30 per cent post-Christmas increase in children waiting over a year for mental health treatment

Responding to new mental health waiting times statistics for the start of 2021 showing a record 2,452 children and 5,799 adults waiting more than year for treatment, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP commented:

"There were already a record number of children waiting over a year for treatment at the outset of the pandemic. Now that number has gone up a further 30% since Christmas alone.

"A year feels like a lifetime if you are waiting for help. Problems that can start small become crises. Frontline staff are working tirelessly but there aren't enough of them. Vacancies are common but the number of psychiatrists in specialist training to work with young people hasn't changed.

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Police mental health research "frightening"

Responding to new research showing 29 per cent of police officers experiencing moderate burnout, and a further 16 per cent enduring high levels, Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP commented:

"We can't thank key workers enough for doing shift after shift in the face of the virus because it adds an extra layer of threat to already dangerous situations.

 

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Delayed discharges putting pressure on the NHS

Responding to new statistics showing there were 690 people in hospital experiencing delayed discharge at the end of April because of "health and social care reasons", Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP commented:

"It has been five years since the SNP's own deadline to eradicate delayed discharges. No one wants to be stuck in hospital when they are well enough to return home or be cared for in the community. These avoidable delays are harmful to patients and add to the pressure on the NHS.

 

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Rennie responds to Glasgow restriction extension

Responding to the extension of restrictions in Glasgow, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said:

"It's sensible to be cautious in order to ensure that this is the last lockdown but given that Nicola Sturgeon's supposed two-week circuit breaker has now been going on for 270 days, I can easily understand why Glaswegians are frustrated.

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Sturgeon must clear up the confusion and get Covid inquiry going

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has written to the First Minister asking her to commit to a timetable for a coronavirus inquiry after a tumultuous week of evidence in Westminster, at the same time as more information emerged about the impact of the virus on care homes in Scotland.  

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Chamberlain calls for measures to maintain university competitiveness

Liberal Democrat Scottish Affairs spokesperson Wendy Chamberlain MP has today declared her support for the package of measures outlined in the Scottish Affairs committees new report Universities and Scotland.

The report calls for: 

  • New scholarships for EU students and lower visa fees for academics needed to maintain competitiveness.
  • More Scottish representation on research funding body UKRI.
  • The Turing Scheme to cover inward placements for international students and academics, not just outward UK students.
  • Reductions in overseas aid spending should not lead to reductions in UK research spending.
  • Improved collaboration and engagement needed in reserved areas where there are impacts for higher education in Scotland.
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McArthur presses FM over splitting Lord Advocate role

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur has today pressed the First Minister to split the role of Lord Advocate in two and create an independent Director of Public Prosecutions as well as removing the administration of Fatal Accident Inquiries from the Crown Office in order to end “scandalous” long waits.

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Rennie: The FM must provide clarity on vaccine passports and recovery plan

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie during Topical Questions has today asked the First Minister for answers  on the Government’s plans for vaccine passports after trials revealed that the government's plans are riddled with security flaws.

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Cole-Hamilton: Increase GP numbers to tackle service "at breaking point"

Commenting on today's survey by the BMA showing Scotland’s GPs are “at breaking point” as most face rising workloads during the pandemic, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

“It is heart-breaking that on top of dealing with an unprecedented health crisis, GPs and staff also had to deal with horrifying levels of abuse. We all owe our gratitude to our fantastic NHS staff, they should never have to buy a pint ever again. 

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Stone pushes for visa fees to be dropped for Armed Forces personnel

Jamie Stone, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for defence, has tabled an amendment to the Armed Forces Bill calling for visa fees for commonwealth troops to be waived. This proposal comes in light of the £1,500 price tag attached to indefinite leave to remain for overseas personnel, as well as the potential bill of almost £10,000 for someone with a partner and two children to stay in Britain. 

The Liberal Democrats are calling for a clause to be inserted to the Immigration Act of 2014 stating that "no fees may be charged in respect of a serving or previously serving member of the UK armed forces, or their family members, applying for indefinite leave to remain under Appendix Armed Forces of the Immigration Rules.” This new clause would mean that the costly fee for any current or previous member of the UK Armed forces and their families would be dropped. 

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