HAND WASHING STILL IMPORTANT IN FIGHT AGAINST SUPERBUGS, SAYS LOCAL MSP

Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick has emphasised the importance of continued regular handwashing in maintaining continued resistance to spread of viral and bacterial infections.

Speaking in a Scottish Parliament debate on antimicrobial resistance, the SNP MSP pointed out that handwashing carries far less risk of encouraging bacteria to develop a resistance than constant use of hand sanitiser, which many have taken to using daily since the COVID-19 outbreak, does.

Commenting, Roddick said:

“It might seem like a little thing but continuing to regularly wash your hands is something that all of us should try to maintain as we progress in our recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“Handwashing is invaluable in maintaining antimicrobial resistance. It is an essential part of how we avoid the pandemics of the future – just washing your hands for forty seconds will prevent bacteria from developing resistance to antimicrobials, becoming what is typically known as a ‘superbug’.

“You should also avoid overuse of alternatives to handwashing, such as hand sanitiser. Anti-infectives absolutely have their place in hygiene but if they are used too widely, this may result in them becoming less effective over time as bacteria adapt. We all have a responsibility to ensure this does not happen.”

SNP MSP SPEAKS UP ABOUT WOMEN’S HEALTH IN THURSO

Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick took to the stage at Thurso’s We WANT Festival to share her own experience and reflections on women’s health.

Speaking at the event, she said:

“I think even a few years ago, a politician talking about their periods would have been quite a strange thing.  I’m really glad that it’s not anymore.  I’m on the Women’s Health CPG in the Scottish Parliament, and I get to chat with amazing women about menstruation, menopause, men, and so much more.  It makes a huge difference when you’re able to be open about these things.

“Far too often, young women and girls, and others experiencing abnormal pain and bleeding for the very first time, are subject to the same old story – they tell their parent or carer something’s wrong, and are taken to the doctor, who tells them it’s a normal part of growing up, and they are sent away with a cheeky eyeroll and a knowing smile, told to use a hot water bottle and paracetamol, or maybe some mefenamic acid if they’re lucky.

“A lot of us believed them when they told us this pain, which made us vomit and curl up on the cold bathroom floor covered in sweat, is just something that happens. Which makes sense – it is a conclusion perfectly consistent with everything else we were taught up to that point.  Women have to grow up with misogyny, with being talked over constantly and laughed at for trying to take control over our own bodies. We’re even told things like “don’t be upset, that boy is only punching you in the face because he likes you”.  No wonder we accept so easily that it’s normal to be in agony, too!”

Following her visit, Emma added:

“Going through tough medical ordeals can be really isolating, so it was such a special experience to attend the We WANT Festival and share bad experiences with other women from across the country who really get it.  Huge congratulations and thanks have to go to Kirsteen Campbell for all her work in organising this event and supporting women across the North Highlands and beyond.”

SNP MSP BRINGS SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT TO SHETLAND

Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick has brought the Scottish Parliament’s Social Justice and Social Security Committee virtually to Shetland, to share Anchor’s work in the isles.

Visiting the organisation last year, the SNP MSP said that organisations across Scotland could “learn a lot” from their approach.  Following this, she recommended the group to the committee as witnesses for an inquiry into debt and low income.

She said:

“I am so glad that my fellow committee members got the chance to hear directly from Anchor about the work they are doing around early intervention.  It is vital that best practice can be shared so that we truly get things right for every child.

“I was delighted that the organisation could speak with us and give evidence on a wide range of issues, contributing to our inquiry into low income and debt.  Not only is this important in terms of hearing what’s already being done, but it is also valuable for my colleagues on the mainland to get to hear about the specific considerations needed to best serve rural and island communities.”

SNP MSP VISITS “REVOLUTIONARY” SOCIAL SECURITY SCOTLAND TEAM

Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick has visited the new Social Security Scotland headquarters in Dundee in her capacity as a member of the Social Security Committee in the Scottish Parliament.

The SNP representative described the work the team there is doing in redesigning adult disability benefits in Scotland as  “revolutionary”.

She said:

“I’m on PIP, and I’ve been through their face-to-face assessments with Atos.  I know just how traumatising many find the PIP system.  So, it was a really emotional experience for me to hear from the Social Security Scotland team just how differently Adult Disability Payment claimants in Scotland will be treated going forward now that the Scottish Government has taken over administering the benefit.

