Secretary For Scotland's Report for Guild Council Meeting 16.11.2006

In the Press
28.09.06 - Labour MSP Cathy Peattie asked the Scottish Executive when it will publish the report on the review of NHS prescription charges for people with chronic health conditions and young people in full-time education or training..

29.09.06 - The Scottish Executive launched the Planned Care Improvement Programme. Under the section "Managing variation in patient discharge thereby reducing length of stay" pharmacy services are mentioned: "Processes need to be mapped and value streams analysed to remove bottlenecks and waste in the way ward rounds are carried out, wards are managed, inpatient tests and results provided and pharmacy services supplied."

01.10.06 - NHS 24 is to launch its own television channel, offering advice to viewers across the country.

03.10.06 - The Scottish Executive has just published a framework for emergency health care for children.

23.10.06 - NHS Health Boards have declared their opposition to direct elections for board members.

25.10.2006 - A nine level NHS careers framework for all staff will be introduced based around core skills and competences and levels of responsibility.

26.10.06 - Proposals to modernise public health legislation that dates back to the 19th Century have been published for consultation.

01.11.06 - Fewer Scots are dying from heart disease or stroke as the country's biggest killer diseases go into retreat, according to the latest figures.

06.11.06 - Health Minister Andy Kerr appeared before the Health Committee this week to outline his opposition to Bill Butler's Bill for Directly Elected Health Boards.

06.11.06 - In his first annual report, Chief Medical Officer Harry Burns stated that he expects Scotland to have just a few hundred cases of lung cancer a year in the future as a result of the ban on smoking in public places.

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Pharmacy Postgraduate Advisory Group (PAG) 22.9.06
The Group met and discussed various items including the NHS Education Scotland (NES) draft Annual Report, the NES Corporate Plan 2007-7 and the NES Pharmacy Programme for 2006-7. The new funding and administration arrangements for pre-registration graduates were also discussed. It was noted that a report on the education and training of pharmacy support staff is close to completion and would be circulated when finalised. A draft programme for the PAG Conference in Spring 2007 was tabled and further details of the event are to be circulated when available.

Other items discussed included the supplementary prescribing courses and the formation of a NES Research Steering Group involving the service, SEHD, NES and the schools of pharmacy in Scotland. Members of the group were also informed that a memorandum of understanding had been agreed between eight Health Board areas and Strathclyde University to develop joint opportunities in teaching and research.

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Scottish NHS Committee 6.10.06
The meeting was addressed by the new Head of Health, Kevin Coyne. It also heard a presentation on Transforming Public Services by Colin McKay (SEHD). Updates on the majority of the other items under discussion have been included under the Senior Reps Committee meeting 3.11.06.

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Pensions Consultation Seminar 11.10.06
I attended one of the three national seminars on the consultation on the new NHS Pension Scheme proposals. The meeting gave an insight into the current consultation, how we got to this stage, changes to the existing scheme and the differences between the two schemes. Further discussion in the afternoon was used to refine the presentation to be used for informing staff of the changes.

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Directors of Pharmacy Seminar 27.10.06
The seminar was entitled "The Way forward for Pharmacy in NHS Scotland". Its aim was to identify current priorities for the profession and methods of delivering the NHS agenda. The meeting was well attended and the feedback from the workshops is to be collated and issued to attendees when available.

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Scottish Health Service Senior Reps Committee 3.11.06
Pay:A letter has been issued by the Health Department extending the payment on account to those not assimilated. It had originally been meant to end on 31st October. It has been extended until assimilation.
Pensions Review:The UK Steering Group is due to meet on 28th November with the Scottish group meeting on 30th November. SpensiR will meet on 9th January in order to get a decision to the Minister before the Parliamentary elections purdah. Missing from the consultation are several pieces of information vital if members are to make an informed decision on to transfer or staying.
  • Is transfer of service to be on a day for day basis?
  • What are the financial penalties in the new scheme for retiring before 65?

Once members have this information, they can decide which is the best option for the retirement age they would prefer.
Redundancy:The consultation has now finished. The proposals are seeking to end the more favourable pension settlement for people over 50. It is thought these are a breach of the age discrimination legislation. This could mean people previously eligible will now lose money. It was considered by the committee that the loss of flexibility could well lead to compulsory redundancies.
Assimilation:There are several Boards there is pressure (and some where there is agreement) for assimilation before central consistency checking. Results are being sent to JMEG and payroll simultaneously. Fife appears to have done this, as are Grampian and Ayrshire & Arran. A question over Lothian also exists. In Grampian, protection is in place so that if they have matched a post at band 7 locally and JMEG say it should be band 6, the post will stay at 7 and the holder developed to meet the requirements. It is not seen as being protection, as the holder will be doing work appropriate to the higher band.

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GWOS GHP Pensions meeting 8.11.06
I presented the SpensiR PowerPoint presentation at a meeting of the Glasgow & West of Scotland Group. There was some lively debate and quite a few questions about the consultation. Some misconceptions were also corrected.

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Amicus Pensions Meeting 14.11.06
This meeting is to update reps and get any questions answered.

Colin Rodden
11 November 2006

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