Category Archives: disability

Manifestos for Older People, Disability, and Carers

Cathy has welcomed the publication of Labour manifestos spelling out the range of pledges that the party is making for older people, people with disability, and carers.

“These constitute a firm commitment to safeguard and expand public services. We introduced national concessionary travel, and we will protect and expand it.

“We will introduce a National Care Service and put an end to the postcode lottery of provision.

“We know how much we owe to the 657,000 unpaid carers in Scotland, and we want to improve the support they get and to enhance the opportunities that are open to them.”

Cathy called for national concessionary travel in the first parliament. It became a manifesto pledge in 2003. Since then she has argued for extensions to the scheme.

As Convener of the Equal Opportunities Committee, she chaired a major Disability Inquiry which made many recommendations for improvements.

She has been Convener of the Cross Party Group on Carers since 2007, working closely with carers organisations to raise carers’ issues in the Scottish Parliament.

Labour’s manifesto for older people includes pledges to:

  • Protect the concessionary bus travel scheme for all over 60s and extend to those with mobility challenges and those in remote areas
  • End the postcode lottery of care with the creation of a National Care Service
  • Establish Scotland first chronic pain centre
  • Implement a new boiler scrappage scheme to help older people peoples’ bills
  • Introduce a new right to see a cancer specialist and get results within two weeks, halving the current waiting times.

In the manifesto for people with disabilities, Labour pledges to:

  • ensure that Scottish Labour’s focus on jobs and training is inclusive and supports opportunities for disabled people;
  • support disabled people through the tough economic times;
  • ensure a bold shift towards prevention in healthcare;
  • deliver better care at the right time;
  • improve mobility and access to the concessionary travel scheme for people with disabilities;

Support for carers includes

  • support for carers centres;
  • measures to prevent carers falling into fuel poverty;
  • a guarantee to ensure that the Future Jobs Fund and modern apprenticeship schemes are fully accessible to carers, young carers and those who face the most challenges in accessing the labour market;
  • support for young carers, including implementing the young carers strategy, embedding awareness of the needs of young carers in teacher training and in the policies of individual schools, and more flexibility for young carers getting the Educational Maintenance Allowance.

Free train travel proposal

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie has welcomed the proposal to extend free train travel to companions of deafblind people:
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Patients struggle to get treatment

Physiotherapy patients at the new Forth Valley Royal Hospital are struggling to get treatment, says Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie.

“The new hospital has many well thought out and innovative features – but access to the physiotherapy area is not amongst them. The doors are not automatic, and are particularly difficult to open for anyone with mobility problems. Given that people are going there for physiotherapy, that must include quite a few patients.”

As Convener of the Scottish Parliament Equal Opportunities Committee from 2003 to 2007, Cathy chaired an inquiry into disability issues in Scotland.

“We have legislation and many recommendations that should prevent problems such as this, so I am very disappointed that I am having to raise it with regard to a prestigious new building.

“I have written to the Chief Executive of Forth Valley NHS asking for this issue to be addressed quickly, and will meet soon to discuss what will be done and why the problem was not picked up when the building was being designed.”

MSP calls for carers’ travel concession

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie has called for everyone who needs a companion in order to travel to be given the same concessions, whatever public transport they use.

Cathy said: “The Scottish Blind Persons’ Travel Card is an excellent scheme. It gives free travel on all bus, coach, rail and ferry services, not only to the blind person, but also, if they can only use public transport with assistance, to a companion.

“Unfortunately, other people who need to be accompanied can only take a companion when they travel by bus. I believe that they should also be able to apply for a travel card that permits them to travel with a companion on other public transport, not just buses.

“Journeys that are relatively quick and straightforward by train can become impossible if they depend on being accompanied by bus, with long journey times and poor connections.

“I don’t see any good argument against it, since the principle and the operation is already established – we would just be getting rid of an anomaly in the concessionary travel that is currently provided, and it would make a big difference to those who would benefit.”

See S3M-03815 Cathy Peattie (Falkirk East) (Scottish Labour): Extension of Concessionary Accompanied Travel

Disabled Parking

New Disabled Parking Bill agreed by Scottish Parliament

Disabled parking bays, which are under the control of Falkirk Council and other local authorities, are to become legally enforceable after MSPs voted in favour Jackie Baillie’s Members Bill. There are an estimated one million disabled people resident in Scotland – around a quarter are registered Blue Badge holders who will benefit from this Bill.

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie welcomed the Bill, which she has supported since it was first mooted.

“This is an issue that many constituents have spoken to me about,” she said, “and I know their views are echoed throughout Scotland, as this was one of the issues that was highlighted by the Disability Inquiry undertaken by the Equal Opportunities Committee while I was Convener of the committee.

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Mind the Gap

Cathy Peattie has called on the Scottish Parliament to heed the recommendations of the Leonard Cheshire Disability charity – and of its own report published before the last election.

“Leonard Cheshire have published a very good report highlighting the problems that disabled people face when travelling,” said Cathy.

“Transport is one of the biggest barriers to work, study and leisure. I know just how big a problem it is, because when I chaired the Equal Opportunities Committee we spoke to people from all over Scotland, and produced a report to the Parliament containing recommendations for action to remove the barriers and create new opportunities for disabled people. The report was well received, and made similar recommendations to Leonard Cheshire’s, as well as further recommendations to address issues such as the accessibility of buildings, tackling negative and obstructive attitudes, and improving how institutions deal with disability.

“That report is available to the current parliament if it wants to pick up the baton and run with it, but so far, little has been done. I welcome the pressure from the Mind The Gap report, and hope that it will be followed up by a concerted campaign to get action. It would of course be better if the parliament and the Scottish Government led the way instead of being pushed, but one way or the other it needs to move, so that disabled people find it easier to get where they want to go, to take up employment, education and leisure opportunities.”

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