Majority of Scots Back Automatic Organ Donor Register

***EVENING TIMES ARTICLE – 23RD SEPTEMBER 2015***

The majority of Scots would back a move to an automatic organ donor register to help save more lives, according to new research.

An online poll found that 55% were in favour of a move to a ‘soft’ opt-out system, where consent is assumed unless individuals register an objection.
Glasgow Labour MSP Anne McTaggart is driving forward a bill calling for the change on the back of the Evening Times’ Opt for Life campaign.

More than 500 people are currently waiting for a transplant in Scotland.

Figures released earlier this year shows that donation rates fell by 3% in Scotland, with 5% less people receiving a transplant.

Major charities including the British Heart Foundation believe the change has the potential to increase the number of life-saving transplants carried out.

An online poll carried out by the Evening Times showed that 55% of readers were in favour, with 45% against. A total of 535 readers took part.

Ms McTaggart said: “I’m pleased to see that a clear majority of Evening Times readers support my proposals to introduce a ‘soft opt-out’ system of organ donation in Scotland.
“While I have applauded the work the Scottish Government has done in increasing the number of people registered on the organ donation register in Scotland in recent years, the truth is that Scotland is now the worst performing part of the UK in terms of donation rates.

“For me the bottom line is that our current situation is not working; three people die every single day across the UK in need of a transplant. The available evidence shows that this move would help save these lives. Wales are introducing a ‘soft opt-out’ system in December and other countries around the world have been operating this system for decades.

“It’s about time Scotland did the same.

“I’m grateful for the continued support of the Evening Times #OptForLife campaign and look forward to making the positive, progressive case for change at the Scottish Parliament in the near future.”

The head of organ transplantation for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Marc Clancy, has said that a change to an opt-out policy would help normalise organ donation.

On December 1 Wales will switch to a ‘soft’ opt-out system, which means that families are consulted about the final decision.

Advertisements
Posted in Health, Organ Donation | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anne McTaggart MSP Backs Local Action on Debt As More People in Glasgow Seek Help

Speaking with a debt adviser

Anne McTaggart MSP speaking with a debt adviser

Glasgow Labour MSP Anne McTaggart has urged constituents who may be struggling with debt to get advice as soon as possible.

Ms McTaggart’s comments come after she visited the charities Bothwell Street headquarters in the city centre on Friday 9th September and as new figures from StepChange Debt Charity show a 75% increase in the number of calls for help from people with debt problems in the area between 2012 and 2014. The charity offers free debt advice to people across the United Kingdom and helped over 2,000 people in Glasgow in 2014 – up from 1,100 in 2012.

Research shows that 50% of people with problem debt struggle for more than a year before seeking advice – so the need for urgent debt help is likely to be far greater than the figures suggest.

Local MSP Anne McTaggart says increased awareness of free debt advice services in and around Glasgow can make a real difference:

“I was delighted to be able to visit StepChange and see first-hand some of the fantastic work they are doing. It is important to know that if you are struggling to make ends meet, expert debt advice can help.

“StepChange Debt Charity does valuable work to help local people deal with their debts and get back on their feet.

“I would encourage anyone struggling with debt to seek free, charity-run debt advice at the earliest possible opportunity.”

Figures from StepChange Debt Charity Scotland show that people seeking debt advice in Glasgow on average owe over £10,600 to credit card companies and other consumer lenders. Around one-third of clients in the city have fallen behind on essential livings costs such as housing, Council Tax and energy bills.

Commenting on the figures, Head of StepChange Debt Charity Scotland Sharon Bell said:

“Problem debt is often the result of a negative change in circumstances. Unemployment, reduced income or ill health can happen to anyone so it is really important people hear about the free debt help available.

“MSPs can help people take positive action on debt by raising awareness of services such as StepChange Debt Charity in the local community.

“If you are borrowing to cover household bills or stuck in a cycle of minimum payments, the time to act is now.

“Our message to anyone struggling with household debt in Glasgow is simple: seek free advice from a debt charity as soon as possible. The earlier you seek advice, the easier the problem will be to solve.”

The StepChange Debt Charity free phone helpline 0800 138 1111 is open 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday and 8am to 4pm Saturday. Online help is available any time from StepChange Debt Charity Debt Remedy at www.stepchange.org

Posted in Glasgow | Leave a comment

Speaking in ‘Scotland’s Future, Democracy and Devolution’ Debate

With today being exactly a year since the referendum, it’s fitting that this week I took part in the Scottish Government’s debate on Scotland’s future, democracy and devolution at The Scottish Parliament.

I argued that the Scottish Labour Party is focused not just on making sure that the Scottish Parliament gets the powers that it needs, but on how we will use those powers to improve the lives of people across the country.

We know that Scotland is one of the most centralised nations in Europe, with our local authorities’ powers decreasing in recent years.

I believe that responsibility over key policy areas needs to be handed back to regional government, and the new powers that are coming to our Parliament will be a perfect opportunity to do that.

You can read my speech in full here.

Posted in Referendum, Smith Commission, Speeches | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Glasgow MSP – ‘Global Response Needed to Address Refugee Crisis’

Glasgow Labour MSP Anne McTaggart has argued that the international community must come together and provide a global response to the on-going refugee crisis.

Ms McTaggart was speaking during a debate at the Scottish Parliament on the global refugee crisis on Tuesday 15th September.

During her speech, Ms McTaggart highlighted that so far in 2015, more than 350,000 desperate people have made the journey across the Mediterranean Sea. She also stated that more than 2,700 people have died trying to reach Europe, with the majority of them drowning in the Mediterranean.

