Eric Ollerenshaw column: Exploiting medical advances for all our sakes

Eric Ollerenshaw, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood
Eric Ollerenshaw, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood

In Parliament last week I sponsored a reception in support of a campaign by the Medical Technology Group – a coalition of patient groups, research charities and medical device manufacturers.

The aim is to improve access to approved medical technologies that can help patients and save the NHS money in the longer term by enabling more patients to achieve an independent lifestyle. One has only to remember the achievements of athletes in the Para-Olympics to understand, for example, the advances that are being made for those who have suffered limb loss. It is these kind of advances that now need to be exploited for the benefit of all.

On Friday, I also stayed on in London to vote on James Wharton MP’s Private Member’s Bill – the European Referendum Bill which will see a referendum on Europe by 2017. The Bill which has returned to the House, following its completion of the Commons Committee Stage, will put a European Referendum into law and I am supporting this. I do believe that it is time that we, the British people, are able to have our say on the future of our relationship with Europe. Unfortunately the debate was adjourned until November 22 as it was out of time, due to the large number of amendments being tabled in a clear attempt to scupper the Bill.

Despite this, I am still hopeful that it will be passed, but it does mean more Fridays down there!

Locally, the weekend has been one of Remembrance for me, and representing such a big constituency as Lancaster and Fleetwood each year when Remembrance Sunday comes round, I try to alternate my attendance between Fleetwood and Lancaster.

On Sunday it was Lancaster’s turn plus Preesall and Knott End in the afternoon. Both services were very emotional, and still very poignant, as only last week saw the loss of another brave soldier, Ian Michael Fisher, in Afghanistan. Poignant also as this was the week of a debate in Parliament on next year’s national commemoration of the centenary of the start of the First World War, a debate which allowed me to pay tribute to the work of the Commonwealth Graves Commission both here and across the globe.