New plans for soft opt-out organ donation system unveiled

SNP MSP Sandra White has welcomed the Scottish Government’s decision to introduce legislation for a soft opt-out system of organ and tissue donation, which was backed by 82% of those who contributed to their consultation.

 

The 14-week consultation looked at various ways to increase the number of people being referred to the donation services in Scotland.

 

Currently in Scotland, organ and/or tissue donation after a person’s death only occurs if they have given advance authorisation or if their nearest relative authorises on their behalf.

 

A soft opt out, or deemed authorisation system, means that a donation can go ahead if the person has not opted out or told their family they do not wish to donate.

 

Commenting Sandra White MSP for Glasgow Kelvin said:

 

“Today’s decision to legislate for a soft opt-out system is great news for our health service & for many people who are waiting for life saving surgery.

 

“With the amazing help of donors and their families, NHS Scotland has already made great progress, including a 34% increase in donors this past year alone. Scotland now has the highest donor rate in the UK.

 

“However, we can do better and moving to a soft opt-out system is a really important step towards further reducing the number of people in Glasgow Kelvin waiting for transplants.

 

“We should always keep in mind the tragic circumstances that give rise to organ donation and forever appreciate the selfless acts of donors and their families that enable others to live. Organ and tissue donation saves lives and is one of the greatest gifts a person can give.”

 

ENDS

 

NOTES

 

https://news.gov.scot/news/increasing-organ-and-tissue-donation

 

Background

•             The consultation ran from 7 December 2016 to 14 March 2017.

•             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.

 

The Donation and Transplantation Plan, 2013-2020 has been the catalyst for meaningful improvement in organ donation in Scotland with:

•             146% increase (54-133 between 2007/8 and 2016/17) in the number of people who donated organs after their death.

•             In 2016/17, Scotland had the highest rate of donors per million of population of any UK country – currently 25.5 donors pmp.

•             45% of the Scottish population have joined the organ donor register (over 116,000 in 2016).

 

Ebrief

Ebrief

Thursday 22 June 2017

Finsbury Park

This was a horrific attack and my thoughts go out to everyone who has been affected. I know that everyone will be saddened to see yet another terrorist attack.

While there is no intelligence of any specific threat to Scotland, Police Scotland remain vigilant and visible across communities to provide reassurance to members of the public.

Muslim communities will understandably be anxious just now and it is in these moments that we must come together as a country and unite against extremism and hate from wherever it comes.

Social Security Bill

Historic legislation to establish Scotland’s first social security system has been introduced to the Scottish Parliament this week. The Social Security (Scotland) Bill will give the Scottish Government the powers to deliver eleven benefits devolved as part of the Scotland Act 2016.

It also provides powers to top up reserved benefits and provides a mechanism to pay a Carer’s Allowance supplement at the earliest opportunity.

You can access a copy of the Bill here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/Bills/105267.aspx

The first social security payments to be delivered by the Scottish Government from summer 2018 will be the increased Carer’s Allowance, followed by the Best Start Grant and the Funeral Expense Assistance from summer 2019.

Queens Speech

The UK Government must provide greater clarity on its Brexit plans following the Queens Speech particularly when the bulk of the speech centred on the legislation necessary for the UK to withdraw from the European Union, demonstrating that as well as being harmful to the country, Brexit is set to take up all the UK government’s resources, forcing other important issues to be sidelined.

Brexit must not see the UK Government attempt to reduce devolved competence or attempt to avoid the need for legislative consent from Holyrood.

Baby Box

06.17 BabyboxThe list of contents for Scotland’s Baby Box is now available at http://www.parentclub.scot/baby-box as registration for the nationwide roll out begins.

All babies due on or after 15 August 2017 will receive a box of essential items to support parents and promote a fair and equal start for all children in Scotland.

The final research of the successful pilot which took place in Orkney and Clackmannanshire has also been published. The findings have informed the logistics and contents of the initiative and responses have been positive, with some suggestions for improvement already implemented for national delivery.

