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Parliament Moved by Emotional Speech on Miscarriage

Mark Griffin MSP has spoken in the Scottish Parliament about the impact of miscarriage on his family.

In a deeply personal and moving address to MSPs, Mr Griffin, who has three children, revealed that his wife, Stephanie, has also suffered four miscarriages.

The remarks were made during an important debate on the new Changing Miscarriage Care campaign, which seeks to break down the stigma regarding miscarriage and pursue practical changes to the provision of miscarriage services in Scotland.

Mr Griffin said:

“My wife and I are blessed with three healthy, happy children, but Stephanie has also suffered 4 miscarriages. Each one was devastating and had a tremendous impact on our lives, from the physical pain Stephanie suffered, to the enduring sense of grief, guilt and loss, anguish, helplessness and trauma.

“Before the first miscarriage, we did not have a proper comprehension of the number of parents impacted by the loss of a pregnancy and how common it sadly is. That is, in part, because of a stigma that continues to envelop the subject and the strange wall of silence that parents are often encouraged to hide behind. There also remains a significant lack of medical understanding about miscarriage and insufficient support services for parents who endure such a tragedy.

“It is important that more is done to break down this stigma, improve the support available for families and build on the existing medical services. I wholeheartedly back this campaign.”

Curriculum Change Next Step in BSL Journey

Five years on from the unanimous passing of Mark Griffin’s British Sign Language (Scotland) Act in the Scottish Parliament, the Central Scotland MSP has been reflecting on the progress made and the next steps that are required to reach BSL equality.

Mr Griffin has stated that further steps should be taken to embed BSL in the modern languages curriculum to support more young people learn the language at school.

Mr Griffin said:

“I am incredibly proud of the BSL Act, which was passed unanimously by MSPs five years ago. We have seen tangible change since the Act came into effect, with the government, government agencies, Health Boards, councils and other public services producing national and local plans, and breaking down the barriers that so many deaf people face on a daily basis.

“Even simple things, like the First Minister’s daily press conferences, include live BSL interpretation, something that probably wouldn’t have happened without the BSL Act.

“An important next step in the road to BSL equality is embedding the language within the curriculum and supporting more children learn BSL. My daughter was born in the days after the passing of the BSL Act. All those who were born when the BSL Act passed started Primary One this year, so what better a way to build on its legacy by supporting that generation of BSL Act children learn BSL at school from now on.

“It is bold steps like this that will support the next generation become much more proficient in BSL and continue to journey we started five years ago.”

Broken Flu Vaccination Process Must Be Fixed Now

Mark Griffin MSP has received concerns from hundreds of Lanarkshire residents about the shambolic rollout of this year’s flu vaccination. He has called for urgent action from NHS Lanarkshire and the Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman, to fix the broken system.

Some of the most vulnerable people across Lanarkshire, including the elderly and those with serious underlying health conditions, have told of significant challenges accessing the vaccination, with many having not yet received any correspondence, being given very little notice, of being forced to travel far distances.

Mr Griffin said:

“There are major issues with the rollout of the flu vaccine and many vulnerable people have yet to receive any communication. I have asked NHS Lanarkshire and the Scottish Government to address these problems as a matter of urgency.

“I have been inundated with calls and emails from people across our towns and villages who are worried about the process. Some of the most vulnerable, including people with serious underlying health conditions, have yet to be contacted; others have been given less than 24 hours’ notice to attend their appointment and many have been forced to travel long distances. People have also been unable to get through to the telephone helpline.

“Frontline NHS staff are doing a great job and working incredibly long hours to issue to the vaccine, but the system that has been imposed is resulting in many of those at the highest risk of getting seriously if they contract the flu virus being missed. It is imperative that the Health Board and the Scottish Government act now to address these growing problems.”

MSPs Should Fight Against Proposed Closure of Bo’ness Road

Mark Griffin MSP has called on all MSPs in Falkirk to fight the proposed closure of Bo’ness Road.

Mr Griffin lodged a parliamentary motion calling on ministers to listen to the views of the community and reject plans from Ineos to close a section of the road permanently. The proposals have been met with widespread opposition from local residents.

Mr Griffin’s motion has been supported by 6 Central Scotland MSPs, cross-party, however failed to get the backing of a single SNP MSP.

Mark said:

“The Scottish Government have a responsibility to stand up for local people and not simply bow to the interests of big business. Plans to close Bo’ness Road will have a detrimental impact on all those who use the road; it will add pressure to the surrounding road network and will increase journey times.

“The decision ultimately lies with Government Ministers. I have asked them to listen to the extensive opposition to the plans, recognise that the plans involve the closure of the main road connecting Bo’ness and Grangemouth and reject the proposal.

“Community activists have fought hard to keep the road open. My recent parliamentary motion opposing the plans received cross-party support, however it is deeply disappointing that it failed to get the backing of any SNP MSPs.

“I will continue to fight these unwanted proposals. SNP MSPs should get off the fence and do the same.”

Mark Praises Work of Victim Support Scotland

Mark Griffin MSP has recognised the important work of Victim Support Scotland in a recent parliamentary motion, which received cross-party support.

Recognising the organisation’s commitment to supporting the victims and witnesses of crime, Mr Griffin commended the charity on its dedication to hate crime training, noting its new training course, and congratulated the organisation on its recent hate crime conference and report. The report, Fostering a Victim-Centred Approach to Hate Crime, seeks to place victims at the heart of any legislative response to hate crime.

Mark said:

"Victim Support Scotland has a strong track record and is continuing to develop strategies to engage and support victims and witnesses of crime across Scotland.

"From its new training course on hate crime to its recent conference and report on putting victims at the heart of future legislative action, VSS provides a vital service throughout our communities."

VSS Parliamentary, Policy and Research Officer, Kevin Kane, commented:

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of VSS and so we are extremely appreciative that Mark Griffin MSP has drawn attention to their fantastic efforts.

“We are encouraged by the enthusiasm shown for our recent efforts on hate crime, including our report, conference, and new training course, and hope as many people as possible contribute to the hate crime consultation by the closing date of 23 November 2017.”

The full motion can be seen here:

“That the Parliament supports the excellent work of volunteers and staff at Victim Support Scotland; acknowledges the organisation’s continued commitment to victims and witnesses of crime; commends the charity on its dedication to hate crime training and notes its new training course on the matter; congratulates the organisation on its recent hate crime conference and report, which seeks to place victims at the heart of any legislative response to hate crime; understands that there is work to be done to increase reporting of hate crime, and encourages Members, stakeholders and interested parties to respond to the consultation on hate crime by the closing date of 23 November 2017.”

The motion was supported by the following MSPs: Richard Lyle, Anas Sarwar, John Mason, Daniel Johnson, Stewart Stevenson, Gail Ross, Johann Lamont, Iain Gray, Lewis Macdonald, Neil Findlay, Colin Smyth, Alex Neil, Jackson Carlaw, Richard Lochhead, and Kezia Dugdale.

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