Patricia Ferguson MSP

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Search for other Speeches made by Patricia Ferguson (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (Lab)

Meeting of the Parliament 05 March 2015 : Thursday, March 05, 2015
Patricia Ferguson (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (Lab)

I congratulate George Adam on securing the debate and on hosting the reception that we all enjoyed so much last night, particularly given that, on this issue, there is such consensus in the chamber.

If we ever needed evidence of the fragility of farms and farming in the developing world, we need only look at the situation in Malawi following the recent devastating flooding that occurred there. Many farmers lost their homes and are struggling to bring their land back into use. With the planting season almost over, those farmers face a precarious future, not knowing whether they will be able to plant crops this year or whether those crops, if planted, will flourish. That, however, is the risk for farmers throughout the developing world. It makes the fair trade premium even more important to them and it makes our support for the principle of fair trade vital.

It is two years since we became a fair trade nation, but that did not happen overnight, nor should it have done. It was the work and commitment of volunteers over the years that led churches, schools, universities, towns, cities and workplaces to be recognised as supporters of fair trade and to take the issue forward.

I must admit that, in 2005, when I first suggested the idea of Scotland becoming a fair trade nation to the then First Minister, Jack McConnell, I had some doubts as to whether it was a realistic proposition, but by the time the Scottish Fair Trade Forum was launched with Scottish Executive funding in 2007, I was sure that we could do it collectively.

The experience of farmers in Malawi tells us that we cannot rest on our laurels and I am glad—indeed, delighted—that the current Scottish Government has committed itself to the cause over the years of its time in office and has continued that funding.

Over the years, the number of items carrying the Fairtrade logo has increased significantly and it is now commonplace to find florists offering Fairtrade roses and other flowers and even jewellers selling items that have been crafted from fairly traded gold.

In the debate on fair trade in 2014, I informed the chamber of the Malawi rice challenge, which was launched by the Lord Provost of Glasgow. That project operated on the basis that, for every 90kg of rice sold, a rice farmer in Malawi would be able to send their child to secondary school for a year. I reported, too, that the target that the Lord Provost set was to sell enough rice to send 12 young people to school. I can advise colleagues that, due to the generosity of the staff and members of Glasgow City Council and the arm’s-length external organisations, not 12 but 24 children in Malawi were able to be supported through school—a real achievement.

This year, Glasgow City Council is continuing its promotion of Malawi rice, but it is now going further. The council will focus on Fairtrade footballs. George Adam has quite rightly drawn Bala to our attention. The council is combining its promotion of fair trade and healthy living and the continuing legacy of the Commonwealth games.

As we have heard, the footballs in question made by Bala are hand-stitched in factories in Pakistan and are made to FIFA international standards. No child labour is involved and the fair trade credentials are certified by a third party. Unfortunately, I understand that the Scottish Football Association is already engaged in a commercial deal that means that it cannot currently use Bala, but hopefully it might do so in the future.

The council will purchase and has purchased 100 of those footballs, which are branded with the logos of Fairtrade, the Commonwealth games legacy and Glasgow’s 2015 green year. The balls will be used at sporting events across the city, many of them in schools, and in the Glasgow Malawi cup, which is to be held in June. Members who attended the reception last night will have seen the footballs and rugby balls on display. A supply of non-branded balls will also be available for purchase—I should say that they are very competitively priced.

Footballs have been sourced from Bala, which George Adam spoke about. It is a co-operative organisation that has had start-up assistance from the council’s co-operative Glasgow business development fund. The balls were officially launched at Hampden stadium last week.

Last year, I suggested that the Parliament shop needed to consider whether it should do more to promote fair trade. I am very pleased to note that the situation has improved. New Fairtrade chocolate has been commissioned, as have some other interesting items, but I do think that we could still go a little bit further.

I thank George Adam once again for organising the debate and I look forward to supporting fair trade for many years to come.

12:44  

Meeting of the Parliament 04 March 2015 : Wednesday, March 04, 2015
Patricia Ferguson (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (Lab)

I congratulate Linda Fabiani on securing the debate. I add my welcome to hers to all the volunteers and the staff who are with us for this evening’s debate and reception.

It was a great privilege to attend the new Marie Curie hospice’s official opening in Springburn following its completion in 2010, because many of us who live in the north of the city have reason to be grateful for the work of the Marie Curie staff and for the services that they provide at the hospice and in the community.

Last year alone there were 1,076 new referrals to the Glasgow hospice. It occurred to me when I was researching for the debate that talking about 1,076 referrals or 146 outpatients would not do justice to the approach of the Marie Curie staff, so I thought that we should look at the matter in another way. Put simply, the Marie Curie organisation helps people at some of the most difficult times any family ever has to go through.

