Monthly Archives: November 2017

Thinking of our international friends on St Andrew’s Day

Russian Visit

Richard Lyle MSP and the then First Minister, Alex Salmond, meet the Russians delegation at the Scottish Parliament during their stay in Scotland. Also featured are Haemophilia Scotland Chairman Bill Wright and our Honorary President, Susan Warren, who organised the Russian group’s visit and was our Vice-Chair at the time. 

St Andrew isn’t just the patron state of Scotland, he is also the patron saint of Barbados, Romania, Russia, and the Ukraine.

So today seems like a good moment to look back to 2013 when Haemophilia Scotland played host to a group of about a dozen young Russian men with bleeding disorders.

They were successful finalists in a competition where the prize was a two-week visit to the UK. The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity enabled about many of them to travel abroad for the first time.

They spent time in London and Scotland, meeting other people affected by bleeding disorders and enjoying new experiences. While in Scotland they visited the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, where they met First Minister Alex Salmond (pictured above). In Inverness they took part in a traditional ceilidh. Susan Warren looked after the group throughout their time in the UK and made them very welcome.

We were a relatively new charity at the time but have maintained our commitment to playing our part in the international family of bleeding disorders charities.  That is one of the reasons we are so excited to have the WFH Congress coming to Glasgow in May next year and are delighted that our Women’s Group will be hosting the Women’s Booth at the conference.  We are particularly proud of our recent Malawi Diagnosis Project with our friends in the Society of Allied Bleeding Disorders in Malawi too.

If you’d like to know more about how bleeding disorders are experienced in other countries, these are the patient organisations in those who share Scotland’s national saint.

 

Congratulations to Aileen Gibson on her retirement

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We want to wish Aileen Gibson a happy retirement today!

Aileen is a Haemophilia Specialist Nurse at the New Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow.

In December 2016, Aileen received the “Best Haemophilia Nurse Award” from the Haemophilia Society. She has had a pivotal role in helping countless families come to terms with a diagnosis and has guided them through all the challenges, bumps, scares, and scraps that young families with a bleeding disorder experience.  Aileen’s respect and admiration is widespread across Scotland:

“You have been a huge part of our lives for the last 10 years and I’m glad we had you as our nurse!!”

“Thank you for being the best nurse and you will be missed lots!”

“Wishing you an amazing retirement…Thanks for being our haemo guru. Really is a sad day for us mammies but a delightful one for you.”

“You have meant so much to so many families and will be fondly remembered in the community for decades to come.”

We thank you for your dedication and service, Aileen, and wish you all the very best for the future!

Teens knock the wind out of the track at Knockhill

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Thank you to all who turned up for Go Karting at Knockhill on Saturday! We had a brilliant time out on the track racing against each other.

It had been a while since the last youth event we’ve organised so it was an excellent opportunity to get the teens together to do something fun and build friendships.

After an hour of competitiveness, speed and multiple crashes into the tyre barriers (everyone crashed at least once!)  we ate lunch and had a chat about the types of events teenagers with a bleeding disorder would want to attend. We received plenty of feedback, but if you’re a teenager and you have ideas for events that you would be keen to go along to, then please let Alex know at alex@haemophilia.scot or 0131 281 7366.

In addition, we discussed setting up a WhatsApp group for teenagers with a bleeding disorder so they can keep in touch with their peers and discuss ideas for future events. Again, if you’re keen and a teenager, then please let Alex know and we can add you to the WhatsApp group.

There’ll be many more opportunities in 2018 for teenagers to get together. We’ll keep you posted with all upcoming events!

Guest blog: Darren Ford on his fundraiser skydive for Haemophilia Scotland

Darren Ford is the Facilities Co-ordinator at our Edinburgh office and raised just over £500 for a fundraiser skydive for Haemophilia Scotland. Contact Glenda at the office if you wish to do your own fundraiser on behalf of Haemophilia Scotland.

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Darren Ford , feeling relieved, with his tandem instructor following his brave leap from the plane.

After speaking with some of the lovely hard working staff at Haemophilia Scotland, I signed myself up for Skydive to raise some funds to support the great work they do. Now I should probably mention at this point I have a fear of heights so perhaps not the smartest move I’ve made.

The whole process was really easy, made more so because Haemophilia Scotland team were so helpful, along with the staff running St Andrews Skydive. It was intended to be a Santa Skydive but due to bad weather along with my luck we had to reschedule a few times.

We managed to finally get the jump completed on the 27th August 2017. I can honestly say it’s one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, and its all for a good cause! It’s no where near as bad as I thought it would be and it was highly exhilarating. I managed to raise over £500, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that donated. I hope you enjoy the video!

Inspiration aplenty at Glasgow Practical Sewing Session

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We had a fantastic time yesterday at the practical sewing session in Glasgow where a flurry of ideas and inspiration floated about in abundance.

For inspiration, we used the eclectic fabrics from the D’Ambrosio family, quilting magazines and the corners of our collective imaginations!

You don’t need to be an expert at quilting to participate in this collaborative project. It can really be as simple as finding a printed panel and personalising it yourself.

We’ve extended the deadline to take part in the Quilt Project to November 17, so it’s not too late to get involved!

The next practical sewing session will be held on level 3 at our office in Edinburgh on November 11, between 11:00am-2:00pm. Register for the session now. 

Don’t worry if you can’t make the session as we will organise another session for Glasgow and Edinburgh in January, before the January 31 deadline.

 

UK Inquiry: The Scottish position and how to register for more information

Cabinet Table

Apologies for the longer than usual post but a lot has been going on in the run up to last week’s statement from the Prime Minister that the UK Contaminated Blood Inquiry was to be a Statutory Inquiry overseen by the Cabinet Office. 

