September 2023 Newsletter

Dear Friend,

Many thanks for taking the time to look at my latest newsletter for September 2023.

I hope you enjoy this update on some of the work I have been doing in Erith and Thamesmead and in Parliament over the last month.

As ever, if you want to get in touch, don’t hesitate to contact me using the email address:


Appointment as Shadow Minister for Women’s Health and Mental Health

I hope you will be pleased to know that I have recently accepted the position of Shadow Minister for Women’s Health and Mental Health. This is such an important role and these are issues that I’m really passionate about.

As I start this new position, I thought I would share some of Labour ‘s plans to get NHS waiting lists down and getting people treated on time. We have a 10-year plan for change and modernisation and this will include one of the biggest expansions of the NHS workforce in history. But more than that, we plan to put individual care and mental health treatment at the heart of our mission. An issue that has for too long been in the shadows.

These are plans that will make a real difference in Erith and Thamesmead and across the country. With Labour, more care will be delivered on your doorstep, out of the hospital and in our communities. We will focus on prevention and a move towards transformational new technologies.

In my new role, I will be working with various charities and stakeholders, listening to experts in Women’s Health and Mental Health, and considering how Labour will do things differently. I will also be speaking to those working in our health and care sectors and the patients receiving care. Thank you to all those who have sent kind messages to me following this appointment.

This September began with an unprecedented emergency regarding the possibility of unsafe concrete or RAAC (Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete) in many of the nation’s schools and colleges.

These first few weeks in September are some of the most important of any academic year – when students are returning to their school to start the new year. As you can imagine, like many across the country, parents, teachers and students in our community expressed their worry, concern and anger about this crisis.

As a result of these events, I have been in regular contact with the Secretary of State for Education and her Department to make sure that they are doing all they can to investigate and resolve this issue as soon as possible.

On Monday 4 September, I also asked the Education Secretary a question in the House of Commons to make sure that every school and local authority who had RAAC in part or all of their buildings had been contacted and there was an action plan in place.

I can confirm that in the most recent announcement regarding schools in England, the Government have listed no schools in Erith and Thamesmead with RAAC present.

If anyone has any questions for me or concerns about this important issue, please email at:

My work in Parliament

This month, I have raised a number of issues I know are important to many in Erith and Thamesmead.

Firstly, I want to say how great it was to welcome constituents visiting Parliament for a tour this month. This month these groups included pupils from Bishop John Robinson Church of England Primary. It’s always a great experience for pupils and I’m glad they had an enjoyable visit.

Speaking in Parliament this month and also in my new role as Shadow Minister for Women’s Health and Mental Health, I have been challenging the Government to act on the many pressing issues our health and care system are currently facing.

There are day-long waits in A&E, record numbers off work sick and millions on NHS waiting lists. I know how difficult it has been for those needing help and also for all our hardworking healthcare workers who have been stretched to the limit. In my role, I have said that in Government, Labour would implement our plans to get waiting lists down, get people treated on time and make sure the NHS is there for you when you need it.

In Parliament, I have also been pleased to attend a number of debates and receptions that constituents have written to me about. This includes meeting the Alzheimer’s Research UK team to celebrate World Alzheimer Month; attending Macmillan’s Coffee Morning in Parliament to discuss delays to cancer treatment; and speaking with the Rethink Mental Illness team about how Labour can improve mental health outcomes if they are elected to Government. As ever, if you are interested in a Tour of Parliament then I would be happy to arrange this for you. Please contact me at:

New Defibrillator at Lesnes Abbey Lodge

I was delighted to pop in and see the new defibrillator at Lesnes Abbey Lodge this month. It was great to be invited by Lesnes Abbey Friends to meet them and hear how they raised an incredible £2,000, with support from local organisations, to install this life saving device.

You may be aware that increasing access and awareness of defibrillators is an issue I’m incredibly passionate about. In July this year, I organised a Westminster Hall debate on this issue and challenged the Government to do more where possible on public access to defibrillators. In the debate I said:

“Defibrillators represent an incredible technical advance. They are lightweight, easy to use and designed only to help and not harm the patient. The issue is not about their design but their distribution and public awareness of what they are and how to use them.”

