Dame Anne Begg, MP for Aberdeen South, is backing a campaign by sight loss charity RNIB to ensure that everyone diagnosed with sight loss gets emotional support to come to terms with their condition.
Dame Anne attended the launch of The Royal National Institute of Blind People’s (RNIB) new report ‘Being There When it Matters’, which is calling for every eye department in the UK to have access to a qualified sight loss adviser so that people are properly supported as they adapt to life with reduced or no vision. The current picture is bleak; only 30% of eye departments in the UK have access to a qualified sight loss adviser.
Sight loss advisers offer dedicated practical and emotional support. They can offer advice on everything from remaining in employment, to being more independent around the home and reducing the risk of falls whilst out and about. Recent research has revealed that sight loss advisers create significant financial savings for health and social care budgets with every £1 invested in the service delivering a return of £10.57.
The move comes as a new survey, commissioned by RNIB, reveals that 44% of UK adults said they feared losing their sight more than any other long-term health condition.
Adults in the UK are more afraid of losing their sight than they are of developing Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, heart disease or having to use a wheelchair.
More than half of the 2,000 adults surveyed (53%) also said that they believed losing their sight would have a bigger impact on their life than other long-term health conditions, with nine in 10 saying they would lose their independence and eight in 10 concerned they would lose their job.
Dame Anne said: “I think that it is vital that blind and partially sighted people receive quality and timely support to help them to adapt to their sight loss.
“Sight loss can have a profound impact upon a person’s life. Without the right support people can become unnecessarily isolated and can struggle to adapt. I support RNIB’s campaign for every eye department to have access to sight loss adviser.”
Dame Anne Begg, MP for Aberdeen South, has become the latest big name signing for Men United.
Dame Anne was delighted to give her backing to Prostate Cancer UK’s ‘Men United v Prostate Cancer’ campaign, which uses the language of sport to engage men in the battle against the disease. Dame Anne signed up after meeting with Prostate Cancer UK staff at the Scottish Labour Party’s spring conference in Perth.
Dame Anne said: “Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and is predicted to be the most common cancer overall by 2030. Despite this we know that the quality of care and support men with the condition receive varies throughout Scotland. To address this I have previously called on NHS Boards to implement Prostate Cancer UK’s award winning Quality Checklist, and reiterate that call today. Further, I am delighted to sign for Men United v Prostate Cancer. It’s a big ask but, working together, I know we can win this.”
Joining Dame Anne in backing Men United v Prostate Cancer is Scottish football legend Denis Law, chat-show king Sir Michael Parkinson and comic icon Bill Bailey. Prostate Cancer UK charity partner Scotmid Co-operative, which recently smashed its £150,000 annual fundraising target for the charity within just 6 months, is also backing the campaign via a series of events at its stores throughout Scotland.
Drew Lindon, Head of Policy & Campaigns at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “Prostate cancer survival rates are below the European average, research into the disease lags a decade behind that of other cancers, and quality of care and support varies depending on where you live. Men United is a powerful way for men, and the women in their lives, to mobilise against the common enemy of prostate cancer. By signing up, Dame Anne has a place and a voice in a growing movement that’s taking action for men’s health. We are extremely grateful for her ongoing support, and would encourage people throughout Scotland to join Men United to help boot prostate cancer into row Z.”
Men United v Prostate Cancer is an integrated television, print and digital campaign which runs until the end of March 2014. Men – and women – are encouraged to go online to search ‘Men United’ to get involved by testing their knowledge of the disease with a simple quiz, and signing for the team. They can also pledge their allegiance by proudly wearing the charity’s ‘Man of Men’ pin badge. To sign for Men United visit: www.prostatecanceruk.org/menunited
On Rare Disease Day, Dame Anne Begg, MP for Aberdeen South, welcomed NHS Grampian’s campaign to raise awareness amongst health professionals and the public of the impact a rare or orphan disease can have on an individual and their families.
Dame Anne said:
“As someone with a rare genetic condition I know how difficult it can be to get a proper diagnosis and medical treatment. It can also be hard for patients to get information about their disease or to meet others who have it.
“I, therefore, welcome NHS Grampian’s campaign to mark this important day and raise awareness.”
Friday 28th February is the seventh international Rare Disease Day and this week Dame Anne also attended an event organised by Rare Disease UK in Parliament. The theme for Rare Disease Day 2014 is ‘joining together for better care’ as experience shows that bringing together scattered knowledge and resources for people living with rare diseases is the most efficient and effective way to mobilise the care patients and families need and deserve.
During a Backbench debate on Welfare Reform, Dame Anne Begg MP called on the government to launch a cumulative impact assessment on their reforms to the welfare system which are unfairly targeting people with disabilities. The Back Bench Committee allocated time for this debate after a WOW petition was signed by over 100,000 people.
As Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, Dame Anne has continually called for the government to carry out a full impact assessment of welfare reform to show the effect they are having on people with disabilities.
Dame Anne said
“Although the Government states it isn’t picking on disabled people or people with health problems, their policies are impacting that group the hardest
“When you look at the changes they’ve made to the welfare system – Work Capability Assessments, Employment Support Allowance and the new Personal Independence Payments, you can see who they are aimed at.
