Fixed links and World Radio Day - eNews 13th February 2022

The ‘Tunnel Vision’ online event Alistair Carmichael and I held last Saturday demonstrated the level of interest in the conversation on fixed links from people across Shetland. We heard about the practicalities and costs of tunnelling, as well as the experience in Faroe. The contributions from young people were thoughtful and well received. They, after all, will be the ones most affected by any decisions taken now on future transport links so we should be focusing on future-proofing travel to ensure it is fit for the next 40 or 50 years. Some people believe that too much time has already been spent talking about tunnels, and not enough action or progress has been made. The feasibility and business case has to be made for tunnels, but we need ferries to run a reliable service in the meantime and some have to be replaced. The event is still available to watch online here.

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Fixed links, under-22s travel and World Cancer Day - eNews 6th February 2022

What a week! Yesterday we had a fantastic event opening a conversation on fixed links in Shetland. It was disappointing that we couldn’t hold this event in person due to Covid-19, but nonetheless there was a great deal of interest, excellent questions and comments on what the future of island communities could look like. I would like to thank the speakers for their informative presentations, all the contributors and attendees, with a special shout-out to the young contributors from the isles’ schools.  They are the people who will be impacted the most on any inter-island travel decisions. The event will be available to watch online again soon. You can email me with any further questions or comments or indeed to raise any matter you think I may be able to assist you with via:

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 01595 690 044

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Distance Aware scheme, HIAL and fixed links

The First Minister’s Covid statement on Tuesday saw some restrictions lifted and people who have been able to work from home will be able to make a phased return to their workplace. It’s encouraging but the virus is still around and appears prevalent in schools. I wrote more about this in my Shetland Times column for this week, which you can read here.

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Cancer Prevention Week, Good Food Nation, fixed links - eNews 23rd January 2022

This week I returned to Holyrood to take part in proceedings in person. The building was very quiet as Omicron rules remain in place.

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2022 off to a flying start - eNews 16th January 2022

I hope you all managed to grab some kind of break and rest over the festive period. Omicron saw to it that many Christmas Days and New Year’s celebrations were further curtailed or disrupted. This wave has not had as big an impact as it could have had. That is all down to the actions of all of us to listen to advice, limiting social interactions and getting a booster vaccine.

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Omicron, new hospital and thank you - eNews 19th December 2021

The First Minister’s message this week, given the rapidly increasing cases of Covid with the Omicron variant, is to restrict your social contacts. Guidance was announced of a three-household limit when socialising indoors, social distancing measures are back in settings like shops, and working from home for those who can.

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Covid testing, Redress Scotland and fishing data my eNews 12th December 2021

On Tuesday I responded to the First Minister’s weekly Covid-19 update. I raised the issues of Mental Health treatment times, nurse and midwife vacancies and the backlog of waiting lists, all issues exacerbated due to the Covid crisis. I referenced one constituent who is in constant pain and contacted me about a delayed operation. You can watch the clip here. The First Minister urged a following of Covid-19 restrictions to stem the transmission and reduce pressure on healthcare. While that is part of the picture there is more that the Scottish Government could do to help cut vacancies and waiting times. You can read more about Scottish Liberal Democrat proposals for new hope for health here.

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eNews 5th December 2021

On Thursday morning it came to my attention that the food and drink discount for islanders on the NorthLink ferry had been withdrawn. I was then told by Northlink that while the islander discount code is no longer available,  the food and drink menu is reasonably priced and equal for all passengers. That misses the point. This is a lifeline service for islanders. In order to get to the mainland, some have no alternative. It isn’t like grabbing a coffee for a one hour trip. It is a twelve hour overnight trip and unreasonable to further disadvantage island passengers, and it will impact most those on a tight budget. You can listen to my Radio Shetland interview about this here. You can also sign the petition calling for NorthLink to reverse the policy here.

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Covid, Shetland map and elimination of violence against women

The First Minister’s weekly Covid-19 ministerial statement outlined the retention of legal restrictions, encouraged limiting interactions, working from home, regular testing and increased testing across the festive period. It had been anticipated that the Covid ID card scheme would be expanded to more locations, but instead a proof of a recent negative lateral flow test will also be acceptable to enter locations currently covered by the Covid ID card scheme. Lateral Flow Tests can be ordered here.

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eNews 21st November 2021

Today the Scottish Liberal Democrats launch our New Hope for health. You can read more here. The Covid-19 pandemic has made all of us more aware of our health. In September I wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Health asking ‘“when Shetland will have a new-build hospital fit for the 21st century”’. Do you agree that Shetland needs a new purpose built modern hospital? Sign my petition here.

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