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Hertford and Stortford MP Julie Marson on Breast Cancer Awareness Month, flooding in Bishop's Stortford and plans for a new Princess Alexandra Hospital

Hertford and Stortford MP Julie Marson writes fortnightly for the Bishop's Stortford Independent...

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I wanted to highlight this in my column this week as I cannot stress how important it is for us to check ourselves, and men can be affected too so this applies to everyone.

The full list of symptoms can be found on the NHS website ( www.nhs.uk/conditions/breast-cancer/symptoms/ ), but, in a nutshell, you are looking and feeling for any abnormalities and should see your GP as soon as you can if you find any of the symptoms listed.

Self-examination is important in the early detection of breast cancer. (42664450)
Self-examination is important in the early detection of breast cancer. (42664450)

In my family, we have only too much experience of this disease and so I want to raise awareness as best I can, because the more people who check, the more likely we are to detect cases early.

Flooding in Stortford and roundabout in Hertford

I would like to report back on a few issues I have been working on for our local community lately.

The flooding in Bishop's Stortford has been a particular focus. In recent weeks, I have been putting pressure on Thames Water to resolve the issue that spiked once again in August for residents on Stansted Road, Stort Road and the surrounding areas.

I am pleased to say that Thames Water has engaged constructively with me. They will be attending the site again this week to begin carrying out their assessments. The work was delayed slightly because they needed to clear vegetation to access a manhole which needs replacing, but this has now been done and the work can take place in haste.

I use my Facebook page to broadcast regular announcements like this so please keep an eye on this channel for updates. Thames Water will be reporting back to me with the latest developments on October 19, at which point I shall be communicating directly again with all residents affected by the ongoing troubles.

I have also been focusing on the roundabout at Rush Green. Whether you live closer to Hertford or to Bishop's Stortford, the inter-connected nature of our travel means that we all get frustrated by the congestion that takes place daily on this roundabout.

I have been working with Herts County Council, and local councillors, who have a new plan drawn up. I am seeking to bring together the two main parties, McDonald's and BP, to work up a deal. I am pleased to say that I have heard back from both and they seem willing to engage in the process. I do want to solve the problem of the danger and gridlock at this site.

I have met recently with local farmers too. With the Agriculture Bill coming back to the Commons this week, there is a lot of talk about food standards at the moment and I want to make it crystal clear that I will never vote to lower such standards and that local farmers have my full backing. I will put some information on my website on how I view the Bill and how it protects standards.

Upgrading GP surgeries and building a new hospital

I have been visiting local NHS health campuses to discuss issues surrounding capacity and how I can try to help with this important issue.

Following conversations with the three CCGs (clinical commissioning groups), I am encouraged with progress we are making to upgrade a number of surgeries in Bishop's Stortford and across the constituency, and will continue working hard to make this a reality over the next three or four years.

Furthermore, I am delighted that the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, recently confirmed that we will have a brand new, rebuilt Princess Alexandra Hospital .

This will be a hospital truly fit for the 21st century and I am very pleased to have been a part of this campaign, working closely with my Harlow colleague, Rob Halfon MP, and the Health Secretary.

Q&A sessions with Stortford schools

Finally, as I have said before, I am a big champion of education and skills. Our schools and colleges are among the very best in the country and I'll support these in any way I can.

Over the past couple of weeks I have had Q&A sessions with several schools, including Bishop's Stortford High School and Birchwood High School. The questions asked were really thought-provoking and a true testament to the work of staff and students at these schools.

Furthermore, I visited Hertford Regional College recently to see how they have been getting on since September. I really was blown away by what they're getting up to. The upskilling of students at this FE college is setting them up for rewarding careers in high-skilled industries and I'm very proud of the work going on.

I'll round off by stating again how proud I am of our community. We are at a critical point in the fight against Covid-19 and it is important that we continue to stick with the rules and pull through this together.

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