Category Archives: Health

Know Your Numbers! Week

Today Dame Anne Begg, MP for Aberdeen South, visited E I Mackie Pharmacy in her constituency to support Blood Pressure UK’s Know Your Numbers! Week.

Dame Anne & Pharmacist Euan Mackie
Dame Anne & Pharmacist Euan Mackie

The campaign aims to raise awareness and encourage everyone to find out their blood pressure numbers. High blood pressure is the UK’s biggest silent killer affecting 16 million people in the UK –one third of which are unaware they are living with the condition. Therefore, Blood Pressure UK is offering the opportunity to get a free blood pressure check within the local community including pharmacies, workplaces, GP surgeries hospitals, health club, leisure centres, shopping centre and supermarkets.

Dame Anne said: “I am supporting Blood Pressure UK’s Know Your Numbers! Week from 16th – 22nd September because each year 120,000 adults in the UK have a heart attack or stroke in which high blood pressure is a key factor – that’s a preventable stroke or heart attack every 4 minutes.

“We all lead busy lives and I know that I usually end up eating a salty snack rather than a piece of fruit. However, it’s never too late to start making small changes to improve our blood pressure and lead a more healthy lifestyle.

“Everyone should know their blood pressure. If you haven’t had your checked in the last year why not take advantage of Blood Pressure UK’s invitation to Know Your Numbers! and find out yours.”

To find your nearest ‘Pressure Station’ for a free check, visit

Businesses in Admiral Court get behind the nation’s heart charity in National Heart Month

February is National Heart Month and the British Heart Foundation is urging the UK to show support.

Rock Up In Red - Admiral Court
Rock Up In Red – Admiral Court

Businesses in Admiral Court kicked off the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) National Heart Month by donating money to wear red to work.

There are over 2.7 million people in the UK currently suffering with heart disease and it is the UK’s single biggest killer. It kills one in six men and one in nine women and is responsible for almost 80,000 deaths in the UK each year, an average of 220 people each day.

National Heart Month is a time when the BHF urges people in the UK to think about their hearts and the hearts of those around them. It is also a time when the charity encourages supporters to fundraise and help the charity’s fight against heart disease. You can fundraise by whichever means you fancy and even better if it involves colleagues, friends and family.

Centre Manager Jennifer Massie said: “Everyone was happy to give their heartfelt support to the British Heart Foundation.”

One of the tenants of Admiral Court, Dame Anne Begg MP, said: “I commend volunteers and employers for getting involved in fundraising for the BHF during National Heart Month in Aberdeen South and encourage others to join in these activities to help the BHF to continue their vital, life-saving work.”

To find out more about National Heart Month – download a fundraising pack at or call 0300 330 0645.

Dame Anne supports sustainable fish

Dame Anne visited Sainsbury’s on Friday to encourage customers to continue to broaden their appetite for fish beyond the ‘Big Five’ species of cod, haddock, tuna, salmon and prawns, which currently makes up 80% of all the fish Brits consume.

Paul Davidson Deputy Manager of Sainsburys Garthdee store, Colleen Hendry, Fish Counter Manager and Superintendent Mike Sandison, Mission Area Officer from the Fishermen’s Mission
Paul Davidson Deputy Manager of Sainsburys Garthdee store, Colleen Hendry, Fish Counter Manager and Superintendent Mike Sandison, Mission Area Officer from the Fishermen’s Mission

When a customer asks for one of the Big Five species at the fish counter on ‘Switch the Fish Day’ they can try a lesser known alternative for free. The launch builds on the success of Sainsbury’s first ‘Switch the Fish Day’ in 2011 which saw sales of fish soar by 12% across fish counters on the day.

Dame Anne said: “I eat quite a lot of fish and enjoy eating a range of varieties when they are offered in a restaurant. However, when it comes to me buying fish for me to cook myself, I am guilty of sticking to probably only half a dozen species.

“That’s why I am delighted to support Sainsbury’s and their campaign to encourage customers to choose sustainable varieties of British fish. I am also looking forward to learning some new recipes from staff on the fish counter.”

Momentum Skills Clients Quiz MP

Dame Anne was delighted to be invited to Momentum Skills on to field questions from their service users, who suffer from acquired brain injury. She said: “I always welcome the opportunity to meet with groups in my constituency to listen to the issues that concern them and our discussion ranged from topics such as the licensing of mobility scooters to the forthcoming referendum on independence. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and I would like to thank Momentum for inviting me along.”

