Barnoldswick & Earby Times, Colne Times and Nelson Leader Column: Friday 12th October 2018

My weekly column from 12 October

Last week, I visited the Boots in Colne, organised by Community Pharmacy Lancashire to talk about how pharmacies can be a first port of call for advice on matters to do with our health. Pharmacies can play a key role in taking pressure away from local GP’s and Urgent Care services. Often, an appointment or visit could have been handled more appropriately and quicker at a pharmacy.

With winter approaching and temperatures falling, I was reminded of the importance of getting a flu jab, available for free to many people. Anyone over 65, pregnant, with certain medical conditions, living long-term in a care home, or who is the main carer for an elderly or disabled person can get the jab for free on the NHS. Frontline health and social care workers are also eligible.

The NHS flu jab is delivered by pharmacies. However, anyone wanting to protect themselves and those around them who are not eligible can usually pay for a jab at their local pharmacy too. I’ll be getting mine done soon.

Another seasonal concern is the risk of flooding in towns such as Earby, which has been badly hit in recent years. I am keeping a close eye on works being undertaken to better protect the town in future, working closely with the Environment Agency on helping them address the issues they are dealing with in delivering the project. I have been frustrated by some of the delays but found a site visit I undertook last month useful and encouraging.

An investigation by tunnelling specialists on a particularly tricky blockage under the Station Yard business park has been completed recently, with a plan of action due to be agreed on very shortly. I continue to push for the quickest possible progress as heavy rains could come any time.

Finally, in what has been a typically busy week in Westminster, it was a real privilege to join other MPs at a Parade on Wednesday to welcome home 120 British Army soldiers recently returned from operations abroad. The Prime Minister spoke and I was reminded of the incredible bravery of those who risk their lives in serving to protect us, and our country.