Harlow MP Robert Halfon responds to criticism over PPE

News / Sun 19th Apr 2020 pm30 02:26pm

AS WE have published a letter from the leader of Harlow Council, cllr Mark Ingall to Harlow MP Robert Halfon, we have duly published Mr Halfon’s response.


Dear Councillor Ingall,

Thank you for your letter on Labour Party headed paper, which you press-released to our local newspaper Your Harlow. I am responding publicly as I have been asked for comment by the Editor.

First, can I begin by thanking Harlow Council workers for their extraordinary support at this time – and also Councillors Eugenie Harvey and Joel Charles for joining with me on the regular community coordinated teleconference meetings, which I established over three weeks ago, to help Harlow’s vulnerable. Our first meeting was face to face at the Harlow Enterprise Hub on 19 March – just a few days before the lockdown. It is hard to believe how much the world has changed since then.

The efforts of Harlow Community organisations and volunteers have been extraordinary. They are the truest of Coronaheroes. They provide real hope amidst the gloom.

Second, I want to use this opportunity again to thank our Care Home Staff and everyone at our NHS Princess Alexandra Hospital and our GP surgeries. They are doing everything possible to protect us. Those who have lost their lives: the patients, residents and staff in our hospital and Care Homes are tragedies. The sorrow of their families and friends will be forever. I have called for an annual national day of Remembrance when the crisis is over, so that the deaths of so many will never be forgotten.

Third, in reference to the issue of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): The Government has ensured – despite world wide problems with PPE supplies – the distribution of 923 million pieces of PPE thus far : to hospitals, care homes and hospices. As I write this response, eighty-four tonnes of PPE is arriving from overseas and more will be on its way. Online Portals and hotlines are established to help those who need access to urgent PPE. I am glad that the Government has said it will spend whatever it takes to look after the NHS at this time. The new Nightingale coronavirus hospital is proof of that, as are other Nightingale hospitals around the country.

In my regular discussions with Princess Alexandra Hospital, they have told me they have adequate supplies of PPE, as have some other Harlow Care Homes which I have spoken to. Tye Green Lodge Care Home which has endured enormous loss of life, tragedy and suffering, assured me they have the supplies of PPE they require. As Chair of the Commons Education Committee, I have also written to the Secretary of State, urging teachers working with vulnerable pupils to have access to PPE as soon as possible. I will continue to do all I can to ensure access for PPE to all who need it.

Fourth, I would like to respond to your press release in a wider way. Winston Churchill represented Harlow and Epping as MP during the Second World War. At the time he worked closely with the respected Labour Leader Clement Attlee. Across the country in this period, hundreds of Conservative and Labour MPs and Councillors (and those of other parties), also worked together.

We are in a similar situation today – a third world war against an invisible enemy – the Coronavirus. This is an unprecedented world pandemic. I would urge you to work together with me at this time of national emergency, and resist the temptation to issue ‘open letters’ or Labour Party press releases, twisting what a Government Minister has said out of context.

For this reason, I won’t be responding to any similar party political press releases from the Labour Party. I should add however, that I am grateful to the constructive nature of some of your Councillors in the manner and kindness they have contacted me to urge help on individual issues. They are a credit to your party.

When the Coronavirus has passed, there will no doubt be a national inquiry as to what has gone wrong and what has gone right. I have little doubt the Labour Party will be active in its role of opposition, when this occurs.

In the meantime, please, let us work together for the good of Harlow, to try and solve the problems in our community and ensure we do all we can to protect our wonderful town from the ravages of this awful disease.

My duty at this time is to do all I can to help Harlow and Village residents. I do this by responding to literally thousands of emails and messages, lobby Government MInisters in daily meetings, help with the Harlow community response and regular online conferences with Essex Council and other emergency services.

Kind wishes and all good health to you and your family.

Robert Halfon MP

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5 Comments for Harlow MP Robert Halfon responds to criticism over PPE:

2020-04-19 18:38:40

Sometime in the future

2020-04-19 19:16:53

Sometime in the future we will look back at the issues and some people will be held accountable for their action and decision. Now it not the time and we should all stay focused on making our community safe and ensure people survive this terrible tragedy. There is a simple truth and I would want nothing more than the local MP to hear the truth. We currently and for sometime don’t have enough PPE. The leader of the council has a duty to raise concerns but just because it’s against the government is dragged down into politic dogma. A local Tory councillor is calling for his resignation just because he is telling the truth. Dare we not speak the truth unless it’s the truth the government wants to hear The MP has been assured we have adequate PPE but that’s simply wrong. We currently have limited PPE and everyone at PAH from CEO down are doing everything they can to bring the stock and supply to a safe level. We’re talking about washing and reusing gowns. We know we have ill fitting masks. We need more visors. In some location the stock of gloves is low. Regardless of these huge challenges everyone is contributing to help save lives. In the future we will look back and hold those accountable. We will at sometime celebrate our success but we must hold those responsible for failures. Never has there been a time for more openness and for comradeship between political leaders. The truth is the truth and we need more PPE. Let’s not criticise those who speak the truth. please be assured we have brilliant health and care workers who will and do make a difference.

2020-04-19 21:01:24

Vital PPE shipment is delayed, hours after Government promised it would ease shortage https://inews.co.uk/news/coronavirus-ppe-shipment-delayed-shortage-2543050 So much for this government promises.

2020-04-20 06:16:11

Distorted "truth" doesn't cover the fact that the whole world is trying desperately to produce enough safeguards to try and ease the situation. Any band wagon that one or two contributors to these pages care to leap on, it often has a twist in the tail, is to be deplored. The greatest scientists and companies on this planet have been working flat out for several months, to try and find some solutions to this deadly virus, yet, the twisted political views of some, tend to blame the our government at every opportunity, apportioning blame without any justification. M Ingall was wrong to air his grievances here, but it isn't the first time, is it ?

2020-04-20 06:19:17

As for the deluded kthe5, who seems to think that a delayed delivery is also the fault of the government, yeah, whatever. Same old script from the Loony Left.

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