Building Safety

The first meeting of a Ministerial Working Group, convened to examine building and fire safety regulatory frameworks, has taken place this week.

The meeting was chaired by Communities Secretary Angela Constance with Housing Minister Kevin Stewart and Community Safety Minister Annabelle Ewing. They were joined by officials from fire and rescue, building standards, local government and housing.

This group is overseeing a review of building and fire safety regulatory frameworks with an initial focus on high rise domestic buildings, following the Grenfell Tower fire in London. It will agree any improvements or actions identified.

Tron Theatre

06.17 Tron TheatreI had a great start to the week with a wonderful visit to the Tron Theatre.

Andy Arnold the Artistic Director kindly extended an invitation to me for a tour of the building and a chat on the theatres plans for the future.

The Tron Theatre is one of Glasgow’s cultural hubs which has been producing and presenting an eclectic programme of work for over 20 years in the 16th century Tron Kirk building.

I was delighted with their recent funding success from the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund of almost £40,000 of which they will use to refurbish The Tron Theatre’s Changing House.

The theatre is going from strength to strength and for those who haven’t already attended one of their many productions I would highly recommend a visit.

Medicine

Applications for a degree course offering exisiting graduates a new route into medicine will open in September, Health Secretary Shona Robison has confirmed.

The four-year course will have 40 places available and is being delivered by the medical schools in St Andrews and Dundee in collaboration with the University of the Highlands and Islands.

The course, which will begin next Autumn, will be open to existing graduates from any discipline with an interest in pursuing a degree in medicine.

Details will shortly be posted on the medical schools’ websites, and a social media campaign will be used to encourage applications.

Candidates interested in the new course will need to sit the GAMSAT aptitude test by 4 August. UCAS applications will open in September.

Air Departure Tax

A bill to replace Air Passenger Duty in Scotland has been passed by the Scottish Parliament.

The Air Departure Tax (Scotland) Bill sets the structure of the new tax and how it will be collected and managed by Revenue Scotland. Detail on tax bands and tax rate amounts will be set out in secondary legislation in the autumn, as part of the Scottish Government’s budget process and alongside other devolved taxes.

Foodbanks

06.17 Food PovertyI took the opportunity to stop by the Kirkcaldy Foodbanks stall at the Parliament this week to discuss the latest initiative on food poverty.

Nourish Scotland and the Poverty Truth Commission are working together to develop a Dignity Framework with and for community food providers supported through funding from the Scottish Governments’ Fair Food Transformation Fund.

It is hoped that the framework can be a tool for community food providers and community members to consider how placing dignity at the heart of community food provision can support a transition away from emergency food aid as a primary response to food insecurity.

You can access more details on the project at www.nourishscotland.org

50/50

The Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Bill published this week sets an objective for public boards that 50% of non-executive members are women by 2022.

It will apply to certain public bodies, colleges and Higher Education Institutions in Scotland, subject to the Bill receiving parliamentary approval.

The Bill will drive further improvements, building on the success of the Scottish Government’s ‘50/50 by 2020’ pledge – which has seen nearly 200 organisations across the public, private and third sectors sign up voluntarily to improve gender balance on board.

Film Fund

A fund to incentivise film production in Scotland has generated £17.5m for the economy – returning £10 for every pound spent.

The Production Growth Fund, a combination of Scottish Government and National Lottery Funding administered by Creative Scotland, provides an incentive for major film and TV producers to base their work in Scotland. T2: Trainspotting, Churchill and The Loch were among the first productions to benefit.

Responding to Creative Scotland figures that underline the impact of the first £1.75m awarded, Ms Hyslop confirmed the Scottish Government will allocate an additional £250k to the Production Growth Fund, taking its total to £3.25 million.

MND

With MND Awareness taking place this week I was pleased to see that applications are now being taken for a scholarship fund set up in memory of motor neurone disease (MND) campaigner, Gordon Aikman.

