Holyrood notes: Action plan for rural Scotland unveiled

I was pleased to hear that NHS Borders has promised “extensive public engagement” as part of its 18 month review of all the services it provides.

I have been inundated with messages from concerned residents about the possibility of community hospitals in Duns, Hawick and Kelso being put under threat.

I will continue to stand up for my constituents in opposing any closures of frontline services which will take patients out of their community and result in Borders General Hospital being put under even greater strain.

I understand the health board is keen to calm fears that the review will result in hospital closures.

The best way for the board to do this would be to come out and publicly rule out any closures.

The remit for this review is due to be finalised in the next few weeks, this would be the perfect opportunity to alleviate the concerns of members of the public.

I can only urge anyone who is concerned to contact me and to also make sure they make their feelings clear to NHS Borders as soon as they get the opportunity.

I was delighted to lend my support to the Borders Hear to Help survice, which is run by Action on Heating Loss. This service provides one-to-one support and advice to individuals with NHS Hearing Aids and runs a drop-in service in Duns.

I’ve visited the Hear to Help service before to see the fantastic work of Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s volunteers.

It was good to catch up with Delia Henry from Action on Hearing Loss and get an update on their ongoing campaign to retain their drop-in service in the Borders.

These sessions make a real difference to people with hearing difficulties and allow them to continue living independently.

I hope very much that financial support for Hear to Help continues, it is certainly a service worth retaining.

The Scottish Conservatives have launched an action plan for rural Scotland calling for more powers and more opportunities for all.

The plan includes a pledge for all of rural Scotland to receive superfast broadband, in a bid to help families, businesses and charities, and the creation of a new rural broadband fund, open to individuals and businesses.

Over £400 million is being invested in Scotland already, providing rural broadband for 200,000 homes and last summer, the Conservative led UK Government announced new exchange areas for Ayton, Chirnside, Coldstream, Duns, Eyemouth, Leitholm and Paxton.

The Borders risks getting left behind by the current lack of decent broadband.

If you’re a young entrepreneur living in Berwickshire with a great idea for a new start-up tech business, you shouldn’t have to go to the city to get a decent internet connection.

Proper investment in broadband is not only good for communicating in our homes, but it is vital for businesses and therefore jobs too.

I have launched my new campaign website, which includes all my latest news, information about what I am doing in Parliament, dates for my next surgeries and also all the details about how you can help with the campaign.

Please take a look at the new website - johnlamont.org