Karen Adam is now the MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast

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30 April 2020

More than 2,000 Aberdeenshire Businesses Benefit from £26 million Cash Support Through Crisis

SNP MSPs Gillian Martin and Stewart Stevenson have welcomed new figures showing that 2,314 businesses in Aberdeenshire have received Scottish Government grants to support firms through the coronavirus crisis.

A total of £26.91million has been awarded in Aberdeenshire through a Scottish Government scheme to support small businesses and the retail, hospitality, and leisure sector.

This grant support is worth over £1 billion to business and is part of the wider business support package worth £2.3 billion.

So that funding can be distributed as quickly as possible, eligibility for the grant scheme is linked to the non-domestic rates system.

Commenting, SNP MSP Gillian Martin said:

“The impact of the coronavirus has been undoubtedly felt by every local business I know just how uncertain a time this is for many business owners.

“It is welcome today that Scottish Government funding is going directly into the hands of businesses as it is designed to support firms and ensure that our economy is on the best possible footing when we get through this health crisis.

“Our support for business is now worth £2.3 billion, which is more than we have received from the UK Government and actively works to fill the gaps in the UK schemes with tailored support for the Scottish economy.

“I encourage all businesses in Aberdeenshire to apply for funding and ensure they are receiving the support they’re entitled to.”

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson added:

“The coronavirus pandemic has dealt a significant financial blow to our economy, has pushed businesses into hardship, and damaged people’s livelihoods through no fault of their own.

“With many sectors of the economy having to close their doors due to public health advice, strengthening financial measures during this crisis is more important than ever and it is only right that businesses and individuals are supported.

“The cost of not going further in support now will only be more damaging in the long run – I urge the UK government to take bold and comprehensive action to ensure a strong recovery and to build a fairer society."

MSP Welcomes Kindness Calls During Self-Isolation

Stewart Stevenson has welcomed an army of over 4,000 volunteers trained by the Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland ready to help people in the North-east who are self-isolating and vulnerable to coronavirus.

The charity is ready to match individuals with a volunteer who can offer regular phone calls, practical help with shopping, collecting medication, or dog-walking.

The charity’s army of Kindness Volunteers are here to help people like Rosalind.

Rosalind Alexander was worried about the impact that isolation would have on her mental health. But then she got matched with Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland’s Kindness Caller Volunteer, Christine Ferguson. Christine now calls Rosalind once or twice a week. It has made a huge difference to Rosalind's life and she wants to thank Christine.

Rosalind Alexander said:

“It just gives you a wee bit hope in your day, knowing that someone else in on the other side of the phone, just seeing how you’re doing. It just makes my day!”

Welcoming the initiative, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“In this time of crisis, it is heart warming to see volunteers across Scotland offering their time to support those most vulnerable and in need.

“A simple phone call can really make all the difference to those who are isolating and I would encourage anyone who would benefit from this service to get in touch with Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland.”

Jane-Claire Judson, Chief Executive at Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland, said:

“We have been overwhelmed by the amazing response we have had from volunteers who want to help people across Scotland. They are trained and ready to go and have already begun helping people in their communities.

“If you need help with anything from your shopping to simply chatting to someone over the phone, we are here for you. Pick up the phone and give us call us today and we will match you with a volunteer in your area.

“No one should be left to fight this virus alone. We are here to help.”

To get help from Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland while you are isolating please call their Advice Line on 0808 801 0899.

29 April 2020

MSP Gives a Thumbs up to Thank his Postie

On National Postal Workers Day (29th April) Stewart Stevenson MSP has given a thumbs up to his postie and postmen and women across Scotland for their hard work during COVID-19.

More than ever, the Royal Mail is playing an important role in communities, delivering parcels and letters to keep the country together during this crisis.

For the most vulnerable who do not have the option to leave their homes, postmen and women have been delivering essential prescriptions and hospital appointments. The Royal Mail also recently announced that they have been chosen as a key partner in the delivery and return of coronavirus tests to NHS and social care frontline staff up and down the country.

The North-east MSP is urging everyone to give a thumbs up to their postie to say thank you to our local postal staff and as a handy reminder not to reach out to try and take parcels directly from postmen and women as the Royal Mail moves to contact-free delivery. He said:

“Royal Mail postal workers have continued to serve our communities across the North-east throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and deserve to be properly recognised and thanked for their hard work.

