The Hamilton Health and Social Care Forum is inviting people to come along to one of the information sessions that they are providing to find out more about the Forum and how it could benefit you, your family members or your clients.

Everyone cares about health and social care. It impacts upon all of us in one way or several.

The Hamilton Health and Social Care Forum (HHSCF) wants to encourage people to be engaged and involved with decisions while ensuring that they are informed about services and developments - especially those that will affect them and their families either now or in the future.

The areas covered by this local forum include Blantyre, Bothwell, Uddingston, Hamilton, Stonehouse, Larkhall and surrounding areas.

Find out more about the forum and what it offers by ging to one of these friendly sessions:

Monday 21 January at Stonehouse Lifestyle Centre, 2 Udston Mill Road, 7.30pm

Thursday 7 February at Hillhouse and Earnock Community Centre, 121 Hillhouse Road, 11am

Monday 18 February at Hamilton Academicals Executive Suite, Cadzow Avenue, 2.30

Wednesday 20 February at Larkhall and Districk Volunteer Group, 55 Victoria Street, 2.30

Or phone 01698 827583 to discuss or arrange a one to one meeting.




Christina McKelvie, SNP MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse has welcomed the prospect of increased funding for higher education.

The proposal, set out in the Scottish Government’s draft budget plans for 2019/20, will maintain investment in Scotland’s universities at over £1 billion.

The MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, has called on her parliamentary colleagues across South Lanarkshire to back the Finance Secretary’s plans to secure “substantial” funding for the area.

MSPs will vote on the plans next month.

Commenting, Christina McKelvie said:

“With spending on Scotland’s colleges set to rise by over £600 million, the Finance Secretary’s budget proposals for the year will come as great news for UWS and other institutions across the country.

“I am calling on local politicians from across the chamber to get behind the plans to secure substantial funding for colleges and universities throughout South Lanarkshire.

Chief Executive of Colleges Scotland, Shona Struthers, said:

  “There are elements of the Scottish Government’s Draft Budget that the college sector can welcome given that the revenue resource budget for colleges has increased by £18.3 million to £606.5 million – a real terms increase of 1.3%. It is good news, for example, that the financing of National Bargaining is continuing as this significant investment in lecturing and support staff is essential for colleges and there is also the continuation of the £10 million investment for the Flexible Workforce Development Fund.”

Rudd gives green light for managed migration to flawed system for thousands

SNP MP Neil Gray has slammed Amber Rudd as she confirmed 10,000 people would go through a managed migration pilot with no assurances from the Secretary of State that any changes would be made to the deeply flawed system.

When questioned by the SNP MP in the House of Commons today, the Secretary of State was unable to commit to making any changes before the summer but confirmed the managed migration pilot would go ahead for thousands of people, adding to the million and a half already forced onto Universal Credit.

Serious concerns have been raised over the Tory government’s flagship welfare policy, with the SNP leading calls for the roll-out of the system to be urgently halted and fixed so that it provides real value and support for those claiming social security.  

Commenting, SNP spokesperson on Social Justice Neil Gray MP said:

“The UK government have confirmed that the rollout of Universal Credit managed migration to 10,000 people could happen without any changes to the deeply-flawed system that operates at present. Contrary to the rhetoric trailed in the media at the weekend, Amber Rudd has rolled back on any concrete plans to make Universal Credit work.

“It is a disgrace that the Secretary of State is happy to use people as guinea pigs by continuing with managed migration to this flawed welfare system, which has already forced many thousands of households and children into poverty. Despite happily going along with the media circus on Sunday, it’s business as usual for the Tories and the Secretary of State is doing nothing more than kicking the can down the road.

“Whilst Universal Credit still carries the punitive benefit freeze, two child cap and rape clause as well as the brutal sanctions regime born from ideologically-driven Tory austerity, the policy is doomed to fail our constituents. It contains a host of built-in cuts and structural deficiencies that must be changed for the system to have any chance of truly supporting people. 

“The Secretary of State must wake up to the calls of charities, experts, community groups, devolved governments and the UN - it’s time to fix Universal Credit once and for all.”



Keeping up with you

Hello and welcome to all of you in Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse.

Thank you for taking a moment to look at this email. I want to keep everyone in touch with what’s going on in the constituency and what it might mean for you.

My door is open to anyone who seeks advice and support, so you can  phone or email me at any time.

You also have the option of visiting  constituency surgeries on Mondays. You don't need to make an appointment.

If you haven’t yet subscribed to receive your personalised copy of this newsletter, which we are sending out every two weeks, then please do  sign up here.

Back to School, back to costs!

Pupils from across all of South Lanarkshire have been helped out with the price of school uniforms. COSLA confirmed that all 32 local authorities have implemented an increase for school clothing grant. 

The £100 minimum grant to all eligible families was put in place for the start of the academic year, relieving the financial pressure for South Lanarkshire families and pupils as they return to school. 

This announcement from the Scottish Government will provide real, tangible help to families feeling the strain. 

We all know the stress and pressure that the return to school can bring, with clothes, shoes, bags and all the accessories. 

In South Lanarkshire, we have already made great strides in providing pupils with school clothing through the Back to School Bank. 

It's great to see our Scottish Government taking an action that provides real help.

Motor Neurone Disease 

Some of you already know that I take a close interest in living with Motor Neurone Disease (MND), as my own father did for many years before he died.

In June, just before we went off for the summer holidays, we marked MND Awareness Week. 

The Scottish Government has invested £2.5 million annually in the Specialist Nursing and Care Fund since 2015, more than doubling the number of MND specialist nurses across Scotland.

The new Health and Social Care Standards, introduced in April, seek to provide better personal outcomes for everyone and to ensure that the basic human rights we are all entitled to are upheld.

Everyone is entitled to care that meets their needs and upholds their rights.

The Euan MacDonald Centre, at Edinburgh University, was started up with funds from Euan - just 29 when he was diagnosed - and his father, Donald. It's a fantastic resource, and I was directly involved with Euan on the building of a voicebank for patients to access, allowing them to pick out a voice sound that is closest to their own natural voice.

The Scottish Government recognise that research is essential for the development of new and effective approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of Motor Neurone Disease – investing in both research capacity and in bringing MND studies to Scotland.
Are you being scammed?

Watch out! What do you know about skimming or fake ATMs? The cleverer technology gets, the cleverer online scammers get to keep up. Phishing, harvesting, identity theft, hacked information such as BA's embarrassment last week. British Airways is facing a possible fine of around £500 million over a data breach that compromised 380,000 card payments after regulators said they were "making inquiries" into the incident.


So I took up the cause at Larkhall Trinity Church last week and invited in experts to explain more.

The ‘Scam Awareness Surgery’ was designed to make sure the citizens of Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse are made more aware of the latest scams and frauds. 

Research from Citizens Advice Scotland had shown that over 61% of over 65s have been approached by a scammer. Other schemes include computer repair/ phishing scams and home and identity fraud

Scammers can target anyone, but especially older people and anyone who has a vulnerability that makes them an easier target.

I thought it was important to give you the opportunity to ask questions and find out how best to protect yourselves against this ever more sophisticated form of theft.

Thanks especially to Hamilton Citizens Advice Bureau, Trading Standards and Police Scotland for coming along to give east to understand help and guidance that will make sure people here are more protected and secure whether that's at an ATM or purchasing something online.

I'll be back in a couple of weeks with more news.