Health and Sport Committee: 13th November 2018

Health and Sport Committee
Scottish Parliament
13 November 2018

Video 1: David’s series of questions as the Committee takes evidence on the Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill.

Video 2: Further questions raised by David on organ donation.

David nominates John Macleod for the new £50 note

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and Parliamentary Diabetes Champion, David Stewart, is to nominate forgotten Scottish hero as the scientist who should feature on the new Bank of England £50 note after The Bank of England announced that the new £50 note will feature a prominent British scientist, with the public being asked for nominations.

In addition to the Queen, the note will include the portrait of an eminent late scientist from fields such as biology, astronomy and medical research.

David said ” I would like to nominate the late scientist John Macleod, an Aberdonian, who shared the 1923 Nobel Prize with Frederick Banting, a young Canadian physician, for their discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto in 1921–1922

“On 8 November 1920, John, the educated Professor of Physiology at the University of Toronto, met for the first time a young Canadian physician, Frederick Banting. Banting hoped Macleod would help him try out a research idea aimed at isolating the internal secretion of the pancreas. Macleod agreed to take Banting into his department and together they worked on a research plan along with their Assistants. On 3 May 1922, John Macleod read a paper to the American Association of Physicians, co-authored by Banting and called ‘The Effect Produced on Diabetes by Extracts of Pancreas’. The audience, which included America’s leading diabetologists, gave him a standing ovation for the work they had done in isolating the pancreatic hormone that controlled metabolism, which they named ‘insulin’.

“In October 1923 it was announced in Stockholm that Frederick Banting and John Macleod would share the 1923 Nobel Prize for their discovery.

David continued “As some will be aware Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use sugar (glucose) from carbohydrates in the food that you eat for energy or to store glucose for future use. The cells in your body need sugar for energy.

“Before the discovery of insulin in 1922, diabetes was often a fatal disease.

“Alarmingly one in 20 people in Scotland have diabetes which is now effectively treated by Insulin.

David concluded “As Parliamentary Diabetes Champion this is an issue close to my heart and I think the late John MacLeod, a forgotten medical hero is the perfect nominee to appear on the front of the new £50

MSP stands up for the Highlands and Islands over exemption from Air Departure Tax

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP David Stewart took the fight to continue the Highlands and Islands exemption to Air Departure Tax to Nicola Sturgeon today.

In Holyrood, he raised the issue at First Minister’s Questions, asking what recent discussions had the Scottish Government had with the European Commission on the tax.

Mr Stewart went on: “The First Minister will be well aware of the calls from some quarters of the aviation industry south of the Highland line to kill off the Highlands & Islands exemption, with potentially damaging consequences for businesses and communities across the region.

“Can the First Minister give Parliament an absolute assurance today that she will resist these misguided demands, and protect the interests of the Highlands and Islands by preserving this vitally important exemption.”

Ms Sturgeon replied that the Government wanted to protect the existing exemption from the tax and had written to the UK Government asking them to notify the exemption for approval to the European Commission, had on-going discussions on the issue, as well as looking at a range of different options to try to solve the problem.

She said actions to date demonstrated that the Scottish Government was absolutely determined to protect the Highlands and Islands exemption.

“I certainly would not support anybody who wanted to kill off that exemption,” she added.

Afterwards, Mr Stewart welcomed the First Minister’s positive reply and stressed that the current exemption for passengers flying from Highlands and Islands airports, meant up to a 16% reduction on some flights to the UK, Europe and beyond.

“This is an extremely important exemption for the region, also making regional routes more viable and sustainable.

“To progress this the Scottish Government needs to have further talks with the UK Government and with the European Commission as a matter of urgency.

“I will continue to stand up for the Highlands and Islands on this one.”

David Stewart, tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament today (31/10/18) acknowledging and commending Gordon and Sandra McKandie for their drive

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and long-time road safety campaigner, David Stewart, tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament today (31/10/18) acknowledging and commending Gordon and Sandra McKandie for their drive, determination motivation and strength in raising funds to purchase defibrillators which have been issued to Police Scotland Roads Policing Units in the North East Division where the medical equipment has already been used 39 times resulting in the saving of a 52 year old man’s life. The family has now raised funds to provide the Highlands and Islands Division with the same equipment. The fundraising is part of the charity they set up called ‘Kierans Legacy’ which is in memory of their 16 year old son who was killed in a road collision back in 2016 near his home in Moray.

 David Stewart said “ I am humbled and at the same time proud to have the opportunity to table a motion in the Scottish Parliament which recognises the charitable work of these two loving parents who have done so much to help save others by purchasing and donating defibrillators to Police Scotland Roads Policing Units. I have been fully aware of this tragic case through my own and my team’s work within the North Of Scotland Driver Awareness Team (NOSDAT). Despite having to grieve for the loss of their son, Gordon and Sandra have found the strength and will to set up this tremendous legacy to their son. It is a truism that is not depleted by repetition that there is no greater tragedy, no greater sorrow and no greater loss than for a parent to lose a child.