South Scotland SNP MSP Emma Harper has attended the Scottish Parliament’s Public Participation Committee to speak to the Committee’s consideration of two petitions from constituents across Dumfries and Galloway in her South Scotland Region.

These petitions were submitted by Donald McHarrie and Matt Halliday calling on upgrades, and investment in, the A75 and A77. Since May 2016, Ms Harper has repeatedly called for urgent action to ensure that the A75 and A77 receives investment which improves these arterial routes on the grounds of safety and efficiency.

The other petition was from Dr Gordon Baird on behalf of the Galloway Community Hospital Action Group, calling for the creation of an agency to ensure that health boards offer fair and reasonable management of rural and remote healthcare needs.

The South Scotland MSP also raised the issue of cancer pathways, and of the lack of equitable reimbursement for journeys for healthcare appointments which patients experience across Dumfries and Galloway, during a meeting of the Health and Social Care Committee on Tuesday this week, as well as during the Programme for Government Debate in the Parliament.

The MSP has also welcomed the commitment from the Scottish Government, as part of the Government’s Programme, to create a Centre of Excellence for Remote and Rural Medicine, while calling for timely changes which ensure that patients, particularly across Wigtownshire, do not have to make the 266-mile round trip to Edinburgh for part of their cancer treatment, when Glasgow is closer. Ms Harper has also made it clear that it is important for patients to have a choice over their treatment.

Commenting, Ms Harper said:

“This week, I am pleased to have had a number of opportunities to raise issues of importance to constituents across Dumfries and Galloway in the Scottish Parliament. Firstly, I was able to raise the longstanding need to change the existing cancer pathway, and indeed travel reimbursement arrangements, for patients living across the region with the Health Secretary who confirmed that he is aware of these issues and that they would be taken into account as part of the Modernising Patient Pathways Programme which is about to be published by the Scottish Government. I was also able to highlight this issue, and the fact that patients across D&G often have to travel round trip journeys of 266 miles from Stranraer and Wigtownshire to Edinburgh for treatment, when Glasgow in closer, during the Programme for Government Debate.

“During the Petitions Committee, I was able to speak to the cancer pathways issue, as well as to the urgent need for improvements to our regions arterial routes – the A75 and A77. I supported the calls from the A75 and A77 Action Groups for these roads to be improved on the grounds of safety and efficiency. I have made it clear to the Scottish Government that upgrades the A75 and A77 must be included in the Scottish Transport Projects Review 2 when it is published later in the Autumn.

“I will continue to stand up for the issue of importance to people across our region and I remind all constituents that I can be contacted at any time.”