Eric Ollerenshaw column: We must ensure disabled can live independent lives

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

Last week in Parliament I was delighted to join double gold medallist wheelchair athlete Hannah Cockroft and Paralympian Sam Ruddock to show my support for social care for disabled people.

This event, organised by disability charity Scope, was part of the ‘Britain Cares’ Campaign, which is calling on the Government to ensure that disabled people receive the care and support they need to live independent lives. The Care Bill will be debated in Parliament for the first time in the coming weeks and will introduce a new, modern law for a care system built around people’s wellbeing.

As the Bill passes through the House of Commons, it is important that it takes into account that one third of care users are working age disabled people and that social care must enable them to live fulfilling, independent lives. If you would like further information on ‘Britain Cares’ or scope please visit

Locally I visited Moorside Primary School on Bowerham Road to officially open their new ‘Eco Greenhouse”. I was delighted to meet members of the school council who were key ‘players’ in this project.

I also took part in Lancaster University Debating Society’s debate on Thursday evening on education policy. Following a lively discussion and despite having an extremely good partner my team lost the debate – just goes to show students are not always right!

Also at the university, I took part in Frackfest which was an event organised to discuss this rather topical issue. As I have always stated that whilst I have an ‘open mind’ on Fracking, I do have concerns over the impact on the water table, given some of my constituents still take their water directly through bore holes. At the same time I am not yet satisfied that under the current proposals there is enough of a financial return to Lancashire if this new industry takes off. That is why I will continue to meet with fellow MPs in Lancashire of all parties and with Ministers as the issue is progressed.

Finally, I was delighted to be invited to open the newly refurbished A & E department at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

This £1.5million project, which has taken 13 months to complete, has transformed the department with a new minor injury unit and five private examinations rooms together, a vastly improved reception and new canopy for the ambulance area. These works have greatly improved the whole environment of the A & E and so far the feedback, from both patients and staff, has been very positive.