“The commitment not to contract out assessments to private companies and the fact that face-to-face assessments will only be carried out if necessary make a massive change on their own, but there’s so much more to the new approach.

“Anyone who has ever done work supporting people to apply for PIP knows that you basically need guidance sheets the size of the form itself to make sure people are putting in all the information they need.  With Adult Disability Payment, the prompts are all there, bult-in to the application, making it all-round a far more accessible process that is designed to actively help disabled people rather than judge us.

“I am so proud that Scotland is taking this revolutionary approach to disability benefits and I cannot wait for the case transfer to be complete.  This new Scottish approach starts from a position of trust rather than suspicion, and provides real support throughout instead of gatekeeping.  I don’t think it is an exaggeration to describe it as life-changing, especially for those with mental health issues or chronic health conditions, and I look forward to scrutinising the process further once it rolls out across the country.”

HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS MSP CALLS FOR ACTION ON ENERGY GRID CHARGE INEQUALITY

“I don’t hold out much hope of real positive actions by this UK Government.  If their refusal to care about the north continues, then it makes it ever clearer that independence for Scotland is necessary to tackle energy inequality.”

SNP MSP Emma Roddick today questioned the Scottish Government on energy grid charges, which she says are unfair to Scotland and her region of the Highlands and Islands.

The line of questioning by the Highlands and Islands MSP was prompted by Scottish Renewables’ assessment that Transmission Network Use of System charges make projects in Scotland 20% more expensive than the same project would cost in the south of England.

She said:

“It is no secret that UK energy policy is unfair on Scotland, unfair on the Highlands and Islands, and penalises those who are trying to provide green energy projects. 

“Scotland is a net exporter of energy, exporting eighteen times the energy to England than we receive back.  Yet, developers and individuals are paying through the nose for the privilege of supplying the UK with green energy.  That is unequivocally wrong.

“The UK Government has to act – it is that simple.  If they will not give Scotland the powers we need to make decisions over energy policy ourselves, then the Tories in Westminster owe it to us, and to the Highlands and Islands in particular, to take action to address extreme fuel poverty and barriers to development.

“I don’t hold out much hope of real positive actions by this UK Government.  If their refusal to care about the north continues, then it makes it ever clearer that independence for Scotland is necessary to tackle energy inequality.”

SNP REPRESENTATIVES BACK CALLS FOR NAIRN LIBRARY TO STAY IN TOWN CENTRE 

Local MSP Emma Roddick and the SNP candidate for Nairn and Cawdor in the upcoming elections, Paul Oldham, have written a joint letter to the Highland Council outlining the importance of Nairn Library remaining “accessible”, pressing for the authority to look into options to keep it in the town centre.

Emma Roddick recently met with Pam Bochel, who began a petition calling for the library to stay in the town in response to news that it may form part of the new Nairn Academy instead.

Emma said:

“It’s clear to me that there is a lot of concern within the Nairnshire community about the library being too out of the way for folk to keep visiting.

“I understand the thinking behind the proposal to move the library into the new school, however, the location is simply not accessible for so many of those who might want to use it. 

“Right now, local businesses and the library share a mutual benefit being close to each other.  I hope the Highland Council will listen to the local community on this.”

Paul Oldham added:

“I’m at a loss to understand why making people walk a mile and a half round trip from town to the library can be seen as a step forward given that many of our library users don’t drive and there is no public transport to the school site.

“I’m also concerned about the loss of footfall in the town centre and the effect this will have on local businesses. Library users will no longer be able to do things like combine a trip to the library with a tea and cake in a town café.”

The letter was sent to Donna Manson, Chief Executive, and also covers the work of local organisations such as Gaelic groups and Bookbugs who currently make use of the space in the town centre.  

WORK OF HIGHLAND CLUB IN SUPPORTING WOMEN’S FOOTBALL RAISED IN THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT

SNP MSP for the Highlands and Islands, Emma Roddick, has highlighted the work of Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC in supporting the women’s game during a debate in the Scottish Parliament.

The debate, which highlighted a recent investigation which reported sexism as the most common form of abuse that female players receive, with 60% of female respondents reporting that they had experienced it, took place on Wednesday evening.

During the debate, the MSP, a Caley Thistle season ticket holder, said:

“I was heartened earlier this year by the comments made by ICTFC when they stepped in to save Thistle Girls FC, a local team who, without that fast, positive action, would have become dormant. The club stated their commitment to promoting and growing football for women and girls in the Highlands.

