Rhoda Grant is a Labour MSP for Highlands & Islands, which includes Moray – today she writes exclusively for insideMoray in our monthly series penned by our parliamentary representatives…..
I write this column in the wake of the General Election, which frankly was dreadful for my Party. We must listen to what the electorate are telling us and rebuild – failure to do that will let down the people we seek to represent.
I also want to take the opportunity to congratulate both the SNP and Conservatives on their convincing victories.
Obviously I feel deeply saddened for colleagues who have lost their jobs, like any person who supports their family and loses their job, there will be difficult times ahead as they have to adjust to the new circumstances forced upon them.
We, as a Party, will dust ourselves down, reflect and come back as a stronger. Stronger for the people we strive to serve.
You will be glad to note that this is all I will say on the election result!
RRED (Responsible Retailing of Energy Drinks)
Over the last few months I have been working with my team on many community campaigns. One such campaign is the RRED (Responsible Retailing of Energy Drinks) campaign where I asking business owners across the region to become Responsible Retailers of Energy Drinks (RRED).
By signing up they are saying they would no longer sell Energy Drinks to children.
This is because the publication of a study by an international research team, led by Dr. Fabian Sanchis-Gomar of Madrid, Spain, concluded that energy drinks can be the cause of many sudden cardiac deaths in young, healthy people.
The study highlighted that high caffeine energy drinks can aggravate underlying heart issues.
Because of high levels of caffeine and sugar, dangerous arrhythmias can easily develop in the hearts of young people who drink them.
Labelling of ingredients such as guarana, ginseng, and taurine have which caffeine concentrations that are equal to, or higher than, caffeine found in coffee are often masked in labelling. Consuming high doses of any of these substances can dangerous.
Sales of energy drinks continue to rise year on year and there is a real concern that these drinks are not only damaging to young people’s health but also to their educational achievement and ability to concentrate in school.
The mix of high caffeine and high sugar means that some 500ml cans of energy drinks contain the equivalent of more than 13 teaspoons of sugar and 160mg of caffeine, which is the same as drinking four cans of cola.
I would like to see retailers from across Moray sign up to become RRED members to ensure the health, education and wellbeing of our young people is protected.
The calls to reduce the sale of energy drinks are not only coming from health experts such as Dr Fabian Sanchis-Gomar, but also from those working in education.
Last year the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) with over 3,000 members agreed to support RRED because they are committed to improving wellbeing of all school pupils.
I hope more retailers will feel they are able to commit to become Responsible Retailers of Energy Drinks and I would encourage them to get in touch if they would like to get on board our campaign. I already have support from retailers in the North of Scotland where we have focussed our work to date. However I would be delighted if I could roll out this campaign in Moray next.
What I am looking for from businesses is the placing of advisory notices in shops, place these energy drinks on higher shelves, refusing to sell these drinks to children and working with local schools and local young people to promote healthy lifestyles.
In recent months I have asked all Health Boards for figures showing the number of people who have died while waiting to be discharged from Hospital.
NHS Grampian were slow to respond, but have done so in the last weeks.
I wrote to the health board on the 7th January 2015 requesting that NHS Grampian record and produce figures relating to delayed discharge deaths. This followed a freedom of information request by the Scottish Labour Party which revealed in January that across Scotland more than 400 patients a year died in hospitals whilst on a delayed discharge list. It also revealed that NHS Grampian had failed to produce figures stating that the board did not record them.
According to the official statistics there were 452 deaths in 2012/13 with a further 407 deaths in hospital of patients on delayed discharge lists in 2013/14.
A delayed discharge is identified as a hospital inpatient judged clinically ready to leave hospital, who continues to occupy a bed beyond the ready for discharge date. This figure obviously includes terminally ill people who wish to die at home.
The figures released back in January show that almost every health board in Scotland has had a patient die whilst their discharge was delayed, and people living Moray and the wider NHS Grampian region have a right to know how their health board matches up against others across Scotland.
I am pleased that NHS Grampian are now collecting these figures and reviewing their procedures when death occurs during delayed discharge.
It is extremely important these figures are recorded as we know that remaining in hospital when a patient is ready to leave can be dangerous but can also mean that patients become so disabled that they are unable to live independently again.
It is also wrong that a patient dies in hospital when they would have wished to die at home, or in a homely setting, with their family around them.
Dying in hospital can add to the distress of the patient but also adds to the distress of the family.