Central Scotland MSP, John Wilson, sought clarification from the Minister for Public Health on the steps being taken to improve early identification and diagnosis of children with asthma.

Speaking in the Parliamentary Chamber on Wednesday 11th June 2014, Michael Matheson maintained the Scottish Government’s commitment to providing the best quality care and treatment for people living with asthma in Scotland. The Minister for Health also drew attention to the Health Improvement Scotland report published last year entitled “Asthma priorities: Influencing the Agenda”, which includes information about the early and accurate diagnosis of asthma in children.

Mr Wilson’s Parliamentary Question comes in light of recent reports which suggest that there are problems in early diagnosis and the provision of effective treatment across the country.

John Wilson MSP said “It is re-assuring to know that the Scottish Government is doing all it can to address the issues which have come to light following the national review into asthma deaths. The details of the recommendations are now being considered by the national advisory group for respiratory managed clinical networks so that services can be improved throughout Scotland”

“Due to the seriousness of the condition, it is essential that patients, especially children, have access to the treatment and services they need in order to manage their asthma successfully. In order to achieve that, steps must be taken to ensure early diagnosis where possible”

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Leading conservation charity, the Scottish Wildlife Trust was the subject of a parliamentary debate at Holyrood to mark its 50th Anniversary year.

John Wilson MSP raised a Parliamentary motion on the Trust’s official birthday, April 16th, congratulating of protecting Scotland’s wildlife for the past 50 years.

After gaining cross-party support, the motion has led to a debate on the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s 50th Anniversary.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust was constituted in 1964 under the leadership of Sir Charles Connell, and over the past 50 years, the Trust has grown to become the largest voluntary body working for all the wildlife of Scotland.

MSP for Central Scotland, John Wilson, said: “I welcome the opportunity to highlight the 50 years of excellent work by the Scottish Wildlife Trust to not only promote but also to actually deliver environmental management for some of Scotland’s iconic areas of wildlife and interest.”

Chief Executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Jonny Hughes, said: “It is an honour that the work of the Scottish Wildlife Trust is being recognised by MSPs in this way.

“The Trust has some fantastic sites across the length and breadth of Scotland – from the tiny Johnston Terrace Gardens in the heart of Edinburgh to the 6,000 hectare Ben Mor Coigach reserve in the Northwest – that are vital habitat for a wide range of species such as the Scottish wildcat, osprey, common seal, pearl-bordered fritillary, lesser butterfly orchid and the great yellow bumblebee.

“Tens of thousands of people come to our three Visitor Centres at Montrose Basin, Loch of the Lowes and Falls of Clyde each year to experience and get close to the beautiful wildlife that Scotland has to offer, first-hand.

“However, the work of the Trust over the past 50 years has been so much more than land management.

“The Trust has influenced key policy decisions, such as improving the protection for Scotland’s seas, and it has been at the vanguard of nature conservation in Scotland, has  shown leadership by launching the Scottish Forum on Natural Capital and pushing for a National Ecological Network.

“There will be many challenges facing Scotland’s wildlife over the next fifty years, and the Trust will face the challenge in the way that we have always done by harnessing the power of our members to ensure Scotland’s wildlife is protected and restored both now and in the future.”

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Central Scotland MSP John Wilson has questioned the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Alex Neil, on the numbers of cataract operations being performed each year and asked what provisions are in place for those instances where operations lead to further complications.

In the Scottish Parliament’s Chamber on Thursday 15th May 2014, Mr Wilson was informed that the number of cataract procedures have risen by 13.9% since 2008/9 when the figures stood at 31,892 procedures increasing to an estimated 36,340 procedures during 2012/13.

John Wilson MSP went on to ask what additional procedures are in place in patient treatment plans after cataract operations that bring about further complications and how can elderly patients be reassured about these procedures, particularly where they had an unsuccessful initial operation.

The Cabinet Secretary indicated that procedures are currently in place to identify any adverse reactions following cataract treatment through follow up appointments with consultants, although should patients feel they have had an unsatisfactory experience their complaint can be registered with the health board. Mr Neil went on to highlight the changes that being made across the National Health Service in Scotland in that complaints will be used not only to deal with the specific instance but to provide management intelligence on where things are not running as smoothly as they could and should be.

Following General Question Time John Wilson MSP wrote to the Cabinet Secretary to seek further information regarding the procedure for patients who may require immediate follow-up medical care after the procedure. The questions raised are to reassure particularly elderly patients who may be apprehensive about the operation.