The Gordon Aikman Scholarship is worth £50,000; with Scottish Government funding of £25,000 and MND Scotland announcing this week that it will match this funding.

It will support individuals affected by MND or their carers and healthcare professionals to research and develop practical improvements in the way people with MND are cared for.

Social Enterprise Awards

Scotland’s annual awards for achievement in social enterprise are open for entries – with just 3 weeks left to apply.

Social Enterprise Scotland is calling on all social enterprises to step up and demonstrate how they’re helping people or the environment – gaining real recognition for their many achievements and with many social enterprises across the constituency doing some great work I’d encourage you to get your applications in.

The deadline for award applications is Monday 10 July 2017. All information is at: socialenterpriseawards.scot

Policing 2026

A ten-year strategy to ensure Police Scotland is equipped to tackle new and emerging threats has been published.

Policing 2026 includes a commitment to recruit more civilian cyber specialists to counter the threat posed by cyber-crime and calls for greater emphasis on addressing vulnerability and mental health issues.

As well as maintaining officer numbers for 2017-18, the strategy also proposes a workforce model that frees up officers from support work to increase the number available for frontline policing.

 

Social Security Bill – Landmark legislation published

Historic legislation to establish Scotland’s first social security system has been introduced to the Scottish Parliament.

The Social Security (Scotland) Bill will give the Scottish Government the powers to deliver eleven benefits devolved as part of the Scotland Act 2016.

It also provides powers to top up reserved benefits and provides a mechanism to pay a Carer’s Allowance supplement at the earliest opportunity.

Chairperson for the Social Security Committee, Sandra White MSP, agreed with the Social Security Minister, Jeane Freeman, who said it represented a significant milestone in the process of transferring these social security powers safely and securely.

Ms White said:

“This is an extremely important day in both this Parliament’s history but more importantly for Scotland and the history of devolution. The Social Security Bill provides this Government and this Parliament the opportunity to make different choices – and shows that we can create a fairer and more just society when we take matters into our own hands.

“I believe strongly that everyone has a right to social security – so much so that I have put these principles on the very first page of this Bill.

“The core principle that everyone has a right to social security are embedded throughout this Bill – whether it is how entitlement to benefits is determined, a more just review and appeals system, or the Government’s decision to remove the private sector from disability benefit assessments.

“As the First Minister has often repeated, dignity and respect are at the heart of our social security policy – a marked contrast to the approach that the current UK Government is taking, as their unjust welfare cuts continue to cause misery, push more people into poverty and attract international criticism.”

Background

The Social Security (Scotland) Bill is available online

The Bill sets out an over-arching legislative framework for the administration of social security in Scotland, making provision for operational functions such as overpayments, fraud, error, re-determinations and appeals.

It places a duty on the Scottish Ministers to give assistance to persons who are entitled to it and provides a brief description of each type of assistance that Scottish Ministers will give. Secondary legislation will provide detail on what assistance will be available and how the system will work. This will follow once the Bill has been agreed by the Parliament. The legislation is expected to come into force within the current Parliamentary term.

The first social security payments to be delivered by the Scottish Government from summer 2018 will be the increased Carer’s Allowance, followed by the Best Start Grant and the Funeral Expense Assistance from summer 2019.

The full list of the eleven benefits being devolved to Scotland can be viewed on the Scottish Government website. 10 of the 11 devolved benefits, totalling around £2.9 billion of annual payments, will be delivered directly by the new social security agency itself. Discretionary Housing Payments will be delivered by local authorities.

Ebrief

Thursday 15 June

Expert Panel

06.17 Expert Panel LaunchI attended the inaugural meeting of the External Experts Panel held this week in the Parliament. The group has been established as a collaborative venture between three parliamentary committees, Social Security, Finance and Constitution and Culture, Tourism, European and External Relations as well as the Centre on Constitutional Change based at the University of Edinburgh, with the support of the ESRC.