“One simple way of paying tribute to our Postal Workers and recognising their contributions is by ensuring we give them a big thumbs up for all that they are doing to keep Scotland connected.

“Coronavirus has highlighted exactly who our key workers are, and how essential they are and I think it’s paramount we show our gratitude to them."

24 April 2020

Parliamentary Praise as Local Bakers Set to Retire

Stewart Stevenson MSP has paid tribute to skilled local bakers Duncan and Audrey Clark as they announce their retirement from Seafield Bakery.

The couple have contributed many years of service to the local community and are well-known for their bakery products.

Mr Stevenson praised the couple, tabling a parliamentary motion which paid tribute to their Mr Blobby biscuits, pies and sweet treats, and wished them many happy years of retirement.

Commenting, the Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP said:

“Seafield Bakery has been a fixture of the Banff shopping scene for generations. Duncan and Audrey are nothing short of local heroes known for their skilled pies, delicious biscuits and scrumptious snacks.

“The pair have always provided service with a smile and have become somewhat famous locally for their reputation serving up some of the best sweet treats the North-east has to offer.

“Seafield Bakery will be deeply missed by many of us in Banff, but I wish Mr and Mrs Clark many happy years of well-earned retirement.”

23 April 2020

Stevenson: We Must Prepare for "New Normal" as Plan to Ease Lockdown Published

Stewart Stevenson MSP has said that the public must prepare for restrictions on normal life to continue for some time.

The comments come as the Scottish Government published a new document outlining how decisions will be taken to control coronavirus (COVID-19) while restoring a degree of normality to everyday life.

The paper - COVID-19: A Framework for Decision-Making - sets out the position during this ongoing period of lockdown and outlines the factors that must be considered as we move gradually to ease restrictions.

It also recognises that new ways of living – effectively a “new normal” – may have to be in place for some time to come.
Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“It is welcome that the Scottish Government has published an outline of how and when the lockdown may be lifted and I urge everyone to take the time to read the document.

“It is vital that any decision to ease restrictions is based on the best scientific advice possible – but we are in uncharted territory and we must be prepared to adapt. That might mean having to reapply restrictions after they are lifted.

“It is only when we are sure the virus is under control that we can even start to ease any of the restrictions because the virus will not have gone away.

“There are no easy answers – but it is right for the Scottish Government to be clear about the factors that will inform decision making.

“In the coming days and weeks members of the public will be invited to contribute their thoughts and views on the next steps we must make together.

“Unfortunately, returning to what we regard as a normal life will not be possible in the near future so we need to prepare for a new normal until treatments and a vaccine offer different solutions.

“While these measures are difficult for all of us, they are saving lives and protecting our NHS.”

22 April 2020

Fishing Company Praised for "Extraordinary Generosity" by MSP after £200,000 Donation

Stewart Stevenson MSP has praised local fishing company Klondyke following a £200,000 donation to help boost local response to COVID-19.

The money, to be split equally between NHS Grampian and Aberdeenshire Health & Social Care Partnership, will be used to support staff as they deliver services in a completely different way.

NHS Grampian intends to use the money to purchase iPads for use across the organisation.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP, said:

“This is a display of extraordinary generosity from Klondyke as they seek to help advance and amplify our local coronavirus response.

“It gives me an immense sense of community pride as we see support offered both big and small from businesses across the North-east to tackle this pandemic.

“These funds will provide assistance to our NHS and local health and social care partnership during this time of critical need.”

Sheena Lonchay, operational manager for NHS Grampian charities, said:

“In hospitals, iPads will enable patients to keep in contact with their families; this is particularly important at a time when visiting has been suspended in all but exceptional circumstances. In the community, they could be used by the community nursing teams to liaise with colleagues for additional medical or nursing advice. The devices could also be left with patients to reduce the frequency of visits by the nursing and healthcare teams.

“While the functions of iPads can be more limited than those provided by a laptop, the lack of a keyboard makes them easier to clean and provides more effective hygiene control.

“The public response to this pandemic has been quite staggering and the generosity shown by Klondyke is amazing.”

