WHAT TO EXPECT IF YOU’RE CALLED BY AN NHS CONTACT TRACER

Scotland’s approach to implementing the ‘test, trace, isolate, support’ strategy, Test and Protect, is now live across the country.

Test and Protect will help us gradually change the restrictions that help to suppress COVID-19 so society can adapt to a new normal.

If you experience any one of the symptoms – a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – you must immediately self-isolate for a minimum of seven days.

As soon as you start showing symptoms you should go to www.nhsinform.scot or call 0800 028 2816 to arrange to get tested.

When contacting individuals who have tested positive, contact tracers will ask people to identify others who they’ve been in close contact with and places they’ve been 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms up until the time they’ve self-isolated. This information will then be inputted into contact tracing software and used to identify and contact those identified.

The positive individual will not be named by the contact tracer in line with patient confidentiality, unless they agree to have their details disclosed to help the contact tracing process.

Importantly, contact tracers will not ask anyone for information about bank accounts or medical records, and they will not try to sell you anything. The data gathered will be stored securely by NHS Scotland and safely destroyed as soon as possible after the pandemic concludes.

Commenting, Paisley’s MSP George Adam said:

“I understand that people may be worried about the risks of potential phone scams, but the NHS already has a number of protections in place to stop potential fraudsters and ensure all information is kept confidential.

“Contact tracers will introduce themselves, state the reason for their call, and will always identify who they are calling by name. They will not ask for information about bank accounts or medical records, and they will not try to sell you anything.

“The tracers will be supported by software which builds on a tried and trusted platform, allowing teams to identify outbreaks and reduce transmission for high risk groups here in Paisley.

“Trace and Protect is one way we will tackle this pandemic, but physical distancing and good hand hygiene continues to play a huge role in minimising the spread of infection.”

Test and Protect was rolled out across Scotland on 28 May 2020.

What people can expect when called by a contact tracer:

  • contact tracers will introduce themselves, state the reason for their call, and will always identify the call recipient by name
  • contact tracers will only ask for information about your movements and the people you have been in close physical proximity to
  • contact tracers will not ask for personal information like bank accounts, or medical records and will not offer services to you, or try to sell you anything they may send a text message or email to provide links to online guidance and support

A privacy statement about the use of information as part of contact tracing can be found on the NHS Scotland site – https://www.informationgovernance.scot.nhs.uk/covid-19-privacy-statement/

GEORGE ADAM ENCOURAGES PARENTS IN PAISLEY TO APPLY FOR BEST START GRANT

Paisley’s MSP has encouraged parents of children aged four to five to apply for the SNP Government’s Best Start Grant.

A one-off £250 payment is currently open to eligible families, with a child who was born between 1st March 2015 and 29th February 2016, who will be starting primary school later this year.  

The School Age payment can be used for anything from a new pair of school shoes or arts and crafts materials for children.

The payment is part of the SNP Government’s Best Start Grant, a package of three payments for families in receipt of eligible benefits – including Universal Credit and Housing Benefit – to help at key stages in a child’s life.

Commenting, George] said:

“Covering the costs of a child starting school can be tough on family finances, especially in the current climate.

“The SNP Government’s school age payment offers low income families, or those who receive support like Universal Credit, a £250 payment around the time children start at primary school.

“We’re absolutely determined that every child, regardless of circumstances, gets the best start in life. So in these unprecedented and difficult times, I’d encourage families across Paisley to check what other financial support they may be eligible for too – such as school clothing grants or free school meals.”

CALL FOR UK GOVERNEMNT TO ENSURE £70 MILLION FUNDING PLEDGES ARE HONOURED

 
Paisley’s MSP has called on the UK Government to honour the coronavirus funding pledges made by Boris Johnson after they seem to have backtracked on £70 million worth of funding for business and charities in Scotland.
 
On 2nd May, the UK Government announced a £617 million extension to business grants, which it advised would generate £60 million of funding consequentials for Scotland under the Barnett Formula. 
 
However, the UK Government informed the Scottish Government this week that this additional funding would not now materialise, which will cause concern for businesses and industry in Paisley.

Furthermore, last month £35 million of consequentials was earmarked to the Scottish Government in respect of charity support direct grant, but this was amended by the Treasury to £25 million at a later date.

