Lyn Brown working hard for West Ham residents as she battles back from suspected coronavirus
PUBLISHED: 17:06 01 April 2020 | UPDATED: 17:06 01 April 2020
Coronavirus has rocked the UK, with deprived areas such as Newham particularly affected by a pandemic that has stolen jobs, closed schools and raised endless questions.
The borough has 250 confirmed cases so far, with West Ham MP Lyn Brown convinced she contracted the virus not long after health minister and Conservative MP Nadine Dorries tested positive for Covid-19 three weeks ago.
Though she still feels fatigued, Ms Brown is working hard from home to help her constituents.
“My staff team are brilliant,” she said. “We are fielding more calls from constituents; the issues include job losses, relatives stuck abroad and helping those with no recourse to public funds.”
Ms Brown hasn’t been tested; she explained that upon calling 111 she was told she would be, but wasn’t contacted after that.
The long-serving MP understands this, highlighting that “all the cuts made to the health service over the last ten years has made it harder for the NHS to respond”.
One positive, she said, is that the borough’s clinical commissioning group (CCG) has taken over the 111 helpline, meaning that GPs will now answer the phones.
Ms Brown added that her happiness about this change is “nothing against 111, they just couldn’t cope”, before emphasising that “this will improve the service to the people of West Ham”.
Though slightly frustrated to have not been tested, Lyn said she’s happy “to be in the same boat” as her constituents.
She wants the people of West Ham to know that she is fighting for them, challenging a government whose response she considers “slow”.
Ms Brown has written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, requesting an extra £10 per week in child benefit. She described the lack of measures for children as “one of the largest gaps”.
Pointing to the 4.2 million children in poverty in the UK, she argued the current amount “simply cannot perform the role it once did”.
Her parting message is of positivity and solidarity. Ms Brown asked people to donate to the West Ham foodbank if they can, before reserving special praise for The Magpie Project who help those in temporary accommodation.
The MP concluded by applauding a community that “always rises to the occasion”, asking them to remain “considerate of one another” during such a difficult time.
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