IN the past few weeks I have been interested to hear of the issue of unregistered defibrillators across Renfrewshire.

A defibrillator is a life-saving machine that gives the heart an electric shock in some cases of cardiac arrest. When someone has a cardiac arrest, every second counts and defibrillation needs to be prompt. Having defibrillators located in our communities, particularly in rural areas, can save lives.

While it is fantastic so many Renfrewshire schools, community groups and shops have defibrillators, particularly those who have fundraised to purchase one, many are not registered with the Scottish Ambulance Service.  

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It is vitally important they are registered so that during a cardiac arrest the emergency services can signpost the 999 caller to the nearest machine. To put it simply – if they don’t know somewhere has a defibrillator, they can’t make use of it.

I am working with the Scottish Ambulance Service and British Heart Foundation to help raise awareness of this across Renfrewshire and I have written to Renfrewshire Council and Renfrewshire Leisure to ask them to ensure any machines located in local schools or publicly-run leisure centres are registered with the emergency services. 

I would encourage any community group who has a defibrillator to also do the same. If you require any information on how to do this, please do not hesitate to get in touch with my office.

In other news, last week the SNP Government announced our Programme of Government for 2018/19, setting out aims for the coming year. With a focus on key issues such as education, health, employment and the economy, the programme is great news for Renfrewshire and continues in our aims to build an inclusive, fair, prosperous and innovative country.

An additional £7billion investment will go into our schools, hospitals, transport, digital connectivity and clean energy by the year 2026. 
Headteachers will be given new powers to become key decision makers in their schools, through additional investment in the attainment fund and plans are also set for a major reform of our mental health services with details of a £250million health investment package, which will see more focus on mental health within our schools.

The Gazette:

Derek MacKay represents Renfrewshire North and West 

In partnership with local government, 750 new, extended or refurbished nurseries will be developed to deliver the Scottish Government’s commitment to double free childcare hours.

The Sure Start Maternity Grant will be replaced with the Best Start Grant and the first payments for these will be made before Christmas. This not only increases the amount given to first time parents but also comes six months earlier than anticipated.

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A new Fair Work plan will see living wage, gender pay transparency and the exclusion of zero hours contracts become conditions for business support.

The programme has received a great reaction so far and I am proud to be a part of this forward-thinking government.