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Harry McQuillan: Pharmacies provide positive influence on health of local communities

We hear in the news of the decline of the high street, with everyone from small businesses to the larger chains facing difficulties fairly frequently these days. While hardly anyone would want to see our high streets all shuttered and empty, many of us appreciate the convenience of online shopping and have shifted over to an online world, without thinking about the impact that this has on the bricks and mortar of the places we used to and for some, still frequently, visit near us.

Calum Duncan Head of Conservation Scotland, Marine Conservation Society Convener, Scottish Environment LINK's Marine Group

Calum Duncan: Life on the ocean wave needs to be protected now for future generations

From the air we breathe to the food we eat, Scotland needs seas full of life. Yet they are struggling. With the tide of ocean plastics awareness, resistance to mechanically stripping ­pristine kelp forests, community monitoring of scallop dredge damage in Loch Carron, Firth of Lorn and Loch Gairloch and a growing consensus for overhauling aquaculture, more and more people realise this.

Pupils at Park Mains School, Erskine learning CPR

David McColgan: Lessen the heart-break by learning the lesson of life-saving CPR

CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. This rather daunting title describes the simple, but potentially life saving, steps that we should all be familiar with. It’s where a person presses up and down on the chest of someone who has had a cardiac arrest and gives them a series of rescue breaths. This life saving procedure – we call it ‘Call Push Rescue’ – helps to pump blood around their body when their heart can’t.

Whitesands in Dumfries experiences regular flooding ' but such events could be come more frequent as sea levels rise if more action is not taken over carbon emissions, where local organisations are taking a lead

Graeme Dickson: The fight against global warming is everyone’s – and you can make a change

Climate change has been very much in the news of late. In October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a special report that made headlines around the world. It set out the dangers to our planet from allowing average global temperature to rise by more than 1.5C. This week, all eyes are on Poland where world representatives are meeting at the United Nations climate talks (COP24).

The Scottish Braille Press employs 103 people ' but there are may obstacles  for blind and partially-sighted people in finding a job, even though companies can benefit from support to employ them

Companies should open their eyes to the benefits of employing disabled

Employment is fundamental to quality of life. Many of us spend much time and energy on our careers, applying for jobs, looking to the next career move or worrying about job security. Political debate is all about ­promoting job opportunities and driving down unemployment. How difficult would life be for you if you couldn’t find work? How would you pay the bills?

Jamie Varney, Partner and Head of Safety, Health & Environment Team, BLM Scotland

Jamie Varney: Change to culpable homicide law may be on the horizon

Whilethe differences between Scots Law and the laws of England and Wales run deep – from the origins of some of our rules in Roman Law compared with mainly common law heritage south of the Border – one of the most obvious variations between the two systems is the different words used for the same, or similar, crimes. The English have arson, we have fire-raising; they have burglary, we have house-breaking; they have manslaughter, we have culpable homicide.

Prof Ian Welsh OBE Chief Executive  The Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE)

Prof Ian Welsh OBE: Social care is a matter of human rights – so let’s pay those who do it properly

At the end of October, Chancellor Philip ­Hammond MP declared that ­austerity was “finally coming to an end”. He marked this change of ­message by announcing that his Government planned to invest more heavily in social care across ­England. It is now recognised as fact that the Conservative Party’s ­troubled ­election campaign in 2017 was, at least in part, contributed to by their policies on the future ­funding of social care, a sign of the political interest that now surrounds this issue.

Marie Curie support

Susan Lowes: Joined-up thinking urgently needed for fragmented system of health and care

Social care is too often failing to support people with ­complex and terminal ­conditions as they move in and out of different care settings. It’s ­failing to identify informal carers who need support to care for their loved ones at home. Local authorities and ­integration boards are failing to help their staff who need support to care for people with increasingly ­complex conditions. The Scottish Government is struggling to provide the framework to support effective health and social care.

Duncan Turner, partner and technology specialist at CMS

Duncan Turner: The gift of creativity helps our high streets

Now that we are into December I feel it is just about socially acceptable to mention the ‘C’ word. For absence of any doubt, that’s Christmas I’m referring to. If you’ve been into any high street shops since early November or, in some cases, even late October, it is highly likely you have already been confronted with Christmas music and seasonal decorations in what seems to be an ever-increasing extension of the festive period by retailers. But who can blame them?

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