Stephen Gilbert MP calls for an end to "Game of chance" bus service for blind people.


Getting off at the right bus stop is like "playing a game of chance", says guide dog owner Linda, about her experiences navigating the bus network without sight.

Mr Gilbert got a chance to experience for himself why people with sight loss need audio-visual announcements (AV) on buses, through playing a memory game, at the Liberal Democrat Party conference this week.

AV is essential for people with sight loss to live independently, yet only one fifth of the UK's buses have AV. Without AV bus passengers with sight loss have to ask the driver to remember to tell them when they have reached their stop.

Finding out more about Guide Dogs' work, the MP for St Austell and Newquay heard that 7 in 10 bus passengers with sight loss have been forgotten by a bus driver. For a sighted person, missing a stop is an annoyance, but for someone with sight loss, it is potentially very dangerous.

AV doesn't just help people with sight loss - tourists, older people and infrequent bus users all find AV useful. Guide Dogs released their Destination Unknown report this September showing that nearly half of survey respondents said they would use the bus more frequently if it had AV.


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Stephen Gilbert MP welcomes growth deal for Cornwall

St Austell & Newquay’s Liberal Democrat MP, Stephen Gilbert, is “delighted” that the Cornwall Growth Deal, worth almost £200 million for our community, has been finalised and signed by the Government.

The deal, which was agreed earlier this year, will see £48.9 million of Government investment into the area and help unlock £150 million from partners and the private sector.

The investment is key to Cornwall’s continued economic growth and will create 4,000 new jobs and allow 6,000 homes to be built across the county, helping to meet the needs of the community and tackle the housing crisis.


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Stephen Gilbert MP calls for regulation of health care professionals

St Austell & Newquay’s Liberal Democrat MP, Stephen Gilbert, has written to the Health Minister, Daniel Poulter MP, to call for statutory regulation to be extended to new groups of healthcare professionals. 

Since 2003, the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) has recommended that 11 new groups of healthcare professionals should be brought within the framework for statutory regulation, but, according to the HCPC, only two have been.

There are concerns that non-statutory Accredited Voluntary Registration fails to provide the robust safeguards necessary to ensure patient safety; with one registrar (the Registration Council for Clinical Physiologists) highlighting instances of practitioners leaving the register following negligence claims and simply gaining new employment at another NHS provider.

In his letter, Stephen asks the Minister to address the concerns regarding the disciplinary process for voluntarily registered practitioners and to extend statutory regulation to the groups recommended by the HCPC.


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