Happy New Year to you all!

I hope you managed to have a good break and spend time with friends and family over Christmas, and for those of you who’ve had a difficult 2021, I hope that 2022 turns out to be much better for you. Christmas can be a particularly tough time for people with mental health problems, and, for those already feeling the pressure of the cost of living crisis, it can be financially draining too. If you’re struggling with anything, please do get in touch; my team and I are here to help.

Parliament returns tomorrow. I would expect an update from the Government on the latest Covid stats and, in particular, the impact on the NHS. Although Omicron appears to be a milder strain – helped, no doubt, by the fact the majority of people have now had their jabs – it is very easily transmissible, hence the alarming figures. There’s a worry about hospital beds, but what seems to be having the biggest impact right now is staffing shortages, as key workers are testing positive or having to self-isolate. I’m also concerned about the difficulties people are having getting hold of lateral flow tests, which is something the Government should have predicted and planned for. I will be raising this with local health chiefs at the Bristol MPs regular meeting with the CCG this Friday.

There will also be a renewed focus on Tory sleaze, after a bit of a hiatus over the Christmas/ New Year break. Boris Johnson will be hoping to put the questions about Downing Street parties, dodgy contracts and favours for friends behind him, but he won’t be let off the hook that easily.

I’ll be sending out my New Year newsletter later this week, with the traditional review of the past year and a look forward to 2022 which – I promise – won’t be as gloomy as this posting! I’ll be setting out my priorities for the New Year, but, as always, it’s primarily guided by what my constituents want and need – so as I said, do please get in touch and tell me what your hopes (and fears!) are for the New Year.

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