Claire backs Asbestos Action Tayside

I am backing Asbestos Actions’ calls to improve care for asbestos sufferers across the country. That is why I joined the group at Holyrood to launch their new support booklet for those affected by the conditions.

Asbestos related conditions claim around 3,000 lives in the UK every year. To put that in context, that is more than are killed on the roads throughout the country.

Asbestos-related diseases occur when people breathe in asbestos fibre which can lead to benign conditions like pleural plaques where the lining of the lungs or ribcage calcify or terminal cancers like mesothelioma which can prove fatal just weeks after diagnosis. Continue reading

Claire raises GP crisis in Fife

I will be raising the GP crisis in Fife with the Health Secretary as I ask what support the Scottish Government is offering to struggling practices in the Kingdom.

The question follows a series of stories regarding the crisis facing GPs and patients in the region. This included the closure of a practice at Kirkcaldy Medical Centre despite NHS Fife trying to run the service with locum GPs.

Following numerous failed attempts to hire a replacement full time GP, Fife Health and Social Care took the decision to close the practice. As a result over 1,600 patients were dispersed to new practices.

Nationally over 52 practices have been transferred to local health services. As a result more than 160,000 patients are now served by an NHS run practice. According to the Royal College General Practitioners there is estimated to be a shortfall of 856 GPs by 2021.

Fife has been facing a growing GP crisis for some time and as RCGP highlighted it is expected to get worse not better in the years ahead. Patients deserve to been seen quick, by their regular GP and without being ferried from practice to practice. Continue reading

Cleft Lip and Palate Campaign

Today I met with campaigners, including from Fife, who are opposing plans to centralise cleft lip and palate surgery to a single site in Scotland.

As a result, those within Fife would have to travel to Glasgow to receive such surgery. Previously the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh also offered cleft lip and palate surgery.

Campaigners today were handing over a petition with over 6,000 signatures and I hope that NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government listen to their concerns.

You can find out more and sign the petition here

National Epilepsy Week

This week is National Epilepsy Week and today in Parliament I signed up to Epilepsy Scotland’s campaign #epilepsygetsmyvote.

Epilepsy is a serious neurological condition that affects one person in 97 and over 55,000 in Scotland suffer from the condition.

Research findings suggest that whilst just over half of people with epilepsy have seizure control, seven in ten could become seizure free if they received optimum care.

That is why support for people with epilepsy gets my vote.

Claire backs National Guarantee for care workers

I’m calling for a national guarantee for care workers in Mid Scotland and Fife that will see all workers paid the living wage and an end to exploitative zero hour contracts.

With an aging population and patients suffering from complex and multiple conditions, social care will be one of the biggest challenges facing the health service in the years ahead.

The easiest thing to do would be to continue a sticker plaster approach to health and social care in Scotland but we must meet this challenge head on.

As a result of the Chancellors spending review carried out last month, the Scottish Parliament will receive health consequentials of around £400 million.

I joined colleagues in the Scottish Parliament in putting forward proposals for using the majority of extra revenue to invest in social care.

We need to ensure that we have a health service that is fit for the future and meets the health needs of Scots in the years ahead.  Continue reading

Fife Gingerbread AGM

This week I went along along to Fife Gingerbread AGM. It was a moving and inspiring event. We heard from families who have worked with Fife Gingerbread and their experiences of supporting their children, building their own confidence and getting on in life.

It was great to see the way Fife Gingerbread are imaginatively using creative writing and art with families. It was clear to see how much everyone had benefited from expressing their creative side.

It was also great to hear about the progress of the Teen Fife Teen Parent Project and the awards they have been winning. It was a real pleasure to present the AGM awards this year and help recognise the women’s achievements. Looking forward to next year!

Fife GP Crisis

Yesterday during Health Questions I raised the growing GP crisis in Fife with the Cabinet Secretary for Health.

The news that Cannons Surgery in Fife has been taken over by NHS Fife and 8 surgeries in Kirkcaldy have closed their list to new patients is a huge cause for concern and it is vital that the Scottish Government take action.

In June £60 million was announced in funding to support GP services, it is important to meet demands that Fife gets its fair share.

You can watch the question below.

Housing & Social Care

During Portfolio Questions in the Scottish Parliament I raised the issue of housing and its impact on the successful delivery of integrated health and social care in Fife.  

Fife Council has invested significantly in affordable housing and this is to be welcomed. It is also important that if we are to ensure that a joined-up social care agenda is to work that we need suitable retirement housing for those that may require a care package.

For this to be achieved local governments throughout Scotland will need support from the Scottish Government to deliver integrated social care and healthcare. It is important that the Scottish Government are working across portfolio briefs to ensure this can be delivered.

You can watch the question on the video below.

Methil GP taken over by NHS Fife

It has been recently announced that The Cannons Surgery in Methil will be taken over by NHS Fife as a result of major staffing concerns. The surgery had made various attempts to recruit two GP Principles without any success resulting in one GP single –handedly covering the surgery with support from a Nurse Practitioner.

As a result the decision was taken that The Cannons Surgery would resign from its Section 17C GMS contract in November when NHS Fife will take over the running of the practice.

Alongside the Methil surgery there have been unsuccessful attempts to recruit GPs in Kennoway, Lochore and Dunfermline, with many practices in Fife recording difficulties in securing locum cover.

The warning signs of a crisis in general practice has been growing for some time and the repeated failures to find two full time GPs for Methil will be a major cause of concern for locals and patients at the surgery. Continue reading