Scottish Parliament

Paisley’s MSP Welcomes Local Structure for Police and Fire Services

George outside Paisley AbbeyGeorge Adam, Paisley’s MSP, has welcomed the Scottish Government’s Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Bill which will put local knowledge at the heart of delivering services in communities across Scotland.

The Bill will mean that Renfrewshire will have its own local commander and local authorities will agree local policing plans with the commander. Moving to a single police force will ensure the future of the force and the additional 1000 officers on the beat since the SNP came to power.

The Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Bill will see the establishing of “The Police Service of Scotland”. The current functions of fire and rescue authorities will transfer to the “Scottish Fire and Rescue Service” which will employ all staff from the current eight fire and rescue authorities to the new service.

George said:

“This announcement will see Scotland’s police continue to make our country’s communities, streets and neighbourhoods safer.

“Through a range of measures, including delivering on our election promise of 1000 extra police on Scotland’s streets, crime is at its lowest level since 1976.

“These necessary changes come on the back of potentially devastating Westminster cuts, however, we can and will do more with less, by focussing on a stronger connection between communities and their local police and fire and rescue services.

“The new structure of policing and fire services will see a local commander for every local authority area giving a real local point of contact and ensuring local priorities are decided by police and councillors working together.

“A single force is not unusual, countries including Denmark, Norway and New Zealand take this approach for a similar sized population. When the Tories and Lib Dems are slashing police numbers in England this approach will ensure that in Scotland we can continue to protect our communities properly.

“I welcome the proposals and hope now they have seen the proposals opposition parties will recognise that their fears and smears were ill placed. Scotland’s police force will be independent and answerable to local communities as well as to local MSPs.”

Notes:
These new bodies will have a commitment and focus on local knowledge by enabling greater powers for local authorities including:

POLICE
• Chief Constable must ensure adequate arrangements for the policing of each local authority area.
• Designated local commander for each local authority area.
• Local commanders subject to direction and control of the Chief Constable.
• Local authority can request reports and information on policing in the local area.
• Local Plan, agreed between local commander and local authority, setting out priorities, objectives and arrangement for policing in the local authority area.

FIRE and RESCUE
• Scottish Fire Rescue Services must ensure adequate arrangements for SFRS functions in each local authority area.
• Local Senior Officer to involve the local authority in setting priorities and objectives for that area and prepare a local fire and rescue plan for the authority’s agreement.
• Local authority powers to request reports and information on SFRS functions in the local area.

Full details can be found at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2012/01/12135101

 

George signs The Pledge for Prostate Cancer

George Adam MSP with Ann Ferguson (Head of Scotland Operations The Prostate Cancer Charity)George Adam, MSP for Paisley has expressed his backing for reduced inequalities and improved prostate cancer services in Scotland by signing The Pledge for Prostate Cancer.

The Prostate Cancer Charity Scotland has set out five pledges that MSPs can make to show their support for people affected by prostate cancer, and is delighted to have secured widespread cross party support for the initiative.

George said: “Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in Scotland. 2,700 men in Scotland are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year and 19,000 are currently living with the disease. Two men die of prostate cancer every day.

“Despite this there is still considerable scope to improve the treatment, support and choices available to men diagnosed with prostate cancer – as well as improving the public’s knowledge of some of the issues faced by those affected by it. That’s why I am delighted to sign The Pledge for Prostate Cancer and help The Prostate Cancer Charity fight for a world where lives are no longer limited by the disease.”

Ann Ferguson, Head of Scotland Operations at The Prostate Cancer Charity, said: “It is fantastic that George is showing his support for men and their families affected by prostate cancer. We hope many more politicians will follow suit and back the pledge to ensure prostate cancer remains firmly in the spotlight over the course of this parliament, and that the improvements we are calling for make the transition from proposal to reality.”

