Holyrood Committee hears local A75 and diabetes concerns

12.09.2017

Local people shared strong views with MSPs on A75 safety; and the challenges of living with Type 1 diabetes, when the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee visited Castle Douglas and Kirkcudbright earlier this month.The Public Petitions Committee visit to Dumfries.

MSPs experienced congestion first hand on the A75, before travelling to Castle Douglas to meet local petitioner Matt Halliday, and a range of stakeholders.

Matt, together with fellow campaigners,  is calling for the A75 to be updated to a dual carriageway to tackle long-standing safety concerns.

In Kirkcudbright, the Committee met with concerned parents and children who are campaigning for Continuous Glucose Monitors to be available through the NHS, to help tackle the risk of hypoglycaemic episodes for people with Type 1 diabetes.

Severe hypoglycaemia can result in a range of symptoms, from confusion and disorientation, to seizures, and even loss of consciousness and coma in severe cases.

Petitioner Matt Halliday said:

“We told the Committee we believe the A75 is no longer fit for purpose. It is one of the few roads in Europe linking a capital city and servicing ferry ports which is not yet a dual carriageway. The road was never designed for the sheer volume and variety users experience today, and hopefully the Committee realised that too, when they experienced the A75 for themselves.

Mr Halliday continued:

“A dual carriageway could radically improve safety; and be an investment that would benefit the economy of the local area and the whole of Scotland."

Local campaigner and pharmacist Soenaid Anderson, whose daughter Maisie (13) has Type 1 diabetes said:

“We are lucky enough to have the support in place to fund the continuous glucose monitor, but many other people with Type 1 diabetes have to monitor their blood sugar levels through very regular finger pricking. It can be a painful and even distressing process, especially for young children, and it’s not always the best way of recognising when you are at risk from a hypoglycaemic episode. I believe everyone with Type 1 diabetes should have the same access as we do, to a reliable, reassuring system of measuring blood glucose levels.”

Soenaid continued:

“When we showed MSPs how finger-pricking works, I think they really started to see why monitors are safer and more accurate. Right now it is estimated that severe hypoglycaemic episodes cost the NHS £13m, and we were able to explain to the Committee why providing monitors to everyone who needs them could mean significant savings for the NHS in the long-term.”

Deputy Convener of the Public Petitions Committee, Angus MacDonald MSP said:

“The Committee’s role is to hold the Scottish Government to account on behalf of the people of Scotland, and to work to ensure petitioners’ concerns are heard.

“That’s why it’s so important that the Committee meets local petitioners on their ‘home turf’ whenever practically possible, because it’s a very direct way of understanding their issues and concerns at first hand.  Soenaid Anderson, Matt Halliday, and their fellow campaigners put forward very compelling arguments. 

“Having travelled the A75 to see traffic and heard from local people we have a stronger understanding of the issues; while no-one who has seen children and young people go through the finger-pricking process could fail to be moved by the discomfort they regularly endure, every day  - and night  - of their young lives.”     

“The health of young people and road safety are matters the committee takes very seriously. What we have learned over the course of this visit will be hugely helpful as the committee decides its next steps for these petitions.”

Background

Further details of the A75 and Type 1 Diabetes petitions are available on the Scottish Parliament’s website:

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