Fortnightly Update #15 - 06.12.16

Thank you to all those who have backed my healthcare campaign over the last fortnight, and signed the petition at If you haven't yet, please do!

The response from local people has been overwhelming.  In just two weeks over a thousand households have given their backing. This support is helping me build a strong case to put our local NHS, and I’m meeting regularly with the Health Secretary in Parliament to argue Cheltenham’s corner. 
In summary, I'm calling on Gloucestershire NHS as part of its Sustainability and Transformation Plan to:
  • introduce an Urgent Care Centre at Cheltenham Hospital 24/7 (upgrading the current provision)
  • recruit more GPs and specialist nurses across the town to ease the workload on our hard-pressed professionals
  • bring down waiting times for children’s mental health services
  • acquire the latest version of the LINAC radiotherapy machine for our oncology centre.
This fortnightly update is about more than health of course. I hope you find it helpful. 

Best wishes,

Alex Chalk MP

PS. Please note that these fortnightly updates are intended to be no more than an overview. If you want an in-depth update on my various campaigns (from education funding, to the Air Balloon roundabout, to broadband etc) please do get in touch.

P.P.S You have received this email, as someone who has written to me in the past. I like to keep constituents updated on my work for Cheltenham with email fortnightly updates. If you would not like to receive these please reply stating 'UNSUBSCRIBE' or click on the 'unsubscribe' button at the top of this email

Over the last two weeks, Alex has:

  • Held his first round of talks, in his new capacity as Vice-Chair of the national F40 funding campaign,  with the Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Justine Greening MPAlex called for the swift implementation of the new fair funding formula for schools (see photo below)
  • Met with the Justice Minister, Sam Gyimah MP, Richard Graham MP and department officials to lobby for his Private Member's Bill - the Stalking (Sentencing) Bill - to strengthen protections for victims of stalking
  • Spoken out in Parliament to support Cheltenham’s  WASPI women (Women Against State Pension Inequality)  in a debate regarding the equalisation of the state pension age READ MORE HERE 
  • Sat on Justice Select Committee hearings to:
    • take evidence from the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales
    • cross-examine the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Prisons and Protection (as part of inquiry into 'Prison Reform')
    • [You can follow the work of the Justice Select Committee on Twitter - @CommonsJustice]
  • Held talks with prison officers and prisoners at HMP Wormwood Scrubs during official Justice Select Committee visit
  • Received briefing from Air Commodore Gillespie (RAF) on UK defence policy in Space
  • Held talks with Leader of Gloucestershire County Council in Parliament. Discussions included:
    • Social care pressures
    • Broadband
    • A417 Missing Link progress
  • Led mini-inquiry of All Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling into 'Women in Cycling' - took evidence on ways of widening female participation in cycling
  • Addressed the Fifth Civil Justice Council national forum on Access to Justice for Litigants in Person (in his capacity as Chair of the APPG on Pro Bono Law). Addressed High Court Judges and senior lawyers
  • Organised and hosted the first ever 'Taste of Cheltenham' event in Parliament for local food and drink producers. The event was attended by the Secretary of State for DEFRA, Andrea Leadsom MP and several other MPs 
  • Welcomed support for ordinary families announced in the Autumn Statement. READ MORE HERE
  • Supported the Royal National Institute of Blind People at their annual reception
  • Celebrated the 125th anniversary of Dogs Trust to back a crackdown on puppy smuggling
  • Attended a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Rule of Law
  • Met former Olympic rower, James Cracknell OBE, to discuss his plans for Cheltenham's Half-Marathon (for which he has taken responsibility from Virgin)
  • Backed Cheltenham's local curry houses, Spice Lodge and Prithvi (who won the award for the Best Spice Restaurant in the South West) by attending the annual British Curry Awards in Battersea READ MORE HERE
  • Held talks with new Chair of the local NHS Trust to press his campaign for improvements in Cheltenham's health services (in summary: (1) new 24/7 Urgent Care centre (2) more GPs (3) new LINAC machine (4) shorter mental health waiting times) following publication of the local Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP)
  • Recorded a programme with the BBC at All Saints' Academy as part of his campaign to address the damage that can be caused by social media to young people's mental health
  • Made formal written representations to the Boundary Commision, opposing their plan to transfer Springbank ward to Tewkesbury constituency
  • Held talks with the Director of Commissioning Operations for NHS England in the South West about specific challenges and ambitions for Cheltenham
  • Addressed over 150 attendees at the inaugural Cynam Cyber Security conference at the Jury's Inn to set out his vision for Cheltenham as a cyber security hub, making Cheltenham a jobs engine of the future
  • Welcomed the Small Business Minister, Margot James MP, to Gloucestershire Airport along with Tewkesbury's MP, Laurence Robertson and Gloucestershire's Local Enterprise Partnership to make the case for Growth Deal 3 funding to unlock the potential for a cyber park in Cheltenham READ MORE HERE
  • Held face-to-face talks with BT Openreach in Cheltenham regarding the remaining areas of e-poverty, and received progress report on existing Community Fibre Partnership deals
  • Hosted the inaugural 'Great Cheltenham Quiz' at the Cheltenham Cricket Club in Fairview, which raised £500+ for Cheltenham Open Door (Alex is a trustee)
  • Welcomed additional funding for Cheltenham's roads announced in the Autumn Statement READ MORE HERE
  • Welcomed the Chancellor's decision to award £1 million from the Government's LIBOR fund to the Great Western Air Ambulance, following a bid from the charity backed by Alex READ MORE HERE
  • Attended the opening of Cheltenham's latest venue, A Bottle of Sauce  READ MORE HERE
  • Attended a dinner at Gianni's in support of the Mayor of Cheltenham's charities
  • Supported the Suffolks' Winter Market
  • Supported the Gloucestershire Eye Therapy Trust's annual fundraising coffee morning at Emmauel Church in Leckhampton
  • Attended the University of Gloucestershire's Awards Ceremony at the Racecourse
  • Drawn the raffle at the Montpellier Christmas Fayre
  • Supported the Tesco Neighbourhood Collection on Tewkesbury Road
  • Drawn the raffle at the Greatfield Park School Christmas Fayre
  • Supported a Language and Culture event at St Mark's Community Hall
  • Hosted two work experience students

