MSP calls for sun safety in schools

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EASTWOOD MSP Ken Macintosh has called for a skin cancer awareness programme to be rolled out to pupils in the early stages of education.

The Sun Safe Schools campaign is an accreditation scheme aimed at primary pupils, teaching youngsters about the dangers of skin cancer.

Figures release in April this year show that the number of Scots diagnosed with the disease has doubled in the last decade, with 1,202 cases of malignant melanoma (the most threatening form of skin cancer) detected — a rise of 51.4 per cent since 2001.

Ken Macintosh told The Extra: “It’s not often we complain about too much sun here in Scotland, but unfortunately there are serious health risks, particularly for our children, if they do not cover up in the sun.

“Fair skinned Scots are in the highest risk category when it comes to developing skin cancer, and although it will be years later when the disease shows itself, young skin is particularly vulnerable to the damage caused by tanning and sunburn.”

The MSP has called on education and health ministers to follow the lead of some local authorities across Scotland in implementing the schools programme at primary level.

He continued: “The Sun Safe Schools campagin is a simple but effective way of educating our children, and I am asking ministers to show the leadership this issue requires by rolling it out across the whole of Scotland.”

Glasgow may have seen temperatures soar above 30 degrees in recent weeks, but the heatwave could be on its way out this week, with temperatures of 14 to 21 degrees predicted for the rest of the week, and forecasts including rain and thunder.

East Renfrewshire CHCP’s health improvement team has issued advice on staying safe when the sun does shine, including using appropriate sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) and protecting skin with a t-shirt, hat and sunglasses, as well as seeking shade midday, between 11am and 3pm.

Keep babies and young children out of direct sunlight, and drink plenty of fluids.

Councillor Alan Lafferty, convener for social work and health, said: “We want everyone to enjoy their time in the sun but people need to be sensible and take precautions.

“If you do feel unwell, contact your GP or NHS 24 in the first instance. Accident and emergency departments have seen a number of patients who could have been seen by their GP or NHS 24 — by accessing the appropriate healthcare service, those people who require emergency treatment will be seen and treated quicker.”