A recent survey of men diagnosed with prostate cancer that found that 85 per cent had experienced symptoms for more than a month before contacting a health professional, with almost half of this group (41 per cent) waiting for more than a year before seeking medical advice.*

Anyone concerned about prostate cancer can call The Prostate Cancer Charity’s free and confidential Helpline on 0800 074 8383. The Helpline is staffed by specialist nurses and is open from 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday and Wednesdays from 7pm – 9pm. Alternatively please visit www.prostate-cancer.org.uk

 

1. The Pledge for Prostate Cancer in Scotland states that:

2: Every eligible man should have the opportunity to make an informed choice about the PSA test (a first step in diagnosing problems with the prostate that may be cancer).
3: All men with prostate cancer should have access to a full range of ‘Gold Standard’ treatment options and support services.
4: Every man with prostate cancer should have a named specialist nurse and access to high quality, tailored information.
5: There should be more research into the causes, diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer.
6: Robust data should be collected and published on the use of treatments in prostate cancer and the outcomes achieved

The Prostate Cancer Charity Scotland

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men in Scotland. Older men, men with a family history of prostate cancer and men of black African and black Caribbean descent are more at risk.

2,700 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in Scotland and 19,000 Scottish men are currently living with the disease.

Two men die of prostate cancer every day in Scotland.

The Prostate Cancer Charity Scotland is striving for a world where lives are no longer limited by prostate cancer. The Charity is fighting prostate cancer on every front – through research, support, information and campaigning.

The Prostate Cancer Charity in Scotland has a network of established support groups. The groups are free to attend and open to men living with prostate cancer, their partners, families, friends or carers. The groups meet regularly and offer the opportunity for informal chat and discussion, guest speakers and free literature. To get involved please call The Prostate Cancer Charity in Scotland on 0141 314 0050.

George welcomes referendum announcement

George and AlexGeorge Adam, Paisley’s Member of the Scottish Parliament, has welcomed the announcement by the Scottish Government that the independence referendum will be held in the Autumn of 2014 and urged people Paisley to join the debate.
George said:

“The people of Paisley will have the exciting opportunity to vote in a referendum on Scotland’s future in 2014.

“This is a major opportunity to ensure that that the decisions about Scotland are taken by the people of Scotland and I hope everyone will take part.

“During this week, we have seen the Tories, the Lib-Dems and Labour all try to muscle in on the referendum, so I welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to a referendum made in Scotland by the Scottish people and Scottish Parliament.

“It is also right that 16 and 17 year olds should be allowed to vote in the referendum. It is notable that the Labour Party both north and south of the border are questioning this position, while numerous Labour MP’s and MSP’s have signed up to support lowering the voting age to 16, via the Vote 16 petition. The SNP has long believed that people who are entitled by law to work full time, get married and pay taxes should have a say in how their country is run and in the future of that country.

“It is absolutely vital therefore that our 16 and 17 year olds have a say in the biggest single decision Scotland will have taken in 300 years. Our young people are our future; they have a right to express their view at the ballot box.

“Above all, this is a matter for Scotland. The people gave the SNP a mandate to run this referendum. The Tories, Lib-Dems and Labour would do well to come to terms with that fact and respect the people’s decision.”

Link to Vote 16 petition signed by Labour MP’s and MSP’s

Cabinet Secretary Welcomes Renfrewshire Investment in Jobs

George outside Paisley Town HallRenfrewshire Council has been commended on its package of measures to invest in youth employment. George Adam, Paisley’s MSP, highlighted the £2.5 million investment by the council which will create hundreds of jobs and provide training investment for thousands of young people within Renfrewshire.

Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable growth, John Swinney MSP, said;

‘This is a commendable package of measures put forward by Renfrewshire Council. This provision of opportunities for employment and training is something that I’m sure will be looked at by other council’s across Scotland when they finalise their budgets in the coming weeks.’

George raised the youth employment and training programme with the Cabinet Secretary during a question and answer session within the chamber of the Scottish Parliament.

Speaking on John Swinney’s comments, George said;

‘Renfrewshire Council has made the decision that tackling youth unemployment has to be a priority. This investment will see 250 new jobs being created for young people. But it doesn’t stop there. 1300 young people will secure training, as well as another 800 individuals being provided with the job finding skills that are desperately needed.

‘I raised this matter with the Cabinet Secretary to inform him of the tremendous work being conducted by the council administration. In tough times like these it is up to local authorities to look at ways that employment can be secured in their areas, and look at new, different methods of creating employment to increase the employability and economic viability of the authority areas.

‘I welcome that the Cabinet secretary recognised the package of measures being implemented by Renfrewshire Council, with the ambition to create jobs for young people, but I was especially pleased with his reference to other councils who will look towards Renfrewshire before making such plans for their own residents.

