17 people enjoyed an excellent presentation by Gary Hart, the Houses of Parliament Outreach Officer for Scotland and North West England. Gary aims to increase knowledge, awareness and understanding of the UK Parliament, encouraging people to get involved, to raise issues and use their voice. Some people cited examples of successfully using their MP to help them. Gary confirmed that the response is usually positive when people seek help from their MP.
Parliament’s website, www.parliament.uk offers lots of information about the work and history of Parliament, including the latest business information and news, guides to how Parliament works, an online tour and how to get involved with the democratic process. You can influence the work of Parliament by:
- Responding to a call for evidence from a Select Committee
- Contacting an all-party parliamentary group
- submitting a public petition to your MP
- Asking your MP, or a Member of the House of Lords, to raise an issue as a parliamentary question or as a subject of a debate in the House of Commons.
- Submitting evidence to a Public Bill Committee
- Contacting an MP or a Member of the House of Lords about a bill
Details of MPs can be found at www.parliament.uk, or from the House of Commons Information Office on 020 7219 4272, or at any town hall or library. You can raise any issue with your MP or a Member of the Lords.
We elected two new members to the Patients Council Management Committee – congratulations to Martin McAlpine and Ralph Turner.
We learned about a lecture in Edinburgh by Philip Day from Credence and the Campaign for Truth in Medicine. We debated the forthcoming ban on smoking in the hospital grounds. And we learned that Stories of Changing Lives II is now complete and on track to be launched at the Taking Stock conference on 28th May.