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30 November 2006

Fraserburgh Junior Arts Society To Benefit From MSP's Opinions

Fraserburgh Junior Arts Society will benefit from a £100 donation courtesy of Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson taking part in a survey by research organisation MORI.

MORI offered participating MSPs £100 to donate to a good cause for taking part.  Mr Stevenson nominated Fraserburgh Junior Arts Society to receive the cash and will hand it over in person when he calls in on rehearsals for this year’s pantomime at Dalrymple Hall, Fraserburgh.  Mr Stevenson will present the cheque at 2.00pm on Sunday 3 December.

Mr Stevenson commented:
“I was pleased to be able to help Fraserburgh Junior Arts Society by simply answering some questions.

“The Society’s productions are always top notch entertainment and I wish them all the best with this year’s pantomime, ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’.  I’m sure it will be another resounding success for the Society, which has made itself an important part of the fabric of Fraserburgh.”

28 November 2006

Water Chiefs Admit Errors In Letter To MSP

Local MSP Stewart Stevenson has received an apology to his constituents from water bosses after businesses faced huge bills as a result of undercharging due to errors made by meter readers.

Mr Stevenson wrote to Scottish Water after frequent reports of errors in the reading of water meters at local businesses demanding an urgent investigation, which has now been carried out.

In his letter to the Banff & Buchan MSP, Scottish Water Chief Executive Dr Jon Hargreaves admits:

“I can advise that on the occasions referred to in your letter, our [meter] reading programme in a specific geographical area was compromised during a period extending to one year. As a direct result of this compromise, I have to advise that our high standards were not achieved.”

The letter continues:

“I can confirm that the investigations produced a comprehensive review into how we utilised our meter reading programme. The need to raise performance standards and expectations of all meter reading contractors was paramount.”

Mr Stevenson – who has asked water officials to meet with him in the Scottish Parliament - commented:

“This is an extremely serious matter for the businesses concerned. In one case, a business faced a quarterly bill of ten times the norm.

“I am pleased that Scottish Water have had an investigation and have identified the cause. However, water meter users in my constituency need an assurance that there will be no repetition of this disgraceful episode and that is why I am requesting that water officials meet with me in Parliament to discuss these concerns.

“This is all the more important as water billing for businesses have now been transferred to an offshoot of Scottish Water – ‘Business Stream’ – in advance of the introduction of competition so it is vital that they get this right.”

27 November 2006

Stevenson Adopted as Banff & Buchan Candidate

Local MSP Stewart Stevenson has been unanimously adopted as Scottish National Party candidate for next May’s elections to the Scottish Parliament.

At a well-attended meeting in Barclay’s Hotel, Banff on Saturday night, the local Constituency Association of the SNP confirmed Stewart would defend the Banff & Buchan seat. Members and supporters from across the constituency gathered for the event where special guest and Moray by-election victor Richard Lochhead MSP paid a glowing tribute to Stewart and his work for the constituency.

Speaking after the meeting, Stewart Stevenson said:

“It is a great honour to have been adopted once again as the SNP’s candidate for Banff & Buchan and it has been a privilege for me to represent this seat in the Scottish Parliament since 2001.

“Next year's Scottish election is now a clear two-horse race between the SNP with growing momentum, and a tired London-led Labour Party who are losing support hand over fist.

“More and more people in Scotland are saying that it's time for an SNP government, committed to success for Scotland, a growing economy and a decent society. It’s time for a change of government, and only the SNP can deliver that.”

Moray MSP Richard Lochhead added:

“Stewart is an outstanding ambassador for Banff & Buchan and is highly respected at Holyrood for his thoughtful contributions to debates on the issues that affect his constituents.

“I am delighted to be here in Banff tonight supporting Stewart’s campaign and returning some of the excellent support which Banff & Buchan gave me during the Moray by-election.”

[picture: Stewart Stevenson with Richard Lochhead MSP and Ian Gray, SNP Prospective Council Candidate for Banff & District.]

23 November 2006

Community Of The Year Gets Parliamentary Recognition - Stevenson Tables Motion Congratulating New Deer

Calor Scottish Community of the Year New Deer received Parliamentary recognition today when Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson tabled a Motion in Parliament congratulating the community on their achievement.

Mr Stevenson, who was present at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre with South Buchan councillor Norma Thomson, expressed his delight at the award, the second time in the last five years that a community from Banff & Buchan has scooped the top award.

