Thursday 8 December 2016
Minor Injuries Unit
Many of you will be aware of the news of the proposed closure of the minor injuries unit at Yorkhill Hospital. I took the opportunity to raise this during First Ministers Questions this week and will be seeking a meeting with the Cabinet Secretary for Health Shona Robison.
You can access the exchange at: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/ReportSelectPage.aspx?type=plenary&page=0&meeting=-1
I participated in a debate in the Scottish Parliament on the Scottish Government’s newly published A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People. It outlines five ambitions for Scotland which aim to aid independent living, safeguard decent incomes and fairer working lives including removing the barriers to employment, improve accessibility, promote active participation, and protect the rights of disabled people.
The 93 actions outlined in the plan include halving the employment gap for disabled people, offering the highest level of financial support to disabled Modern Apprentices and introducing a new work experience programme. They will also enable the delivery of more accessible homes and transport, and working with local authorities to ensure effective points of transition into all levels of education.
You can access the debate and my contribution here:
Organ Donation Consultation
You can give your views on organ and tissue donation in the Government’s new consultation which will help inform policy.
The 14-week consultation looks at various ways to increase the number of people being referred to the donation services in Scotland and the number of times when donation is ‘authorised’ to proceed.
With the amazing help of donors and their families, NHS Scotland has achieved huge amounts in recent years. Since April this year, there has been 85 organ donations made after death compared to 60 over the same period last year.
However, there is more we can do for those who are still waiting for a transplant and it’s essential that we make sure we’re doing all we can.
The Scottish Government are asking the public whether a ‘soft opt out’ system is preferable to the current system where a person must explicitly opt in to donating. The government are monitoring progress in Wales carefully to learn lessons from their experience of introducing a new opt out system.
I would encourage as many people as possible to get involved in this consultation to help inform and shape the policy on organ and tissue donation. It saves lives and is one of the greatest gifts a person can give.
The consultation can be found here: https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/health-protection/organ-and-tissue-donation-and-transplantation
Anyone wishing to join the Organ Donor Register can do so by visiting the Organ Donation Scotland website. This website can also be used by those who wish to update their registration details or to register their wish not to be a donor.
Good news for the constituency with the opening of the new Macklin Motors Nissan Glasgow dealership in Port Dundas Road. I had the pleasure of attending the launch and bumped into none other than STV Sports Journalist Raman Bhardwaj.
I very much welcome their expansion in the constituency which has seen an investment of more than £5 million by Vertu Motors plc and I believe they have already started to form relationships with local sporting clubs, forged partnerships with Radio Clyde’s Cash for Kids taking part in this year’s Mission Christmas.
A new law which makes it illegal to smoke in a vehicle carrying anyone under 18 came into force this week.
The legislation was passed unanimously by the Scottish Parliament last year. It was introduced to give extra protection for children and young people from the harm caused by second-hand smoke.
Anyone caught breaking the law will be committing an offence carrying a fine of up to £1,000.
Second-hand smoke can cause serious conditions such as bronchitis, pneumonia and asthma, and children are more at risk than adults because they have smaller lungs and breathe more quickly.
Latest research highlights that the toxic particles in second hand smoke can reach harmful concentrations within a minute of lighting a cigarette in a car.
Studies have also shown the average toxic particle levels breathed in during a smoking car journey are more than 10 times higher than the average levels which can be found in the air.
A public information campaign has been running on TV and radio in the run-up to the ban, highlighting the harms of second-hand smoke and the penalties for breaking the new law.
The measure is part of the Scottish Government’s ambition to create a tobacco-free generation by 2034 – defined as a smoking rate of less than 5%. A target to reduce the proportion of children exposed to second-hand smoke in the home from 12% to 6% by 2020 has already been met.
I stopped by the Smart Meter stall in the Scottish Parliament’s Garden Lobby this week to find out how this new technology can help people cut down on their energy bills.
Smart meters will bring accurate bills at no additional cost. The amount of gas and electricity that’s been used will, for the first time, be shown in pounds and pence and in near real time. With this information consumers will know exactly how much the next bill will be, and can make informed choices about their energy use. Finally, the out-dated system of manual meter readings and estimation will come to an end, and the inconvenient prepayment system will be completely revolutionised for constituents currently using these meters.
More information can be found at: https://www.smartenergygb.org/?gclid=CLv9tKbW5NACFSyT7QodocwDnw
Chinese Community Development Partnership
I was delighted to host members of the Chinese Community Development Partnership this week in the Parliament. After their tour we had a question and answer session and my thanks go to Maryanna Law and Shan Chen for organising the visit and for their extremely professional interpreting skills.
It’ll be an early rise on Friday to meet up with the staff at the Royal Mails delivery office on Clarence Drive.
At no other time is the hard work and dedication of postmen and women clearer than during the festive period.
I thank them for the extraordinary lengths they go to ensure Christmas cards and presents are delivered to loved ones on time, and for all they do year-round.