Some people stay at the Marie Curie centre and are looked after by a team of caring professionals who know exactly what is needed by that individual. The care includes help to manage pain, emotional and spiritual support, physiotherapy and complementary therapies. Those who do not need to stay in the hospice might access day care, discuss their care needs or get help with their benefits. Of course, others are cared for in their own homes with support and care provided to them and to their loved ones.

For the next year at least, a new service will also be available: the child and young people’s bereavement support project. The project, which is funded by the Margo Young Foundation, will offer care and support to young people who have suffered a bereavement. The foundation was established by Margo’s son, Alan Young. Margo sadly died when Alan was just 14, and he felt that he had little or no support at that time. The project aims to make the situation better for children who are bereaved in the future. It is an extremely important project, and it is a fitting tribute to Margo Young.

It is estimated that between 35,000 and 40,000 people who die each year could benefit from palliative care, but not everyone who needs it gets it. Indeed, eight out of 10 non-cancer patients with a terminal illness either do not get palliative care or access it very late in the development of their condition. That chimes with what Linda Fabiani said about Marie Curie being associated mostly with cancer. There is perhaps the idea that palliative care is something that is provided only to cancer patients, which is not the case.

I understand that the Scottish Government will publish a new strategy this spring, which of course is to be welcomed, but if it is to be helpful, it must focus on addressing the inequalities in care that exist across diseases, which Linda Fabiani mentioned, and it must ensure that data is collected in a way that allows progress to be tracked and adjustments to be made.

As we know, Marie Curie hospices care for people with a range of terminal illnesses such as cancer, dementia, motor neurone disease, heart disease and renal failure—to name but a few. They do so with great care, great compassion and real professionalism. The Marie Curie hospices are funded by a combination of NHS funding and generous donations from the public. That is why we are celebrating daffodil week.

I want to pay my own tribute to all those who fundraise for Marie Curie. The people who organise and arrange the fetes, the dances, the marathons, the bingo nights and the bake sales all do a remarkable job. Last week, I had the opportunity to visit the Springburn Marie Curie shop. It is a lovely bright and welcoming place. It was truly inspiring to hear the manager Caroline Costello and her staff and volunteers talk so passionately about what they do, and to see the excellent relationship that they have with their customers.

The staff of the Marie Curie hospices do a marvellous job and we can never thank them enough, but I am sure that they would be the first to say that they could not do their job without people such as Caroline, her team of volunteers and staff, and everyone who raises money during daffodil week and throughout the year. Let us hope that this year’s fundraising is successful and that it allows the staff of the Marie Curie hospices to continue the great work that they have been doing in communities such as mine for more than 60 years.

17:42  

Meeting of the Parliament 04 March 2015 : Wednesday, March 04, 2015
Patricia Ferguson

Does the minister believe that it was appropriate for CAMHS to reject 1,400—or almost 20 per cent—of all referrals in the last quarter, which mainly came from hard-pressed general practitioners? Does he know the outcome for the children and young people who were rejected? If not, will he make a commitment to Scotland’s young people that he will commission urgent research to reassure them, their families and the Parliament that the outcomes were good and that the huge variation in the numbers of rejected referrals between health boards was for genuine and appropriate clinical reasons?



Meeting of the Parliament 04 March 2015 : Wednesday, March 04, 2015
3. Patricia Ferguson (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (Lab)

To ask the Scottish Government how many referrals of children and adolescents with mental health issues to specialist child and adolescent mental health services have been rejected by those services in the last quarter. (S4O-04064)



Meeting of the Parliament 04 March 2015 : Wednesday, March 04, 2015
Patricia Ferguson (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (Lab)

The chief executive of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde recently asserted that all staff live within one hour’s journey of the Southern general hospital. Many of my constituents would need to take at least two buses, if not one other mode of transport, before they even got to the fastlink service. If the chief executive of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is so out of touch with where his staff live and how they will travel to the new hospital, does the cabinet secretary have confidence that the plans that have been put in place will serve all members of staff and the patients who will require to use the new hospital?



Meeting of the Parliament 03 March 2015 : Tuesday, March 03, 2015
Patricia Ferguson (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (Lab)

I thank my colleague Jenny Marra for securing this debate to recognise the significant achievements of Mary Slessor. Colleagues have spoken about Mary’s life and about the important work that she did as a missionary in Nigeria. Like her hero David Livingstone, Mary had to work hard from a very early age. As we have heard, she began work at the age of 11 and often worked 12-hour days in Baxter’s jute mill. Her home life was also challenging because of her father’s alcoholism, and Mary found solace and direction in her religion.

As we know, Mary Slessor’s faith took her to Nigeria and led her to pursue the life of a missionary. However, her way of going about her work was somewhat different from that of her contemporaries. She chose to live outside the missionary compound and to dress and eat like the people she served, and she refused for many years to filter her water, as local people had no means to do so. Over the years, her forthright manner, courage and determination won her many friends among the Nigerian people. As we have heard, she challenged the long-held practice of killing twin babies and adopted several local orphan children whom she raised as her own.