Speaking from his Scottish Parliament office, Mr Stevenson said:

“I am absolutely delighted for the village and for the community activists who have helped bring this award to Buchan.

“There is no doubt whatsoever that the “never say never” attitude displayed by the village when it was faced with losing its only bank was a key factor in all of this. It is quite unprecedented for a community faced with the withdrawal of a bank to take the campaign to other financial institutions and manage to attract a new bank to set up in the village.

“There are many other facets of village life which make New Deer such a great place, but this campaign was absolutely key and I am thrilled for the campaigners that their hard work has been recognised in this way.”

Stevenson Welcomes Scottish Health Council's Criticism Of NHS Grampian On Maternity Consultation

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the publication of a report by the Scottish Health Council which criticises NHS Grampian’s consultation process on the future of North-east maternity units.

The Scottish Health Council has a remit to consider whether NHS Boards have adequately consulted their local populations in relation to significant NHS service change in accordance with existing guidance.

The report concludes that the Scottish Health Council is “of the view that there should have been wider involvement and engagement with affected communities, particularly in the early stages of the process and the options development exercise. It is unfortunate that the options for maternity services were developed by professionals only before being discussed with the North Aberdeenshire Public Involvement Group.” (Report Conslusions para 2, p28)

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“This is a welcome report and it confirms completely what local people have said all along about the manner in which NHS Grampian have conducted this whole exercise.

“There are vitally important lessons here to be learned by NHS Grampian about how they treat local communities who value their health services and how to engage with local people on such issues of importance.

“It is not the role of the Scottish Health Council to reach a view on the decisions made, but clearly it is common-sense to retain a maternity unit in a town of 12,000 people which is over one hour away from its nearest acute services hospital in Aberdeen.

“The clear message of this campaign is that it’s time to keep health services local.”
Categories [Health and Community Care]

21 November 2006

MSP Congratulates New Deer On Winning Calor Scottish Community Of The Year

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has congratulated community activists in New Deer on winning the Calor Scottish Community of the Year Award at a ceremony in Edinburgh today.

Mr Stevenson, who was present at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre with South Buchan councillor Norma Thomson, expressed his delight at the award, the second time in the last five years that a community from Banff & Buchan has scopped the top award.

Speaking after the awards ceremont, Mr Stevenson said:

“I am absolutely delighted for the village and for the community activists who have helped bring this award to Buchan.

“There is no doubt whatsoever that the “never say never” attitude displayed by the village when it was faced with losing its only bank was a key factor in all of this. It is quite unprecedented for a community faced with the withdrawal of a bank to take the campaign to other financial institutions and manage to attract a new bank to set up in the village.

“There are many other facets of village life which make New Deer such a great place, but this campaign was absolutely key and I am thrilled for the campaigners that their hard work has been recognised in this way.”

20 November 2006

Local MSP Writes To Finnie On NVZ Proposals

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has written to Rural Affairs Minister Ross Finnie on the latest proposals to introduce new rules in Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs). Currently, the whole of Banff & Buchan and large parts of Moray and Aberdeenshire are within the designated NVZs.

Mr Stevenson said:

“Already, concern has been put to me regarding these proposals and also the proposal to change the rules on storage capacity and periods for manures. I am disappointed that given the level of consultation which took place with farmers on these changes that the views expressed by farmers do not seem to have been taken on board. I have written to Ross Finnie seeking details of the scientific basis for these proposals, which seems to be sadly lacking at the moment.”

Stevenson Commends Maud Village Christmas Lights Fair

Local SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson has commended the organisers and participants of the Maud Village Christmas Lights Fair.

The event, which took place at the weekend and which was attended by Mr Stevenson and local councillor Norma Thomson was a resounding success and attracted a large number of stallholders and visitors throughout the day.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“This was an extremely worthwhile community enterprise and I congratulate the organisers and the stall-holders on putting together an excellent event which had something for everyone.

“The comment was made to me that there is a real buzz about Maud these days and I think that is absolutely correct. There is a lot happening in the Buchan villages at the moment and I am enormously heartened by the fact that these events are being driven by the communities themselves. Maud and its near neighbour New Deer are prime examples of this and they deserve their successes.”

SNP councillor for South Buchan Norma Thomson added:

“I thought Saturday’s event was excellent and shows what can be achieved in a small rural village when the community rallies round. I was pleased for the organisers as well that the weather stayed fine for what was in the main an outdoor event.”