Angie Wood, Interim Chief Officer for the Aberdeenshire Health & Social Care Partnership said:

“We are incredibly thankful for this very generous donation. Like our colleagues at NHS Grampian it is our intention to use this money to help support our fantastic social care staff and clients stay connected during these unprecedented times.”

A spokesperson for Klondyke said:

“In making this donation the Directors and family wish to recognise the hard and dedicated work of all staff at NHS Grampian and Aberdeenshire Council HSCP in delivering care to the vulnerable in our communities in what are extremely challenging times in dealing with this Coronavirus.”

Stevenson Warns of Increase in Scams During COVID-19 Crisis

Public Encouraged to be Vigilant and Report Scams

MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Stewart Stevenson has encouraged people in the North-east to be aware of scams and fake news following an increase in reports across Scotland about scam emails, text messages, and doorstep callers.

Across the UK there is evidence fraudsters are increasingly targeting members of the public, as well as organisations of all sizes, with emails, texts, telephone calls, social media messages and online shopping scams relating to the outbreak.

Police Scotland have now launched a new Shut Out Scammers resource to protect the public and businesses from COVID-19 related scams. The UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has also launched an email reporting service, which the public can use to report any suspicious activity.
Stewart Stevenson MSP, said:

"While the community response to the coronavirus outbreak in Grampian has been overwhelmingly positive, it's disappointing to see a few individuals taking advantage of the situation with unsolicited emails, phone calls and text messages.

"During this coronavirus crisis, everyone in the North-east should take extra care to ensure that they only share information from trusted sources, ask for identification from all doorstep callers, and never hand over any personal information.

"It’s vital that people in Banffshire and Buchan Coast remain vigilant against scams during this challenging time and report any suspicious activity to the relevant authorities."

20 April 2020

Stewart Stevenson MSP Welcomes Home Learning Guidance

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson, has welcomed the publication of new guidance to support the home learning of children and young people during the new term.

It aims to build on the significant amount of positive work that has already been undertaken by teachers and education professionals across the North-east to support learning at home, as well as the advice and resources that are already available.

The guidance covers three key areas:
  • Learning and teaching at home
  • Parental involvement and engagement
  • Support for teachers and school leaders
Commenting Mr Stevenson said:

“Teachers have already worked phenomenally hard to provide continuity of care for vulnerable children and to children of key workers as part of the country’s COVID-19 emergency response, while also providing access to online learning for the majority of children who are not in schools.

“At this stage, and given the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in, we don’t know yet when North-east schools will be able to reopen and it’s right that we don’t rush to do so until it is deemed safe.

“However for many teachers and students this comes with a great deal of uncertainty and worry about the impact on their education, so both must be supported to ensure learning can continue.

“While we do not expect teachers, parents and families to replicate schools or classrooms, it’s great to see the Scottish Government working with all partners in Scotland’s education system to protect pupils’ wellbeing, and ensure learning can continue appropriately, wherever possible.”

17 April 2020

Stevenson Hails Additional Support for Scottish Seafood Industry

A Banffshire-based MSP has praised the Scottish Government after announcing £22.5million of funding for the seafood industry as more than 1,000 businesses are now eligible for help.

The announcement today of a further £3.5 million to help larger sea fishing vessels brings the total made available to the seafood industry by the Scottish Government from new and existing funds to £22.5 million.

This comes as the Scottish Government has used UK funding as well as the existing Scottish budget to help meet the unique needs and circumstances of key sectors in the rural economy hit hard by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

While the four financial support schemes announced so far will in particular help businesses based in coastal and island communities, key employers around Scotland involved in fish processing and trout farming will also benefit.

The latest scheme will provide capped payments of up to £21,370 per vessel to businesses with a vessel over 12 metres landing shellfish such as crab, lobster, scallop and langoustine to help them meet fixed costs like insurance. It will also provide up to £42,740 for businesses operating more than one vessel. Amounts will be graduated by fleet segment and length category.
Stewart Stevenson MSP, whose constituency includes Buckie, Fraserburgh and Peterhead, welcomed the funding:

“Today the Scottish Government have introduced by far and away the most generous scheme for the fishing industry in the UK. In fact, for the last few weeks, it was the only scheme across the four nations to support and protect our seafood industry.

“This new funding clearly demonstrates that we stand ready to help our fishing fleet, fish processors and food industry at this extremely difficult time for them.