Mary Slessor was perhaps as remarkable a character as David Livingstone, whom she revered but, unlike Livingstone, she has been somewhat overlooked in her homeland. She was the first woman to appear on a Scottish banknote and she is the subject of two memorials in Aberdeen, but it took the efforts of the Mary Slessor Foundation, in this, her centenary year, to ensure that a monument to her memory was erected in Dundee, in addition to the range of celebratory events. I add my congratulations to the organising committee on the work that it has done.

In a previous debate about another significant Scottish woman whom we have heard about this evening—Mary Barbour—I lamented the lack of significant formal recognition of the achievement of women in Scotland. Across Scotland, only 20 statues depict individual women, and half of those were erected in the past 50 years. Although there is little research about the number of statues that are dedicated to men compared with women, it is clear that men are disproportionately recognised. For instance, there are 12 statues in George Square in Glasgow and only one is of a woman—and that is of Queen Victoria.

In 2010, the Parliament’s committee rooms were named for notable Scots. We have a female First Minister, a gender-balanced Cabinet and a significant number of women members, but only one of the six committee rooms is named for a woman—Mary Fairfax Somerville. It should be said that she is another woman whose contribution—in her case, to science, in an age when any education was considered dangerous to a woman’s health—is deserving of such an honour, but why stop there? Could the larger garden meeting rooms and the meeting rooms in Queensberry house be named for important Scottish women? After all, room TG.20/21 in the Parliament is adjacent to the wall on which the excellent sculpture “Travelling the Distance” by Shauna McMullan—which celebrates Scottish women—is located. Why not have a Mary Slessor room and a Mary Barbour room?

In the Mary Barbour debate, I read out a quotation that suggested that women such as Mary Slessor and Mary Barbour

“open a door to the world for all our daughters”.

This Parliament, which has championed equality, could push that door open a little further if we had the political will. I think that we do, which is why I have written today to the Presiding Officer to make a formal suggestion about room names. I hope that we can all agree on and act on that idea.

I am sure that the continuation of international development work would please Mary Slessor more than any monument that we could ever dream up. However, we need to make sure, as a Parliament, that the impact of women such as Mary Slessor is not forgotten and is formally recognised.

17:22  

Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
Patricia Ferguson

If there is at least a link or the matter is referred to in some way, that will be helpful.



Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
Patricia Ferguson (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (Lab)

I am not trying to be picky—I understand why the proposed addition to the guidance has been produced and I think it is right—but constituents will not always declare that they have a mental health issue, and sometimes it is the people who either do not want to tell us, or have not been diagnosed, who are most difficult to help.

I wonder whether we need to say something about a scenario where a member suspects that there may be a problem of that kind. It is not just about people with mental health problems; I can think of a whole range of things where we may have to stop and think about whether our approach is absolutely the right and most helpful one in the circumstances. I wonder whether we need some acknowledgement of that difficulty.



Meeting of the Parliament 05 February 2015 : Thursday, February 05, 2015
Patricia Ferguson (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (Lab)

As colleagues have said, it is entirely fitting that we debate the issue of FGM on the eve of the international day of zero tolerance of FGM. I, too, thank all the organisations and individuals who have raised their voices about FGM and worked hard to support those who have been victims of it or who think that they might be in the future.

FGM is of course an abhorrent practice that is both physically and psychologically damaging, and it must not be tolerated. However, it is a practice that is clouded in secrecy. Within communities and within families it remains a secret, not to be spoken of. Sometimes the victims are embarrassed to seek help, sometimes they want to protect a family member and often they are simply too afraid to make the secret known, so they live with the fear and the shame, with the discomfort and the pain, and often with the knowledge that their own family members were complicit in inflicting a terrible ordeal on them.

In some cases, girls are taken on holiday to meet family members only to find that the real reason for their visit is for the family to inflict FGM on them. Many women and girls report that their female family members actively participated in the process, often holding them down while they were cut, so they live, too, with the betrayal of the people who should be most concerned with their care and welfare.

That secrecy and that fear make it hard for agencies to identify and support the victims of FGM and to prosecute the people who encourage or inflict it, but we must recognise that we have to do more to get over those difficulties.

Campaigners have suggested that, following the girls summit that the UK Government organised last year, the number of women and girls contacting them to ask for help quadrupled. I hope that tomorrow’s event and the girls summit that the lord provost of Glasgow, Sadie Doherty, has organised will have a similar effect in shining a light on the practice and that, as a result, women and girls will find the courage to raise their voices and speak out about it.