Tribute To Former Councillor Sandra Taylor

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has paid tribute to former SNP councillor for Durn, Sandra Taylor, who died on Friday after a short illness.

Mr Stevenson said:

“Sandra will be remembered as an assiduous local councillor who took over from her husband Ian in what were very difficult circumstances for her but went on to serve her constituents with diligence.

“Her constituents found she was always very approachable and her ready smile and sense of humour will be greatly missed by all who knew her. My thoughts are obviously with her family at this sad time.”

Sandra Taylor served as Aberdeenshire councillor for the Fordyce-Boyndie ward, later renamed Durn ward under boundary changes, from 1997 to 2002. Sandra won the seat at a by-election caused by the death of her husband, Dr Ian Taylor, the highly respected former Portsoy GP. Sandra stood down from the council in 2002 for health reasons and was suceeded by Ian Gray.

18 November 2006

Weekend Visits by MSP

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson will be attending the following events on Saturday 18 November:

Between 11.00am and 12.00pm Stewart Stevenson MSP will be supporting the Maud Village Christmas Lights Fair being held in The Square, Maud.

At 2.30pm Mr Stevenson will attend Peterhead Community Theatre, Balmoor Terrace, Peterhead for the premiere of ‘From the Mountains to the Sea’, seven short films by young Aberdeenshire filmmakers which includes a production by pupils of Hatton (Cruden) School in his constituency.

15 November 2006

Stevenson Gains Ministerial Commitment To Extend Dental Grant Eligibility

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the commitment he has received from Deputy Minister for Health & Community Care Lewis Macdonald that the Scottish Dental Access Initiative will be revised to allow ‘bodies corporate’ to apply for grant aid.

The move follows the recent case highlighted by Mr Stevenson where Fraserburgh businessman George Jack was denied grant funding to open a new dental facility in the town as he himself was not a dentist. The rules meant that the North-east was denied a new NHS dental practice which would have brought relief to the large number of people currently without an NHS dentist.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“While it was bitterly disappointing that the Scottish Executive and NHS Grampian did not follow through on their promised support for the Fraserburgh proposal, it is clear that the controversy surrounding that decision has led to this rethink by the Minister.

“I hope that this change in Government policy will increase the opportunities for addressing the extreme shortage of access to NHS dental facilities faced by many of my constituents and indeed in the North-east generally.

14 November 2006

MSP and Maternity Campaigners Meet With Health Minister

‘IT’S TIME TO KEEP MATERNITY SERVICES LOCAL’ - STEVENSON

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson took the fight for Fraserburgh Maternity Unit to the top this afternoon when he met with Minister for Health Andy Kerr.

Mr Stevenson was accompanied by local campaigners Nicola Henderson and Mary Melville at the meeting which took place in St Andrew’s House in Edinburgh.

The SNP MSP, who visited the Broch Maternity Unit last August when the threat first became known and who joined hundreds of people at the march and rally in support of the Unit, has repeatedly urged NHS Grampian and the Scottish Executive to ‘keep maternity services local’.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Stevenson said:

“We had an hour with the Minister. It was a useful and frank exchange of views. The Minister assured us a decision would not be made on the basis of money. Health officials confirmed to us that it was perfectly possible to run a safe and effective midwife-led unit on the number of deliveries currently experienced at Fraserburgh.

“The Minister accepted the considerable transport issues for friends, families and indeed expectant mothers of having to leave Fraserburgh for services, whether that be in Aberdeen or elsewhere.

“Myself and the campaigners made the point forcibly that we had lost confidence in the management of NHS Grampian and that it would in any event be difficult to work with them on planning any detailed changes to health provision in Fraserburgh.

“This is the time to keep up the pressure to ensure the community’s position on the provision of health services and in particular the continuing ability of women in Fraserburgh to give birth within their own community.”

New home for Family Mediation - Buchan Observer

FAMILY Mediation Grampian officially opened its smart new office suite at Marischal Chambers on Peterhead's Drummers Corner, Peterhead, yesterday (Monday).

Local MSP and long time supporter of the service, Stewart Stevenson, performed the honours with Margaret Forbes, chair of Couple Counselling Grampian.

Family Mediation Grampian is a registered charity offering a range of services to families who no longer live together. The pain of separation and divorce affects everyone, and these services help families make arrangements for the future.