“After listening to calls from businesses who have seen their livelihoods disappear overnight as their markets have shut down in response to vital public health advice. This latest funding will benefit more than 220 Scottish vessels over 12 metres.

“Overall, more than 1,000 fishing and aquaculture businesses are now eligible for funding to help them, their crews and staff through this unprecedented period.

“I would urge the public to play their part in supporting these key contributors to Scotland’s food success story by buying Scottish seafood and fish if they can.”

Elspeth Macdonald, CEO of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF), said:

“We welcome this further tranche of financial support for the Scottish fishing fleet, much of which has been under severe pressure since the COVID-19 pandemic hit our markets, first abroad and then at home. Most of the Scottish shellfish fleet has been tied up for almost a month now, as restrictions and lockdowns mean restaurant, hospitality and foodservice markets around the world that normally enjoy Scottish seafood, have essentially disappeared.

“Fishing businesses are floating businesses, so are not eligible for the COVID Small Business Grants Scheme based on rateable premises. We are grateful to Fergus Ewing and Marine Scotland for having regular dialogue with us, listening to industry, and acting quickly to provide support to the fishing industry and wider seafood sector, on which so many of our coastal communities depend.”

Elaine Whyte, a National Co-ordinator for Communities Inshore Fisheries Alliance, said:

“COVID-19 has had a great impact on our fishing communities, closing markets completely and reducing much-relied-upon income for coastal families nationally. We've worried greatly about securing some type of emergency assistance for this section of society which had lost the ability to earn a living at sea and provide for their families, many of whom were not eligible for other forms of current support.

“We sincerely thank the Scottish Government for addressing the needs of people who fish for a living, most of whom live in already fragile Scottish coastal communities. The support offered will hopefully help save vulnerable businesses which are the backbone of their villages and towns.”

15 April 2020

MSP Welcomes Additional Support for Businesses

Stewart Stevenson MSP has welcomed a second phase of funding for businesses from the Scottish Government to protect against the effects of COVID-19.

Around £220 million of further grants are being made available for businesses - including the recently self-employed - to help them deal with the ongoing impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The new package of measures includes £120 million to extend the Small Business Grant scheme to ensure that, in addition to a 100% grant on the first property, small business ratepayers will be eligible to a 75% grant on all subsequent properties.

A further £100 million fund is also being made available to protect self-employed people and viable micro and SME businesses in distress due to COVID. This fund will be channelled through local authorities and enterprise agencies to target newly self-employed people and businesses who are ineligible for other Scottish Government or UK Government schemes.

Applications for the £100 million fund will be open by the end of the month, and the new arrangements for the Small Business Grant will be in place to receive applications on 5 May.
Commenting Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson, said:

“I know that for many businesses the effects of coronavirus has been felt deeply and caused a great deal of concern and uncertainty. It is welcome news today that the Scottish Government is doing even more to urgently support business owners.

“While it remains a public health crisis there is no doubt that the Coronavirus outbreak is having severe economic consequences for businesses around the country.

“This new package of support from the Scottish Government will help businesses with the maximum financial capacity right now and offer lifeline funding to many of the businesses on the frontline of this economic crisis .”

14 April 2020

MSP Urges Residents "Stay at Home to Stay Safe"

Stewart Stevenson MSP believes that “there is light at the end of the tunnel” as the coronavirus lockdown enters its fourth week.

Acknowledging the hardship caused by restrictions on people’s lives, the SNP politician said it was “challenging to adapt” but stressed it was of the utmost importance that we all stay at home as much as possible to prevent the spread of the virus.

The MSP reminded residents to self-isolate for fourteen days if anyone in their household was symptomatic and that means no one goes to the supermarket or for walks outside.

It comes as the number of NHS Grampian cases rises to 335.

Stewart Stevenson sees light at the end of the tunnel but for now it is essential that social distancing measures are observed.

Mr Stevenson, MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast said:

“It has now been three weeks since the lockdown was announced, and I know it has been challenging to adapt, but the advice remains to stay at home to stay safe.

“The impact on families, livelihoods and schooling has been profoundly difficult, of that there is no doubt. There is a light at the end of the tunnel – of that, there is no doubt.

“But that light will be a lot brighter if we follow the rules right now and stay at home and that includes the advice if anyone is symptomatic in your house everyone should stay in for fourteen days.”

