The SNP MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, Christina McKelvie MSP, is urging anybody in her constituency that works in care, or has experience of working in the care sector, to engage with a series of co-design events over the summer.

The Scottish Government have been developing a National Care Service in order to improve social care. From the beginning, the Scottish Government has been committed to listening to the voices of experts. According to the Scottish Government, these are “people with experience of social care services, including:

  • People who access social care support
  • Their family and support network
  • Unpaid carers
  • The workforce
  • Organisations and people who deliver social care support
  • Third sector organisations

There will be nine in-person forums across Scotland and five online forums. The in-person forums will take place as follows:

  • Forth Valley - Tuesday 20 June - Albert Halls, Stirling
  • Glasgow - Wednesday 28 June - William Quarriers Conference Centre, Govan
  • Tayside – Friday 14 July - Hilltown Community Centre, Dundee
  • Dumfries and Galloway - Tuesday 18 July - Millennium Centre, Stranraer
  • Argyll and Bute - Wednesday 26 July - The Corran Hall, Oban
  • Skye - Tuesday 1 August - The Hub - An Crùbh Community Centre
  • Highlands - Tuesday, 8 August - Strathpeffer Community Centre
  • Shetland - Thursday 17 August - Islesburgh Community Centre, Lerwick
  • Moray - Tuesday 22 August - The Inkwell Centre, Elgin

In addition, online events, to support the broadest attendance and accessibility, will take place on 24 and 29 August.

More information, including how to sign up, can be found at

Commenting on these events as the constituency MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, Christina said:

“It is brilliant that the Scottish Government is holding these in-person consultation events. I have no doubt that shaping the National Care Service in tune with the lived experiences of a wide range of stakeholders is integral to creating a first-in-class National Care Service.

“I want to encourage anybody in my constituency, indeed, anybody in South Lanarkshire, to attend one of these co-design events if you have any experience of social care, or if you have been part of a support network for somebody that has.

“You have an opportunity to help design a National Care Service that works in every aspect, which will be a much harder undertaking for the Scottish Government without your expert voice in the room or on the online meeting.

“This isn’t necessarily a unique opportunity, but it is certainly an important one. So, get along or attend online, and have your voice shape a National Service which will vitally support the lives of so many people.”

The SNP MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, Christina McKelvie MSP, visited Localeyes Optometrists on Monday 22nd May.

Situated on King Street in Stonehouse, Localeyes is at the heart of the community, and Christina McKelvie MSP has hailed them for their trailblazing qualifications which means they can provide optometry services that most can’t.

Localeyes operates a game-changing Optimal Coherence Tomography (OCT) machine which provides advanced images of the eye. This machine can be used to diagnose serious eye conditions, but also to identify other health irregularities which may become more serious medical conditions, such as cancer. The OCT machine can be used to identify tremendously small irregularities which could be indicative of such a condition, meaning that patients are afforded the opportunity to receive treatments from other medical professionals before their condition becomes serious.

The Optometrist at Localeyes, Colette, also has the Scottish Government funded NESGAT qualification, which allows prescribing optometrists to provide care to discharged glaucoma patients in the community. This reduces the burden on other NHS primary care staff, such as local GPs.

Commenting on the visit, Christina said:

“It was great to visit such a friendly, warm and welcoming organisation in Stonehouse. Localeyes is doing incredibly important work, and some of their successful stories relating to their use of their OCT machine reinforces a key message that I want to impress upon constituents: always attend your regular eye appointment!

“Localeyes is very much part of the community in Stonehouse. Their regular engagement with the community and Stonehouse Business Association are two examples of this. Everybody in Stonehouse knows them, and this works vice versa, too. Colette and her team are vital to communities like Stonehouse, and it is such an honour to have them in the constituency.

“I was also pleased to hear about the impact that the Scottish Government NESGAT qualifications are having on primary care. It is another example of sensible, controlled funding from the Scottish Government which is having the intended impact. It makes sense that Optometrists should be able to qualify to provide care to discharged glaucoma patients, and I welcome the Scottish Government’s part in making this happen.”

Colette, the Optometrist at Localeyes, added:

“It’s fantastic to receive funding and support from the SNP government to allow us to offer beneficial enhanced services to the community.

“It is always a pleasure to meet Christina who is so supportive of everything we do.”

The MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, Christina McKelvie MSP, is calling on her constituents to check in with one another during this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, whilst urging them to make this a regular habit.

Mental Health Awareness Week is an annual opportunity to learn and understand more about mental health and the various guises that mental health can exist in. This year, the focus is on anxiety. New research published by the Mental Health Foundation has estimated that over 1 million people in Scotland are living with anxiety.

Further, their research suggests that over a two-week period in March 2023, nearly three-quarters of the UK’s population (73%) had felt anxious at least sometimes, with one in five people anxious most or all of the time.

Christina McKelvie MSP is urging constituents to find somebody they trust to talk to about anxiety, be it to discuss anxious feelings they feel themselves, or to simply learn more about what it is like to suffer from it.

Commenting, Christina said:

“Everybody, at some point in their life, will feel anxious. Right now, I suspect a lot of young people across my constituency are feeling anxious about their exams, and I know from my engagement with constituents that the cost-of-living crisis is creating a whole host of anxieties with people worried about energy prices, and now we are seeing an increase in people anxious about the cost of food, which has steeply risen post-Brexit.

“This year, I am glad that Mental Health Awareness Week is focussing on anxiety. I believe that choosing this area of focus is in tune with how the country is broadly feeling.

“It is a good opportunity to speak to a neighbour, friend, colleague or loved one, just to check in with how they are doing, and to offload some of the anxieties that people are feeling themselves.

“Unfortunately, anxiety can be a more severe mental health issue. Whilst it is normal for everyone to feel anxious at times, it can equally exist as a debilitating, miserable condition which has a severe impact on people’s daily life.

“That is why I want to stress to my constituents that whilst Mental Health Awareness Week is a great reminder to check in with people in your life, both about how they are feeling and to talk about how you have been feeling, that this really needs to be a usual, frequent activity.

“Research conducted the mental health charity Mind has shown that openness can reduce the stigma associated with mental health, leading to greater opportunities to support somebody that is suffering and, in turn, reduce the number of people that suffer in silence. Help is out there, whether that be community based or professionally provided. We need to collectively work to break stigma so as to ensure that people are guided to the correct place for support. And the necessary support is out there.

“For example, there is a new Child and Adolescents Mental Health Service (CAMHS) site at Udston Hospital here in our constituency. It is a new facility which has been designed with a focus on the needs of service users, meaning that the state-of-the-art facility will be able to deliver the first-in-class care and service that my constituents deserve.

“So, please talk to each other, and never forget that there is support and help out there. You can always make an appointment with your GP, too, if you’re not sure where to turn. And my team and I are always on hand to provide direction when required.”