The service has operated from its former base in Peterhead for the past eight years and remains in the heart of the community.

However, the move to larger, brighter premises heralds new opportunities that will meet the needs of local people, with Couple Counselling Grampian offering a support service from the same venue to people who need help with relationship problems.

Elaine C. Smith, Patron of Family Mediation Scotland, commented: "What a brilliant idea to have these two services under the same roof! Sometimes people who are having problems don't really know if they need counselling or mediation, and if they are both available in these lovely new offices, then Family Mediation and Couple Counselling are really offering a convenient, flexible and accessible service to the people of North East Scotland."
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to read the orginal story click on The Buchan Observer

13 November 2006

Stewart Stevenson visits Crudie School

Primaries 6 & 7 pose after an exhausting question and answer session with the Banff & Buchan MSP. Next meeting will be at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on December 7th.

Stevenson Gains Ministerial Commitment To Extend Dental Grant Eligibility

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the commitment he has received from Deputy Minister for Health & Community Care Lewis Macdonald that the Scottish Dental Access Initiative will be revised to allow ‘bodies corporate’ to apply for grant aid.

The move follows the recent case highlighted by Mr Stevenson where Fraserburgh businessman George Jack was denied grant funding to open a new dental facility in the town as he himself was not a dentist. The rules meant that the North-east was denied a new NHS dental practice which would have brought relief to the large number of people currently without an NHS dentist.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“While it was bitterly disappointing that the Scottish Executive and NHS Grampian did not follow through on their promised support for the Fraserburgh proposal, it is clear that the controversy surronding that decision has led to this rethink by the Minister.

“I hope that this change in Government policy will increase the opportunities for addressing the extreme shortage of access to NHS dental facilities faced by many of my constituents and indeed in the North-east generally.
Categories [Health and Community Care]

10 November 2006

Stevenson To Officially Open Family Mediation Grampian's New Base In Peterhead

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson will officially open the new Peterhead premises of Family Mediation Grampian at Marischal Chambers, Drummers Corner, Peterhead on Monday 13 November at 1.30pm.

Family Mediation Scotland is a voluntary organisation and a registered charity. It was set up in 1987 as a national umbrella organisation to promote and support the development of local family mediation services throughout Scotland. Family Mediation Grampian has offices in Aberdeen, Peterhead and Elgin.

Local MSP Visits Crudie School

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson will fulfil a promise to visit pupils at Crudie School when he calls at 11.00am on Monday 13 November.

Mr Stevenson received a visit from teacher Aileen Ironside when he called at Crudie during his summer surgery tour of villages, who invited him to visit the local school. The Banff & Buchan MSP will talk to pupils about his job as an MSP and will then face a grilling from the youngsters during their very own ‘Question Time session.

“I always enjoy visiting schools in my constituency and the pupils always manage to think up some fairly searching questions so I will need to be on good form.

“I’m also looking forward to welcoming pupils from Crudie to the Scottish Parliament next month and I am always delighted to welcome constituents and school visits to Holyrood.”

8 November 2006

Stevenson Welcomes Ministerial Pledge To “Look Again” At IPPC Regulations Implementation

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed a commitment given by Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Ross Finnie that he will “look again” at the IPPC regulations.

The SNP MSP had invited Mr Finnie to Banffshire to tour a local farm and meet with farmers representatives. During the meeting, Mr Stevenson raised the issue of the cost to poultry farmers of the IPPC regulations which has been an issue of concern to his constituents involved in the poultry sector.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“Firstly, I was pleased that the Minister agreed to my request to come to Banffshire to meet with local farmers. There are a number of ongoing issues affecting the agriculture sector at the moment and I think this was a valuable opportunity to put across the local view at first hand.

“I know from my constituents involved in the sector that the cost of simply applying for an IPPC permit at just under £3600 is a huge concern, added to that a further £2500 per annum simply to operate. And all this is before any requirements which may be imposed by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency as a result of the new regime.

“I am pleased that the Minister seemed to recognise that there was a genuine issue of concern here and undertook to look at the matter.”

7 November 2006

Boyndie Centre Hosts Visit From Government Minister

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson brought Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Ross Finnie to the Boyndie Visitor Centre this week.


Mr Finnie was in the area at Mr Stevenson’s request to visit a local farm and meet with farmers representatives. Following the farm visit, the delegation held discussions at the Boyndie Centre. The meeting was rounded off in the evening with a very special meal cooked by chef Doug Hay and his staff using the best of local produce from Banffshire.

