Hundreds of new staff to be recruited for ambulance service

Health secretary said the move will ensure the service is ‘ready for the challenges ahead’.

Ambulance: New staff to be recruited. Scottish Ambulance Service via SAS
Ambulance: New staff to be recruited.

Almost 300 new ambulance staff are to be recruited as part of efforts to remobilise the NHS and ensure the service is “ready for the challenges ahead”, health secretary Humza Yousaf has announced.

The £20m needed for the recruitment drive is part of the Scottish Government’s £1bn plan to bolster the NHS in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It comes as the NHS remains under pressure as a result of coronavirus, with a sharp surge in cases in Scotland in recent days.

The latest wave of recruitment will see paramedics, technicians, patient transport staff and other professionals taken on in the north and north-east of Scotland.

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In addition, additional ambulances and other resources will be made available to help the service better cope with demand.

Yousaf praised ambulance workers, who he said have been “at the heart of the response to the coronavirus pandemic”, adding that “we all owe them a huge debt of gratitude for their courage, commitment and professionalism”.

He added: “These additional resources show that this Government is determined to ensure they have the support needed to meet patient demand as the NHS continues to remobilise.

“Our recent recovery plan targeted over £1bn of investment over the next five years across the whole health system to increase capacity and ensure the health service is ready for the challenges ahead.

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“Investment in support for staff and their wellbeing will be an essential and vital component of our recovery and the reduction of on-call working for ambulance staff will help with this.”

Scottish Ambulance Service chief executive Pauline Howie said the funding is “great news” and will allow it to “continue to increase our investment in new frontline staff, new ambulances and new vehicles at pace”.

She continued: “These new resources will ensure we continue to deliver the very best patient care by boosting capacity and increasing our resilience in communities across Scotland.

“They’ll also complement our dedicated staff who have worked tirelessly over the last 18 months in extremely demanding circumstances.”

With an additional 296 staff, she said this will mean reduced on-call working and therefore an improved work/life balance for some existing employees.

Ms Howie said: “Additional stations where on-call working will also be eliminated or reduced are currently being identified.”


Army tanker drivers to be put on standby amid fuel supply issues

Military drivers will now get specialised training in preparation for their possible deployment.

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Many filling stations ran dry after drivers made a dash for the pumps amid fears a shortage of tanker drivers would hit supplies.

Army tanker drivers will be put on a state of readiness in preparation for deployment to ease the chaos on fuel supply chains, the UK Government has announced in the face of mounting pressure.

Military drivers will now get specialised training in preparation for their possible deployment, ministers announced on Monday.

An extension to ADR driver licences permitting drivers to maximise their available capacity instead of being taken out of circulation for refresher training purposes was also announced.

The move comes after many filling stations ran dry after drivers made a dash for the pumps amid fears a shortage of tanker drivers would hit supplies.

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Defence secretary Ben Wallace said: “The men and women of our armed forces stand ready to alleviate the transport pressures where they are felt most.

“That is why I have authorised their increased preparedness so they are ready to respond if needed.”

UK business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, who issued the Military Aid to the Civil Authorities request, said: “While the fuel industry expects demand will return to its normal levels in the coming days, it’s right that we take this sensible, precautionary step.

“The UK continues to have strong supplies of fuel, however we are aware of supply chain issues at fuel station forecourts and are taking steps to ease these as a matter of priority.

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“If required, the deployment of military personnel will provide the supply chain with additional capacity as a temporary measure to help ease pressures caused by spikes in localised demand for fuel.”

The Army tanker drivers will deliver fuel to where it is needed most, and and provide, and provide reassurance that supplies remain strong, the Government said.


Mum tells inquiry her world was ‘torn apart’ by Manchester Arena bombing

Marion MacLeod's 14-year-old daughter Eilidh died at the Ariana Grande concert, a public inquiry into the terror attack heard.

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Eilidh died in the Manchester Arena bombing.

