Secretary For Scotland's Report for Guild Council Meeting 21.11.2007

I must give my apologies for this meeting and the Group Secretaries meeting on 22nd November. Other commitments mean I will be unable to attend either day.

Group Meetings
A meeting to discuss AfC reviews was held on Monday 19th November in Edinburgh. One of the members intends to use the meeting to gauge support for reviving the Edinburgh & South East Scotland Group. I have asked what resources GHP can draw upon to assist.

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In the Press
15.09.07 - NHS Lothian has drawn up detailed plans for building the new Sick Childrens Hospital at Little France and have called for public money for the move.

22.10.07 - Controversy reigned in the newspapers when community pharmacists demanded direct access to electronic patient records, saying it was essential as they take over more work from GPs. Some groups have concerns about confidentiality being breached and personal information being used to market products.

21.10.07 - The Scottish Government has announced all prescription charges are to be scrapped within the next four years, within the lifetime if the current Scottish Parliament. It is expected to cost about 70m a year, the loss of income from the charges will account for 50m while the increased demand after medicines become free is expected to add 20m to the bill.

24.10.07 - NHS Lothian has been ordered to disclose full details of the 184m contract to build and run the new Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. The Scottish Information Commissioner rejected NHS Lothian's claim that the details were confidential and has ruled the health board was wrong to refuse a freedom of information request for a copy of its contract with PFI operator Consort.

25.10.07 - A hi- tech mobile surgical unit has been hired by NHS Lothian to provide quicker treatment for patients needing straightforward operations. More than 250 patients will be treated by NHS Lothian staff in the unit, which will be run by a team of trained staff from outside the Scottish NHS.

25.10.07 - NHS Western Isles and NHS Orkney came bottom of a list rating the steps Scotland's health boards take to safeguard patient care, achieving a score of three. Most regional health boards achieved six out of a possible 12 in inspections carried out in the summer by NHS Quality Improvement Scotland.

08.11.07 - It was announced that Holyrood's Audit Committee is to hold an inquiry into the financial and managerial troubles within the Western Isles Health Board, following a report from the Auditor General for Scotland which stated that while some improvements had been made, he continued to have significant concerns about the corporate governance arrangements in place at the board as their total debt rises to 3m.

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Scottish Health Service Senior Reps Committee 28.9.07
Updates on current AfC issues, PIN policies, the Pensions review and working with the new Government were given.
The sub-group formulating a response to the Scottish Government discussion document 'Better Health, Better Care' met after the senior reps meeting. Each section was considerd and the response debated. Further discussions on email produced a document for consideration at the Scottish NHS Committee meeting on 8th November.

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Scottish Regional Health Sector Meeting 8.11.07
Pay: Evidence has been submitted to the PRB. There are rumours that meetings to thrash out a multi-year deal are not going well.
Unsocial Hours: protection has been extended for 1 year until October 2009 for lab staff who are the subject of separate discussions. A ballot on all other groups is expected early next year.
Pensions: The review of ill heath provisions is out for consultation. It is suggested there are two forms of ill health retirement; one where you are unable to continue your current job and one where you are unable to do any job.
Everything in the main discussions has been agreed apart from the transfer basis. It will take effect on 1st April 2008. All benefits statements from SPPA have been stopped until February 2009 to ensure statements for both schemes will be available for the transfer decision period. It was noted that the Inland Revenue had forced a change in the schemes. In the roadshows, the maximum pension that could be earned in the new scheme was 59/60ths of salary. This has been reduced by the taxman to 45/60ths and 45/80ths in the old scheme.
AfC: It was noted that 7.6% of pharmacy staff were on protection across Scotland and 7.5% of PTB staff.

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Review of NHS Production in Scotland
The national and NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde reviews of Pharmacy Production continue. A Steering Group has been appointed at national level to oversee the national review. I was nominated by Unite and am now on the Steering Group, in addition to the pharmacy and NHS Glasgow & Clyde groups.

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There has still been no response from management side on STAC about paying RRP to those staff listed in Annex R of the Terms and conditions Handbook. Unite has recommended that all staff affected by this take out a grievance.

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Meeting with Prof. Bill Scott
A report was circulated to Council shortly after the meeting. It was a useful meeting, and although Prof. Scott had to leave half way through the meeting, Alison Strath covered the remainder of the topics for discussion.

Colin Rodden
19 November 2007

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