Commenting, George Adam MSP said:
 
“Funding commitments from the UK Government have to be taken in good faith as we work through this pandemic, but the fact that Boris Johnson’s government has simply pulled the rug on £70 million of funding completely undermines the whole process.
 
“The Scottish Government committed to spending that money in the belief that the UK Government would honour its word – Tory MSPs in Paisley and the West of Scotland should urgently seek reassurance from their colleagues in the Treasury that future funding announcements will be robust and reliable enough to act upon without creating unnecessary financial risks.
“We’ve already seen the Scottish Government take action to fill gaps in UK-wide support schemes, so the last thing we need is an additional financial burden put on businesses in our town because of the Treasury’s shameful decision to short-change Scotland. 

“The UK government must act immediately to ensure the £70 million they promised is allocated as quickly as possible and in its entirety, so that the Scottish Government can continue to protect jobs and businesses right here in Paisley.”

PAISLEY’S MSP: HOW ARE WE SUPPORTING THOSE UNABLE TO BE WITH RELATIVES RECEIVING END OF LIFE CARE

During Vitual Question Time on Thursday, George Adam, SNP MSP for Paisley, asked the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport how the Scottish Government is continuing to monitor advice for those receiving palliative and end of life care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to his question, Jeane Freeman confirmed that the Scottish Government is continually in communication with care homes, hospices and services providing end of life care to ensure both residents and families are treated with dignity and respect despite the difficult circumstances posed by the virus.

Ms Freeman reiterated that she will remain in active contact with the hospice network across Scotland to ensure that any additional clarification on the guidance is available when necessary, and will continue to ensure that institutions are supported in their implementation of visiting policies for those receiving palliative care safely and compassionately.

Since the beginning of the lockdown, institutions across Scotland have implemented a range of measures to protect the health, safety and well-being of residents and their families in an effort to reduce the spread of coronavirus and limit transmission between parties.

George Adam said:

“Since becoming Paisley’s MSP, I have always made palliative care and end of life choices a priority of mine as I feel passionately about ensuring both hospice residents and their families are treated with the upmost compassion and dignity at the most difficult time in their lives.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has left many residents and families understandably confused and anxious about what the new social distancing and lockdown measures mean for them, so it was important to me that I raised this question during Virtual Question Time and put it at the front of the agenda.

“I know the Health Secretary is going above and beyond right now to make sure care homes, hospices, and all health service providers are kept up to date with the most accurate guidance and are continually supported to ensure they can implement said guidance as safely and efficiently as possible.

“I can’t imagine the hardship faced by many across Scotland who are currently separated from their loved ones or facing uncertainly surrounding visiting policies or access to family members receiving palliative care. I want you to know that I am thinking of you right now and will continue to work with my colleagues to make sure you have as much support as possible during these difficult times.”

2,680 CARERS IN RENFREWSHIRE DUE TO RECEIVE EXTRA PAYMENT

Paisley’s MSP praises the vital work done by carers across Scotland during the COVID-19 pandemic and asked what is being done to support unpaid careers during First Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.

As an unpaid carer himself, George Adam was delighted with the response to his question and the announcement that thousands across his local area are due to benefit from a one-off payment during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Scottish Government has revealed plans to invest £19.2million to provide further support to Scottish carers during the Covid-19 crisis.

If approved by parliament, around 83,000 eligible carers across Scotland will get an extra £230.10 through a special one-off Coronavirus Carer’s Allowance Supplement in June – with around 2,680 people in Renfrewshire to benefit from this additional financial support. 

The extra payment will be paid automatically to people in receipt of Carer’s Allowance.

George Adam said: 

“Carers in Paisley make an absolutely invaluable contribution to our society, and it’s only appropriate that their hard work is valued and they are properly supported by the Scottish Government.

“This one-off payment will benefit carers who are on low incomes and already have some of the most intense caring roles, providing at least 35 hours unpaid care weekly to a disabled child or adult in receipt of higher level disability benefits.

“This additional payment will be an acknowledgement to carers that we know they are providing vital support to family, friends and neighbours, and playing an absolutely crucial role in our collective efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus. “I am delighted that carers right here in our town are being recognised by the SNP Government for the important contribution they make to our communities in these extremely difficult circumstances.”

PUBLIC IN PAISLEY TO HAVE THEIR SAY ON LOCKDOWN RESTRICTIONS

Paisley’s MSP George Adam has urged the public to have their say as the Scottish Government publishes an update on what life might look like when coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions are altered. 

