Thursday 28 February 2019
Crohns and Colitis
Representatives from Crohn’s and Colitis UK the leading charity in the battle against Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis were exhibiting in Parliament this week and I took time to have a chat with them about their work in Scotland.
Crohns and Colitis UK was established as a patients’ association in 1979, and now have 35,000 members across the UK. Their aim is to make life better for the 300,000 people in the UK with Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis and other forms of inflammatory bowel disease.
The UK’s first National Blueprint for improving health services for those with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in Scotland was launched by Crohn’s and Colitis UK at a reception in the Scottish Parliament in 2016.
This initiative which was the first of its kind across the UK aims to improve services for the 26,000 people in Scotland living with IBD.
You can find out more about the organisation here: https://www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk/
It was a pleasure to sponsor the Scottish Mentoring Network event in the Parliament this week.
As you can see from the photographs we had quite a number of organisations represented as well as the Minister for Children and Early Years Maree Todd MSP.
The Scottish Mentoring Network (SMN) supports mentoring organisations across Scotland from the Borders to the Highlands and from the Western Isles to the Shetland Isles.
SMN is involved in national strategies using mentoring to support a range of care experienced young people as well as supporting some 200 projects delivering mentoring to a whole range of service users.
SMN receive funding from the Scottish Government’s Childrens, Young People and Families Early Intervention Fund. They support mentoring in areas such as social enterprises, employment, mental health, disabilities and the justice system as well colleges and universities.
I was particularly impressed with the GrowBiz organisation based in Perthshire. They offer a free mentoring service that allows businesses to be supported by someone with experience. All of their mentors are volunteers with invaluable business experience.
They provide support to anyone who is considering becoming self-employed, or starting (or growing) a small business or social enterprise. This is regardless of your age or experience – in fact, it works right across the community to include people from all backgrounds and sectors.
Services are free and confidential, and include 1-1 meetings, peer support, learning sessions, mentoring, training and networking opportunities.
Find out more about SMN and their partner organisations here: http://scottishmentoringnetwork.co.uk/
As a member of the Health and Sport Committee I took the opportunity to contribute to the Stage 1 debate on the Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill.
The Bill contains proposals to introduce a system of ‘deemed authorisation’ for organ and tissue donation for transplantation (often known as ‘presumed consent’). What this means is that when someone dies but they have not made their wishes on donation known, their consent to donation would be presumed unless their next of kin provided information that this was against their wishes.
The main aim of the Bill is to increase the organ donation rates and, as a consequence, the number of transplants carried out.
The organ donation rate has generally been increasing over the last decade, as has the transplant rate. Consequently, the transplant waiting list has been decreasing. However, at any one time there are still over 500 people waiting for a transplant in Scotland and between 40-60 people will die each year while waiting.
You can access the full debate and my contribution here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11959&i=108133
As Co-Convener of the CPG on WASPI and an ardent supporter of the campaigning group and it’s aims I had no hesitation in taking part in their rally at the weekend in Glasgow.
I was joined by my colleagues Patrick Grady MP (pictured), Mhairi Black MP as well as the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP.
The procession kicked off at Festival Park on Govan Road and ended at the Mary Barbour Statue at Govan Cross.
The UK Government made changes to the state pension age which is affecting 350,000 women across Scotland with 72,000 affected in Glasgow.
Whilst WASPI agrees with equalisation, the way this has been implemented is unfair and has left thousands of women in severe financial hardship. This was a contract between women employees and the UK Government and they must fulfil that contract.