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Updates from Holyrood

Alison writes a regular column for local newspapers in the North East to keep residents updated with the latest goings on at Holyrood, and on her work on important issues from around the region. Below you can find a recent column, along with links to those from previous months.

Children's panel

Recently I had the opportunity to observe a hearing of the children's panel in Aberdeen, and to meet with the Children's reporter service.

The visit was very helpful given my role as a member of parliament's justice committee and as the Scottish Liberal Democrats' justice spokesperson. Supporting vulnerable children and young adults is crucial in helping them to succeed in their lives. The panel does this by making decisions that are in their best interests.

The panel meets to consider cases where a vulnerable child or young person is in need of care or who has offended. The needs of vulnerable young people are at the heart of this approach.

The only qualification volunteers need to become panel members is to be empathetic and willing to listen. I encourage anyone who is interested in supporting our children and young people to consider taking up this opportunity. You can find out more on the Children's Panel Scotland website.

Aubin Group

Last week I was invited to celebrate the success of a local business. Aubin Group - an Ellon-based company that develops and supplies chemical solutions to the oil and gas industry - recently received the Queen's Award for International Trade in recognition of its success in global sales of its products and services.

At company's headquarters in Ellon the chief executive officer Patrick Collins received a presentation from Aberdeenshire's Lord Lieutenant. The company has a subsidiary in Dubai and is in process of opening another subsidiary in Houston, Texas.

I was pleased to see a local company that is enjoying success and is still able to grow regardless of the downturn in the North Sea oil and gas sector. I wish them the very best of luck in the future.


A number of GP surgeries across the North East have either closed or announced in the recent months that they will close. There are many different issues, but one of the main ones is that a significant number of GPs are getting older and nearing retirement. Furthermore fewer people who are studying medicine choose to become GPs.

Earlier this month, Scottish Liberal Democrats released a report on a survey which analysed the responses of 389 GPs at 352 practices across Scotland.

The results of this survey suggested that, in the North East, about a third of GPs would likely choose a different career had they the choice to make over again, while one in four doctors find their workload unmanageable. The results of this survey are extremely concerning given that we are already facing shortages of GPs in the North East and indeed across the rest of Scotland.

I have called on Scottish Government to listen to our GPs and support the plans of Royal College of GPs. We must address the issues of funding, infrastructure, IT, the GP contract, recruitment and integrated care. It is crucial that the government consider these issues immediately so as to prevent further worsening of the situation.

My Holyrood Columns