Thursday 19 April 2018

MIU

I was extremely disappointed to receive news today from Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS of their decision to close the Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) at Yorkhill. I have been pushing this issue for a number of months and it is concerning that this decision has been made with what would appear to be very little communication with local people and organisations despite assurances that there would be.

During First Minister’s Questions today I took the opportunity to highlight the concerns from both myself and the local communities the MIU serves.

They have stated that the MIU service will now be sited at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital from 9am on 21 April.

You can read the full transcript of the exchange with the First Minister here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/ReportSelectPage.aspx?type=plenary&year=2018&page=0&meeting=-1

Assistance Dogs

04.18 Veterans with DogsA great opportunity this week in Parliament to chat with representatives of Veterans with Dogs. I’m pictured with Neil and Arbhair.

Veterans with Dogs are a small organisation and the first to train assistance dogs for ex-service personnel with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other related conditions, to increase independence and improve quality of life.

These dogs contribute significantly to the health and welfare of the ex-service personnel and have prevented suicides, reduced the amount of medication taken and enabled veterans to fully participate in life.

The things many of us take for granted such as using public transport can be incredibly difficult for veterans with PTSD but this organisation and these dogs are providing companionship, loyalty and support.

Safe Injecting Facilities

The Scottish Government led a debate this week calling on the UK Government to devolve the powers necessary to pursue new methods to tackle the public health issue of unsafe drug consumption and I took the opportunity to participate.

The proposed safer consumption facility is designed to service the needs of an estimated 400-500 individuals who inject publicly in the city centre and experience high levels of harm.

The Scottish Government supports Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership’s proposals, particularly in light of the growing number of HIV cases.

You can access my full contribution here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/ReportSelectPage.aspx?type=plenary&year=2018&page=0&meeting=-1

Planning

04.18 Planning Aid ScotlandThe Scottish Alliance for People and Places were exhibiting in the Parliament this week and I took the opportunity to stop by and have a chat with their representatives.

The Alliance brings together a wide range of organisations from across the planning and placemaking sector in Scotland to articulate a united and compelling vision for a more inclusive, respected, holistic and innovative system of planning.

The Alliance in a system that inspires and empowers civic participation, recognises the positive force that quality economic development can play in creating a more equal society, and is built on fostering strong relationships through consensus and collaboration.

You can find out more about their work and the organisations involved here: https://peopleandplaces.scot/

Organised Crime

New measures to combat organised crime which came into force this week will widen what can be classed as cash when seizing assets.

The provisions from the Criminal Finances Act 2017 now mean that betting slips, casino chips and gaming vouchers can now be seized as if they were currency.

Police Scotland will also be able to search for and seize items of value such as jewellery, watches, stamps and precious stones where they are suspected of being involved in illegal activity, in the same way they already do with cash.

Children’s Lottery

04.18 Children's LotteryThe Parliament was host to the Scottish Children’s Lottery this week. The organisation was launched to raise funds for, and improve the lives of, young people across Scotland. Unlike a national lottery, the Scottish Children’s Lottery is the brand name for an umbrella scheme which promotes a draw on behalf of four charitable societies. These charities are supported in equal measure on a weekly rotational basis.

Each Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation has been established to work with key projects relating to the health and welfare of children across Scotland, with a particular focus on alleviating child poverty.

You can find out more about their work and the projects they have supported here: https://www.scottishchildrenslottery.com/en/stv/home/index.html

Domestic Abuse

A ground-breaking initiative to combat domestic abuse is to be expanded around the country to help maximise victims’ safety and hold offenders to account for their violence.

£2.8 million will be available for local authorities to apply for support to roll out the Caledonian System within their area to enable more perpetrators to address their behaviour

The Caledonian System is a specialist court-mandated programme working with male perpetrators, which also aims to improve the lives of women and children affected.

Puppy Dealers

04.18 Puppy DealersI’ve signed the pledge to #saynotopuppydealers in order to help combat illegal puppy farming and I would urge others to do the same.

The Scottish SPCA has this week launched a joint campaign with the SNP Scottish Government, Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, RSPCA, Battersea, Dogs Trust, University of Edinburgh, PAAG, Trading Standards Scotland, One Kind, Blue Cross and BSAVA to put an end to the illegal puppy trade.

The campaign’s new website aims to be the main source of information for the public on what to be aware of when thinking about buying a puppy and avoiding illegal puppy dealers.

Thousands of puppies are born into the illegal puppy trade each year, which the Scottish Government estimated to be worth £13m in 2017 in Scotland alone. Many of these puppies are kept in horrendous conditions, are often removed from their mothers too early – causing distress, harm and health problems, all in the name of a quick profit.

Continuity Bill

The UK Government are challenging the Continuity Bill passed here in the Scottish Parliament by 95 votes to 32 – an overwhelming majority.

The Lord Advocate will be arguing in the Supreme Court that it is within the powers of the Scottish Parliament to prepare for the consequences for devolved matters of UK withdrawal from the European Union.

The Continuity Bill is an important and necessary piece of legislation to prepare Scotland’s laws for Brexit while protecting the powers of the Scottish Parliament that people voted for.

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