Scott Rogers, Keith Fenton, Keith Thomson, Liz Howarth, Dame Anne Begg MP, Ruaraidh Petrie and Angela Whyte
Scott Rogers, Keith Fenton, Keith Thomson, Liz Howarth, Dame Anne Begg MP, Ruaraidh Petrie and Angela Whyte

Liz Howarth, Momentum Vocational Tutor said: “The service users from Momentum invested a lot of time and hard work researching and preparing for Anne’s visit. This provoked lots of exciting discussions on key issues ranging from local concerns such as Union Terrace Gardens to national issues including immigration and national service.

“But more than this, it’s essential that service users at Momentum have the opportunity to engage with the politicians and decision makers that make the policies that affect them. The Welfare Reforms are inevitably going to have an impact on our Service Users, and as Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, Dame Anne Begg is well placed to take on board the concerns of our clients.”

Following the visit, Momentum Client Billy Little stated: “I enjoyed Anne Begg’s visit to Momentum, to debate on why all the political parties are scared to put up a referendum on the EU. Her views were enlightening to me even though I disagreed with them.

“However, for me, the most interesting and enlightening debate was one we had on Assisted Suicide. This was because she showed the obstacles that surround this topic and how sensitive the subject is and the different problems all the politicians face on the subject.”

Scott Rogers, Keith Fenton, Keith Thomson, Liz Howarth, Dame Anne Begg MP, Ruaraidh Petrie and Angela Whyte
Scott Rogers, Keith Fenton, Keith Thomson, Liz Howarth, Dame Anne Begg MP, Ruaraidh Petrie and Angela Whyte

Dame Anne backs fight against Breast Cancer and wants constituents to join her

Dame Anne is backing the fight against breast cancer by taking part in Breast Cancer Campaign’s award winning fundraiser, wear it pink day – and she wants constituents to join her.

Dame Anne Begg MP - Wear it Pink Breast Cancer
Dame Anne Begg MP – Wear it Pink Breast Cancer

Now in its 10th year, wear it pink, on Friday 26th October 2012 will see supporters from all over the country in schools, colleges and businesses embracing the event’s new theme, superheroes. The theme stems from the charity’s belief that everybody who joins the fight – from people affected by breast cancer, to Breast Cancer Campaign scientists and all wear it pink participants – is a superhero.

Breast Cancer Campaign is asking everyone to pull on something pink and donate £2.00, whether it’s a superhero cape, pink socks or pink pants you wear over your tights, you can help the charity achieve its target of raising £2 million, so they can continue to fund ground-breaking research.

Join the hundreds of thousands of people who take part in wear it pink every year. With your help Breast Cancer Campaign can improve survival rates for the one in eight women who experience breast cancer during their lifetime.

Dame Anne Begg MP says “Every year in the UK, around 48,000 women and 340 men are diagnosed with breast cancer. This is why we all need to support wear it pink day on 26th October, so that Breast Cancer Campaign can continue to fund research which will one day lead to a cure.”

To take part in the UK’s original and best pink day visit and register to receive your free fundraising pack now. Vanish is backing the fight against breast cancer for the third year running by raising an incredible £250,000 for wear it pink.

Visit to new HOPE Counselling Service

Hope Counselling, one of Aberdeen’s latest social enterprises, welcomed Dame Anne Begg MP who visited their new service on Friday 17th August 2012. HOPE counselling is a charity which has been recently set up to provide a high quality and affordable counselling service for Aberdeen and surrounding areas. HOPE offers counselling to adults and young people aged 16 years and above, from an easily accessible city centre location, with free parking, disabled access and currently minimal waiting lists.

Dame Anne Begg MP with Hope Counsellors (from back left to right) Dr Tricia Kiehlman, Mrs Joyce Leys, Mrs Carolyn Rae, Dr Lesley Stewart
Dame Anne Begg MP with Hope Counsellors (from back left to right) Dr Tricia Kiehlman, Mrs Joyce Leys, Mrs Carolyn Rae, Dr Lesley Stewart

HOPE Director, Dr Tricia Kiehlmann, said: “We believe that we can help people find hope in even the most difficult of times – hence our name.”

The four counsellors within Hope are trained to Diploma level, all with an extensive background in the NHS. Hope Counselling offers counselling for a wide range of problems including: depression, anxiety, stress, relationship problems, Abuse, Adult sexual abuse, Grief, loss and bereavement and spiritual issues.