Mr Stevenson also gave the Minister a brief tour of the Boyndie Centre, which Mr Finnie commented had been tastefully converted from its former use as a school, and later met with Boyndie Trust Director Agnes Lees.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“I was pleased that the Minister agreed to my request to come to Banffshire to meet with local farmers. There are a number of ongoing issues affecting the agriculture sector at the moment and I think this was a valuable opportunity to put across the local view at first hand.

“The Boyndie Visitor Centre is an excellent facility and I am grateful to them for agreeing to act as hosts for the meeting with the Minister and providing such an excellent meal afterwards. One of the things I wanted to do was to use this opprtunity to highlight the quality local food which is produced in Banff & Buchan and I have to say that Boyndie chef Doug Hay did us proud.”

Earlier in the day, Mr Stevenson, Mr Finnie, and NFU members visited Arthur Duguid’s farm at North Cranna, Aberchirder where they toured the livestock lines and discussed various issues including the current situation with LFA payments.

4 November 2006

With just 6 months to go until polling, Alex Salmond sets out his ambitions for Scotland.


The SNP wants Scotland to match the success of Ireland, Norway and Iceland - all of them in the top six richest nations in the world. Alex Salmond sets out his ambition for a stronger economy, better public services and a fairer society.

3 November 2006

Agriculture Minister Visits Banffshire at MSP's Invitation

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson will welcome Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Ross Finnie to Banffshire on Monday 6 November.

Mr Finnie is visiting at the invitation of Stewart Stevenson and will tour a farm at Aberchirder before attending a meeting with a representative group of North-east farmers at Boyndie. NFU Scotland President John Kinnaird will also be in attendance.

The timetable is:

3.15pm Minister arrives and photocall at commencement of tour of North Cranna, Aberchirder AB54 7TX.

5.45pm Photocall at The Boyndie Centre, Old School, Boyndie, Banff AB45 2JT where the Minister, Mr Stevenson and farmers’ representatives will sit down to a meal prepared by The Boyndie Centre using local produce.

(The Boyndie Centre is a community co-operative venture comprising restaurant/café, arts and crafts, garden centre, community transport hub, and joinery workshops based in a former school which also provides employment for adults with special needs.)

Go-ahead for human rights body - The Scotsman

Peter MacMahon, Scottish Government Editor, The Scotsman

THE Scottish Parliament last night finally agreed plans to set up a human rights watchdog for Scotland.

After a year of controversy, the Executive's watered-down proposal to establish a human rights commission rather than a commissioner was endorsed by Holyrood.

The new body, which will cost £1 million a year to run, will promote and oversee human rights compliance.

Ministers were forced to retreat from their original plan for a commissioner after Labour MSPs joined opposition criticism earlier this year to the creation of another public-sector "tsar".

The idea of establishing a commissioner - forced into the coalition partnership agreement by the Liberal Democrats - was also attacked by Lord McCluskey, a former High Court judge, who questioned the need for a £75,000 "gadfly" to tell public bodies how to meet their legal obligations under the Human Rights Act.

The revised proposal, passed by 74 votes to 41 at Holyrood last night, will see the commission with one chairman and four other members to police human rights and work alongside the new UK equality and human rights commissioner.

Robert Brown, the deputy education minister, said the changes would make the body more flexible and accountable to parliament.

The parliament's corporate body would have financial control over the commission.

Mr Brown told MSPs: "Individuals can only get the full benefit of human rights if they know what those rights are. Public authorities must have a similar awareness. The Scottish commission for human rights will help us achieve the modern, confident and inclusive Scotland we all want to see."

But the SNP's Stewart Stevenson said the new body would do nothing but "book advertising" for human rights and persuade public authorities to "up their game".

He added: "This bill is about the promotion of human rights within public institutions.

"Individuals should be at the heart of our concern for human rights and this bill does not focus on that."

For the Tories, Bill Aitken said the Executive had created "more tsars than the Romanov dynasty". He added: "This surely was a tsar too far."

...to view the original story click on The Scotsman

1 November 2006

Local MSP Takes the 'Daffodil Bus'

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson was kept busy at the recent Scottish National Party Conference in Perth helping to plan the route of Marie Curie Cancer Care’s “Daffodil Bus”.

