All-Party Parliamentary Groups

All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) are informal cross-party groups run by and for Members of the Commons and Lords, though many choose to involve individuals and organisations from outside Parliament in their administration and activities.

I am currently a member of the following APPGs:

Aerospace (Vice-Chair), Aviation Heritage, Bioscience and Technology in Healthcare, Breast Cancer (Co-Chair), Britain-Palestine, Cancer, Friends of Syria, Golf, Health in All Policies, HIV/AIDS, Hunger (Vice-Chair), Ireland & Irish in Britain (Vice-Chair), Justice for Equitable Life Policy Holders, Medical Panel, Patient Safety (Vice-Chair), Regional Airports, Smoking and Health (Vice-Chair), Space, United Nations, Vaccinations for All (Chair), Visitor Economy (Vice-Chair).

APPG on Breast Cancer (Co-Chair)

Below is a statement from the APPGBC regarding the decision to make the drug Kadcyla routinely available on the NHS in Scotland

“The All Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer (APPGBC) is delighted that Kadcyla will now be made routinely available in Scotland for the very first time.

This targeted drug represents a really crucial treatment option, offering patients with incurable breast cancer precious extra months – and in many cases, years – of good quality time with their loved ones.

Patients across the rest of the UK will now be waiting to hear whether they too will be able to access Kadcyla routinely on the NHS. Following this positive decision, we very much hope that NICE and Roche will now be able to reach a similar agreement to see this vital, life-extending drug made widely available south of the border”.

APPG on Vaccinations

As a doctor, I am a great believer in the contribution routine vaccinations make to our general health. In my work abroad, I have seen how vaccinations have saved lives and prevented serious illness, including the near elimination of Polio and its associated disability across the world. It is, therefore, of great concern that childhood vaccination rates in the UK have dropped, resulting in a resurgence of diseases such as measles. As a result, I have helped establish a new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on ‘Vaccinations for All’ at Westminster, of which I have been appointed Chair.

The developmental advocacy charity, Results UK, will provide the administrative support while the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health will provide academic input. The aim of the APPG is to raise the profile and promote the importance of routine vaccinations, both within the UK and across the world, and to encourage the Government to provide strong leadership and sustainable funding to meet the challenge of ensuring equitable access to life-saving vaccines for everyone, no matter where they live. Vaccinations save lives and are one of the most cost-effective, preventative medical interventions available, and I look forward to working with the Group over the months and years ahead to progress work in this area

APPG on Hunger

At the end of March 2017, I hosted a meeting with a number of organisations with a view to developing a local pilot project to combat food insecurity and the increasing incidences of hunger in Central Ayrshire. The project will be the latest in a series of pilot schemes instigated under the auspices of Feeding Britain, a charity set up by members of the APPG on Hunger. With many families struggling to find the means for sufficient food due to ongoing austerity and more insecure employment with temporary and zero-hour contracts, more and more people are relying on food support even though they are in work.

The Feeding Central Ayrshire pilot would aim to identify gaps or overlap in the support available to people in food poverty in the local area and explore opportunities to share good ideas and for collaboration between the different organisations involved in the provision of food support. Hopefully, this may allow the development of more local projects such as community gardens and cooking classes. It was great to have representatives from so many organisations in attendance and we spent a substantial part of the time exploring the way forward. I am grateful to the Local Authority representatives who came along and to those who have volunteered to form a steering group to take the project forward.