Power of Attorney – Start the Conversation

Power of Attorney is a campaign funded by the Scottish Government to raise awareness of the importance of having a Power of Attorney granted to a trusted relative or friend. 
 
The campaign involves a partnership between NHS Tayside, Angus, Dundee and Perth and Kinross Councils and local law firms.
 
Many people are unaware that if they become ill or injured and are unable to make decisions for themselves, no one else can do this on their behalf unless they have legally been given power to do so through a Power of Attorney.
 
The campaign is encouraging people to talk to trusted family and friends about establishing a Power of Attorney.
 
Whatever age you are, it is important to think about and make plans for the future. The first step is to have conversations about your wishes, hopes and fears about how you would like to be cared for if you become ill.
 
If you are in hospital, a care environment or even your own home, no one can act for you to pay bills, manage your welfare or make key decisions unless you have made your plan.
 
Having a Power of Attorney in place can ensure that your wishes are carried out quickly without prolonged legal negotiations. Your next of kin is powerless without Power of Attorney.
 
The campaign website: www.mypowerofattorney.org.uk provides valuable help and information.
 
For further information about the campaign in Tayside download the “With Power of Attorney, the Future is in your hands” booklet.   Hard copies of this booklet can also be obtained by calling 425500.
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Last couple of days …

Over the past couple of days I have had a number of useful meetings regarding West End issues, including speaking with constituents on a number of local matters.
 
On Tuesday morning, I had a very useful discussion on local policing matters with Inspector Alistair Black of Police Scotland, our local police inspector.   I also met with Iain MacKinnon, the new President of Dundee University Students’ Association and thereafter, along with Angela Mehlert, the Chair of the Friends of Magdalen Green, I met with Dr David Rodley of the University of Dundee’s School of Engineering, Physics and Maths, together with four students.   The purpose of the latter meeting was to discuss progress with the renewable energy lighting project at Magdalen Green, and it was good to learn about progress towards this being installed, hopefully towards the end of 2013/early 2014.
 
The Friends’ Committee met later on Tuesday and Angela and I were able to update the committee on the lighting project progress.    In a very positive committee meeting, we discussed progress with the Roseangle Playpark Campaign, including the upcoming orienteering event and the photographic competition.   We also agreed that the Friends of Magdalen Green event as part of West End Christmas Fortnight will be a Soup and Pudding Lunch at Dundee West Church on Saturday 7th December.  More details to follow!
 
Yesterday, I had a very worthwhile meeting with a constituent and her family members along with Valerie Busher, Community Fundraising Development Manager at Maggie’s Centre.   The issue is the access to Maggie’s Centre from Ninewells Hospital for those travelling on foot, particularly for patients and those with mobility difficulties and we discussed matters like improved signage and promotion of the hospital’s mini-bus service.   I’m very grateful to Valerie for the time she spent with us yesterday and she is kindly progressing the issues with NHS Tayside.
 
Last night, I attended the Harris Academy Parent Council Annual General Meeting, the first meeting the Parent Council has held in the Lawton Road site.   It was an extremely well-attended AGM at which Mandy Trickett was elected the new Chair and Lesley Teviotdale was elected the new Vice Chair.   Graham McKay, the retiring Chair was thanked for all his work as Chair.    Harris Academy opens this morning for the first time at its decant site in Lawton Road and I was able to update parents on the bus transport situation.    We had a tour of the school after the meeting and thanks go to all the staff who have put in a huge effort to get the building ready for the 1000+ pupils who will return to school today.

Here4U project seeks volunteers


A new community project in Dundee aimed at supporting people who are receiving end of life care at home, is seeking volunteers.
 
The Here4U project provides extra support to these people and offers the opportunity of social interaction to improve the individual’s quality of life. It is a service for people who have a life-limiting illness and are receiving palliative care.
 
Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of individuals and their families facing the problems associated with life-limiting illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering. It provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms and offers a support system to help the family cope during the person’s illness and in their own bereavement.
 
The project is seeking people 18 years of age and over, from a variety of backgrounds and with diverse experience. They should be able to dedicate between two and four hours per week to the project. Sometimes those who have cared for someone receiving end of life care decide to volunteer themselves.
 
Community Volunteer Service Manager Derek McFarlane said, “Volunteers will build a relationship with an individual who is receiving palliative care. The relationship is based upon trust, support and confidentiality, and the volunteer will offer social support over a period of time.
 
“We are looking for volunteers who can give a commitment of time to the service. They should also have the ability to get along with others and be someone who values others’ opinions and beliefs whilst being able to listen.”
 
All volunteers will receive training and will have regular meetings to discuss how they are managing with the volunteering role and to offer them support. Associated expenses will be able to be claimed back.
 
For further information contact Derek McFarlane, Community Volunteer Service Manager, Roxburghe House, Dundee, DD1 1SP, call 01382 423134 (office hours Monday – Friday) or email dmcfarlane1@nhs.net.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms screening

As part of a national screening programme, men aged 65 in Dundee and the rest of Tayside will be invited to attend a local clinic to receive an ultrasound scan which can detect Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (AAA) – a condition that affects one in 20 men.
 
The condition affects the aorta – the main artery that runs from the heart down through the chest and abdomen. As people get older, the wall of the aorta in the abdomen can become weak and balloon out, forming an aneurysm. AAA is most common in men aged 65 and over. Most are unaware that they have the condition and will have no symptoms. For many men the rupture of the aneurysm is the very first sign of the problem. 
 
For further information on AAA screening call the NHS inform helpline on 0800 22 44 88 or visit the Screening Scotland website at www.nhsinform.co.uk/screening.

333 bus service

Back in August, I wrote to the Chief Executive of NHS Tayside expressing concern about the reduction in Service 333 – the ‘hospital link’ bus, primarily between Ninewells Hospital and Perth Royal Infirmary.
 
I have had constituents who are either NHS staff or hospital visitors contact me regarding their concerns and have therefore corresponded with both the NHS and Perth and Kinross Council (who tendered the service for NHS Tayside) on the matter.
 
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to discuss the matter further with my friend and colleague Cllr Willie Wilson of Perth and Kinross Council.   Willie has met with NHS Tayside representatives and staff regarding the situation.   The positive news is that core journeys will be saved and, although it will not be at the previous level of service, it will at least provide some service in the evenings and at weekends.   The additional Service 16 journeys (click here to see – new journeys highlighted in yellow) are to be welcomed.