The MSP added:

“I am well aware of people’s concerns, as they are frequently raised with me as the local MSP. There are many things that are difficult, but can be fixed.

“The one thing we can’t do is turn back time to save lives, so it is absolutely essential that we continue to do everything possible to protect people by staying at home.”

10 April 2020

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Urges People to Stay at Home This Easter

Responsible Access to Land Crucial to Stop Spread of Coronovirus

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson has called on people across the North-east to stay at home this Easter weekend to help save lives and protect our NHS.

The MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast said no one should be travelling to the North-east and other rural areas and that doing so not only risks spreading COVID-19 but puts an unnecessary burden on local healthcare providers and essential services.
The right of access does continue to apply and exercise remains an important part of physical and mental wellbeing during the current crisis but the Scottish Government have stressed that it must be done responsibly.

During the current emergency, everyone should:
  • Stay local – do not travel in your car to take exercise; please make use of the paths, open spaces and quiet roads in your own local area
  • Maintain your distance – stay at least 2 metres away from other people and avoid busy times on popular paths or places
  • Respect the health and safety of farmers and others working the land – follow all reasonable requests and signs to avoid particular areas such as farmyards, fields with pregnant or young livestock, and other busy working areas
  • Keep your dog under control – put them on a lead or keep them close at heel and do not let them approach other people or livestock
  • Avoid contact – try to avoid touching surfaces and plan a route that does not require you to open gates
  • The Scottish Outdoor Access Code requires that people walking dogs act responsibly, take notice of any signs, and prevent their dogs from scaring or attacking any livestock.
  • Farmers and other land managers are entitled and indeed encouraged, to put up signs when they have pregnant or young livestock in a field.
  • If threatened by cattle, release your dog and take the shortest route out of the field. As always pick up and remove all waste.
  • Crucially, no one should be driving to take their daily exercise. By ensuring that we continue to strictly abide by these measures, we will protect the NHS and save lives.
SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“This is a temporary situation and it is more important now than ever to maintain good relationships between neighbours and within communities.

“This is not about restricting the general right of responsible access to land but it is part of the wider approach to prevent COVID-19 deaths and preserving the nation’s food supplies.

“Of course, exercise remains extremely important for people’s physical and mental wellbeing during the current crisis.

“Even simple activities such as getting out for a walk can greatly improve our wellbeing during this difficult time. But it is crucial to keep it local and follow social distancing guidelines set out by the government.

“The best way to beat the pandemic is to stop the spread of the virus - and for this reason, it is essential potential people stay at home, and give our NHS a chance to save lives.”

6 April 2020

Stevenson Welcomes New Support for Fish Processors

A new £10 million pound scheme has been created by the Scottish Government to help seafood processors during the coronavirus pandemic has been welcomed.

As a result of the outbreak, international markets have shut and demand has been greatly reduced as restaurants and cafes across the UK follow government orders to close.

Stewart Stevenson, MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast, who has fishing communities on the east coast including Peterhead and Fraserburgh in his constituency has welcomed the new Scottish Seafood Business Resilience Fund.
He said he hoped the new scheme, which provides a combination of grants and loans, will be a boost to seafood businesses fighting for survival and threatening livelihoods in coastal areas.

Mr Stevenson added:

“This support is crucial to ensuring seafood processing businesses remain solvent through this crisis, fish processors are reliant on buoyant markets, which have clearly collapsed with COVID-19.

“It is important we support them through this difficult period so I am pleased the Scottish Government has established a hardship fund for fish processors.

“They depend on the quality fish and seafood caught by fishermen, particularly those on the west coast, so the hope is that in supporting the fish processors there will also be support for the fish catching sector.”

4 April 2020

MSP Welcomes Support for Agriculture

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson, has welcomed farm payment schemes to alleviate COVID-19 pressures.

Around 7,000 specialist beef producers will benefit from payments worth around £40 million in the coming weeks, ensuring money is still going to farmers and crofters during these unprecedented and challenging times.

A further 469 convergence payments worth £768,500 have also been processed this week, mainly for new entrants to farming.
Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“Suckler herds form the backbone of quality beef production in Scotland, and so it is welcome news that the first tranche of the 2019 Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme payments will begin shortly.