BAILLIE ADMITS NHS BLANKET CLAIMS ARE WRONG

George Adam MSPFALSE COMMENTS TALK NHS DOWN YET AGAIN

HEALTH WORKERS OWED AN APOLOGY

The SNP has called on Labour to apologise to health workers after Jackie Baillie admitted her claims that NHS patients had to share blankets in a Paisley hospital were wrong – weeks after the health board provided proof there was no truth in her accusations.

SNP MSP George Adam has written to Johann Lamont asking her to investigate Ms Baillie’s remarks and apologise to the staff of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde for her health spokesperson’s false statements.

Ms Baillie made the allegations, despite NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde saying, when the matter “was raised a few weeks ago”, that they provided “proof that there was no truth in this claim”. She later admitted in a newspaper that they were wrong

Mr Adam, SNP MSP for Paisley and a Member of the Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit Committee, said:

“To knowingly make incorrect claims in her conference speech beggars belief.

“She should be ashamed of herself for talking Scotland’s health service down yet again.

“Ms Baillie knew her allegations were wrong as NHS GGC had addressed them weeks before.

“I have written to Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont, asking her to investigate these remarks and apologise to the staff of the Royal Alexandra for her health spokesperson’s false statements.

“Ms Baillie is a repeat offender in smearing Scotland’s NHS. It was only in December she tried to pass off “new figures” for infection rates as ones gathered under the SNP, when in fact they were collected in 2005/06, when Labour were last in power.

“And this follows her infamous “Winter Watch” campaign last year, which had nothing to do with improving the NHS, and everything to do with her finding new ways to talk down the NHS and its hard-working staff.

“She must explain why she made an assertion in her conference speech which had already been comprehensively rebutted by the Health Board several weeks before. This is not only disrespectful to our health professionals – it has caused alarm among patients and their families. Labour’s health spokesperson should instead be acknowledging the hard work and dedication of our NHS workforce.”

Notes:

1) In her speech to Labour conference at the weekend, Jackie Baillie stated that “In one hospital in Greater Glasgow and Clyde patients are even having to share blankets because of the cuts.”

2) However, responding to the blanket claims, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: “This matter was raised with us a few weeks ago, and we were able to provide proof that there was no truth in this claim. Extra blankets are available in all our hospital as and when patients need them.”

3) Jackie Baillie herself “later admitted that the claim was wrong” http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/political-news/independent-carer-representative-to-sit-on-shadow-cabinet.1330830213

4) Link to story from Straight Statistics in January about Jackie Baillie passing off figures from 2006 as an attack on the SNP http://www.straightstatistics.org/article/superbug-data-trip-scottish-labour

5) Details of Jackie Baillie’s “Winter Watch” campaign – asking for patients and staff to report “any strains in the NHS” and then suggesting the information will be used by the Labour Party – can be found at http://www.scottishlabour.org.uk/winterwatch

Paisley’s MSP Speaks for Looked after Children

George Adam, Paisley’s Member of the Scottish Parliament, spoke in a debate on looked after children recently in the Scottish Parliament. The debate centered on the ways in which the Scottish Parliament as a whole can work together to improve the lives of looked after children.

 George said, ‘On 31st October this year, Renfrewshire had 765 looked-after children, 321 of whom were in accommodation. It looks like we will face an on-going situation of looking for permanent families for 50 children at any given time. The problem is that it is difficult to get foster parents. No matter what local authorities do, it is difficult for them to get people involved in fostering. I believe that the best people to sell the idea of being a foster parent are foster parents, because they can tell others what they have gained from the experience.

 ‘Members of staff in Renfrewshire Council, who are ably led by the director of service, Peter MacLeod, are motivated to succeed in this area. In the first half of this year, the council managed to get 13 children adopted into a home—a significantly higher figure than the previous year.

 ‘One thing that has become clear is the tremendous work of people in social work departments across the country. They deal with difficult situations in their job and work with families to get the best for them. I am extremely pleased that we have had such an open debate, in which everyone has agreed that we have to deal with the situation.

 ‘It is important that we get this right and that we all take our role as corporate parents seriously. As corporate parents, we are not just the parents of our own flesh and blood, but the parents of every child in Scotland.  Much work has been completed, but we need to achieve much, much more. We all know the social benefits to our country of getting this right. If we do not, we will create future problems—and future debates—for ourselves. All strands of government can work together to ensure that we provide every child with a secure upbringing and a chance to prosper.”         

Link to George’s speech and a transcript of the whole debate