion on from simply talk of services and processes to how the organisation seeks to implement its key aims.

She also sought assurances that more would be done to protect whistleblowers. Both witnesses emphasised their own strong views on protecting whistleblowers and agreed that there should be adequate safeguards in place for people seeking to report incidents of poor practice or breaches.

The Health Select Committee meets once a week. Business for the next session is announced on the Committee’s website

Forty MPs back Andrea’s call for better hand hygiene

Andrea was joined by fellow MPs Emma Reynolds and Dr Philippa Whitford to launch the cross-party Handz campaign, supported by Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies.

The campaign aims to increase awareness of good hand hygiene by sending MPs into schools into their constituencies. With the support of 40 members from across the United Kingdom the campaign will have an unprecedented reach, building on previous campaigns by the UK and Scottish governments. 

Andrea has personal experience of loss as a result of poor hygiene in hospital, having lost her father to MRSA. Emma’s mother suffered from C.diff, and Philippa is a former consultant breast surgeon.

The campaign will continue for the next year, branching out into local care settings and hospitals with the help of politicians at all levels.

Also at the launch were representatives from the MRSA Action UK, the World Health Organisation, CMV Action UK and others.

Speaking at the event, Andrea discussed her own experiences and thanked all the members who have signed up for their support. She was followed by Dame Sally, who praised Andrea for her work on the campaign and discussed the importance of hand hygiene in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.

Emma and Philippa spoke of their past knowledge of hand hygiene, with Philippa bringing her experience as a former physician and discussing measures put in place to combat infections in Scotland.

John Hines from Deb Group, who are sponsoring the campaign, spoke about his organisation’s interest in combatting infections in hospitals and again praised Andrea for the work she is doing in the area.

Finally, MRSA Action UK’s Derek Butler spoke movingly about the impact of poor hand hygiene on families, and reminded everyone present that they themselves could at any point be put at risk of infection through poor hand hygiene.

Speaking after the event, campaign leader Andrea said:

“I was overwhelmed by the fantastic support we received from MPs from across the House.

“I’ve been planning this campaign since I lost my dad, so to see it have such a huge impact on its launch is so incredible.

“I’m so optimistic about what we can now achieve to combat the spread of infection.”

Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies said:

“I was incredibly impressed with the dedication and passion showed by Andrea and her colleagues in launching the campaign. I was thrilled by the number of MPs who have signed up.

“This is a vital part of the global fight against anti-microbial resistance, and I’m I am delighted to lend them my support.”

To find out more about the Handz campaign please go to the campaign website.

Andrea questions Jeremy Hunt on infection control

In today’s Health Oral Questions, Andrea took the opportunity to ask Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt about his Department’s plans to combat infection control in the community setting.

Infection control is a major area of interest for Andrea following the death of her father from the hospital superbug MRSA.

Andrea asked:

“I chair the all-party group on patient safety, in collaboration with the Patients Association. We are about to look into hospital infections, and in Parliament in November I will launch a hand washing campaign. What is the Department of Health doing to promote infection control outside hospital settings?”

Jeremy replied:

“I thank my hon. Friend for her great interest in this issue and for the campaigning she did before entering Parliament, which I know stemmed from personal tragedy. This is an incredibly important issue. We face a crisis in global healthcare as a result of anti-microbial resistance, which means the current generation of antibiotics is no longer as effective as it needs to be. Proper hygiene in hospitals is therefore vital, and we have a lot of plans that I will be happy to share with her.”

You can listen to the question and the Secretary of State’s response below.

Compassionate Healthcare


Fighting to end the post-code lottery of health inequality, so that every patient can access high quality health and social care.

MRSA Stole My Beloved Father From Me

My report in the Morley Observer and Wakefield Express

MRSA stole my beloved father from me

When Andrea Jenkyns’ dad died after contracting MRSA in hospital she decided more must be done to control the potentially-fatal bug.

When Andrea Jenkyns’ dad died after contracting MRSA in hospital she decided more must be done to control the potentially-fatal bug.

Clifford Jenkyns, 73, of Upton, had been admitted to Pinderfields Hospital for surgery when he caught MRSA in July 2011.

He had earlier been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, and a consultant in Sheffield said he could expect to live another 10 years after a lung operation.

But the MRSA infection prevented medics from carrying out the surgery. Mr Jenkyns was transferred to St James’ Hospital in Leeds and died in November 2011.

Miss Jenkyns, 40, said: “He had such a big heart. If he saw someone in the street he’d give them his last tenner.

“His energy and exuberance lit up the room. At the funeral everybody said once you’d met Clifford you’d never forget him. He was one in a million.” Miss Jenkyns said the family had struggled to come to terms with Clifford’s death.

She said: “He was my best friend really. We spoke about three times a day. “I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. He was such a big part of my life and such an inspiration.”

Following Clifford’s death Miss Jenkyns and her mum Valerie both joined MRSA Action UK, determined to make sure the same thing did not happen to other families.

Miss Jenkyns, who volunteers as a regional representative for the organisation, described addressing a medical professionals at a healthcare conference and asking them: “Do you believe that simply washing your hands can save a life?”

Miss Jenkyns said: “Shockingly, very few put their hands up to agree with this statement.

“I have personally seen doctors and nurses forget to wash their hands when treating patients, I have also seen visitors to hospitals not wash their hands when visiting loved ones.”

She has been working with Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust to raise awareness of MRSA and the need for hand washing and cleanliness.

Miss Jenkyns said: “It has got to be a priority for people and we need to change the culture so things are properly checked. “If we can get food hygiene in factories right, we should be able to do it in hospitals.” Derek Butler, chairman of MRSA Action UK, said families often found that MRSA was not listed on death certificates as the primary or secondary cause of death, even though it led to a loved one’s death.

He said: “I would encourage this. It might mean the infection rates would appear to go up, but it would help to highlight problems and how to avoid them in future.

“A similar system is used in other high-risk industries like air travel.”