I WAS drawn for oral Parliamentary Questions three times last week – ballots are drawn for each session of questions to ministers, although it is also possible to catch the speaker's eye.
The first opportunity was in defence questions where I focussed on the recently announced pivot by the United States from the Atlantic to the Pacific. This change of emphasis raises several issues but I wanted to be sure our ministers had been properly involved and Britain continued to be an active partner. This last point remains crucial to our interests in Asia and beyond.
My second question was to highlight the work of All Party Parliamentary Group on Vascular Disease. I helped to establish and also chair this group. Vascular disease is one of the most prolific and devastating diseases and, for several reasons, it happens to be a more serious problem in the South West. We produced a report to the Secretary of State for Health and I wanted to make sure it was being properly and seriously considered.
Our report made a number of points. Firstly, in terms of diagnosis and prevention, it is worth noting the groups of patients at the greatest risk, including sufferers from diabetes and obesity, and encouraging more screening. Next, is the question of treatment and widely held professional opinion we need more multi-disciplinary centres. The key objective is to avoid amputations and unnecessary suffering.
My third question was about the need to develop and retain a trained labour force for the forthcoming nuclear power new building programme. It has been some years since significant infrastructure investment has taken place so availability of specialist skills is variable.
Thankfully, Gloucestershire is prepared through initial plans to create a resource centre building on links with Berkeley Power Station and the ongoing work of the National Training Academy for Nuclear. I will continue to promote the development of such skills locally because of the employment opportunities they bring.
If you are interested in the issues raised above, contact me on 01453 751 572 or visit my website www.neilcarmichael.co.uk. You can also follow me on twitter @neil_mp.