In Parliament, I have continued to question the UK Government over its attempts to undermine devolution through use of the Internal Market Act (IMA) which gives a UK Minister power to delay or block legislation in devolved areas of competence.

This time it is regarding the Secretary of State for Scotland’s threat to block the new Scottish Deposit Return Scheme (DRS).

The IMA has already been used to hold back the introduction of the ban on single use plastics by the Scottish and Welsh Parliaments and reduce the materials it would apply to.

Now it is the turn of the DRS, despite the fact it closely follows the recommendations of Westminster’s own environmental audit committee: to include glass bottles.

Indeed, the scheme is of a similar design to successful systems which have existed in countries such as Finland for many years.

While it is always a challenge to set up such a new system, our recycling rates are too low and, when attending an event on the issue, Coca-Cola advised me that it can’t source enough recycled plastic to produce all their bottles.

We have already seen Scotland’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill vetoed by the UK Government, despite it being backed by two-thirds of MSPs and despite it following international guidance from the Council of Europe, the UN and the World Health Organisation.

Now we have prominent Tory, Lord Frost - who was in charge of the UK’s disastrous Brexit negotiations - stating that the devolution process in Scotland should not just be stopped but reversed, with the removal of powers that are currently devolved.

While some Scottish Tory MSPs have criticised his comments and, let’s face it, without devolution they would have faced electoral oblivion north of the border, it is nonetheless revealing that a senior figure in their party at Westminster has such contempt for devolution.

Locally, I was delighted to attend the launch of a new venture from the charity NODA - No-one Dies Alone, to provide compassionate care to people in Ayrshire who are alone at the end of life, or a grieving relative who may not have family support at such a difficult time.

NODA’s experienced volunteers can offer emotional support and companionship at the end of life and also support families to help them be with their loved ones in their final days and immediately after their death.

The event saw the launch of a new book, 'Slow Down When Someone Dies', written by two trustees from the charity ‘Pushing Up The Daisies’, which talks of the need for people to take some time in the days after someone’s death to tend to their own wellbeing and consider how they really want to celebrate the life and mark the passing of a loved one.

Having been involved with many of my breast cancer patients and their families at the end of life, it was a very thought-provoking session and extremely interesting to hear about both organisations and the valuable services they offer.

The aim, of course, is to get all of us to think a bit more about how we face death and dying in a society which is more obsessed with youth and beauty instead of having respect for age or wisdom. 

For more information on NODA’s services, see