However, we have to ask ourselves critically whether we are prepared for a possible quadrupling of people identifying themselves as victims or possible victims. Are all the systems in place to support them? Do the organisations that are best placed to help have the resources that they need to provide that help and support? Do the practising communities have the support that they need to make a difference and make a vital change? As the Labour addendum amendment tries to suggest, co-ordination of all that is vital. The hidden nature of the crime demands not only that resources be provided but that they be carefully targeted. We, too, must continue to try to do whatever we can to persuade the practising communities that FGM cannot carry on.

I notice that, at the girls summit, the UK Government launched a declaration against FGM that it asked faith leaders to sign. I understand that, to date, 350 faith leaders have signed that declaration, which asserts that no religion condones the practice. I wonder whether the Scottish Government might also consider organising such a declaration, as we clearly need the support of community leaders in the fight to eradicate FGM. We need those people to lead the way in their communities and, crucially, as Christina McKelvie mentioned, we need the men in those communities to support the mothers and the women who make the decision not to allow the practice to continue into the next generation.

We do not know the scale of the problem in Scotland, but we know that a prevalence study that was published by Equality Now—an organisation that the cabinet secretary mentioned—and City University London identified that approximately 60,000 girls aged from birth to 14 have been born in England and Wales to mothers who have themselves undergone FGM. That is a shocking figure, but we must presume that the figure in Scotland will be roughly proportional. However, we need more research to allow us to understand fully the scale of the problem here, so I welcome the cabinet secretary’s commitment to a baseline study.

Those of us who live and work in areas where there is a high concentration of asylum seekers know that there are young women and girls who are affected by the practice living in our communities—there must be. The possibility of FGM being carried out on a young woman or girl should be part of the monitoring and assessment process that is undertaken when asylum claims are processed, because policies have to be consistent on the issue if they are to be effective.

As the Labour amendment says, it is a disappointment that there have been so few prosecutions to date, although it is perhaps understandable. Perhaps more needs to be done to co-ordinate the response of the agencies to cases of abuse, so I warmly welcome the partnership approach that the Scottish Government is taking. However, we must always be vigilant and constantly look to see what else will make a difference.

As the cabinet secretary will be aware, the UK Government has recently consulted on mandatory reporting of FGM. It is interesting that the British Medical Association briefing that we were all sent on the issue makes it clear that the BMA does not support that. I was initially surprised by that stance and asked the BMA for more information, which it provided. However, I must confess that I am not convinced by its argument, which seems to suggest that doctors should make a decision based on the circumstances of the individual case. Doctors would not hesitate to report other forms of abuse, so why should FGM be treated any differently? It is also interesting that the BMA’s stance seems to run counter to the approach of the midwives’ organisations, which think that all cases should be reported. I mention that because I would be genuinely interested to know whether the Scottish Government has had any discussion about, or given any consideration to, mandatory reporting as a policy option.

In this debate, we have heard FGM described as child abuse—it is—but I would go further and say that it is akin to torture. We must make it clear that we will support anyone who is a victim of FGM or fears that they might be. We must offer them our understanding, our compassion and our support, but our determination to help those women and girls must be matched by our determination to act against the perpetrators. We must be united in saying that FGM is not tolerated in this country.

16:10  

Meeting of the Parliament 04 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 04, 2015
Patricia Ferguson (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (Lab)

Will the member give way?

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12521.2 Jackie Baillie: Protecting Public Services and Boosting Scotland’s Economy—As an amendme
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YesDefeated

S4M-12521.1 Gavin Brown: Protecting Public Services and Boosting Scotland’s Economy—As an amendment
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12521.3 Willie Rennie: Protecting Public Services and Boosting Scotland’s Economy—As an amendmen
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12521 John Swinney: Protecting Public Services and Boosting Scotland’s Economy—That the Parliame
>> Show more
NoCarried

S4M-12495 Joe FitzPatrick on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau: Business Motion—That the Parliament
>> Show more
NoCarried

S4M-12491.2 John Swinney: Privacy and the State—As an amendment to motion S4M-12491 in the name of W
>> Show more
NoCarried

S4M-12491.1 Richard Simpson: Privacy and the State—As an amendment to motion S4M-12491 in the name o
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-12491 Willie Rennie: Privacy and the State—That the Parliament notes the Scottish Government’s c
>> Show more
NoCarried

S4M-12492.2 Jamie Hepburn: Mental Health—As an amendment to motion S4M-12492 in the name of Jim Hume
>> Show more
NoCarried

S4M-12492 Jim Hume: Mental Health—That the Parliament notes that one in four people will experience
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YesCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Patricia Ferguson
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-12575: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 06/03/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12544: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 04/03/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12441: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 25/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12380: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 22/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12235: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 03/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12236: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 03/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12189: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 28/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12119: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12118: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11838: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/12/2014 R Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Patricia Ferguson
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-04108: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 02/03/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24627: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24626: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24625: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24628: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24630: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24629: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24624: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-04064: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 23/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24498: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/02/2015 Show Full Question >>

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