Ms McTaggart played tribute to Glasgow City Council who have already provided homes to 55 Syrians who have fled the war in their home country with a commitment to taking in more. She also spoke of her pride in the success of the Glasgow sees Syria event which took in George Square on Saturday, and praised new council leader Frank McAveety for calling on the UK Government to accept more refugees.

Speaking in the debate Ms McTaggart said:

“We recently saw the almost unprecedented sight of seven different political parties in the House of Commons uniting behind a clear and simple message: the UK must do more to provide aid in the humanitarian crisis.

“The people of Scotland were quick to recognise that we must do more to help, and, in response, I am certain that we in this Parliament are united in adopting a strong cross-party approach. Councils around Scotland are already working to resettle refugees, and we will support the collection of aid for delivery to refugees

“We need a comprehensive global programme that can help those who have already made the deadly voyage to Europe and those who are displaced in their own country. We also need to go much further than what has been proposed to date. Britain has a long history of welcoming people who are fleeing war and persecution. This time should be no different.”

You can read Ms McTaggart’s speech in full here.

Posted in Immigration, International Development, Speeches | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Anne McTaggart MSP – “Collaborative Working in Creative Industries Vital”

Glasgow Labour MSP Anne McTaggart has called on agencies in Scotland’s creative industries to work collaboratively to get the best results for Scotland’s people.

Ms McTaggart, Scottish Labour’s Shadow Minister for Europe and International Development, made her calls during a debate at the Scottish Parliament on the Economic Impact of the Film, TV and Video Games Industries in Scotland on Thursday 3rd September.

During the debate, Ms McTaggart argued that the establishment of a film and TV studio in Scotland is a priority for growing the sector, and that her own region Glasgow would be best placed to accommodate it.

She also made the case for greater spend in Scotland by public service broadcasters, stating that this represented a huge opportunity to increase skills and expertise in Scotland’s independent TV industry.

However, she did express concern that there is an apparent lack of ability among the creative agencies to work collaboratively.

Speaking in the debate Ms McTaggart said “There is no doubt that the creative industries bring valuable economic benefits to individuals, communities and the country as a whole. Scotland’s cultural and creative activities are as relevant to our international reputation, economic prosperity and trade and investment agenda as direct business support and the promotion of exports.

“It is important to note that, following the Smith commission, we will have a consultative role for the first time in the charter renewal process for the BBC, and it is vital that we work constructively across the parties to get the best deal for viewers in Scotland. The Scottish Labour Party is committed to calling for increased investment for BBC Scotland from within the licence fee settlement and for the retention of the quota system for commissioning from nations and regions.

“It is vital that all the agencies in the creative industries work collaboratively to achieve greater results and get the best results for Scotland’s people. Scottish Labour is open to working with the Scottish Government on providing better support to meet the needs of individuals and companies in the creative sector.”

You can read Ms McTaggart’s speech here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

#RefugeesWelcome

 

refugees welcome final

Scottish Labour are matching our compassion with action. All our members and supporters will be mobilising to support those fleeing persecution.

#refugeeswelcome

Find out how you can help:

http://www.scottishlabour.org.uk/blog/entry/we-will-match-our-compassion-with-action

Posted in Immigration, International Development | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Glasgow MSP backs ‘Fit for the Future’

Glasgow Labour MSP Anne McTaggart is backing a major consultation for Scotland’s family doctors to tackle the crisis in Scottish general practice.

Scottish Labour has launched “Fit for the future.’ The party will contact Scottish GPs asking for their opinions on a range of ideas including:

  • Training more GPs
  • Cutting down red tape for substitute GPs.
  • Ensure practices notify Health Boards on unfilled posts.

The consultation document was written by Dr Richard Simpson, Labour’s Public Services Spokesperson and a former GP and psychiatrist with over 30 years’ experience.

Anne McTaggart MSP will write to local GPs urging them to make submissions to the consultation, and is calling on constituents to come forward with their ideas and experiences of their community surgeries.

The move comes after a summer where the crisis in general practice has been made clear, with a £1 billion drop in investment in the past ten years, cuts to medical student numbers and GP vacancies lying unfilled. 

Commenting on the launch of the consultation, Ms McTaggart said:

“Today Labour is talking about better plans and better ideas, and we are putting them to the people who matter – family doctors themselves. We think our plans can make a real difference to general practice in Scotland, and benefit patients across the country.”

“We’ve seen a range of problems right across our NHS in Glasgow recently, including in the new £850 million Queen Elizabeth University Hospital where an expert team had to be sent in by the SNP Government to sort out the problems in A&E where waiting times had rocketed.

“Getting primary care right will take the pressure off of our A&E wards, our hospitals and a range of other services. Our plans could make a real difference to doctors and that’s why we are putting them to Scotland’s doctors today and asking for their support, and their opinions.”

“The Nationalist Government in Edinburgh has made a complete and utter mess of general practice in Scotland.  It was their decision to drop the share of funding for general practice in Scotland by over £1 billion and their decision to cut funding for medical students. The result has been understaffed overstretched practices with patients’ not receiving timely care.

“However if we act now we can fix these problems. Scottish Labour are taking ideas to the Scottish medical community for our plans. It is then a matter for the SNP Government if they want to look at Scottish Labour’s positive plans, or simply continue to sit on their hands.”

You can have your say at http://www.scottishlabour.org.uk/page/s/fit-for-the-future   or on fitforthefuture@scottishlabour.email

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment