Increase in Dentist Appointments
Relaxation of some infection prevention and control (IPC) measures, which were in place to protect patients and staff at the height of the pandemic, has seen a sharp increase in dental appointment rates. NHS dental examinations rates are expected to have doubled between April and June compared with the first three months of 2022, with about 700,000 examinations taking place as practices continued to recover from the pandemic.
As Health Secretary, I confirmed that NHS dentist will continue to receive an additional 30% on fee claims with a further review by October. This interim payment arrangement has been in place since April and has helped practices see more patients while IPC measures remained in place.
Considerable progress has been made in NHS dental services and oral health improvements – progress that was interrupted by the unique challenges of the pandemic. It is the Scottish Government’s ambition to regather that momentum and ensure we have an NHS dental service that is unequalled in the world today.
Drug Deaths Taskforce Report
Every death to drugs is a tragedy, and the Scottish Government recognises this. So, it is committed to preventing further loss of life because there is still much more to do to address this unacceptable crisis.
The final report of the Drug Deaths Taskforce has been published. It was established to provide expert advice on emergency response to rising drug-related deaths in Scotland. Many of the recommendations proposed in previous reports have already been implemented, and the Scottish Government will consider in detail the current recommendations and will respond in due course.
The Scottish Government have announced £1.1million of new investment into public health surveillance projects to improve its real-time understanding of harms to improve Scotland’s response, and a target has been set to increase the number of people in protective treatment for problematic drug use. Fragmentation of service delivery is in no-ones interest, particularly so for a group as vulnerable as people who are struggling with drug dependency. Therefore, there will be a focus on ensuring all services that treat people who use drugs with the same respect and compassion as would be expected for any other health condition.
There are still areas where the Government want to go far further and the latest recommendations from the report will be central to delivering that. With the backing of an additional £250 million over the course of this parliament, the Government are now focussed on delivery and change on the ground to provide meaningful improvement in people’s lives.
Transvaginal Mesh Removal
I was delighted to announce, as Health Secretary, that women in Scotland who require the surgical removal of transvaginal mesh implants are to be offered surgery in the US as a potential treatment course.
Women in Scotland now have the option to request for referral to one of two independent providers for transvaginal mesh removal surgery. A contract has been agreed between the NHS and Gynaecologic and Reconstructive Surgery Ltd in Missouri, USA, where Dr Veronikis practices. The contract allows NHS Scotland to facilitate arrangements for those who wish to travel to the USA for transvaginal mesh removal surgery.
This option is in addition to the treatment options currently being offered with Spire Healthcare in Bristol and the Complex Pelvic Mesh Removal Service in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. Each of these options will be available free of charge.
Many women have suffered an unimaginable amount of pain due to complications as a result of transvaginal mesh implants and it is absolutely right the Scottish Government is doing all it can to ensure they now get the treatment that they want and need.
Young Person’s Guarantee
With over 600 employers signing up to the initiative, more than 16,000 young people across Scotland have been offered workplace opportunities through the Young Person’s Guarantee.
The initiative aims to connect 16-24 year olds with an apprenticeship, work experience, volunteering, internships, enterprise opportunities and mentoring.
Up to £45 million is being invested in the Young Person’s Guarantee in 2022-23 as part of the Scottish Government’s ongoing commitment to support young people.
In the constituency
- Over the Summer holidays, it has been great to see so many local groups organise summer activities and lunches for school children to keep them entertained and give parents and carers some well-earned respite! I’ve re-shared on Facebook a range of activity clubs which are available to children over the summer, so take a look and make the most of the final weeks of the school break.
- I started July with a successful surgery in Darnley where I spoke to a range of constituents about their personal and local concerns. I am hosting another surgery in Crookston on August 4th and look forwards to speaking with constituents from the area.
- I had a lovely visit to Darnley Court Care Home this month. I joined in with their Care Home Open Week celebrations. I would like to share my thanks again to the staff for their compassionate care and vital support they provide for residents and their families.
- Govan Community Project (GCP) continue to do tremendous work to support individuals across Glasgow to access food banks. It is regrettable that foodbanks need to exist in our society, however I am extremely grateful they are in place to support those in need, especially as we face the rising cost and hostile policies being put in place by the home office which do not adequately support refugees who we welcome into our country. GCP are asking for those who can afford it to support their Pay It Forward scheme to help feed others in these difficult times: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/GCPFoodforAll?fbclid=IwAR1KQL14oqBQNv-foHKO36hH2y1fykUP3PTX-yre-Pg2e1gUHDStUtGCkrE
- Greater Glasgow Division Police are asking constituents to take part in their consultation to help shape local policing in their community. They are currently working on the Local Police Plan which will establish their strategy and priorities for the next 3 years to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the communities they serve. You can have your say by taking part in their online consultation here: https://consult.scotland.police.uk/strategy-insight-and-innovation/your-police-2022-2023/?fbclid=IwAR0CaCHOAl8DvF9akmLYasE82oZiPrsYN0bWAPC6fozZtb9TUIPmy_H-o8w