17 January 2018

MSP Calls for Constituents to Give Views on Loneliness Strategy

A consultation has been launched looking at the causes of social isolation and loneliness and how they can be addressed.

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson is calling on his constituents to contribute to the work which will feed into a new national strategy.

It is one of the first in the world to combat loneliness and isolation.

A national strategy to combat loneliness was a key ask of the Jo Cox Commission, which welcomed this announcement.

And views are also being sought on how communities can build on the work of the Scottish Government, and lead on ensuring those at risk of becoming lonely or isolate have access to the right support networks.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

“It’s important that voices from across the North-East get involved in the Scottish Government’s consultation to help shape the new loneliness and isolation strategy, especially since each and every one of us has a role to play in reducing loneliness in Scotland.

“Dealing with loneliness and isolation can be incredibly difficult, and by reaching out to our neighbours or anyone we think may be at risk of becoming isolated or lonely – by taking them out, doing a good deed or simply having a chat – we can all have a hugely positive impact.

“Young or old - loneliness doesn’t discriminate and it is linked to both poor physical and mental health, and can have wide-ranging consequences on so many aspects of our lives.

“The SNP Government will be the first country in the UK and one of the first in the world to develop a national strategy to address loneliness and isolation, but this strategy needs our communities and society to lead the way in ensuring those at risk of loneliness get the support they need. I would encourage as many people as possible in the North-East to have a say on this very important issue by contributing to the consultation.”

16 January 2018

NHS Grampian waiting times improve even as flu rate rises

NHS Grampian waiting times have improved on the previous week despite growing pressures from the effect of the rising flu rate and added demand.

In the week ending January 7th, the flu rate doubled and 77.9% of people were treated in Scottish A&Es within four hours.

In the North-East, the percentage of people seen within the same time frame was 89.1%, a rise from 87.9% the week previously.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“Despite increased pressures from the number of flu cases and additional Winter pressures, NHS Grampian has managed to increase the number of patients seen within four hours of visiting A&E.

“The work of all health and social care staff who are delivering such fantastic patient care in this tough period is commendable.

“Emergency departments are continuing to feel the effects of the steep rise in flu cases and we must continue to remain vigilant to ensure people are getting seen to in a time appropriate manner.”

27 December 2017

MSP Praises Work of Peterhead's Street Pastors in Parliament

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has praised the work of Peterhead’s Street Pastors during a debate in the Scottish Parliament.
Speaking in Holyrood, the MSP said:

“Earlier this year, I attended the induction of new pastors in Peterhead. I have not been out on the street with street pastors, but I have certainly been out on a Saturday night with the police on three occasions for approximately five hours, so I know the environment into which street pastors go.

“One of the interesting things that I have heard from those street pastors is that their mere presence changes the character of what is going on. In a place like Peterhead, we might wonder why that should be so. Peterhead has a population of 19,000, but the odds are that the street pastor knows your mum. 

Being able to walk up to somebody who is just a little bit off the proper behaviour and asking,“Will I call your mum? You are obviously needing a wee bit of help” is sometimes enough to nudge people back to proper behaviour. 

It is a very practical thing. We are talking about practical, polite, pastoral support. Getting support is the very meaning of the word “pastoral”.

“The pastors give practical advice and help that will make a real difference to people in places like Peterhead.

“Peterhead is a diverse community. The academy has 28 languages spoken in it. There are therefore plenty of opportunities for confusion and misunderstandings between different parts of the community. The presence of street pastors can help to deal with that. They can help to identify vulnerable people and connect them to support and sources of help.

“Street pastors are a return to the roots of much of what Christian faith is about: supporting other people and being non-judgemental.”
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