Key Statistics Released in the Last Fortnight
  • Employment is up in the South West by 214,000 since 2010
  • Unemployment is down in the South West by 31 per cent since 2010
  • There are now 894 more hospital doctors looking after patients in the South West than in 2010
  • 2.4 million more people have had their income tax cut. The typical taxpayer is better off by £905
  • Fuel duty has been frozen for the seventh successive year. This will save the average driver in Cheltenham £10 every time they fill up the car 
  • 300,000 more children attend good or outstanding schools in the South West since 2010
  • 54,160 apprenticeships started in the South West in 2015/16


  • Written two articles for The Gloucestershire Echo (regarding Homelessness and Begging and Fair Funding for Cheltenham's schools). Read all Alex’s articles here
  • Featured in a national article regarding the harassment of GPs and his campaign to double the maximum sentence for stalking READ MORE HERE


Alex has also received responses from the Government to the following Written Questions. You can read the full answers by following the hyperlinks below:


He has also submitted the following questions to the Government. The answers will be published here in due course:

To ask the Secretary of State what steps the Government is taking to provide guidelines a) to increase the number of buses which have room for more than one wheelchair user; and b) to improve disabled access to buses more generally?

To ask the Secretary of State what steps are being taken to ensure that young people suffering from eating disorders who require in-patient care can be admitted to facilities close to home, where they can receive the additional support of family and friends?


Alex will be holding a constituency surgeries in December and January for residents who wish to raise any issues with him. Appointments can be booked in advance by calling Hannah Wright on 01242 210473 or emailing

Discussing the impact of social media upon the mental health of young people with pupils at All Saints' Academy
Lobbying the Secretary of State for Education regarding the new fair funding formula for Cheltenham's schools
With some of Cheltenham's finest food and drink producers, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Cheltenham's Mayor 
Introducing the Secretary of State to Cheltenham's Vanilla Pod Bakery
The Friends of Hatherley Park
At All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group inquiry into Women in Cycling
Supporting the Tesco Neighbourhood Collection
Opening the Greatfield Park School Christmas Fayre
Supporting a Language and Culture event in St Mark's
Unveiling the new pathway in Hatherley Park with Cheltenham's Mayor, Chris Ryder
With the winning team at the inaugural Great Cheltenham Quiz in aid of Cheltenham Open Door
Alex quizzing his constituents
With the winning Prithvi team at the British Curry Awards
Supporting the Spice Lodge
Celebrating 125 years of the Dogs Trust
Supporting the Montpellier Christmas Fayre
Supporting the Great Western Air Ambulance at their annual Parliamentary reception
At the Royal National Institute for the Blind reception
Copyright © 2016 Alex Chalk MP, All rights reserved.

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