“It was a very proud moment for the club, and it is hard to overstate the importance of statements like this in solidifying the place of women in the game in the Highlands.”

She also explained her own experience of sexism in football, saying:

“At lunchtime kick-abouts in school, I was chased away by the boys who felt that the only way a girl should be involved in football is when they decided it was an effective weapon for the back of my head.  That attitude carries on to adulthood.

“It is very, very clear to me that there are a lot of men, out there who use football as an excuse for unacceptable behaviour.  They use a big game as an excuse to drink too much, cause a disturbance, and sometimes harm each other and their friends and family, because that’s ‘just what you do’. It’s not just what you do.  And it is a problem.

“The attitude some take towards football in Scotland ruins it for other people, and it puts folk, often women and girls, off taking an interest and becoming footballers themselves. It’s our game, too, and, right now, we need support.”

SNP MSP: HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS NEED MORE GUIDANCE ON AIDING UKRAINIAN REFUGEES

Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick questioned the Scottish Government in chamber on how it will ensure Ukrainian refugees moving into areas with little or no existing refugee communities will be supported.

She acknowledged the efforts of many constituents who have already opened their homes, meaning some individuals and families have already moved into the region.

She said:

“I’ve been beyond delighted to see people from across the Highlands and Islands open their homes to Ukrainian refugees, in a wonderful display of the Highland hospitality we pride ourselves on.

“This has, however, resulted in a number of particular challenges to these displaced Ukrainians in the Highlands and Islands. We have many areas that have not got an existing refugee community and, therefore, lack the associated community support networks. In these circumstances, local public services and volunteer groups need substantial information and assistance from central government.

“I was delighted to hear from the Minister with responsibility for Ukrainian Refugees, Neil Gray, that the Scottish Government is aware of the importance of this issue and that our resettlement teams across all 32 local authorities of Scotland continue to work to aid the relocation of displaced Ukrainians.”

HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS MSP: EMPLOYMENT LAW CANNOT REMAIN IN WESTMINSTER HANDS

Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick has voiced her concern that, despite the Scottish Government’s recent efforts to explore its ability to improve the experience of workers, the true potential of employment law reform is limited by powers being reserved to Westminster.

Highlighting the efforts to support businesses in Scotland to implement a four-day working week, the SNP MSP pressed the Minister for Fair Work on whether things could be done better with further devolution, or independence.

Commenting, Roddick said:

“As a disabled woman and ex-gig economy worker, I know that the UK’s third-rate employment legislation base allows the mass exploitation of millions, especially part-time workers. You don’t have to look far for evidence of this – one particularly disturbing example being the recent scandal of poor working conditions and pay suffered by Ukrainian seasonal workers on UK farms.

“Of course, with employment law still being reserved to Westminster, there is far too little the Scottish Parliament can do to improve matters. Disappointingly, no major unionist party supports devolving these powers.

“It is upsetting that Labour and the Tories remain united in the belief that the laws that regulate our working life should remain in the hands of a pro-deregulation, anti-worker Tory government in Whitehall that people in Scotland did not vote for.

“It is clearer than ever that only independence for Scotland can deliver a fair deal for workers.”

HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS MSP: IF JOHNSON AND SUNAK VALUE THEIR DIGNITY THEY WILL RESIGN

SNP MSP Emma Roddick has called on Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak to resign after being found to have broken Covid laws.

Commenting, Roddick said:

“While people across the Highlands and Islands were in lockdown at home, keeping their friends, families, and neighbours safe through pain, loneliness and loss, the Tories – who told us we had to do so to save lives and protect our NHS – partied at Number 10. This much is now clear and supported by the conclusions of the police.

“Johnson and Sunak must now resign, no ifs, no buts. They owe it to the people they endangered and insulted – the people of Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland, who deserve public representatives whose primary concern is to keep them safe.

“I’ve been disgusted to see Douglas Ross and others in the Tory party try and insist that this isn’t the right time for Boris Johnson to resign because there is a war in Ukraine. These are people willing to take advantage of the horrors of the Russian invasion just to save their own political skin. There are no words to describe how reprehensible I find this.

“It’s hard to expect from the Tories, but if Johnson and Sunak have any shame or value their own dignity at all, they will take responsibility for the damage they have caused and resign now.”