Category Archives: Press Releases

Dr Richard Simpson MSP supports student carers Going Higher in Scotland

Dr Richard Simpson MSP is backing a new campaign to recognise and help students who are balancing higher education with unpaid caring for a loved one or friend, who due to illness, disability, mental health problem or addiction, cannot cope without their support.

Carers Trust Scotland’s new Going Higher in Scotland campaign is calling on universities in Scotland to provide more support to unpaid student carers. There are currently no national records of how many student carers there are in higher education – they are a hidden group.

Research published by Carers Trust has shown:
• Half the days spent at college or university were affected because of caring. This could be coming in late, leaving early or absence for the whole day
• Young adult carers are four times more likely to drop out of college or university than their peers
• Two in five juggled paid employment on top of their studies and caring responsibilities, suggesting financial support was not sufficient.

With Going Higher in Scotland, Carers Trust Scotland is asking universities to:
Identify the number of student carers attending their university
Support all student carers throughout their education to ensure they maintain good mental health, complete their course and achieve the best grades possible
Report on student carer progress in the institution to showcase the university’s achievements.

Going Higher in Scotland aims to make universities and student bodies more aware of the carers studying with them so they can ensure they’re providing appropriate support when needed and helping the carer achieve their potential. Carers provide an essential service to society but often face difficult choices when trying to juggle studying, work and their caring responsibilities. Higher education can help carers improve their circumstances and life chances, and they shouldn’t be disadvantaged because of their caring commitments.

Dr Richard Simpson MSP said:

“I am pleased to support a campaign which puts student carers first. Carers should not be denied the opportunity to go into higher education because of their responsibilities at home.

“I hope that Universities across Scotland will agree with me that it is vital to provide the support needed for people who deliver unpaid care, to look after their loved ones, and implement the recommendations made by Carers Trust Scotland.

“I plan to raise awareness by promoting the campaign on my social media platforms and support Going Higher in Scotland further by signing a parliamentary motion lodged by my colleague Jayne Baxter MSP, acknowledging the launch of the campaign.”

Florence Burke, Carers Trust’s Director for Scotland, said: “Carers who have the opportunity and ability to go into higher education should not be negatively impacted because of their caring responsibilities. It’s time for student carers’ voices to be heard. The Going Higher in Scotland campaign wants to see student carers being put at the forefront of the higher education agenda in Scotland.”

Further information:

Lindsay Clydesdale, PR & Communications Manager, Carers Trust Scotland – 07791 230 261:

Notes for Editors

About Carers Trust Scotland

• Carers Trust is a major charity for, with and about carers. We work to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring, unpaid, for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems.
• In Scotland, we are the largest provider of comprehensive carers support services, reaching around 40,000 adult carers and more than 3,500 young carers from all groups and communities, through a unique network of independent carers centres and young carers services (Network Partners) throughout Scotland.
• We work with these Network Partners to improve support, services and recognition for carers.
• There are an estimated 30,000 young adult carers in Scotland but we believe that there are thousands more who are hidden carers and are not being supported by services.
• For more information visit and

Delayed discharge is going in the wrong direction

Delayed discharge is going in the wrong direction in Scotland, new figures released today show.

Information released today shows that hospital bed days associated with delayed discharge have increased by 5% in a month. Delayed discharge is when a patient is clinically ready to be released from hospital but isn’t.

Earlier this year the SNP Health Minister Shona Robison pledged to get delayed discharge down to zero by the end of the year.

Scottish Labour Public Services Spokesperson Dr Richard Simpson said:

“The NHS is our most important public service, but we can see that it is straining to deliver the care Scots need with its current resources.

“The reality is that the SNP Government is squeezing health spending here in Scotland harder than even the Tories in England, but they have also ignored the growing crisis in social care in Scotland.

“Earlier this year Shona Robison promised that by the end of the year no patient would be kept in a hospital when clinically fit to leave, yet the figures today are going in the wrong direction, it’s getting worse, not better.

“Since the Health Minister made that pledge thousands of patients have been kept needlessly in hospitals when they could have been in their homes with their loved ones.

“This is a vicious circle that means too many elderly patients are stuck in hospital longer than they need to be. That’s more patients needlessly at risk of hospital acquired infection and more families left worrying about their loved ones.

“The SNP Health Minister blamed the winter A&E crisis last year on levels of delayed discharge. This issue has to be sorted before the cold weather returns.”

Notes to news editors

Figures released today show that hospital bed days associated with delayed discharge have increased by 5% in a month.

“In July 2015, there were 47,797 days spent in hospital associated with delays in discharge; this is a 5% increase on the previous month (45,356). This increase in part reflects a change in data recording practice by NHS Lanarkshire. Excluding NHS Lanarkshire, the number of bed days occupied by delayed discharges increased by 1% on the previous month.”


Earlier this year Shona Robison pledged to get delayed discharge down to zero

“I want over the course of this year to eradicate delayed discharge out of the system and I am absolutely determined to do that.”

Source: BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Wednesday 25 February 2015

Dr Richard Simpson MSP backs “Fit for the Future”

Scottish Labour has today launched “Fit for the Future” a major consultation on the future of general practice in Scotland.

The party will contact Scottish GPs asking for their opinions on a range of ideas including:

– Training more GPs

– Cutting down red tape for substitute GPs.

– Ensure practices notify Health Boards on unfilled posts.

The move comes after a summer where the crisis in general practice has been made clear, with a £1 billion drop in investment in the past ten years, cuts to medical student numbers and GP vacancies lying unfilled.

Public Services spokesperson Dr Richard Simpson, a former GP with over thirty years’ experience said:

“Today Labour is talking about better plans and better ideas, and we are putting them to the people who matter – family doctors themselves. We think our plans can make a real difference to general practice in Scotland, and benefit patients across the country.”

“We’ve seen a range of problems right across our NHS but getting primary care right will take the pressure off of our A&E wards, our hospitals and a range of other services. Our plans could make a real difference and that’s why we are putting them to Scotland’s doctors today and asking for their support, and their opinions.”

“The nationalist Government in Edinburgh has made a complete and utter mess of general practice in Scotland. It was their decision to drop the share of funding for general practice in Scotland by over £1 billion and their decision to cut funding for medical students. The result has been understaffed, overstretched practices with patients’ not receiving timely care.

“However if we act now we can fix these problems. Scottish Labour are taking ideas to the Scottish medical community. It is then a matter for the SNP Government if they want to look at Scottish

Labour’s positive plans, or simply continue to sit on their hands.”

“The nationalist Government should look carefully at our proposals. The problems in general practice cannot allow to fester for much longer and that those problems will only grow starker in the years ahead without action now.”


Notes to Editors

Read ‘Fit for the Future’ at

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