Secretary For Scotland's Report for Guild Council Meeting 26.9.2007

Group Meetings
The Glasgow & West of Scotland Group held a meeting on 12th June to discuss Agenda for Change results and the way forward.

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In the Press
04.06.07 - Prof. David Kerr resigned as an adviser to the Scottish Executive. Prof Kerr said he was "disappointed" that the new SNP government planned to reverse some decisions to centralise key hospital services. He said such a u-turn would be "emotional and irrational" and that he was not stepping down from the implementation group set up to oversee the application of his recommendations because of disagreements with the new minority SNP government but due to other work commitments.

04.06.07 - According to a new report by Alzheimer Scotland, 15m investment is urgently needed to deal with an epidemic in Alzheimer's disease. The report said that the number of sufferers was expected to soar by 75% within the next 25 years. Charity officials said that a multi-million pound investment was needed to ease the situation.

06/07.06.07 - Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon announced to the Scottish Parliament that decisions to close two accident and emergency units will be reversed. The previous Scottish Executive had endorsed plans to close A&E units at Ayr Hospital and Monklands in Lanarkshire but Ms Sturgeon said health boards in those areas had failed to give enough weight to concerns from local people. Former health minister Andy Kerr branded the announcement a "sell-out of gigantic proportions".

07.06.07 - Independent MSP Margo MacDonald asked the Scottish Executive whether it plans to abolish prescription charges. Minister for Public Health, Shona Robison MSP, stated that the SNP Administration is committed to delivering their manifesto policy which would see the phased abolition of prescription charges. The Scottish Executive is currently considering the options to achieve this and would like to have a process in place by April 2008.

14.06.07 - Thousands of chronically-ill patients are to have their prescription charges scrapped by the Scottish Executive. Public Health Minister Shona Robison, said patients with chronic conditions, such as cancer or asthma, would no longer be "penalised". She hoped the charges could be removed by next April. The first step on the path to scrapping prescription charges altogether would be to consider which conditions to include. Exemptions would cover a wide spectrum of illnesses and the Executive would also include mechanisms to add new illnesses as necessary. After scrapping charges for those with chronic conditions by next April, the Executive will spend the next four years trying to build a consensus in parliament to phase out prescription charges completely.

08.06.07 - The University of Strathclyde plans to create a pioneering drugs discovery and development centre, the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences. It is expected to cost about 35m and will work to tackle major illnesses like MRSA. The new building will be constructed on Glasgow's Cathedral Street and is expected to be completed by 2010.

11.06.07 - The BMA in Scotland want medicines that do the same job to have the same appearance, to reduce confusion for patients. They are calling on the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to specify the size, shape and colour of treatments to standardise across different manufacturers.

12.06.07 - Scotland's NHS workers will be paid a 2.5% pay award from next month. Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the deal, which will be backdated to April. Ms Sturgeon said the pay award would affect about 140,000 NHS staff. The rise, which was originally agreed by the previous administration, will take effect from July to allow for the conclusion of current UK level union negotiations.

15.06.07 - The Scottish Government pledged to 'raise the bar' in delivering free personal care to tens of thousands of older, vulnerable people across the country. An independent review under Lord Sutherland will be established to investigate the level and distribution of resources to councils. Payments for free personal and nursing care in care homes will be uprated in line with inflation. Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said she was determined to ensure that free personal care is implemented properly and fairly in all parts of the country.

21.06.07 - The Scottish government is opposed the use of public money to help the private sector compete with the NHS. At the NHS Confederation's annual conference in London, Ms Sturgeon announced that she was inviting Health Ministers from across the UK and Europe to a summit in the new year focusing on tackling health inequalities. She stated, "Our opposition to stimulating private sector competition with the NHS - at taxpayer's expense - is not just based on public opinion. We reject the very idea that markets in health care are the route to improvement. We believe, instead, that it comes through the collective energy and ideas of committed staff, working with patients, and the communities they serve. This is why we support the idea of local, flexible health care, and why we intend to develop our Community Health Partnerships, which bridge the traditional divide between primary and secondary care, and between health and social care."

05.07.07 - Details of the rate of implementation of Agenda for Change across Scotland have been issued. The Scottish Executive has revealed what progress individual NHS boards have made towards the goal of assimilation of staff to the revised pay bands.

Health BoardMarch 2006
(% of Total Workforce)
December 2006
(% of Total Workforce)
May 2007
(% of Total Workforce)
Argyll and Clyde* 1,574 (15%)5,384 (51%) 
Ayrshire and Arran142 (2%)5,547 (51%)8,050 (89%)
Borders84 (2%)2,639 (65%)2,879 (97%)
Dumfries and Galloway938 (21%)3,646 (82%)4,430 (100%)
Fife1,013 (12%)7,956 (91%)8,790 (100%)
Forth Valley1,045 (15%)3,874 (57%)5,075 (87%)
Greater Glasgow and Clyde** 1,931 (7%)15,874 (55%)28,510 (85%)
Golden Jubilee National Hospital 0517 (76%)683 (100%)
Grampian304 (2%)7,111 (49%)11,863 (97%)
Highland880 (14%) 3,579 (57%)6,256 (100%)
Lanarkshire1,968 (20%) 8,688 (87%)9,966 (100%)
Lothian443 (2%)12,475 (62%)19,613 (97%)
Orkney15 (3%)423 (74%)568 (100%)
Scottish Ambulance Service03,901 (99%)3,930 (100%)
State Hospital 0347 (54%)416 (78%)
Shetland0356 (39%)488 (97%)
Tayside07,140 (54%)8,863 (81%)
Western Isles305 (21%)714 (59%)872 (90%)
Special Health Boards*** 480 (9%)2,102 (40%)3,129 (60%)
Scotland 11,122 (8%)92,273 (70%)124,381 (94%)

* Argyll and Clyde Health Board was dissolved in 1 April 2006.
** Became Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board on the dissolving of Argyll and Clyde Health Board.
*** The record for special health boards covers NHS Education Scotland, NHS 24, NHS Health Scotland, National Services Scotland and Quality Improvement Scotland.

