SNOW – keep safe driving this winter

Highlands & Islands (including Moray) MSP and road safety campaigner, David Stewart, re-launched his social media campaign in relation to driving this winter called SNOW.

S – Scrape ice and snow from all vehicle windows before driving off
N- Never drink and drive or take drugs and drive
O- Obey all road signs and road traffic laws and regulations
W- When in doubt about driving – Don’t

David Stewart speaking today said:
“My message is simple really.
“At this time of year, only drive if you have to, always make sure you clear snow and ice from your vehicle windows. You can be given a fixed penalty if you don’t, or even charged with careless driving. Never even consider driving if you have taken drink or drugs, obey road signs and traffic laws and if you are at all unsure about driving, don’t.”
“All I am trying to do is put a simple ‘mnemonic’ out there for people to remember or relate to.
“I thought that a four letter seasonal word related to this time of year would jog the memory of drivers, hence SNOW.

MSP: NHS should be banned from buying fax machines

NHS boards in Scotland should be banned from buying fax machines and a date should be made for them to be phased out entirely, says a Highlands and Islands MSP.
David Stewart, Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, previously asked health boards in Scotland how many had fax machines and was shocked to discover that more than 1,200 were still in use across the country.
The Department of Health in England has now banned the buying of machines and said their use should be phased out by 2020.
This followed a Royal College of Surgeons investigation which found nearly 9,000 fax machines were in use across NHS England.
Mr Stewart has now lodged a Parliamentary Question asking the Scottish Government if it will follow suit.
“The NHS is way behind other organisations and private companies which scrapped fax machines more than a decade ago,” explained Mr Stewart.
“It’s about time our health authorities were in step with technological advances and used secure emails instead.
“There is an argument that some fax machines should be kept in case of IT system failures, for contingencies, and that seems sensible but I cannot believe that such a large number are needed from day to day.
“The Scottish Government should be on top of this and invest in more modern communication systems. In the end it must save money and time.”
Under Freedom of Information, Mr Stewart asked NHS boards:
1) How many working fax machines each had in a) 2018 (b) 2017 and (c) 2016
2) What were the reasons for using fax machines instead of new, digitised technology?

He discovered NHS Grampian had 400 machines and that “communicating prescription requirements with the Pharmacy Department” was their main use. NHS Highland confirmed fax machines were still used but it did not know exact numbers, although added they were in the process of being phased out.

NHS Shetland had 15 fax machines and stated: “Fax is retained as a backup communication method and is only used by prior arrangement where the recipient is expecting the fax”.
While NHS Orkney had 28 to “maintain essential communications”. “Many of our locations have poor bandwidth links which are frequently unavailable and can take several days to repair,” it said.

NHS Western Isles had 18 and told the MSP: “Fax machines retained by depts/practices due to concerns over comms outages /old ways of working /supplier requirements. We are not replacing any fax machines and are actively discouraging any use.”

Health and Sport Committee: 13th November 2018

Health and Sport Committee
Scottish Parliament
13 November 2018

Video 1: David’s series of questions as the Committee takes evidence on the Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill.

Video 2: Further questions raised by David on organ donation.

David nominates John Macleod for the new £50 note

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and Parliamentary Diabetes Champion, David Stewart, is to nominate forgotten Scottish hero as the scientist who should feature on the new Bank of England £50 note after The Bank of England announced that the new £50 note will feature a prominent British scientist, with the public being asked for nominations.

In addition to the Queen, the note will include the portrait of an eminent late scientist from fields such as biology, astronomy and medical research.

David said ” I would like to nominate the late scientist John Macleod, an Aberdonian, who shared the 1923 Nobel Prize with Frederick Banting, a young Canadian physician, for their discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto in 1921–1922

“On 8 November 1920, John, the educated Professor of Physiology at the University of Toronto, met for the first time a young Canadian physician, Frederick Banting. Banting hoped Macleod would help him try out a research idea aimed at isolating the internal secretion of the pancreas. Macleod agreed to take Banting into his department and together they worked on a research plan along with their Assistants. On 3 May 1922, John Macleod read a paper to the American Association of Physicians, co-authored by Banting and called ‘The Effect Produced on Diabetes by Extracts of Pancreas’. The audience, which included America’s leading diabetologists, gave him a standing ovation for the work they had done in isolating the pancreatic hormone that controlled metabolism, which they named ‘insulin’.

“In October 1923 it was announced in Stockholm that Frederick Banting and John Macleod would share the 1923 Nobel Prize for their discovery.

David continued “As some will be aware Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use sugar (glucose) from carbohydrates in the food that you eat for energy or to store glucose for future use. The cells in your body need sugar for energy.

“Before the discovery of insulin in 1922, diabetes was often a fatal disease.

“Alarmingly one in 20 people in Scotland have diabetes which is now effectively treated by Insulin.

David concluded “As Parliamentary Diabetes Champion this is an issue close to my heart and I think the late John MacLeod, a forgotten medical hero is the perfect nominee to appear on the front of the new £50