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John Wilson MSP has sought assurances during Parliamentary Question Time on Thursday 8th May 2014 that extra train services will be available at stations throughout North Lanarkshire during the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. The Cabinet Secretary for Commonwealth Games, Sport, Equalities and Pensioners’ Rights, Shona Robison, advised that officials from Transport Scotland have worked closely with ScotRail and Network Rail to provide train services that will be scheduled to depart from Glasgow later than ever before during the period of the Commonwealth games. Those will include late-night services connecting to Edinburgh, Perth and Stirling, and to stations in Lanarkshire, Ayrshire, Renfrewshire and Inverclyde.

John Wilson MSP has also now received confirmation from ScotRail that later services will be considered along the Airdrie to Bathgate line to accommodate passengers travelling during the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow as well as the International Festival and Festival Fringe taking place in Edinburgh.

Passenger numbers are expected to increase significantly as people from around the world arrive to enjoy these events in the coming months. Extra transport provision has been a key consideration, although it has been unclear whether services travelling on the Airdrie to Bathgate line between Edinburgh and Glasgow will be extended during this period, prompting Mr Wilson to seek answers.

John Wilson MSP said “the next few months will see a large number of people descend on Glasgow, Edinburgh and the surrounding areas to experience these exciting events. The Airdrie to Bathgate rail line provides not only an important alternative link between Glasgow and Edinburgh but also offers an important transport link to surrounding areas which will no doubt be relied on for accommodation outside of the city centre.”

“Extra rail provision during the night would be useful in offsetting some of the transport issues which will undoubtedly arise in the coming months.”

“We must make sure that people are made aware of their public transport options in the run up to these events. The decision to put on additional rail services will mean that people can enjoy the commonwealth games and the Edinburgh festival without having to worry about parking and missing the last train at night if events overrun.”

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Central Scotland MSP, John Wilson, will be speaking at a public gathering taking place in Coatbridge as part of Scottish CND’s Spring Walk for Peace events.

The walk will be passing through Airdrie and Coatbridge on Thursday 3rd April and following this the public gathering will be taking place at St Augustine’s Church (12 Dundyvan Road) between 7 – 9pm.

The Spring Walk for Peace will be taking place throughout the week of the 1st – 7th April 2014 and will travel from the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh to Faslane Nuclear Base. As part of this campaign, several other events will also be taking place in local communities along the route to highlight Scottish CND’s anti-nuclear message. This will include a rally in Glasgow on Saturday 5th April at George Square, where the walk will be leaving at 11am.

Commenting before the event, John Wilson MSP said “I welcome the opportunity to speak at this event and participate in the Scottish CND’s Spring Walk for Peace. I would encourage everyone to come along and listen to the arguments being presented and the issues being raised. Anyone who is interested in taking part in the Spring Walk for Peace is welcome to do so”

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Following his Members debate on Tuesday 18th March, John Wilson MSP welcomed Down’s Syndrome Scotland on Thursday 20th March at the Scottish Parliament who provided an information session for MSPs to highlight Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week (17th to 23rd March 2014) and the United Nations World Down’s Syndrome Day (Friday 21st March).

This event provided MSP’s with the chance to learn more about Down’s syndrome to better support constituents. The event provided an opportunity for MSPs to discuss with Down’s Syndrome Scotland the interests and concerns of people with Down’s syndrome. Kim Scott, who has Down’s syndrome and is a speaker for Down’s Syndrome Scotland, talked about her work with the charity.

John Wilson MSP said: “Down’s Syndrome Scotland supports many families throughout the country and this event is a chance for us all to learn more about their Family Support Service and new projects like the Communication Skills Pilot that started this year. It was also great to hear about the role of Kim and workers like her who are inspiring examples of how people with Down’s syndrome can work and do their job well if given the opportunities to do so.
“While speaking in the Members debate on Tuesday evening, I urged the Scottish Government to look into apprenticeships for those living with Down’s Syndrome to improve their opportunities of securing employment”

“People with Down’s syndrome have a right to be listened to just like any other constituent and I believe that as a society we should do more to engage with people with learning disabilities and their carers. Down’s Syndrome Scotland provides much-needed support to many and I wish them all the best in the future.”

Pandora Summerfield, Chief Executive of Down’s Syndrome Scotland, said: “This information session at the Scottish Parliament is a great opportunity to raise awareness of Down’s syndrome. By informing MSPs about the condition and about our services, we want to ensure that the interests of our members are not forgotten in political debates.

“As a charity, we are committed to helping our members reach their full potential. Through our work, we know that issues like speech therapy, welfare, employment and dementia are major causes of concern to people with Down’s syndrome and their families. These are important topics that need to be discussed. Improving knowledge of Down’s syndrome is key to our mission. We look forward to organising similar events in the future, including hosting the World Down Syndrome Congress 2018 in Glasgow.”

