At the House of Commons last week, whilst the importance of the long stalling Brexit negotiation’s was still at the front of members minds and the priority of many of our debates, I also took the opportunity to focus upon my mental health portfolio by speaking in the Eating Disorders debate. This is an issue with great stigma, where people find it difficult to seek help and that is associated with significant morbidity. There was consensus within the debate that across the UK, much more must be done to develop local services, to stop the postcode lottery, to train GPS to recognise early warning signs, and to ensure shorter waiting lists for those affected and their families. I have therefore written to the Scottish Government Mental Health Minister to reflect the debate we had and the recommendations made going forward. I am keen to support progress and best practice in the field.
Last week, on world mental health awareness day, I was invited to Number 10 due to my longstanding work in the NHS and my role as shadow Mental Health Spokesperson. At the event, it was announced that the UK Mental Health Minister will also take on ministerial duties for suicide prevention. I will be focusing upon this issue, across our constituency and Scotland, as the statistics are startling where lives are being lost to suicide. This has already been highlighted by our EK News and I was also delighted to meet with the local charity FAMS [families against murder and suicide) this week who do wonderful volunteering, prevention and support work for those affected and their families. My office can provide further details for anyone who wishes to get in touch with this charity or to speak with me about these issues.
The Health and Social Care Select Committee on which I sit are publishing an important Inquiry Report on Prison Mental Health Care and Treatment this week. Recommendations for improvement in both services and funding are likely to be made including increased access to mental health services within prisons and improved care of cognitive disorders such as Dementia in the older prison population. Prison is of course, a place of punishment alongside rehabilitation but access to healthcare is a human right and we must ensure that individuals can see GPS, specialists and address mental health issues which may lead to reoffending.
Our HMRC remains under threat from closure by the Tory Government and I have been lodging further questions to Government challenge this decision and the devastating impact it would have upon our EK economy. It is a misguided decision that pays no respect to our constituency or-its skilled workforce and I continue to fight it every step of the way.
On a brighter note I was absolutely delighted to attend Greenhills Parish church this weekend to present the wonderful Susan Whitehead who reached her 101st birthday this year with her Early Day Motion that I lodged in Parliament to celebrate her contribution to Greenhills and East Kilbride. Susan is an absolute inspiration and I was pleased to meet with her and her family and to present her motion in church alongside Rev. Brewster. It was an insightful and spiritual service which I and the parishioners also thoroughly enjoyed.