A mother told how she heard an enormous explosion and her world was “torn apart” as her teenage daughter died in the Manchester Arena bombing, the public inquiry into the terror attack heard.

Marion MacLeod had arrived outside the arena to collect her daughter Eilidh, 14, and her friend who had been to the Ariana Grande concert.

Mrs MacLeod, from the island of Barra in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, had travelled south with her daughter, a music lover and bagpipe player, staying over in a hotel in Manchester close to the Arena.

Her daughter, the middle one of three sisters, was “beyond excited” to be attending the event, Mrs MacLeod said in a statement read to the inquiry, the pair using Facetime and swapping messages during the show.

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Mrs MacLeod said: “She was loving life and I told her to sing her heart out and dance the night away.

“I told that I would be there to collect her later and that I loved her.”

Later she went to meet her daughter and her friend when the show was due to finish.

She added: “As I left our hotel I messaged Eilidh asking if the concert was over and she messaged back saying it was the last song.

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“It was 10.29pm.

“I was just about at the corner across the road from the Arena where I told Eilidh I would be waiting for them when I heard an enormous explosion.

“The ground shook and that was when our whole world was torn apart.”

Eilidh entered the City Room, the foyer to the Arena, at 10.30pm at the end of the show.

Suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated his device, packed with thousands of nuts a minute later with Eilidh standing just four metres away.

Footage from the City Room minutes later showed Eilidh, who attended Castlebay Community School, lying on her right hand side and not moving and by 10.51pm she had been covered with clothing.

At 23.45pm a label was placed on her by a paramedic to identify her as deceased.

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A post-mortem examination and reports from bomb blast wave experts and pathology reports all concluded Eilidh’s injuries were not survivable.

Sir John Saunders, chairman of the inquiry said: “Eilidh lived on the beautiful island of Barra and the beauty of the surroundings where she was brought up shone out in her personality.

“She enriched the lives of many.”

The inquiry, sitting in Manchester, is look at how and in what circumstances each of the 22 victims died on May 22 2017, and to probe whether any inadequacies in the emergency response contributed to individual deaths and/or if they could have been prevented.

The hearing continues.


Girl’s chemotherapy was stopped due to hospital infection, inquiry hears

The young patient was being treated for leukaemia at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

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The Scottish Hospital Inquiry.

A mother has told an inquiry that her daughter’s life-saving cancer treatment had to be terminated early after she contracted a hospital-acquired infection, which she is still fighting three years on.

The young patient was being treated for leukaemia at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) when she started developing painful lumps and lesions on her body in 2019.

She had been first diagnosed with cancer in 2014 when she was nine years old.

The Scottish Hospital Inquiry heard test results showed the patient had developed mycobacterium chelonae – a rare infection – that likely came from a water supply in one of the hospital’s operating theatres.

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Her life-saving chemotherapy had to be finished early due to needing an immediate course of treatment for the hospital-acquired infection, an inquiry heard.

QEUH and Royal Children’s Hospital in Glasgow are currently at the centre of an investigation over issues at the flagship Glasgow hospitals which have been linked to the deaths of two children.

It was ordered after patients at the Glasgow hospital died from infections linked to pigeon droppings and the water supply.

A hearing on Monday heard the patient caught the infection when she had her line – a catheter used to give chemotherapy treatment – removed during surgery in February 2019.

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Three years on, the mother said her daughter is still suffering with the infection, which she claims doctors said could take up to five years to fight off.

Speaking at the inquiry in person, the patient’s mum spoke about an independent case note review that looked into how her daughter contracted the infection.

She said: “The panel found that it was very highly probable that the mycobacterium infection came from the water supply in the operating theatre in the RHC.

“It concluded that the infection has had a severe impact on my daughter’s life, and it is continuing to have a severe impact on her life.”

She told the inquiry she was aware about water issues in Ward 2A of the RCH, but was told “umpteen times” that other areas of the hospital were safe.

