Strathaven Echo Column 3rd July 2017


Strathaven Echo Column 3rd July 2017

At the Queen’s Speech, the legislative programme for the next two years revolved around the start of the Brexit negotiations with the European Union, however it also covered other important topics such as the Economy and social care. Since I’ve been re-elected I’ve been privileged to speak in the Queen’s Speech debate on the issue of health and social care. As a former Consultant Forensic and Clinical Psychologist who had worked for twenty years in the NHS prior to being elected as MP I raised concern around the waiting times for mental health services as well as the funding going to front line medical practitioners.

I am delighted to be SNP Westminster spokesperson for Mental Health as it affords me the opportunity to speak in important debates on health matters.  Having a designated spokesperson on mental health demonstrates our commitment to parity of esteem between physical and mental health.  One in four people will suffer mental health problems at some point in their life and we must overcome the stigma surrounding mental illness, increase awareness and ensure access to timely supports.  I look forward to working with cross party colleagues at Westminster to utilise my experience in the field and ensure best practice.

It has been brought to my attention that the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is soon to be offering specialist mentoring support for people entering the agriculture industry. The scheme will offer face-to-face support to customers from agriculture relationship managers. People who bank elsewhere will also be able receive free mentoring support for up to three years from sector specialists. I’m really glad to hear of this support scheme as it is vital to promote sustainable development within the farming community.

I have been happy to find out about the extensive funding coming to Strathaven, approved recently by South Lanarkshire Council Executive Committee: Strathaven Academy is to receive £94,000 funding for the school to carry out laboratory conversion works which will allow more classroom flexibility; and Ballgreen Hall had £2.390million approved toward the New Combined School and Community Facility.

The Friends of Strathaven Park initiative to open a sensory garden is a great effort by the community group. Sensory gardens are wonderful attractions that everyone in Strathaven can enjoy. I’m happy to hear that our Park, which was voted the best park in Scotland in 2016, will continue to go from strength to strength.

I’d like to say congratulations to Kirlandpark Primary School who have now opened the doors to their new facility. I look forward to seeing the school in the new term.

I will be arranging visits to Nursing and Retirement homes in the next two months so if you would like me to come to your home then get in touch. If you have any other questions or would like me to look into a case, please contact my Strathaven office on 01357 520879.

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