“I am also pleased that the Scottish Government are making the convergence funds go further, reaching new entrants who are so important to the future of farming.

“All of these payments will aid business cash flow, helping to support farmers and crofters to continue to produce the quality meat products that Scotland is globally renowned for – and which we now need on our supermarket shelves more than ever.

“These are unprecedented and difficult times for the whole country and it is vital that we support our farmers and crofters. But we also need to keep the food supply chain moving. I would, therefore, encourage farmers and crofters to use their CAP payments to pay their bills and make investments for the seasons ahead to help keep money flowing through Scotland’s rural economy.”

2 April 2020

North East MSPs Back Campaign for Home Safety During Coronovirus

"Prevent Accidents, Protect Your Family, Help the NHS"

Stewart Stevenson MSP and Gillian Martin MSP have backed a new campaign aimed at preventing avoidable accidents in the home to ease pressure on the NHS during the Covid-19 outbreak.

As the majority of Scots stay at home, in line with Government guidance, it is vital that people take precautions to create a safe home environment and avoid accidental injury.

The new campaign – "Accident Free, Avoid A&E" – led by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), highlights that more accidents happen in the home than anywhere else.

The campaign’s central message emphasises the need to reduce preventable accidents and help frontline health services – Prevent accidents, Protect your family, Help the NHS.

RoSPA hopes to draw attention to some common dangers in the home. For example, trampolines are one of the most frequent causes of A&E attendances - posing a particular risk to children.

Mr Stevenson noted the practical information outlined by the campaign - with guidance for older people and children, tips for setting up a safe workspace, DIY risks and fire safety advice amongst other things.

The MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Stewart Stevenson, said:

“The most important thing we can do to help our NHS right now is stay at home.

“But as we adopt to this new way of living during the outbreak, we must be particularly careful to avoid injury that will place undue pressure on our public health service at a time when it is faced with a global health crisis.

“Small steps can prevent accidents in the home and this will enable crucial frontline health workers to deal with an influx of patients during the pandemic.

“All too often, the safety community hears that parents or carers were unaware of some of the steps we can a
ll take to keep our homes safe. RoSPA’s new campaign provides a simple and useful resource for creating a safe home environment.”

Commenting, Gillian Martin MSP added:

“Ensuring that the NHS has the capacity to treat those who need it most will be critical as we navigate one of the most challenging periods in living memory.

“Now, more than ever, as more of us are at home, a proactive approach to safety will help our amazing NHS as they fight to overcome this coronavirus.

“Through individual responsibility and collective effort, we will beat this.”

Elizabeth Lumsden, Community Safety Manager at RoSPA Scotland, said:

"As part of its campaign, RoSPA has compiled a useful list of safety tips and wellbeing suggestions which can be accessed at

"There is some potentially invaluable information such as tips for older people to avoid falls and exercises that people can do so they are able to get up from a fall if they are on their own.

"There is a wealth of information available from organisations across the safety community. We are urging people to be safety conscious. Our NHS does so much to support us - we must support it in return."

1 April 2020

MSP Welcomes Greater Support for GP Practices

Stewart Stevenson MSP has welcomed additional funding of £15 million to be provided to GP practices to help them cope with extra pressures arising from coronavirus (COVID-19).

Around a third of the funding is intended to allow practices to remain open on Good Friday and Easter Monday if it is safe to do so – helping to alleviate pressures on out-of-hours services.

The remainder will help to cover costs of equipment, additional non-clinical staff, GP partners and locum cover for sickness leave.

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“I am extremely proud of how quickly GPs have responded to this challenge with flexibility and ingenuity and want to thank all GP practice staff for their incredible hard work throughout this pandemic. They are doing an invaluable job to keep crucial primary care services going in very challenging circumstances.

“There is also a huge amount of work being put in from the Scottish Government and across the system and now is the time for us to pull together, for clear thinking and strong leadership.

“I warmly welcome the package of additional funding for GP practices to help them meet some of the costs of responding to COVID-19. Part of this will help to cover the cost of remaining open on Good Friday and Easter Monday and the remainder will help to meet other costs being faced by practices during this difficult time.

“Our NHS is changing, and at the forefront of that change is the primary care response. General practice is part of that protective ring around the hospital system that will help us all cope with the surge in demand we are expecting."

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