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SNP MSP John Wilson led a debate in the Scottish Parliament to mark Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week in which he asked the Scottish Government to consider providing more apprenticeships for those with the condition to improve their chances of full employment.

Mr Wilson’s member’s business debate highlighted the work of the charity Down’s Syndrome Scotland, focusing on the Communication Skills Project which aims to help children from 12 months to improve their communication skills and to help parents of children with Down’s syndrome support their speech and language development. Skills workshops have been set up throughout Scotland, including in East Kilbride, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Down’s Syndrome Scotland offers valuable support to families in Central Scotland. Its branch in Central Scotland, which is based in Falkirk, has organised an open day for members, carers and parents at the Grange Community Centre on Saturday 22nd March.

Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week runs from 17th to 23rd March and the UN World Down’s Syndrome Day is on Friday 21st March.

Commenting, Central Scotland MSP John Wilson said:

“This debate provided excellent opportunity to raise awareness of issues faced by people with Down’s syndrome and to reflect on their value to communities across Scotland. Expanding apprenticeships for those living with Down’s Syndrome would provide better opportunities of full time employment”

“People with Down’s syndrome are valued members of our communities and should be fully accepted and included by wider society – and I am delighted to have this opportunity to promote this message in the Scottish Parliament.”

“The debate will also allow reflection on the fantastic work carried out by Down’s Syndrome Scotland in supporting their members to achieve their full potential – and in their pioneering project showing the importance of early intervention in ensuring an improved quality of life for people with Down’s syndrome.”

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John Wilson, MSP for Central Scotland, hailed the passage of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill as a landmark moment for looked after children in Scotland.
During the proceedings John Wilson MSP secured an amendment to the proposed legislation and subsequently 103 MSP’s voted in favour of the legislation in a vote on Wednesday 19th February in the Scottish Parliament.

The Bill will increase nursery provision for around 120,000 children in Scotland from this August and build on support offered to kinship carers across Scotland.

And in moves that have been welcomed by groups such as Barnardo’s Scotland, Aberlour and Who Cares? Scotland, the Bill will also give young people the right to stay in care until the age of 21.

In welcoming the move John Wilson MSP said: “The Children and Young People Bill provides measures that will improve support for children in Scotland from their early years right through to their early adulthood. From August this year, every 3, 4 and looked after 2 year old will benefit from 600 hours of free childcare, benefitting around 120,000 children. By August 2015, this will be extended to include all two year olds from the hardest pressed families, benefitting 15,400 children in their earliest years.

“The proposal to give young people the right to stay in care until the age of 21 will transform lives – as a number of children’s organisations including Barnardo’s Scotland have noted. This change, as well as the commitment to provide better support for care leavers, underlines the Scottish Government’s commitment to ensure all children in Scotland are given the chance to fulfil their potential. It is a landmark moment for Scotland’s looked after children.”

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John Wilson MSP from Central Scotland is supporting British Heart Foundation (BHF) Scotland by calling on his constituents to Ramp up the Red on 7 February to help fight heart disease.

Did you know that coronary heart disease is Scotland’s single biggest killer? It kills more than 7,500 people each year. And there are currently around 235,000 people in Scotland living with coronary heart disease.

On Friday 7 February, BHF Scotland is asking people across the nation to Ramp up the Red and raise funds to continue the fight for every heartbeat.

John Wilson MSP, said: “I am pleased to help raise awareness of heart disease by supporting Ramp up the Red. I encourage everyone in Central Scotland to get involved on Friday 7 February, joining the fight and helping to beat a devastating disease that can affect anyone, from babies to grandparents.”

Marjory Burns, BHF Scotland Director, said “We’re very grateful to John Wilson MSP for supporting Ramp up the Red in his community and we hope that many local people will join us. Everyone who organises a fundraising event in February is helping to raise much-needed funds to fight heart disease. All money raised will help us truly fight for every heartbeat.”

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Central Scotland MSP, John Wilson, has welcomed the publication of ‘Moodiesburn Lines’, in a motion before the Scottish Parliament.

‘Moodiesburn Lines’ is a collection of writing from a local group who go by the name of The 4Ps. The 4Ps, or Pivot Percussion, Pens and Performance, have brought together their work for the book ‘Moodiesburn Lines’ which was launched on Thursday 16th January 2014 at the Auchengeich Miners Club.

The 4Ps regularly meet in Moodiesburn Pivot Community Centre and endeavour to involve people from the local community, particularly those more isolated, in cultural pursuits.

Funding was provided by the organisation Reshaping Care for Older People who supported the project.
John Wilson MSP said “this project is an excellent example of local communities coming together to produce a very interesting and thoughtful piece of work. I look forward to seeing what comes next”

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