COVID-19: A Framework for Decision Making says the current lockdown is pushing the number of infectious cases down, but concludes that the virus continues to pose a serious threat to public health in Scotland.

George Adam has also encouraged constituents in Paisley to read the Scottish Government’s “Test, Trace, Isolate, Support” paper, published yesterday, which will be a “key aspect” of the next phase of the battle against Coronavirus. 

The testing and tracing strategy will work alongside other virus suppression measures, including physical distancing, hand washing and the use of face coverings. Thousands of contact tracing staff are also to be taken on, and new digital tools including an app are being developed.

Paisley’s MSP said:

“The decisions on how we come out of lockdown will affect all of us – and so it’s important that these decisions are made as openly and collaboratively as possible, with councils, businesses, unions, public services and community groups in our town all contributing and forming part of the discussion.

“The Scottish Government has today launched an online forum that gives people the opportunity to offer their reflections on lockdown restrictions – and I’d urge everyone to share any ideas they have on how we should move forward.

“There are no easy answers – but it is right for the Scottish Government to keep people up-to-date and be clear about the factors that inform decision making. All we can do is encourage everyone to continue reading the official guidance and information published, and act with the wider health of the community in mind.

“For now, the advice for all of us here in Paisley remains the same as it’s been proven that staying at home and only making essential journeys is saving lives. Keeping physical distance if you do have to be around people and continuing to regularly wash your hands is still the best way to reduce your risk of infection. “Everyone in our community has a part to play in combatting this virus, and while I understand that these measures are difficult for all of us, they are saving lives and protecting our NHS.”

1,498 RENFREWSHIRE BUSINESSES GET £17.23 MILLION CASH SUPPORT THROUGH COVID-19 CRISIS

Paisley’s MSP has welcomed new figures showing that 1,498 businesses in Renfrewshire have received Scottish Government grants to support firms through the coronavirus crisis.

A total of £17.23 million has been awarded throughout the local community by a Scottish Government scheme to support small businesses and the retail, hospitality and leisure sector.

This grant support is worth over £1 billion to business, and is part of the wider business support package worth £2.3 billion. To date over 45,000 awards have been made so far, providing over £526 million to eligible businesses across Scotland.

So that funding can be distributed as quickly as possible, eligibility for the grant scheme is linked to the non-domestic rates system.

Commenting, Paisley’s MSP, George Adam said:

“This is undeniably a very difficult time for businesses so I am very pleased to see such extensive support already distributed throughout Renfrewshire.

“This Scottish Government funding is designed to support firms and ensure that our economy is on the best possible footing when we get through this health crisis.

“Our support for business is now worth £2.3 billion, which is more than we have received from the UK Government and actively works to fill the gaps in the UK schemes with tailored support for the Scottish economy.

“I encourage all businesses in Paisley to ensure they are receiving the support they’re entitled to.”

A £10,000 grant is available to non-domestic ratepayers with properties in receipt of:

  • Small Business Bonus Scheme relief (SBSS) or Rural Relief
  • Nursery Relief, Disabled Relief, Business Growth Accelerator, Discretionary Sports Relief, Enterprise Areas Relief or Fresh Start but eligible for SBSS

A £25,000 grant is available to the ratepayers of properties in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with property with a rateable value between £18,001 and £51,000.

£8.2 MILLION FUNDING PACKAGE ENSURES GPS AND PHARMACIES WILL REMAIN OPEN DURING MAY BANK HOLIDAY

Paisley’s MSP asked the Health Secretary what support is being made available for constituents who need access to primary care services during the upcoming bank holiday, and what advice she can give to those who are concerned during these unprecedented times.

George Adam raised this issue in the chamber in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday and is very pleased to see a further funding package being made available to help those in need when services would normally be closed.

Funded by £8.2 million from the Scottish Government, GP services and community pharmacies have been asked to remain open on the May public holidays, with NHS 24 operating with an increased number of call handlers.

In response to George’s question, Jeane Freeman, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, said:

“Health and social care staff are already working incredibly hard to look after people during this pandemic, and I want to thank each and every one of them for their ongoing commitment and dedication during this unprecedented time.

“Last month we asked GP services to remain open during the Easter holidays and once again, we have asked them to do the same for the May public holidays.