Firstly, thank you to the many members of Haemophilia Scotland and the Scottish Infected Blood Forum (SIBF) who have come to recent campaign meetings and spoken to us about what they’d like to see from the UK Public Inquiry.

Using your comment, and our experience of the Penrose Inquiry, we have developed a joint position statement  which we believe reflects the views of the majority of affected people in Scotland.  We sent a copy to the UK Government on 11th October.

The Executive Summary summarises our position,

We support the establishment of an UK Public Inquiry and are proposing it has the following features,

1. The Inquiry be consulted on and established by the Cabinet Office or Ministry of Justice.

2. A statutory Inquiry under the 2005 Inquiries Act.

3. The Inquiry to be led by a Chair and Panel, rather than a Chair alone.

4. That there are Scottish Core Participants with Scottish legal representation.

5. The procedures of the Inquiry to be flexible and responsive to the needs of those infected including,
a) Those that wish to are able to give oral evidence.
b) Hearings are held in locations throughout the UK at accessible venues.
c) Proceedings are streamed live online.
d) The questions that affected people want to be asked can be put.
e) The privacy of those affected is protected.
f) Different topics should be investigated simultaneously, potentially under different members of the Panel, to allow the Inquiry to proceed quickly and make interim recommendations.

6. Terms of Reference that include,
i) All infections and pathogens.
ii) All use of plasma derived clotting factor products.
iii) Accountability and responsibility.
iv) Consent, communications, and risks.
v) Blood donor selection.
vi) Blood product selection.
vii) Impact on those affected.
viii) Access to justice.

We also provided a copy to the Scottish Government so that they had a clear understanding of the views of people in Scotland when they we discussing the Inquiry with the UK Government.

shona-robisonShona Robison MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport then met with Haemophilia Scotland and the SIBF.  She told us there had been a ministerial level conference call with Jackie Doyle-Price MP, which had discussed these issues.  We also talked about next steps including a proposed letter from the Cabinet Secretary to the Prime Minister.

Her letter to the Prime Minister, sent shortly after the meeting, raised the following points. It,

  1. Supported a Statutory Inquiry.
  2. Supported having a Panel rather than having a single Chair.
  3. Called for the Panel to have a say on the Terms of Reference having listened to those affected. She also asked for clarity over the process for setting the Terms of Reference and stressed the importance of building on the work of the Penrose Inquiry rather than duplicating it.
  4. Called for the Scottish Government, Haemophilia Scotland, and the Scottish Infected Blood Forum should be Core Participants of the Inquiry with legal representation.
  5. Urged that the Inquiry should be established as quickly as possible.

There has also been progress on legal issues.  At the recent joint Haemophilia Scotland / Scottish Infected Blood Forum members’ meeting we were pleased to announced an even closer working relationship with our legal team of Thompsons Solicitors, Simon Di Rollo QC, and Jamie Dawson.

PMcGuire-square-smallThompsons Solicitors have launched a new website so that affected people in Scotland can sign up for regular updates on the contaminated blood and blood products campaigning work of Haemophilia Scotland, SIBF, and Thompsons Solicitors.

You can register online at contaminatedbloodregister.co.uk or over the phone by calling 0800 081 0072.

At the meeting there was also an extremely useful discussion about the experience of people using the new Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme.  We will be working on these issues together and using them to prepare for the first periodic review of the scheme.

David GoldbergWe are also preparing for the start of the Clinical Review to be chaired by Prof. David Goldberg.  The group has been established by the Scottish Government as part of the implementation of the Financial Review Group recommendations.  The review will look at how to change the criteria from moving from the chronic to advanced levels of financial support from liver damage to whole health impact, how to assess whether a death is related to the virus for assessing entitlement to widow’s pension payments; and looking at the wider impact of chronic hepatitis C infection.

The review is being conducted in four streams,

  1. Describing characteristics of those at the chronic hepatitis C infection stage (previous stage 1).
  2. Examining latest scientific literature, in particular on chronic hepatitis C.
  3. Direct evidence from a random sample of Scottish people with chronic hepatitis C and widow(ers).
  4. Evidence on impact on health and wellbeing of those with chronic hepatitis C from a clinical and medical perspective.

The first meeting of the clinical review is scheduled for the end of November this year.

Response to Prime Ministerial statement on Contaminated Blood and Blood Products Inquiry

Theresa May

Today there have been media reports that the Prime Minister has announced more details about the UK Public Inquiry into contaminated blood and blood products.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister has confirmed that it is the intention of the Government for the Cabinet Office to establish a Statutory Inquiry.

Haemophilia Scotland CEO, Dan Farthing-Sykes responded to today’s statement saying,

In Scotland we have been calling for a statutory Inquiry under a panel rather than a lone Chair.  We also called for a department other than the Department of Health to establish the Inquiry and that the Inquiry provides for Scottish Core Participants with Scottish legal representation.

As a result, today’s statement from the Prime Minister is a welcome step in the right direction.  We are pleased that she has listened to the concerns of affected individuals and families and will hold a Statutory Inquiry established by the Cabinet Office.

However, perhaps the most important decisions still have to be taken.  We must have the right people appointed to the Inquiry panel and Terms of Reference which have the confidence of our community.  That can only be achieved by working with those affected.

The Terms of Reference must include both the events running up to the infections and the response to them.  The time frame must be long enough to cover all the infections associated with pooled plasma products including hepatitis B and CJD.  The unfinished business from the Penrose Inquiry must be completed.  The Penrose Report established important facts about the infections in Scotland but failed to follow them up with appropriate analysis or recommendations for the future. 

It will be extremely painful for those infected and their families to go through an Inquiry.  For many it will involve reliving the most painful memories.  It’s vital that they have appropriate support through the process and that their renewed suffering leads to concrete action.

It is hoped that a fuller statement will be laid in the House of Commons soon.

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