05.07.07 - The Scottish Executive are unable to assess on a pan Scotland basis the estimated outstanding amount to be paid to NHS workers as a result of salary bandings following Agenda for Change due to different approaches to the assimilation of staff by Health boards.

05.07.07 - When asked how many NHS workers who have received their new salary bandings under Agenda for Change have been made financially worse off as a result, the response from Nicola Sturgeon was "None. The Scottish Executive has made a commitment that no member of NHS staff will receive a reduction in salary as a result of the implementation of Agenda for Change."

25.07.07 - The Scottish Executive have announced that patients and members of the public will be able to submit questions to the annual round of meetings used to scrutinise the performance of the nation's health authorities for the first time. As long as there is no issue of patient confidentiality, the question will be published in the document bundle presented at the review.

  • July 30 - Dumfries and Galloway
  • Aug 2 - Shetland
  • Aug 8 - National Services
  • Aug 9 - NHS 24
  • Aug 13 - Fife
  • Aug 15 - Scottish Ambulance Service
  • Aug 16 - NHS Education Scotland
  • Aug 21 - Highland
  • Aug 23 - National Waiting Times Centre
  • Aug 27 - NHS Health Scotland
  • Aug 29 - NHS QIS
  • Aug 30 - Tayside
  • Sept 3 - Grampian
  • Sept 4 - Orkney
  • Sept 10 - Western Isles
  • Sept 11 - State Hospital
  • Sept 24 - Borders
  • Oct 8 - Scottish Health Council
  • Oct 10 - Greater Glasgow & Clyde
  • Oct 22 - Forth Valley
  • Nov 12 - Lothian
  • Nov 19 - Lanarkshire
  • Dec 10 - Ayrshire and Arran

17.08.07 - Nicola Sturgeon, the Health and Wellbeing Secretary, has launched a nationwide discussion document 'Better Health, Better Care' to inform the development of the new Scottish government's health and wellbeing Action Plan, to be published by the end of this year. The document sets out the commitment to abolish prescription charges and also highlights a desire to provide walk-an access to a wider range of services through community pharmacies.
The closing date for responses is Monday 12 November and the Scottish Government intend to publish an action plan for Health and Wellbeing by the end of the year.

27.08.07 - NHS Health Scotland (HS), NHS Quality Improvement Scotland (QIS) and NHS Education for Scotland (NES) will not now be transferred to Glasgow as recommended by a location review in July 2005. The existing Glasgow-based staff of a fourth Special Health Board, NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) and those existing Glasgow-based staff from QIS, NES and HS will remain in Glasgow. The decision would free more than 20 million for investment in frontline services.

10.09.07 - A new way has been developed of delivering treatment to skin cancer patients. The new Jetjab treatment is a needle free 'jet' injection which is more effective than traditional techniques. Pharmacy PhD student Desmond Morrow developed the system, which produces a high speed liquid jet which can pierce the skin without the need for needles.

11.09.07 - Heart attacks are down 20% among non-smoking Scots after tobacco ban and children's exposure to second hand smoke has also fallen, except amongst children whose mothers smoke, or those with two parents who smoke. In an additional measure, the legal age for buying cigarettes in Scotland is to rise from 16 to 18 next month after MSPs backed a change in the law.

29.03.07 - Experts at Glasgow University revealed that inserting mini heaters into the lungs helps cut asthma attacks. Researchers said that bronchial thermoplasty could offer a new alternative to people with severe asthma who do not respond well to existing treatments. More than 112 patients in four countries took part in the Glasgow-led trial.

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Scottish Health Service Senior Reps Committee 15.6.07
Scottish Health Service Senior Reps Committee 17.8.07

Both of these meetings gave updates on current AfC issues, PIN policies, the Pensions review and working with the new Government.
It was agreed that a special meeting of a sub-group should be held on 28th September to discuss the Scottish Government discussion document 'Better Health, Better Care'.

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NHS Education Scotland Conference "New Frontiers: New Challenges"
I attended the above conference on behalf of GHP. It was very useful to see the range of activities in which NES is involved and how well NES Pharmacy is integrated into the multidisciplinary working.

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Review of NHS Production in Scotland
A new review is being undertaken. Once again, staff side is represented by Denise Thomson of Tayside and myself. To complicate matters, Greater Glasgow & Clyde is carrying out a separate review of Pharmacy Production within its area.

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From the limited information I have, it seems that the majority of Health Boards in Scotland have resolved most problems with pharmacy bandings. Still outstanding are Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Lanarkshire and Lothian.
Locally, I have been heavily involved in the production of a list of FAQs for staff in Greater Glasgow & Clyde and, of course, KSF rumbles on. I have also had meetings with various staff members and groups of staff regarding reviews.

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Meeting with Prof. Bill Scott
Although agreed at the ANC, the meeting has been delayed until next week. Holidays, busy diaries and the election of a new Government in Scotland have all contributed to the delay.

Colin Rodden
25 September 2007

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