Robert's Weekly Column - 8th April 2020

We were all shocked and saddened to hear that the Prime Minister, who had been under the care of doctors at St Thomas’ Hospital, after being admitted with persistent symptoms of coronavirus has been moved into the Intensive Care Unit after his conditioned worsened.

The Prime Minister is receiving excellent care from our fantastic NHS and remains in good spirits. He is also keeping in touch with the Cabinet and the rest of his team as we continue to work together to fight this virus and keep everyone safe.

It is clear that anybody can catch this virus, and anybody can spread it. That is why the Government’s message to the British public is clear: stay at home, in order to protect the NHS and save lives.

I am sure that all of our thoughts and prayers are with the Prime Minister and his family at this difficult time.

Whilst I am working from home here in Wroughton I am still taking part in daily Cabinet committee meetings, I gave evidence to the Justice Select Committee yesterday from my living room and on Friday I was part of a remote Privy Council meeting via secure video link with Her Majesty the Queen. The Queen is continuing to carry on with official business in her indomitable way and during her speech on Sunday, as always, she found the right words to remind us that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be our families again; we will meet again.

This Saturday it is World Parkinson’s Day. Every hour, two people in the UK are told they have Parkinson’s – a neurological condition that gets worse over time and can affect anyone. 

The Parkinson’s community recognises that even when people are aware of Parkinson’s, they often do not understand the condition. That is why this World Parkinson’s Day the community wants to challenge by public by asking, “If you know 66 people, chances are you know someone affected by Parkinson’s. But do you know Parkinson’s?”.

As part of the Know Parkinson’s? campaign, the community are launching a map of stories from all over the UK to help people get to know Parkinson’s. It is not just people living with Parkinson’s that are affected by it. In the UK, a million friends, families, neighbours, colleagues and researched have stories to tell. Everyone’s experience of Parkinson’s is different and how they feel about it is different too.

I work closely with the Parkinson’s UK Swindon and District Branch. This local charity has offered information, friendship and support to people with Parkinson’s, their families and carers over the years. The group provides a whole range of information to those newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s, including a video and holds regular events and social activities to help people keep active both mentally and physically such as quiz nights, skittles, race nights and outings. The charity also works hard to raise awareness of Parkinson’s locally.

For further information about the branch and details of how you can support any fundraising events, please visit www.swindonparkinsons.org.uk