Thursday 8 November 2018
Special thanks to my colleague Linda Fabiani MSP on securing a special screening in the Scottish Parliament of Producer and Director Felipe Bustos Sierra’s film Nae Pasaran!
I’m pictured with Felipe and my colleague Clare Adamson MSP.
The film tells the story of Bob Fulton, Robert Somerville, Stuart Barrie, John Keenan and their fellow workers at the Rolls Royce factory in East Kilbride who defied the regime of dictator General Pinochet in Chile by refusing to repair engines from Chilean Airforce planes.
It is no surprise that this film has won Best Film at the 2018 Scottish BAFTAs. I’d definitely recommend it and I believe there are screenings at the GFT.
The UK Government must come clean on the mounting costs of Brexit to the heath sector. With Brexit less than six months away, the Scottish Government is doing all it can to plan for, and mitigate, the expected damage Brexit will cause the Scottish NHS.
Far from the £350 million extra a week promised to the NHS from Brexit, there is growing evidence of mounting costs.
There is no good Brexit for our health service. Even with a deal we face a loss of millions of pounds in research funding which could hit clinical trials.
The best way to avoid this damage to the health service is to remain in the EU. But short of that, the UK must stay in the Customs Union and Single Market – which is around eight times the size of the UK market alone – to minimise the damage of Brexit and ensure we continue to have access to the high quality frontline and research staff we need.
The Scottish Government, in consultation with a variety of animal welfare charities including the Scottish SPCA, is launching a new Animal Welfare campaign to raise awareness of the devastating consequences of illegal puppy farming.
The Scottish Government Buy a Puppy Safely campaign focuses on, educating the target audience on the consequences of buying an illegally bred puppy, teaching them how to spot the signs of an illegally bred puppy, prompting them to do their research and visit buyapuppysafely.org.
The campaign is being launched now to raise awareness ahead of the large spike in online advertising of puppies in the run up to Christmas. Many people begin their search for a new puppy online, and the campaign hopes to raise awareness that buyers are more likely to buy an illegally bred puppy than they think.
Please visit the website if you are thinking or anyone you know is thinking of getting a puppy – you can get more information here: https://www.buyapuppysafely.org/
Financial Health Check
At least 15,000 households each year are expected to benefit from the new Financial Health Check service – backed by £3.3 million in funding over the next two years.
Low income families and older people will be able to access personalised advice on money matters, from reducing household energy costs to accessing grants such as the Best Start Grant and the School Clothing Grant. This will help people avoid the “poverty premium” of paying more for essential goods and services.
This new service, which is one of the commitments outlined in the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan, will be available through a freephone telephone number 0800 085 7145 or in person at Citizens Advice Bureaux.
St Vincent Street Church
What a wonderful visit on Monday to meet with representatives of the St Vincent Street Church designed by Glasgow Architect Alexander “Greek” Thomson and built in 1859.
The church was acquired by Glasgow Corporation by Compulsory Purchase Order and has been owned by the council ever since.
Glasgow City Free Church have been leasing the building from the Council since 1971. They have taken exceptional care of this “A” listed building.
However, a building of this size requires sufficient investment in its preservation and conservation.
Glasgow City Free Church are hoping they can safeguard the future of the building by setting up a Trust to oversee the maintenance and running of the building. I think this would be a hugely positive step forward for the future of the building particularly when we have witnessed the decay of architecturally significant buildings across the city.
Read, Write, Count
Three quarters of teachers surveyed across Scotland say their pupils’ enthusiasm for reading increased after receiving Read, Write, Count bags. Funded by the Scottish Government and containing books for children plus hints and tips for parents they are gifted every year to families of P2 and P3 children.
In a Scottish Book Trust survey parents, carers and teachers welcomed the bags as a highly valuable resource which had a positive impact at home and in the classroom.
Representatives from the Representing Communities: New Approaches to Wellbeing were exhibiting in Parliament this week and I took the opportunity to speak to them about their work both in Cromarty and in Dennistoun.
The project both rural and urban has been exploring new ways of finding out what local people do to achieve or maintain a sense of personal and collective wellbeing.
The project has found this has provided effective new insights into how to conduct research aimed at informing health and wellbeing policies in a fresh way which delivers a new means of understanding some of Scotland’s old and seemingly intractable wellbeing challenges.
Nursing and Midwifery
Student nursing and midwifery places will increase for the seventh consecutive year, reaching record levels, with the intake rising by 7.6% to more than 4,000.
All eligible nursing and midwifery students across Scotland will benefit from an increased bursary in 2019/20, rising to £10,000 a year in 2020/21.
Upping intake for the 2019/20 academic year is one of a number of measures to support the sustained recruitment and retention of NHS staff. In addition to the increase in student places, almost 460 former nurses and midwives have signed up to retrain through the Return to Practice programme, since 2015. The Scottish Government is also funding the Open University to deliver a pre-registration programme, currently supporting around 116 nursing students.
Waverley Care were in Parliament this week highlighting their Hepatitis C Prison Link Project, which operates within HMP Barlinnie and Low Moss in Glasgow.
Building on research within the prison sector, and the personal experiences of their service users, the Prison Link Project works with prisoners who are living with hepatitis C as they approach liberation.
An estimated one in five prisoners in Scotland is thought to be living with hepatitis C and, while testing and treatment within prison settings is becoming increasingly established, the chaotic nature of many individuals’ lives mean that they often fall away from formal care and support on release.
The Prison Link provides holistic support before, during, and after release to remove the uncertainty people face when returning to the community. Through this approach, the project empowers individuals to take greater control of their own health and wellbeing, clear hepatitis C and move forward with their lives.