Following her visit, Dame Anne said: “It is clear that this service is meeting a need in Aberdeen for high quality counselling which can be accessed through self-referral without having to wait too long for an appointment.

“Counselling can help in a whole range of circumstances when often the best medicine is to talk.”

HOPE operates a means-related scale of charges and relies on charitable donations to support the service for those who are not in a position to pay full costs. The ethos of HOPE lies within the Christian tradition, and their service is available to those of any faith and none.

HOPE Counselling has offices in the Life Centre, Caroline Place (formerly the CLAN Building), which also houses a newly refurbished cafe where people can enjoy a drink if waiting.

MND Charter

Dame Anne Begg, MP for Aberdeen South, has signed the Motor Neutron Disease (MND) Association’s Charter in recognition of the rights and priorities of people living with MND and their carers.

MND kills five people every day, with half of people dying with 14 months of diagnosis. This terminal disease can affect an adult at any age. There is no known cure.

Unfortunately, this condition is still little understood and this contributes to many people with MND not receiving the care and support they need. The MND Charter has been launched with the aim to change this. The five-point charter sets out what good care looks like for people with MND and their carers and is designed to raise awareness and understanding of this devastating disease.

As a long term supporter of the MND Association, Dame Anne was delighted to sign up to the MND Charter. She said: “I am well aware of how devastating a diagnosis of MND can be for a person and their family so I am happy to support this charter which highlights the need for quality care.”

The MND Charter, which has already received endorsements from the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), aims to ensure that people with MND and their carers have access to timely and appropriate information, care, services that allow them to maximise their quality of life and ensure that they are treated with dignity.

New Ambulance Improves Transport for Patients

On Tuesday 26th June 2012, Dame Anne was pleased to officially accept a new ambulance gifted to Woodend by Friends of Woodend to mark their 50th anniversary.

Dame Anne formally accepts the ambulance on behalf of Woodend patients

During her recent hospital stay, Dame Anne was honoured to be the first patient to use the ambulance on it’s the maiden voyage and she said: “The dedicated ambulance for Woodend has already made a huge difference for the transporting of patients around the Woodend site and up to ARI. It has certainly cut out delays in getting patients from their ward to other departments.”

Group photo

Raising Awareness of Type 1 Diabetes

Dame Anne Meets Lucy Logan and Sophie LawsonDame Anne Begg MP met with two school pupils from Aberdeen South, Lucy Logan and Sophie Lawson, ahead of their visit to Westminster to lobby MPs for increased investment in medical research to cure, treat and prevent type 1 diabetes.

Unfortunately, Dame Anne will not be able to meet them in Westminster as she is still in hospital so Lucy and Sophie took the opportunity to lobby Anne in hospital. They presented to her scrapbooks detailing their experiences of type 1 diabetes and explained to Anne how they manage their conditions.

Dame Anne said: “The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) have organised the Type 1 Parliament visit to raise awareness about how difficult life can be for young people with type 1 diabetes. In meeting Lucy and Sophie, it’s remarkable to learn how complex it is to manage the condition but it also remarkable to hear how they do handle it. They are both extremely knowledgeable about type 1 diabetes and the steps they have to take to stay healthy.”

Lucy who is aged 11 and attends Mile End Primary School explained to Anne the importance of increasing Government investment in the research of type 1 diabetes. She said: “I would like to see a cure because there are some jobs that people with diabetes cannot do. For example, people with type 1 diabetes cannot be pilots or air stewards.”

Lucy has an insulin pump to manage her condition which prevents overdoses of insulin. However, Sophie does not have one. She said: “Pumps are important for those sufferers who can’t control their condition with injections. We know that the NHS have pumps but they need money to train staff on how to work them.”

Sophie also said: “I would like to see a cure. I want to get my childhood back and be able to do what my friends can do.”

Sophie shows Anne how she monitors her insulin levels

Student Stop AIDS Campaign

On the 19th November, Dame Anne Begg was delighted to join the Aberdeen University Student Stop AIDS Campaign. A ‘Joint the Patent Pool Party’ demonstration outside St Nicholas Centre in Aberdeen was organised by students to support this cause. The demonstration is part of a nationwide campaign to lobby the Johnson&Johnson pharmaceutical company to put their HIV medication patents into the Medicines Patent Pool, set up by UNITAID.

Anne Begg supporting the Student Stop AIDS Campaign