There appears to have been some misunderstanding about what happened at the Health & Social Care Partnership (HSCP) meeting last month.
HSCPs are a great idea to integrate health and social care (such as personal and nursing care for the elderly).
It is a joint body between the Health Board and the Council, and West Dunbartonshire was one of the first established in Scotland, and has already
improved services significantly.
However, when these partnerships were set up, the Scottish Government promised to fund them. They have now gone back on that promise, which was the reason
for the motion I proposed at the meeting last month rejecting the proposed cuts and pointing out that the partnership is unsustainable in the long term without
the promised commitment from the Scottish Government. My motion was defeated by four votes to two when the SNP delegate convinced the Health
Board representatives that "cuts are inevitable".
The Labour administration does not accept this and rejects these cuts to vital services. We call on the Scottish Government to live up to its rhetorical
commitment to health and social care. But just last week, the SNP rejected Labour's call to increase tax for those earning over £150,000 to fund vital services.
It seems that the SNP have no real commitment to social justice, favouring the interests of the rich, like our MSP, over the poor and vulnerable.
Councillor John Mooney
West Dunbartonshire Against the Cuts which comprises of the Joint Trades Unions at West Dunbartonshire Council, Clydebank Trades Union Council, and the People's Assembly, have now been joined by West Dunbartonshire Community Party who have offered full support. The group is calling for trade unionists and members of the community to lobby the Council meeting on Wednesday 21st December at Clydebank Town Hall from 4pm onwards. At this meeting "additional savings options" ie cuts, will be considered.
Speakers for the lobby now include Dave Moxham Deputy General Secretary of the Scottish Trade Union Congress, Councillor Jim Bollan of the West Dunbartonshire Community Party, Anni Donaldson from CARA (Caring and Responding to Abuse) and the local trade union branches EIS, UNISON, UNITE,GMB.
The campaign is already having an impact. At the recent Joint Consultative Forum Labour Councillors present said they supported the trades union campaign. And Martin Rooney, Council Leader has written to UNITE and UNISON saying "The Labour Administration will not be supporting any saving proposals that are targeted at terms and conditions in the 2016/17 budget".
We need to keep up the pressure.
The trade union led campaign is calling for, among other demands, parallel budgets which highlights what is required in terms of community need, and that the Council presents such a "needs" budget containing no cuts to services.
The Campaign group is also asking supporters to sign the CARA petition (https://www.change.org/p/west-dunbartonshire-health-and-social-care-partnership-save-the-cara-service-in-west-dunbartonshire) to save this vital free and confidential counselling and support service in West Dunbartonshire for women, children and young people affected by domestic abuse, rape, sexual abuse, child sexual abuse and any other form of abuse.
If you want to get involved in the fight for our services, in the first instance contact the UNISON office, email@example.com or phone 01389 737246. Or alternatively contact one of the groups involved in the campaign.
Clydebank TUC and behalf of
West Dunbartonshire Against the Cuts
Christmas is just around the corner - a time for family and togetherness - but I’d like to ask your readers to think about those for whom Christmas will be no different to any other time of year and a cause of nothing but isolation, stress and worry.
Millions of people in the UK are disabled or care for a disabled loved one. In many cases they are bound together 24/7 through the need to give and receive care and are reliant on the support of others to have even the most basic quality of life.
I work for Revitalise, a wonderful charity that provides much-needed respite holidays for disabled people and carers. But, at this special time of year, we wanted to find out about the reality of life for carers and how the responsibility of care is taking a huge emotional and physical toll.
Shockingly, 4 in 10 carers told us that this Christmas they will be lonely. Worse still, two thirds said they are always tired, feel mentally exhausted and have trouble sleeping. For them, having a relaxing Christmas is simply not an option.
Regular respite is absolutely vital is sustaining a healthy relationship between carers and those they care for, but respite opportunities are all too rare. We found that an astonishing 9 out 10 carers are not able to gain access to proper breaks away from caring. It’s been estimated that unpaid carers save the UK economy around £132 billion each year. Imagine the cost to society if we just stand by and let carers break down under the incessant strain.
Revitalise already enhance the lives of thousands of disabled people and carers each year, but there are countless thousands more in need of support. Would your readers like to help Revitalise support more carers? If so, please help us by donating to our Christmas Fundraising Appeal. We promise that every penny you give will make a difference. To find out how, visit www.revitalise.org.uk/christmas-campaign or call 0303 303 0147.
Colin Brook, Revitalise
May I take this opportunity to wish you and your readers a Merry Christmas and thank all of them who so generously supported Cancer Support Scotland during 2016.
Thanks to them we have been able to help more people than ever before and I would like to appeal to them to continue supporting us throughout next year.
In the last 12 months alone, there has been a 40% rise in the number of people we have been able to assist and we now offer more than 5000 appointments each year for our free complementary therapies.
Demand for our services is rising month by month and for 2017 we aim to exceed half a million pounds in fundraising so we can maintain and increase our services to those who need them.
In response to the continually rising demand, we expanded our services in Glasgow and opened outreach centres in West Lothian and Livingston in partnership with other organisations. A further outreach centre in Edinburgh will open in January.
All our services are provided free and we receive no government or lottery funding so we rely on the generosity of people like your readers.
I would like to encourage them to help us by volunteering or taking part in some of our fund-raising events. For example, they could feel the exhilaration of our zipwire challenge and fly across the River Clyde or get fit by running in events like the women’s 10k in Glasgow, the men’s health 10k, the Edinburgh marathon or take part in less physically demanding projects such as our fun ‘Heal Appeal’.
At this time of year, many companies are also choosing their ‘Charity of the Year’ and I urge them to consider supporting Cancer Support Scotland.
We can help individuals and companies all the way from posters to fundraising packs. Just contact us and we will be delighted to support you. Please call 0141 337 8199 or go online to www.cancersupportscotland.org and turn your good intentions into reality.
Have a great Christmas and a healthy New Year.
Chief Executive – Cancer Support Scotland
I am appalled to learn that the Scottish Parliament intends to spend nearly two million pounds on new light fittings to replace those scarcely twelve years old.
Surely in these days of economic austerity it would be prudent to source more affordable luminaires from the local branch of IKEA? Or does SNP support for other nationalist movements mean that we must eschew durable Swedish design in favour of dearer inferior illumination from Catalonia? I wonder if your readers can shed any light on the matter?
John Eoin Douglas
Spey Terrace, Edinburgh