She said: “When you’re faced with something (the infection) that’s very rare and told that the doctors don’t actually know if they can fight the infection and it’s caused by a hospital that should be safe and there to protect some of the sickest children in Scotland is horrendous.

“To find out the hospital has inflicted more pain and could have taken our child’s life is devastating.”

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The patient’s mother also pointed to issues with Ward 6 in the adult hospital where her daughter was moved to after rooms at the children’s hospital were closed due to water contamination issues.

She said part of the roof at the adult hospital “blew off” and windows “fell out” of their frames.

The mum added she saw sewage bursting through tiles in one of the hospital’s corridors.

Alastair Duncan QC, counsel to the inquiry, asked how she felt about her daughter contracting an infection which prevented her from receiving her chemotherapy to fight off cancer to which she replied: “I actually can’t put into words how I feel about that.

“I am devastated and angry.”

In a closing statement, she said: “I don’t feel safe in the hospital, and I know for a fact that my daughter certainly doesn’t feel safe.

“It is not just the infections, I don’t even feel the actual building is safe. I don’t feel that the structure of the building is safe.

“I don’t feel that the health board has got the kids’ best interests, or their care is at the centre of it.”

Earlier this year, an independent review found the deaths of two children at the QEUH campus were at least in part the result of infections linked to the hospital environment.

The review investigated 118 episodes of serious bacterial infection in 84 children and young people who received treatment for blood disease, cancer or related conditions at the Royal Hospital for Children at the campus.

It found a third of these infections were “most likely” to have been linked to the hospital environment.

Two of 22 deaths were “at least in part” the result of their infection, it said.

The inquiry in Edinburgh, chaired by Lord Brodie, continues.

Health boards are due to give their evidence at a later stage.


Hotel guests taken to hospital after evacuation over chlorine smell

Emergency services attended the Inchyra Hotel due to concerns over strong smell of chlorine from swimming pool.

STV News

Seven people were taken to hospital after a luxury hotel was evacuated due to reports of a strong smell of chlorine coming from the building’s swimming pool.

Emergency services attended the Inchyra Hotel in Grangemouth when the alarm was raised at 7.30pm on Sunday.

Guests and staff were told to leave the building while the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) investigated.

Police said on Monday the incident was caused by “chemicals being used in the spa area”.

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A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We received a call at 19.34hrs to attend an incident at Inchyra Grange Hotel in Polmont.

“We dispatched several resources to the scene and seven patients were transported to hospital.”

NHS Forth Valley said a small number of guests were taken to Forth Valley Royal Hospital on Sunday night for assessment and all have been discharged.

A spokesperson for the hotel’s operator Macdonald Hotels said: “Following reports of a stronger than normal smell of chlorine from the swimming pool at the Inchyra Hotel in Grangemouth, guests were initially evacuated to the car park, then accommodated in another wing of the hotel as a precaution whilst the fire brigade carried out investigations into the cause.”

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SFRS sent two appliances and a specialist detection, identification and monitoring unit to the scene.

An SFRS spokesman said: “We were called at 7.30pm on Sunday to assist as part of a multi-agency response to an incident at a hotel on Grange Road.

“Operations control sent two appliances and specialist resources to the scene.”

Firefighters left the scene at about 11pm.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 7.40pm on Sunday, 26 September, officers were called to assist at a hotel in Grange Road, Grangemouth, following a report of a chemical leak. Following a multi-agency response it was discovered that the incident was a result of chemicals being used in the spa area.

“A number of people were evacuated from the hotel as a precaution, but later returned.”

Police also confirmed some guests were taken to hospital, while others were examined by the Scottish Ambulance Service on site.

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Couple sell ‘dream’ house to tour Scotland in campervan

Victoria MacDonald and Scott Ross run a marketing travel company, working from the most scenic views across the country.

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A couple sold their £150,000 “dream” house to travel around Scotland in a campervan with their dogs.

