Before Parliament, Alex worked in the childrens voluntary sector, including being Director of Together (Scottish Alliance for Children's Rights) and worked on the campaign to raise the age of leaving care in Scotland to 21.
Since being elected Alex led the successful campaign to save HIV Scotland from planned funding cuts, forced the Government to abandon their plans to abolish jury trials during the Covid pandemic and has spoken up for bus services, dentist and GP provision, and protecting greenbelt land in west Edinburgh.
He has prioritised campaigning on children's mental health, first aid awareness, long covid and supporting Ukrainian refugees. He was sanctioned by the Kremlin in August 2022 following his public criticism of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and for his efforts to highlight Russian influence in Scotland.
Alex was first elected in 2016, and was re-elected in 2021.
Scottish Liberal Democrats leader and health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has accused the Scottish Government of leaving “patients in pain”, as new Public Health Scotland figures show that the number of GPs working for Primary Care Out of Hours services had dropped by more than a fifth since 2019.
In the year ending 31st March 2022, the out of hours headcount was 1,205, a 23% drop in the headcount from 2019.
NHS health boards provide patients with Primary Care Out of Hours services when their GP Practice is closed and they are too unwell to wait for it to re-open. The services are mainly accessed by calling and being referred by NHS 24. Where serious, NHS 24 will call an ambulance.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
“It’s becoming harder and harder for patients to rely on out of hours services. That means more patients in pain and more patients lacking the vital care they need.
“It is yet another infuriating example of the SNP’s sustained neglect of the NHS over the last 15 years. Scottish Liberal Democrat research has shown that many patients are becoming so desperate that they are even performing treatment on themselves. More than ever, we need urgent action to boost the retention and recruitment of staff.
“This is a crisis of grim and grave magnitude. If the Cabinet Secretary does not act now, Nicola Sturgeon must find someone else who will.”