May/June Update!

I’d expected my first update to you to be very different, but I am heartbroken at the result of the EU referendum and all that might now happen as a result.

I used my first speech in Holyrood to state why I firmly believe that we are best served by the UK remaining part of the European Union. I’m incredibly proud that my UK leader Tim Farron has stated that the Liberal Democrats will fight the next UK general election on a platform to restore the UK to EU membership.

Local Update:

GP Crisis and waiting times:

In recent weeks I’ve visited two of the busiest GP practices in West Edinburgh - both are experiencing real capacity issues which is leading to delays in waiting times. East Craigs Medical Centre in particular is struggling to recruit enough doctors to meet demand and has had to close its lists to new patients. Ladywell Medical Centre is also at capacity and the controversial Garden City development at Gyle would see an unsustainable increase in their patient numbers, I challenged the First Minister on this in Parliament, you can watch our exchange here.

Much of the problem is due to increased pressures of work load. With one in 4 appointments relating to underlying mental health conditions, proper funding for mental health services is vital.

I raised the GP crisis and the need for a radical investment in mental health with the Cabinet Secretary for Health in Parliament. You can watch it here.

Queensferry Crossing Delay:

I’ve questioned both the Cabinet Secretary for the Economy and the First Minister directly in the chamber about the revelation that the Queensferry Crossing will be delayed by 6 months. I have issued a range of Freedom of Information requests to ensure that the people of Edinburgh Western have full transparency over the issue. You can see my exchange with the First Minister here.

Duart Crescent and Kirkliston Post Offices:

I was proud to work along a group of dedicated local campaigners when the Duart Crescent Post Office shut without notice in early May. Thanks to the efforts of local people, led by the Drumbrae community council, the post office has re-opened. It is vital that we now use this service as the Post Office will be monitoring demand over the next few months and may decide to close the counter again if it isn’t being used.

Despite the resignation by the postmaster at Kirkliston Post Office, Post Office UK have confirmed that they intend to appoint a new postmaster and are looking for new premises. They assure me that there should be minimal disruption to service. 

Murraypark Care home (Corstorphine hospital):

I’ve now convened 2 meetings in parliament for families affected by the proposed closure of the Murraypark Care home in the Grounds of Corstorphine Hospital. I invited representatives from all political parties and from NHS Lothian to help address the impact this could have on the very vulnerable residents of the home, work will continue over the summer to ensure the interests of those affected are met.

A new airport bus link: 

I’ve held early meetings with the Airport to discuss the potential for a new direct bus link to the airport to reduce congestion and pollution in the West of the city. I’m going to meet with the surface access manager for the Airport, the routes director for Lothian Buses and the city’s transport convener over the summer to build a business case for a new service, which would not in any way impact on the existing Airlink 100. For those in Cramond, Davidson’s Mains and Blackhall it would offer a cheaper alternative to taxis and airport parking while reducing car dumping in Corstorphine. The campaign is still gathering support – you can sign the petition here.

64 bus:

Over the past few weeks I’ve been working to fight for the continuation of the 64 bus service which serves communities across West Edinburgh and was withdrawn in Early June. This is a life line service and its withdrawal will leave some older residents in particular stranded and isolated. I put a motion to the Scottish Parliament on the withdrawal on the service, you can view this here. I will continue to fight to see the service reinstated.

Housing and care home developments:

I have continued to press the Council for moratorium on housing development in the West of the city given pressure on GP surgeries and arterial roads. I was astonished that the Council agreed to the Garden City Development at Gyle. As a result of this I’ve called on the planning committee to remove Cammo from the Local Development Plan entirely. 

Last week I attended the Planning committee of the Council. I was outraged when SNP and Conservative councillors voted to approve the unwanted care home application at 565 Queensferry Road - I will continue to oppose this. The care home proposed for Whitehouse Road will now go to a full hearing in August and I plan to make a strenuous representation against it in partnership with local residents.

Can I help?

I hold surgeries in my office in Corstorphine every Friday between 1pm and 3pm at my office in St John’s Road. For an appointment please call 0131 334 1814.

I also hold supermarket surgeries on a rotational basis around the constituency between 3pm and 4pm every week. No appointment required but to find out where I’ll be call 0131 334 1814.

Alex Cole-Hamilton

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