Victoria MacDonald, 28, and Scott Ross, 32, lived in a large three-bed but found the pressure of their careers was bringing them down.

The detached home, in Cruden Bay, Aberdeenshire, had belonged to the Coleman’s mustard dynasty, and they bought it for £100,000 in June 2016.

Victoria, who worked as a purchasing administrator in the oil and gas industry, was suffering from depression, and Scott was working in grounds operation at a heliport company before injuring his back in the workplace in June 2016.

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They make a living travelling around Scotland in a campervan with their dogs.
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In March this year, they put their house on the market – and it sold within three days, for £146,000.

The couple bought a Citroen Relay 2016 campervan for £13,000 but it needed work doing to it – so they moved into a croft in Muir of Ord, Highlands, for two months.

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The couple’s former home.

They installed a kitchen, bedroom area and a solar-powered shower.

Now they run an online marketing travel company and work remotely from some of the most scenic views across the country.

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Colle, who is a border collie/Labrador cross, aged eight months, and their seven-year-old Lab, Callie, sleep in the bed with them.

Victoria, from Inverness, has come off anti-depressants after four years, finding the great outdoors makes her high on life, and Scott’s back has improved with more exercise.

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The detached home, in Cruden Bay, Aberdeenshire, had belonged to the Coleman’s mustard dynasty.

Victoria said: “It was a cracker of a house, it was historic.

“It had 12 rooms in total, including a double-roomed basement, and an old ballroom. 

“It was too big for us though.

“It was a dream house when we bought it, but we never settled. 

“We bought it for £100,000 and sold it for £146,000.

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“We both decided to move on from the house as it was too big. 

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The pair prefer life on the road.

“We didn’t know where we wanted to move to. 

“We came up with the idea of moving into a van and taking our work on the road. 

“So that’s exactly what we did.

“We put our house on the market in March 2021 and it sold within three days.”

Victoria and Scott, who is from Old Meldrum, Aberdeenshire, have been together for seven years.

Nearly five years ago, the couple were both signed off from work and decided to start a blog about their enthusiasm for travel.

Their hobby turned into a full time occupation, and they now work with VisitScotland to promote tourism – and have never been happier.

Victoria said: “I was ill with depression, so I left my work, and around that same time, Scott injured his back so required to take leave. 

“During our time away from work, we came up with the idea for the website and the blog, and just went for it. 

“Our friends were not surprised and our family was the same, no one was massively surprised. 

“We haven’t done the nine to five life for years now.”

The couple have found sacking off materialism has given them a new lease of life, and describe their nomadic lifestyle as ‘freeing’.

In total they spent £23,000 on their mobile home which they fitted out with specifications such as a Swedish oven.

Victoria said: “We bought an old van, a Citroen Relay 2016, for £13,000.

“It needed a lot of work done, so we moved into a croft in the Highlands while we worked on it. 

“We spend £10,000 on the conversion. 

“It was horrible. I’ve made no secret of the fact I did not enjoy the conversion process. 

“It took a couple of weeks planning, but no matter how much you plan for it, you don’t find out how much is needed to be done until you’re right in the thick of it. 

“It has solar panels on the roof, at 320 watts.

“We have a hob, and an Omnia, which is a Swedish oven. 

“We have a fridge, and we built a bit for food storage.

“At the minute we have a solar shower, that you can hang outside and it heats water up through solar energy.”

They now spend their time driving around Scotland, visiting new places and writing reviews.

Victoria said: “One of the best things about it is it’s so freeing. 

“It’s amazing how much stuff you do not need. 

“There’s something about being so ingrained into nature. 

“I wake up every day to an unbelievable view out my window.

“I was on antidepressants for four years and now I’ve been off them since we started our new life. 

“Scott’s back is getting stronger, due to the amount of exercise he is getting every day. 

“The two dogs are loving it as well, although they are constantly knackered since they are outside all the time.

“We have not missed or regretted selling the house since we got on the road.”