 

The meeting brought together the members and provided an opportunity for the experts to outline their views on the forthcoming challenges and opportunities that MSPs will need to consider over the next 12 months in the three areas of, constitutional policy and territorial financing, Brexit and EU matters and the implementation of new social security policy in Scotland.

 

Human Trafficking

 

The Scottish Government pledged support for victims of human trafficking will be doubled to at least 90 days. The announcement was made during a debate in the Parliament this week on the issue of human trafficking and I took the opportunity to contribute to the debate.

The extended period of support will be three times longer than the Council of Europe minimum period and twice as long as the rest of the UK. The change is being made after consultation with victims’ groups and other justice agencies, and is a key part of the new Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy, launched in May and aimed at eliminating human trafficking in Scotland.

Funding of almost £800,000 will be provided this year through support groups TARA (Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance) and Migrant Help UK.

You can read my contribution here http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11003&i=100549

Brexit

Ahead of Brexit negotiations beginning, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has written to Prime Minister Theresa May to express the Scottish Government’s concerns over the UK’s current Brexit plans.

The First Minister has called for membership of the European Single Market and the EU Customs Union to be protected and for the negotiating team to include representation from the devolved governments.

She has also called for the UK government to immediately guarantee the rights of EU nationals to remain in the UK beyond the date of the UK’s exit from the EU.

You can read more at: https://news.gov.scot/news/first-minister-writes-to-prime-minister-ahead-of-brexit-negotiations

Employability

A new £2.5 million fund will improve the help delivered to people looking to access employment and training.

The Employability Innovation and Integration Fund will look to join up employment support with health and social care, justice and housing services, making sure people receive the level of support they need to find sustainable employment.

Bodies responsible for delivering community planning partnership priorities which include health boards and local authorities, are being invited to submit proposals for the Fund.

If you would like more information on the Employability Innovation and Integration Fund including an application form, please send an email to employabilityiif@gov.scot

Care Opinion

06.17 Care OpinionThe not for profit social enterprise Care Opinion were in the Parliament this week and I stopped by their stall to have a chat to them about their work.

Care Opinion aims to make it quick, easy and safe for people who use services and their carers to give feedback about their health and social care, and for providers to respond to and make use of feedback for service improvement.

Anyone can share their stories on the Care Opinion website and when the story is published on site they will automatically notify relevant health and social care services who may then also respond online.

The result is short public online exchanges which show how people are experiencing services and how services are listening and responding to that experience.

You can see more at www.careopinion.org.uk

Hate Crime

A series of practical measures have been set out to tackle and prevent hate crime in Scotland, focused on tackling prejudice and building stronger communities.

Responding to the recommendations of the Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime which reported in September, Communities and Equalities Secretary Angela Constance has confirmed:

Creating a delivery group of key partners with Ministerial oversight to ensure the advisory group’s recommendations lead to meaningful changes on the ground

Work with transport providers and disabled people’s organisations to deliver a hate crime charter for public transport

Tackling hate crime in the workplace, focusing on frontline staff, working with the STUC and others to gather evidence

A public campaign aiming to prevent hate crime by raising awareness of what hate crime is and how to report it and showing perpetrators the impact of these crimes on victims

Adopting the International Holocaust Memorial Trust’s definition of anti-Semitism – driving work to tackle this form of prejudice

Fair Hospitality

The hospitality sector contributes billions to both our local and national economy every 06.17 Fair Hospitalityyear and yet it’s workers are the lowest paid and least contractually secure in our economy. The median income of workers in the hotels industry for example is 50p less than the Minimum Wage at only £7 per hour.

Fair Hospitality is the campaign to improve conditions alongside workers within the hospitality industry. Our aim will be to provide hospitality workers with the legal knowledge, the organising skills and collective confidence to transform their workplace and ultimately re-build a collective bargaining framework for the industry.

 I know across Glasgow Kelvin there have been successes for this campaign but there remains several issues highlighted by the Fair Hospitality campaign that remain unresolved.

I support the aims of this campaign and hope to work in collaboration as the local MSP for the area to reach an agreement.

