Eric Ollerenshaw column

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

The first week back after the New Year has started as a busy one - in some ways good and in others not so good.

Unfortunately, starting on the downside I was dismayed to find some residents of New Quay in Lancaster are still without telephones and broadband despite having been promised this at the tail end of last year.

As many of you will know this is something of an issue for me and I really do think that in this age of technology this is a basic service that should be ready before people move into new properties.

This and the lack of coverage of superfast broadband across the patch is becoming a regular thorn in my side and that is why I have called a meeting for next week to discuss with other MP’s from across the Country similar issues they are experiencing so we can increase the pressure to get these issues sorted.

I also had the opportunity to talk at an event about pancreatic cancer treatments, which was well timed as this week as we are expecting the Cancer Drugs Fund to make a decision on Abraxane.

Unfortunately last month NICE announced that they wouldn’t be accepting this drug as a treatment for this disease – in part because it didn’t meet the three month threshold in extending life.

However, this is something that I will continue to argue about as Abraxane has been the first drug in 20 years to have any effect on this disease and is shown to extend the life expectancy of patients by about two months, which in terms of average survival rates with this disease could mean a doubling of the existing rates of survival.

Finally I would like to congratulate Ms Julie Morrow of the Appletree Children Centre and Nursery in Lancaster on her MBE for services to children and families.

Although it is acknowledged that as yet we do not receive our ‘fair share’ on honours here in the North West – something that I am discussing later this month – it is great to see a local person recognised for all their hard work.