“The government has reformed almost every benefit in the welfare system. The migration of disabled people to Employment Support Allowance from Incapacity benefit[…] the ATOS Work Capability Assessment[…] the introduction of new Personal Independence Payments[…] reforms to Housing Benefit and Housing Allowance[…] are hitting the disabled and those with health problems the hardest.”
After the debate Dame Anne said
“I have been calling for years for a full impact assessment of welfare reform. The government has continuously refused. Either the government don’t want to know what the impact of welfare reforms have been or they don’t want us to know. Surely good policy making involves reviewing the effectiveness and impact of decisions you have made?”
Dame Anne was delighted to meet with Ellie Simmonds as part of Sainsbury’s Active Kids for All Inclusive PE Training programme, an initiative designed to improve the quality of PE provision for young disabled people in mainstream schools in the UK.
As part of their 2012 Paralympic Games legacy, Sainsbury’s developed Active Kids for All Inclusive PE training to give teachers the confidence and skills to provide high quality PE for all young people. Sainsbury’s will be investing £1 million over four years in Active Kids For All training courses that will ensure over 500,000 young disabled children will lead healthier and more active lifestyles.
Dame Anne said “I know what an important part many of my constituents have played in collecting Active Kids vouchers, which is helping young children understand cooking and healthy eating from a young age. With the ‘Active Kids for All’ teaching programme it’s great to see how well the scheme is developing and the important part it plays in today’s educational society. I hope schools, groups and clubs across Aberdeen have fun collecting over the next few months and I hope even more will join this great scheme”
Dame Anne recently met with the Feed4for5 team, a group of students from Aberdeen College taking part in the Money For Life challenge which aims to improve money management throughout the UK.
After conducting some research, the team found that the average person spends £1320 on fast food each year. In order to tackle this problem they want to offer cheaper, healthier alternatives which can feed four people for £5. They have built a competition around their project, which invites people to submit their own Feed4for5 recipes to the group’s facebook page, with the most liked recipe receiving a special prize.
Member of the group, Jessica Cook stated: “We chose this particular issue to work with because these are problems that we are growing up with and we want to highlight the issues of saving the environment, putting our money to good use and lowering obesity levels. We want to highlight these to raise awareness essentially and to teach people ways that they can help stop these issues from getting worse. Our main goal is to show people that there are many ways to save money when it comes to food.”
Dame Anne said, ‘I was delighted to meet the Feed4for5 team who are working hard to reduce the amount of fast food which we consume. We all lead hectic lives and I know how easy it can be to be tempted to order a takeaway after a busy day. However, taking part in the Feed4for5 challenge will hopefully show people how cooking from scratch can be cheaper and healthier!”
For recipes, hints, tips and tricks for cheaper, healthier eating, visit their Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FEED4for5?ref=stream&hc_location=timeline or follow them on Twitter https://twitter.com/4_for_5.
Dame Anne Begg MP was delighted to support the British Heart Foundation and it’s annual campaign Ramp Up the Red day which aims to raise funds to fight coronary heart disease (CHD).
Every year, around 8,000 Scots die of CHD. The disease is caused when the heart’s blood vessels become narrowed or blocked and cannot supply enough blood to the heart.
Despite a steady downward trend in deaths from CHD in Scotland in the last ten years, there is no room for complacency and the British Heart Foundation also hope to raise awareness of how small changes to your lifestyle can help keep your heart healthy.
I was delighted to attend the Topping Out ceremony of the new building for the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health at Foresterhill.
Nutrition and food-related research is vitally important to addressing the national and global challenges of obesity, ageing and food security. The Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health is already at the forefront of the UK’s research capability in nutrition. However, with rapidly growing rates of obesity much more work is needed, particularly to understand how and why people eat in the way that they do and what can be done to change eating behaviour. Rowett research also supports the food and drink industry to produce healthier products.
The new building for the Rowett will be a centre of excellence in food-related research which capitalises on co-location with University research expertise at the forefront in health and medical research and teaching, and close proximity to the clinical facilities on the Foresterhill health campus.
Dame Anne has joined the fight against breast cancer by taking part in Breast Cancer Campaign’s biggest (and pinkest) fundraiser, wear it pink day.
Over the last 10 years wear it pink has raised a staggering £23 million and on Friday 25th October 2013 people will come together in schools, colleges and businesses throughout the country to raise vital funds for Breast Cancer Campaign’s lifesaving research.
To register for wear it pink and receive your fundraising pack visit www.wearitpink.org or call 0800 107 3104.
Anne was delighted to visit Cove Bay Kindergarten to celebrate this year’s World School Milk Day.
World School Milk Day is organised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and it promotes the importance of drinking milk to children in a fun and educational way.
Following the visit, Dame Anne said: “I am always delighted to have the opportunity to support World School Milk Day and raise awareness of the importance of the school milk scheme.
“The social and health benefits to children are extensive. As well as boosting social interaction and teaching the children to share, the scheme also ensures that children benefit from the nutritional qualities of milk aiding their physical development.
“I loved drinking milk as a child and I still do!”