Last week I published my 2013 annual report looking back on my work over the past year.
My main concern this year was our NHS. Our frontline staff are being stretched too far, patients are experiencing increased waiting times and A&E targets are under huge pressure. I’ve regularly raised these issues in the Scottish Parliament to hold ministers to account and to make sure that the problems experienced by constituents and their families are brought into the public domain. I’m glad to see that there’s been progress on the issue of a whistle blowers hotline for the NHS, but believe it needs wider publicity. Finally I called for a full public enquiry into the legionnaires outbreak in Edinburgh last year and was disappointed that this was not agreed to by the Scottish Government.
I also urged the Scottish Government to do more to use procurement powers to commission contracts from the supported employment sector as leaving the issue to the free market will only lead to increased unemployment levels for people with disabilities.
This year constituents in Edinburgh were again rocked by the impact of the statutory repairs scandal and I’ve continued to call for action to resolve outstanding disputes as well as reinstitute a system to ensure that properties are kept properly maintained.
The Parliament also saw consultation on the SNP Government’s referendum on Scotland’s independence which has now been set for September 2014.
The issue of the sustainability of local bus services was on my agenda, as services were cut back in Lothian and across Scotland leading to calls for strengthened regulation of the industry and the bundling of some routes together to improve the viability of bus services following reductions in Scottish Government support for the Bus Services Operators Grant and Concessionary Bus Scheme funding.
Something which I am very pleased about is the issuing of the first antisocial behaviour notice with regards tackling party flats in Edinburgh. I believe this is a positive starting point in tackling the issue, but am now keen to see effective action on enforcement and planning powers used to the full to tackle this issue which makes people’s lives a misery.
The final two issues I dealt with in my newsletter have been the accepting of my petition for CCTV in the Telfer Subway to tackle antisocial behaviour. I’m still lobbying the council for action to install the CCTV equipment I campaigned for and will keep this going until we get success and a safer subway. Tackling Payday Loans is also a growing problem with companies preying on people hit by the recession and forthcoming welfare changes. I have supported calls for action on what are effectively loan sharks to use advertising to highlight the risks involved with these people and hope to encourage people to use safer methods to address their financial problems such as using credit union to obtain loans with fair interest payment schedules.
If you would like a copy of my annual report please do not hesitate to get in contact.