HIV Scotland in Parliament - July 2017

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Tuesday 18th July 2017

Cross-Party Group update

The second meeting of the Cross-Party Group on Sexual Health and Blood Borne Viruses focused on the importance of patient involvement and access to peer support. Presentations were made by representatives from Queen Margaret University, Lothian HIV Patient Forum, Hep C Trust and Waverley Care. Speakers were invited following the collaboration of a working group formed with organisations from across the sector who shaped the agenda.

The range of academic, organisational and personal testimonies provided the MSPs in attendance with insight into why meaningful involvement from people accessing services is crucial. Attendees noted the challenges that continue to exist to engage with harder to reach communities and maintaining existing involvement from people. It was highlighted that despite the Scottish Government’s Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Framework stating that patient involvement should not be considered optional, there remains no formal monitoring mechanism for this.

Members agreed to seek further information from both the Scottish Government and Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Executive Leads on funding for patient forums, and what actions are being taken to ensure the involvement of people at risk of HIV in services.

The next meeting of the Cross-Party Group will take place on Thursday 14th September at 5:30pm in the Scottish Parliament and will focus on sexual health and blood borne virus stigma. If you want to find out more about the work of the group or get involved, contact Liam Beattie, Policy and Political Officer.

Decision on blood donation petition delayed

MSPs on the Public Petitions Committee have called for further evidence in their consideration of a petition that seeks to change the existing blood donation rules to an individual risk-based system. In June, HIV Scotland provided a submission to the parliament and this was noted by the Committee during its most recent meeting .

Following a separate review, the Scottish Government has announced that blood donation rules in Scotland will be overhauled from November. The changes will mean that men-who-have-sex-with-men will be subject to a three month deferral period and not a 12 month as currently stands. Read HIV Scotland’s response to the announcement here.

New Scottish MPs called to support people affected by HIV

Ahead of the parliamentary summer recess, HIV Scotland wrote to Scotland’s new MPs to congratulate them on their election success and to commit to acting on the issues that impact people affected by HIV. The nature of a minority UK Government, means that Scotland’s MPs will be able to play a crucial role in scrutinising and amending future legislation on areas including human rights and social security. HIV Scotland will seek to form working relationships with MPs from all parties to champion the rights of people affected by HIV and drive forward positive change.