Sandra White MSP for Glasgow Kelvin

Thursday 3 May 2018

Breast Cancer

04.18 Breast Cancer CareI was honoured to sponsor the launch event of the recent Breast Cancer Care Report in Parliament – Moving Forward “Living Well with and Beyond Breast Cancer in Scotland”.

As well as healthcare professionals we had a very moving account of one person’s experience of their treatment for breast cancer and the impact of the Moving Forward course.

Breast Cancer is still the most common cancer with around 4,600 diagnosed each year in Scotland alone with the number of breast cancer cases rising by over 30% since 2001. However, with the advances in treatment and care over the past few decades more people are surviving breast cancer and living with it than ever before.

Moving Forward is a free four-week programme which provides information, support and professional guidance on how to cope with and adjust to life after treatment. Topics covered may include: healthy eating, exercise, managing menopausal symptoms, lymphoedema, cancer fatigue, intimacy and relationships, and adjusting and adapting after a diagnosis of breast cancer.

For more information please go to

Refugee Dentists

Dentists are to be included in a scheme that has already helped 37 refugee doctors begin to re-train to work in Scotland.

Following the success of the scheme, dentists will now be given the same training, language support, professional mentoring and work experience necessary so that their qualifications can be recognised by the General Dental Council.

The New Refugee Doctors Project is run by the Bridges Programme and provides the most comprehensive support for refugees who were doctors in their home countries. It is expected 50 doctors and 10 dentists will be supported by the programme over the next year.

Traditional Building Skills

05.18 Traditional Building EventIt was great to catch up with representatives of the building trade in Sauchiehall Street this week at the traditional building skills demonstration.

The highlight of the event was the opportunity for High School pupils to be introduced to four traditional building skills by local apprentices and tradespeople. Each pupil had the opportunity to have a ‘hands on’ taster session of each skill.

05.18 Trad BuildingThere was also the opportunity for visitors and members of the public to have a go too and I jumped at the chance to improve my birdbox building skills from last year!

The traditional skills included, stone masonry, slating, roof leadwork, joinery and painting and decorating and there was plenty of information and advice from representatives on careers and training.

The event was very successful, helping raise the profile of traditional building skills, inspiring young people and also raising their awareness of the career opportunities which are available in this field.

NHS Finances

Health Secretary Shona Robison has put in place additional scrutiny around NHS finances in Scotland.

The Scottish Government will provide monthly information on NHS Boards financial performance to the Scottish Parliament following the boards first submissions for this financial year, which are due in June.

The Health Secretary also confirmed that the first quarterly financial report on Health and Social Care Integration Authorities had been provided to the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport committee and that medium term spending plans for the health service would be set out later this year.

She also repeated commitments to work with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator to implement any recommendations following their investigation of the use of endowment funds by NHS Boards.

Knit and Natter

05.18 Knit and Natter 1What a brilliant afternoon I had at the Annexe Communities on Monday meeting up with the Knit and Natter group who make blankets for refugees and you can see one of their lovely creations in the photograph.

This is just one of many groups and activities this amazing centre offers the local community. The Annexe run a varied programme of regular events and activities for older people from walking groups to art classes to meditation to dancing and much more.

05.18 Knit and Natter 3With their successful application to the Big Lottery Fund they now have a grant of £628,000 by which will support their Connects Project which has been successfully running for three years and was recently runners up at the Evening Times Community Champions Awards for North West Glasgow.

This further funding for west Glasgow will support 900 isolated and vulnerable older residents, age 60 plus, over a five-year period. The initiative will help older people to re-connect with their community, meet new friends and stay healthier longer.


People considering stopping smoking are being urged to get support to help them through the first 72 hours, and beyond.

A campaign signposting the support available from the Quit Your Way service has already resulted in a 136 per cent rise in helpline calls and webchats in the first three weeks, compared with the same period in 2017.

The campaign acknowledges that for some people the first 72 hours of quitting can be particularly tough as the body craves nicotine, but that with the right support smokers are twice as likely to stop smoking for good.

New research highlights that almost three quarters of smokers (73 per cent) have attempted to quit in the past, with one in five (22 per cent) currently trying.

Three quarters of those surveyed (75 per cent) agreed that the first 72 hours of giving up smoking are the hardest, with 82 per cent stating that the mental cravings can be harder to overcome than the physical cravings when quitting.

Quit Your Way Scotland is the national stop smoking service from NHS 24 and provides people who are thinking about quitting with individually tailored advice, either over the phone or online.

Find out more at

Mental Health

05.18 Brothers in ArmsBrothers in Arms were exhibiting in the Parliament this week and I took the opportunity to have a chat with them about their work.

It is a project based in East Dunbartonshire aimed at providing information, support and advice to men of any age, who are down or in crisis. They are dedicated to preventing male suicide which is the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK.

They have a website and social media platform that is aimed primarily at the 16 to 45 demographic most at risk and is designed as a ‘gateway’ to enable them or their partners, family and friends to seek help and advice and to feel that they are not alone.

More information can found at

Criminal Responsibility

The age a young person can be held responsible for their actions in the eyes of the law is to be examined by Holyrood’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee.

Although Scotland’s current age of criminal responsibility, the lowest in Europe at eight years old, is set to be raised by the Scottish Government, the Committee is seeking views on the new proposals.

The Committee is looking to hear from academics, people working in the criminal justice sector, victims of crime, and crucially young people and former young offenders. A toolkit for teachers and youth group leaders will be produced to help this to happen.

The Committee is asking not only for views on raising the age of criminal responsibility to 12, as the Scottish Government has proposed. It also wants to look at the disclosure of offences committed by under-12s; whether the new rules achieve an appropriate balance for victims; and the suitability of police powers to deal with behaviour by under-12s.


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