Trade unions set to stage protests over Glasgow ‘cleansing crisis’

GMB has urged the city council to work with them and not against them to tackle the problem. 

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There have been growing complaints over rat infestations and anger over rubbish and fly-tipping on Glasgow’s streets.

Members of two Glasgow trade unions are set to join forces to stage a day of  protests to challenge the City Council’s response to the “cleansing crisis”.

GMB branch 40 say they are working with Living Rent to “push” the council into investing more in the cleansing services for the city and are planning a day of action very soon.

It comes after the council leader councillor Susan Aitken made comments on BBC Scotland’s The Nine, about the amount of graffiti near the SEC Centre which is expected to host Cop26 in November.

In recent months there have been growing complaints over rat infestations and anger over rubbish and fly-tipping on Glasgow’s streets despite the council’s street cleaning budget sitting at £18m and employment of 598 refuse collectors this financial year.

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The GMB has also urged the city council to work with them and not against them to tackle the problem. 

Convener Chris Mitchel explained: “We had a public meeting last week which was very well attended by a number of citizens who are totally behind the campaign that Glasgow deserves better. 

“We have had enough of the council denying there is a crisis. The public, the workforce and the GMB  alongside Living Rent are now standing together. We are demanding action now from the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council. 

“You only need to look at the comments last week again from the council leader on the BBC’s  The Nine show. Referring to a wee ned with a spray can is totally unacceptable and has caused a lot of anger in Glasgow.”

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Glasgow City Council was asked to comment on the situation. The council has previously said it welcomed reports from the public as the information they provide helps them tailor our services to the needs of Glasgow citizens.


Children aged 12 to 15 set to receive Covid jab appointments

Scheduled appointments offering children a single dose of the Covid-19 Pfizer vaccination will arrive this week.

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Vaccine: Appointment letters will arrive this week.

Appointment letters inviting children aged between 12 and 15 for a coronavirus vaccine will be dropping through letterboxes this week.

Drop-in clinics have been available to this age group for the last week and now scheduled appointments, starting this week, are being issued to all those eligible.

Children aged between 12 and 15 will be offered a single dose of the Covid-19 Pfizer vaccine.

Parents and carers are being encouraged to accompany their children to community-based appointments where possible so they can discuss any questions they have with staff at the site.

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The appointment letters, which will be arriving from Monday, contain an information leaflet, which all parents and carers are urged to read with their children so they can make an informed decision about getting the vaccine.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “The rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine to all children and young people aged 12-15 marks a significant milestone in the vaccination programme.

“It has been demonstrated that Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective in this age group, and vaccination offers the best chance of protecting young people from Covid-19 and preventing further disruption to education. Many countries around the world have already been safely vaccinating children and young people in this age group.

“Getting the Covid-19 vaccine is a decision to be made jointly between parents or carers and their children, but it’s really important to use reliable and trusted sources such as NHS Inform when making a decision and assessing the potential benefits, risks and side effects.

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“Individual choice should be respected for the decisions young people and their parents or carers make in accepting, or not accepting the vaccine offer.

“Where possible, parents or carers are welcome to attend appointments with their children and both can ask questions about any queries they have before the vaccination is given.

“I would like to thank all of the vaccinators and vaccine site staff who have worked so hard to get us to this stage of the Covid-19 vaccine programme.”

In some rural areas, 12 to 15-year-olds will be offered the jabs through their school vaccination programme instead of a community setting and they will receive letters and leaflets home from school.

Family of organ donor hope others share their wishes to save lives

Gillian Wilson's husband, Gavin, helped to save the lives of four people following his sudden death in 2020.

STV News

By Jenness Mitchell & Polly Bartlett

The family of a man who helped save lives following his sudden death has spoken of the importance of sharing organ donation wishes with loved ones.

Builder Gavin Wilson, 55, died unexpectedly in December 2020.

He went on to become an organ donor, saving the lives of four people.