“Community pharmacies will also be open so they can continue to provide advice and treatment through the extended Minor Ailment Service for minor illnesses and common conditions. We have also taken steps to ensure NHS 24 can continue to meet the increase in demand.”

Praising this announcement, Paisley’s MSP said:

“Once again, the Scottish Government are stepping up to the plate to ensure our constituents are as supported as possible while the lockdown continues, and have access to all the necessary primary care services they may need during these extraordinary times.

“I think I can speak for all of my colleagues when I say that Jeane Freeman is an excellent example of what the SNP in government are capable of, as she continues to handle this public health crisis with steadfast commitment and sincere dedication to the people of Scotland and those in our incredible health care sector.

“As I’ve said before, and I’m sure I’ll say again, it is during times of difficulty that a community can truly come together and that is certainly what is happening here in our town and indeed across Scotland.

“From the weekly clap for carers and NHS staff, to the wonderful work of volunteers and the genuine acts of kindness happening across the country right now; I am very hopeful that we will come out of this pandemic with a stronger sense of community and a continued willingness to check in and help our neighbours whenever we can.”

While the lockdown continues, it is important for patients to know that the NHS is open and prepared for non-COVID-19 related health concerns, and that GPs should remain the first point of contact if anyone has any worries or issues. 

Continued up to date health advice can be found at NHS Inform.

GEORGE ADAM: WE MUST PREPARE FOR “NEW NORMAL” AS PLAN TO EASE LOCKDOWN PUBLISHED

Paisley’s MSP George Adam has said that the public must prepare for restrictions on normal life to continue for some time.

The comments come as the Scottish Government published a new document outlining how decisions will be taken to control coronavirus (COVID-19) while restoring a degree of normality to everyday life.

The paper – COVID-19: A Framework for Decision-Making – sets out the position during this ongoing period of lockdown and outlines the factors that must be considered as we move gradually to ease restrictions.

It also recognises that new ways of living – effectively a “new normal” – may have to be in place for some time to come.

George said:

“It is welcome that the Scottish Government has published an outline of how and when the lockdown may be lifted and I urge everyone to take the time to read the document.

“It is vital that any decision to ease restrictions is based on the best scientific advice possible – but we are in uncharted territory and we must be prepared to adapt. That might mean having to reapply restrictions after they are lifted.

“It is only when we are sure the virus is under control that we can even start to ease any of the restrictions because the virus will not have gone away. There are no easy answers – but it is right for the Scottish Government to be clear about the factors that will inform decision making.

“In the coming days and weeks members of the public will be invited to contribute their thoughts and views on the next steps we must make together as unfortunately, returning to what we regard as a normal life will not be possible in the near future – we need to prepare for a new normal until treatments and a vaccine offer different solutions.

“While these measures are difficult for all of us, they are saving lives and protecting our NHS.”

PAISLEY’S MSP CALLS FOR BREXIT EXTENSION TO AVOID FURTHER ECONOMIC HARM

George Adam, Paisley’s MSP has called on the UK government to extend the Brexit negotiation deadline to avoid a further big economic hit on top of the coronavirus crisis, and to ensure that every effort is put towards tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The UK has formally left the European Union but is currently in a “transition period.” This means it is following EU rules and therefore has full access to the European market – which will be vital for the economy when the coronavirus crisis eases.

A two-year extension to this transition period is on offer but the Tory government at Westminster is instead pressing on with complex negotiations, at the height of the crisis, which will mean the UK leaving with either no trade deal in place or a very limited deal at the end of this year.    

According to a report by the Chief Economist, the economic impact of the efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic could see GDP fall by around a third.

If the UK government continues to pursue its Brexit plans, Scotland’s economy faces further economic damage – a loss, compared with EU membership, of up to £12.7 billion – the equivalent of £2,300 for every person in Scotland by 2030. 

George Adam said: 

“For the Tory government to pursue its plans to impose a hard Brexit on the country, while we are facing a global health emergency, is reckless in the extreme.

“Paisley voted to remain in the EU – just like every local authority in Scotland – and it’s clear that businesses here simply do not have the capacity to prepare for Brexit when they are fighting to survive the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

“People and businesses in our town will be understandably concerned about this, so it’s imperative that the UK government does the responsible thing and requests an extension to the transition period to avoid even more economic and social damage. 

“There is still time for the UK government to change course, listen to the public, and ensure that every effort is put to tackling the Coronavirus pandemic.”