The Bus will be touring Scotland in march and stopping in local towns and villages in the North-east providing information on Marie Curie Cancer Care and, in particular, the choice to die at home. The charity has also released an economic report showing that caring for more patients at home would release funds which could be used elsewhere in the NHS.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

“I was delighted to help Marie Curie Cancer Care with their campaign at the SNP’s Annual Conference.

“I think that they and other cancer charities provide an essential source of support for cancer sufferers and their families during often difficult times. Marie Curie Cancer Care employs more than 2,700 nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals, and provides care to around 25,000 people with cancer every year, along with support for their families.

“I am sure that the Daffodil Bus will be well used when it visits here in March and I commend Marie Curie Cancer Care on this very worthwhile initiative.”

Lorena Brogan, Marie Curie Cancer Care Public Affairs Manager added:

“Although 75% of Scots would choose to die at home only 24% of Scots actually do. Lack of information on the choices available is one of the major barriers to enabling people to choose to die at home.

“To help tackle this, Marie Curie Cancer Care will be taking our Daffodil Bus across Scotland in March 2007 on our information tour. To find out more information on our Scotland Supporting the Choice to Die at Home campaign and to nominate your region as a stop for our Daffodil Bus next March, visit our website; http://campaign.mariecurie.org.uk/Scotland/

MSP Backs Dyslexia Awareness Week

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has highlighted the importance of Dyslexia Awareness Week, which takes place from 6th – 12th November.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“I applaud this awareness campaign. What we need to see is the existence of a dyslexia friendly society that will enable all dyslexic people to reach their potential.

“Dyslexia is best described as a combination of abilities and difficulties that affect the learning process in one or more of reading, spelling and writing. Accompanying weaknesses may be identified in areas of speed of processing, short term memory, sequencing and organisation, auditory and/or visual perception, spoken language and motor skills. It is particularly related to mastering and using written language, which may include alphabetic, numeric and musical notation.

“The British Dyslexia Association (BDA) is the voice of dyslexic people. They want to drive change in government and other institutions to promote a dyslexia-friendly society. Furthermore, through their Dyslexia Friendly Schools Campaign http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/dfs.html, they are promoting better practice, from early identification through to appropriate intervention and support. In the workplace, they want a better understanding of dyslexia and the contribution that dyslexic people can make."

Stevenson Urges Support for British Transplant Games

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has highlighted his support for the British Transplant Games, taking place next July in Edinburgh.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“I am very supportive of the Games and I am certain that the event will improve greatly the public’s awareness of the value of organ donation, which I view as a very worthwhile cause indeed.

“The Games have proved successful in the past, seeing a marked improvement relating to organ donation and I’m hopeful that the same outcome will result after the Games next July.

“What we need to remember is that transplants save lives and these days, have a very high success rate. However, there is always the need for more donors. Obviously to stage a high-profile event of this nature and to guarantee its continuance takes funding. This continued success depends largely on the generosity of financial sponsorship. I know that the organisers are seeking sponsorship at present and I am hopeful that they meet their targets. For anyone wishing to find out more please check their website: www.tsagb.org."

Stevenson Takes Part In Physio Lobby

Banff & Buchan MSP, Stewart Stevenson met with physiotherapist graduates who were lobbying parliament about the lack of jobs available for newly qualified physiotherapists. Mr Stevenson also personally met with constituents who had travelled to Edinburgh to take part in the lobby.

According to reports, half of the students who graduated in summer are unable to find a permanent job despite official reports stating that more than 28,000 people are waiting for an appointment with a physio.

Commenting on the situation, Mr Stevenson said:

“The position at present for newly qualified physiotherapists is clearly unsustainable. Physios, along with other Allied Health Professionals, provide a valuable service within the NHS.

“It is bizarre that despite the growing numbers of physio graduates, we still seeing growing waiting lists. The sensible answer would be to investigate ways in which we can use these vital skills to alleviate waiting times to enhance the NHS and provide jobs to these keen, new graduates. Many patients can then be seen by a physiotherapist rather than having to wait to see a consultant.

“Next year, when a new batch of physiotherapists graduate, the problem will be exacerbated. The Health Minister needs to address this matter immediately and create job opportunities.

“We cannot afford for these graduates, who have invested their own time and money, to lose their skills, which is what will happen if they do not find jobs soon. This would be an immense tragedy and waste of talent.”

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