European Championships

Glasgow and Berlin will co-host the inaugural European Championships in August 2018, bringing together the existing championships of seven of Europe’s leading sports into one coordinated, exciting multi-sport event.

Aquatics, cycling, gymnastics, golf, rowing and triathlon will be held in Scotland, with the German capital hosting the athletics.

Scotland’s sporting reputation has never been higher, following what is now widely recognised as the best ever Commonwealth Games and the spectacular 2014 Ryder Cup.

Commonwealth and European champion swimmer, Ross Murdoch, who has been named as the first Glasgow 2018 sporting ambassador, joined young people from across Scotland at a sporting street carnival in Glasgow’s Buchanan Street to celebrate tickets going on public sale and you can get yours at https://www.glasgow2018.com/tickets

National Clean Air Day

Scotland is making progress tackling air pollution, a new report launched today on National Clean Air Day has shown.

The report showed that in the last 18 months 40 key actions have been progressed as part of the Clean Air for Scotland (CAFS) strategy involving the Scottish Government, local authorities, the NHS, Transport Scotland and Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

Key activity includes:

working with local authorities to introduce the country’s first Low Emission Zone by 2018, including on-going engagement with the bus and freight sectors

Scotland becoming the first country in Europe to adopt in law the World Health Organisation’s guidelines on fine particulate matter and funding for 13 new monitoring stations (adding to the 16 already in place)

the creation of four new Air Quality Management Areas, bringing the total to 38 in Scotland, all in locations designed to give the best insight into pollution country wide

the development of an app which advices people about alternative routes to help reduce exposure to pollution, and a permanent exhibition at the Glasgow Science Centre dedicated to air quality

encouraging alternative methods of travel through the launch of the National Walking Action Plan and an updated Cycling Action Plan

 

Big Lottery Fund Scotland opens new collaborative funding opportunity

SANDRA WHITE MSP today welcomes an exciting new initiative being launched by the Big Lottery Fund Scotland – Early Action System Change. This new fund is aimed at making a fundamental shift towards early action in Scotland.

 

Early Action System Change has received £7.5 million of funding in order to make grants to help bring local public and third sectors organisations together to redesign and re-organise their services. Not only this but they will also test new approaches that make early action central to their work.

 

As Big Lottery Fund Scotland highlighted in a series of blog posts, an early action approach aims to prevent societal problems from occurring rather than coping with the consequences. This in turn helps people to live longer, happier and healthier lives. But to get to that point, the systems and support that are in place right now require change.

 

MSP for Glasgow Kelvin, Sandra White, commented on this new fund:
“The Big Lottery provides vital funding to many organisations and this is another example of their efforts to assist in preventative measures as well as fund ongoing efforts to tackle issues.

I have no doubt that these funds will go to great use in reframing how many of the problems we face as a society are addressed. I wish all applicants the best of luck and look forward to engaging with those recipients who are based in my constituency.”

 

Through this fund Big Lottery Scotland will therefore award a small number of grants of up to £1 million that are intended to fund the first steps towards changing the way the whole systems work. This means they are interested in the overall system and the particular areas where there are opportunities to act earlier.  I fully support this fund and hope to see this change fully involve the people who will benefit from and participate, and those who work to deliver support and services.

 

With this investment, the fund will focus on supporting these three themes:

  • Healthy & Active Lifestyles
  • Children, Young People and Families
  • Women and criminal justice

 

In order to apply The Big Lottery Fund have provided the following information:

“Applications to the fund are made by way of an expression of interest form available on our website.

 

If you would like to know more you can sign up for our webinar which will take place at 10:30am on Monday 10 July 2017. Don’t worry if you can’t attend. We’ll share the recording online and if you have any questions you can get in touch with me.

 

For more on system change and how we see our funding contributing to this area, read this Holyrood article by our Scotland Director, Martin Cawley, who tells us people and partnerships are key to successful system change.”

 

ENDS