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Aileen Campbell MSP has welcomed new arrangements for the distribution of Healthy Start vitamins. Free vitamin supplements for children, pregnant women and new mothers on low incomes will now be more widely available to encourage greater uptake.

The Healthy Start scheme provides vitamin supplements to low income families, in addition to vouchers towards healthy foodstuffs. Previously, vitamins were distributed through NHS Boards. However, the average uptake of the scheme as a whole across Scotland was only 71 per cent, with the uptake of vitamin supplements being significantly lower.

In a drive to ensure that everyone who needs these vitamins receives them, community pharmacies will now be able to give eligible women and children Healthy Start vitamins directly. In addition, around 120 dispensing chemists across Scotland have been asked to join the one year pilot.

Commenting on the announcement, the Clydesdale MSP said:

"I am very pleased to see the introduction of these new arrangements.

"As we all know, there is a strong link between low income and poor nutrition in pregnant women, mothers and children. So the Healthy Start Scheme provides eligible families with vouchers that can be used in shops to help pay towards milk, formula milk, fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables. The scheme also provides coupons to exchange for vitamin supplements.

"The vouchers and coupons are provided to pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and families and children up to their fourth birthday on income related benefits. All young women who are under eighteen and pregnant are also eligible, regardless of income.

"We know that some mothers and their families have in the past had difficulties accessing vitamins, so it is very encouraging to see the availability options extended".

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Aileen Campbell MSP, Kirkton Chambers, 12 Kirkton Street, Carluke ML8 4AB • 01555 750 249 • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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