It was great therefore to join Lesnes Abbey Friends as they celebrated adding this important device to our community. I also got the opportunity to join Lesnes Abbey’s first ever Woodland Festival. This event involved a jam-packed day of events and activities and was a great celebration of Lesnes Abbey and Woods.

Kabaddi Tournament in Erith

It was also great to attend the Erith & Woolwich Kabaddi Tournament this month on Winns Common. I really enjoyed watching the games and was pleased to meet so many local fans and lots of visitors from across the country.

Really pleased also to be joined on the day by Tan Dhesi MP, Cllr Baljeet Singh Gill, Cllr Anna Day and Cllr Larry Ferguson.

Thanks again to Erith & Woolwich Kabaddi Club for organising the event.  

My visit to Lakeside Open Studio Event

Lovely to pop into Lakeside Studios in Thamesmead to attend their fantastic Open Studio Event. It was very nice to celebrate this amazing space and to hear from some of the artists on their work.

If you don’t know already, this venue is listed as one of the top 10 must see buildings for this year by the Architects’ Journal. I would highly recommend everyone try to visit if you haven’t already.

My Update on Casework for September

Thank you to everyone who contacted me this month and over the Summer to raise the issues you are facing.

The last few months has been a busy period where I have been contacted by many constituents on many important issues. I have also been pleased to hold another surgery, where I spoke to a number of constituents about some of the challenges they are facing.  

As many of you will know, Housing continues to be a huge issue in Erith and Thamesmead and is the concern of many constituents contacting me. I have serious concerns over the unprecedented housing crisis the Conservatives are overseeing. I am worried that if housing targets are not met soon, the housing crisis will continue to grow over the next few years. I will continue to challenge the Government on this issue as well as working with constituents on many of the personal issues they are facing. 

To reflect the changing cost of living crisis that we are currently facing, I have also recently updated my Cost-of-Living booklet for those who need extra support. If you would like a copy of the booklet or would like my office to share copies of my booklet with local businesses or groups, please email me at:

As always, if you have any concerns or issues that you like to raise with me, please contact my office using the following channels:


  • World Suicide Prevention Day 2023 – This month, I want to share the important message of this event where we seek to break the silence and fight the stigma of mental health and the causes of suicide. As the new Shadow Minister for Women’s Health and Mental Health, I am more aware than ever about the importance of starting conversations and making sure we do all we can to support those in need and help save lives.
  • Erith Made at the Exchange – I was pleased to visit the Exchange earlier this month to see their series of workshops and live music events being organised along with Running Horses, Erith Playhouse and Erith Shopping Centre.
  • Meeting with Greenwich Dance – It was nice to catch up with Alliey and Melanie from Greenwich Dance, who are doing amazing work in the constituency. They have lots of exciting projects coming up and I look forward to hearing about their continued success in the community. 
  • Valve Week 2023 – Great to join the team from Heart Valve Voice this month to discuss heart valve disease and how we improve awareness, diagnosis and treatment.
  • Yom Kippur – Very pleased to wish a meaningful Yom Kippur to all those observing in Erith and Thamesmead and across the country.
  • Bernie Grant Leadership Programme Induction Day – It was great to speak to this year’s cohort of the Bernie Grant Leadership Programme in Parliament this month. They were all incredibly impressive and thoughtful individuals. It is great to see the work being done to help train the next generation of Black political leaders.

Sign up to my Coffee Morning

If you are interested in coming along to a future Coffee Morning, I’ve just launched my webpage where you, your family and friends can sign up to register your interest in attending a meeting.

Sign up:

Stay updated on social media

For regular updates on my activities, follow me on Twitter (@abenaopp), Facebook (Abena Oppong-Asare MP, Erith and Thamesmead), and Instagram (

You can also sign up to my digital newsletter at