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His wife, Gillian, told STV News she’s “incredibly proud” of her late husband.

Speaking during Organ and Tissue Donation Week, Mrs Wilson said: “We wanted to support organ donation week really because I’d always been passionate and up for organ donation, but after experiencing it from a family’s point of view and what it’s actually given us back as a family has been incredible, and I want everyone to know the positive side of it.

“Also, I’m incredibly proud of my husband and I want everyone to know that as well, what he had actually done.”

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Tribute: Mrs Wilson described Mr Wilson as ‘loving and giving’.

When Mr Wilson went to work that fateful day, he was said to be “fit and healthy”. But then his family received the devastating call.

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Despite initially being able to breathe by himself after being placed into an induced coma, doctors later told the family that there wasn’t any brain activity.

Mrs Wilson said the West Kilbride family had always spoken openly about organ donation and knew “all we had to do was fulfil his wishes by saying yes”.

Praising the care received from Crosshouse Hospital, Mrs Wilson said: “From something so sudden and tragic, we were taken on a journey with the donor process.

“From when we said yes, it was a very precious and special time for us all.

“We got to spend time with my husband, Gavin, and we weren’t rushed in any way and we were able to spend lots of time with him.

“And even after that, on a daily basis we know that he saved four people’s lives, and there’s not many people can say that.

“And it’s four people’s lives and four families with hope and a future, and it doesn’t make everything okay but it certainly gives some comfort and some solace to a really tragic situation.”

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Memories: Mr and Mrs Wilson on their wedding day.
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Mrs Wilson, who received the Order of St John UK Award for Organ Donation on behalf of her late husband, described him as “just perfect”.

She added: “He was so loving and giving.

“He was incredibly generous with his time, with everyone. He’d always be helping somebody all the time, always looking out to help somebody.

“You always found him the same way. He was always happy, a really positive person. He would always see the positive in any situation.”

It has been six months since Scotland moved to an opt-out system of organ and tissue donation.

New figures show more than half of Scots (54%) have now registered their donation decision – 51.5% to be a donor and 2.8% choosing to opt-out.

The opt-out system was introduced on March 26 to save and improve lives.

If Scots aged 16 and over haven’t opted out of donation, they will be considered a possible donor if they die in circumstances in which they are able to donate.

Under the opt-out system everyone has a choice – to be a donor or opt-out of donation – but it’s important to make that decision known.

In Scotland, there are an average of around 500 people currently waiting on an organ transplant, however only around 1% of people die in a way that makes organ donation possible.

Highlighting the importance of sharing your organ donation decision, Mrs Wilson said: “I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be in that position and not know what my loved one’s wishes were. I think that would be incredibly difficult.

“And the thought of leaving my loved ones – I wouldn’t want to leave them with doubt. I wouldn’t want them to have regret.

“And in Gavin being very open about what he wanted, we don’t have any doubt, we don’t have any regret, and there’s not one aspect of the whole thing that we would ever regret.

“For the sake of having a conversation, make your wishes known.

“You know that your family – they’re going to be okay with the decision. Because it’s a tough time if you’re in that situation – you’re not thinking straight, it’s not clear and it’s really hard, and I think it would be even harder if you didn’t know what the answer would be.”

Boy, 16, arrested in connection with attempted murder of man

Teenager arrested after 33-year-old man found injured in the Barlanark area of Glasgow on Saturday night.

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Police have arrested teenage boy in connection with attempted murder.

A 16-year-old boy has been arrested in connection with the attempted murder of a 33-year-old man in Glasgow at the weekend.

Officers attended an incident on Garlieston Road in the Barlanark area of the city at around 9.25pm on Saturday night.

An injured man was taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary for treatment.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “A 16-year-old male youth has been arrested in connection with the attempted murder of a 33-year-old man in Garlieston Road, Glasgow, on Saturday, September 25. 

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“Enquiries are ongoing.”


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