21 Sep 2010

Paisley Daily Express - 21 September 2010

Johnstone Band

Congratulations to the Johnstone Band which won the Land o'Burns Brass Band competition held recently in Troon. The Johnstone Band was up against top class bands from across the UK and for the band to score higher than these bands is a superb achievement for a 1st section band. The band can trace its roots back to the Johnstone Silver Band in 1834 and it's an important part of Johnstone's history and culture. I wish the Band every success for the future and I hope it goes on to further success.

Parking progress at the RAH

The announcement last week that the Health Board had released further parking places for staff at the RAH is good news for staff and local residents. The new parking regime had created chaos in local streets as staff were forced out of the Hospital car park. For many staff this is not just inconvenient, it also raises worries about personal safety and security as staff have to walk at night from the Hospital to where they park. For local residents the chaos has caused problems accessing their homes and there are also safety concerns caused by poor visibility lines on narrow streets. It has been frustrating trying to get the Health Board to move. And Renfrewshire Council failed to realise that it has a responsibility to local residents whose lives are being disrupted. Frankly I doubt if we would have seen any movement from the Health Board had it not been for the coverage in the Paisley Daily Express. This added weight to the representations made by those of us who have been campaigning for common sense to prevail. I visited local streets last Monday after the changes had been made and in some parts there clearly had been an improvement. There are still bottlenecks however and the Health Board and the Council need to sort these out. I will continue to work with local councillors Eddie Devine and Terry Kelly who have been a real help to Wendy Alexander and myself. Thanks also to the local residents who organised to make a very well put case.

Vitamin D

The Health Service has issued a new leaflet to GP's and Health Professionals which aims to increase awareness about recommended vitamin D levels. Vitamin D maintains healthy bones and young children have a high risk of deficiencies. The leaflet suggests that people in at risk groups may have a vitamin D deficiency. Included in this group are pregnant and breastfeeding women, children under 5, those aged 65 or over, people who are not exposed to much sunlight (e.g. those who are housebound), and people who have darker skin. Those at risk will be advised to increase their Vitamin D intake by including more oily fish, eggs and meat and by taking a supplement. In Scotland as we know, winter sun is not strong enough to provide the minimum vitamin D needed for health, especially for those with darker skin. Worryingly we are seeing an increase in reported cases of rickets in Scotland. Many older people will be familiar with rickets which we thought was consigned to the past. This and other conditions are easily prevented by improving diet and taking a supplement if you are at risk. If you or anyone in your family is in an at risk group, you should seek medical advice.

St. Benedict' Buses

The decision to axe school buses for nearly 1,000 pupils across Renfrewshire is a disgrace. Parents are angry and worried that their children are having to walk up to 3 miles to and from school on wet and cold days. The campaign to overturn this cruel and heartless decision will continue. In the meantime parents from St. Benedict's have banded together to hire a bus to take their children to school. Unfortunately not every parent van afford the £10 per week per pupil. Nevertheless it is a welcome boost for those parents able to make the sacrifice. But it's a disgrace that SNP and Liberal Democrat councillors think it's right to cut money from school buses just to hand it to top directors in a pay boost over and above their annual pay rise. And the Paisley Daily Express reported the disgraceful situation where some of these hypocritical SNP and Liberal Democrat councillors claim car expense for travelling less distance than they are telling children to walk. Have they no shame?