Secretary For Scotland's Report for Guild Council Meeting 7.2.2008

Group Meetings
I am not aware of any group meetings having taken place since my last report.

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In the Press
8.11.07 - 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. Robert Black reported to the committee yesterday that while some improvements had been made, there were still significant concerns about the corporate governance arrangements in place at the board whose total debt has risen to 3m.

4.11.07 - Pioneering research by Scots scientists at the Scottish Crop Research Institute into the parasite that caused the Irish potato famine has paved the way for a vaccine that could eradicate malaria. Researchers have discovered that both may share a common evolutionary origin and this may lead to a way of blocking malaria with a vaccine.

13.11.2007 - Patients living in Greater Glasgow and Clyde will be able to obtain health information around the clock, after the area became the first in Scotland, to introduce electronic 'info pods'. The 'info pods', the first of their kind in NHS Scotland, are new stand alone electronic information points, designed to provide patients with a range of information at the touch of a button.

21.11.07 - The Scottish Government has now published 'A Scottish framework for responding to an influenza pandemic' and a number of supplementary guidance documents which provide more detailed advice and direction for various sectors. Details are available at:

20.11.07 - NHS Lothian has become the first board in Scotland to adopt a single asthma action plan for all patients.

25.11.07 - Scottish scientists are developing an artificial liver that could save the lives of hundreds of patients by avoiding the need for an organ transplant. Researchers have created a 'bioartificial' liver using living cells in a machine that can filter blood and take over the functions of the natural organ.

6.12.07 - The present prescription charge of 6.85 will go down to 5 in April, 4 in April 2009 and 3 in April 2010 before being entirely scrapped in 2010.

6.12.07 - First Minister Alex Salmond today signed an agreement with trade unions in Scotland. The "memorandum of understanding" between the Scottish Government and the STUC means both sides are committed to working in partnership. The document is an updated version of a similar pact signed in 2002 by Mr Salmond's predecessor, Jack McConnell.

24.12.07 - NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is taking forward a malnutrition initiative following a string of reports in recent years which have raised concern about the failure of hospitals to ensure patients dietary needs are being met. The Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool (Must) will be trialled at 10 pilot areas over the next three months before being rolled out to all acute hospitals across the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area by the end of 2008.

31.12.07 - NHS Highland premises and grounds will be declared smoking-free areas from New Year's Day.

9.01.08 - Nicola Sturgeon, Health Secretary, launched a consultation on plans to introduce direct elections to health boards and increase patient involvement in NHS service decisions.

9.01.08 - Every A&E consultant in NHS Lanarkshire signed a letter to Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon raising fears that a scheme to downgrade emergency services will put patients at risk.

14.01.08 - Reports that a Polish doctor is commuting from his homeland to Scotland to treat patients sparked concern and criticism. Although he works full-time in Poland during the week, he claims to be perfectly able to undertake his second job at NHS Grampian, helping to provide out-of-hours cover which most Scots GPs no longer offer.

14.01.08 - An independent scrutiny panel into the proposed A&E closures concluded that Lanarkshire and Ayrshire & Arran health boards did not prove that centralising services would benefit patients.

16.01.08 - Glasgow City Council has approved the development of what will become the UK's largest and most modern healthcare campus, including new adult and children's hospitals at the city's Southern General Hospital site and upgrades to existing units.

17.01.08 - Preliminary steps towards forming a professional pharmacy body in Scotland were taken. Although no one would officially comment on what took place, it is understood that a meeting was organised by the two schools of pharmacy in Scotland (the University of Strathclyde and the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen).

22.01.08 - NHS Lothian are set to spend 11.5m refurbishing two hospitals - the Royal Edinburgh and Royal Victoria, which both face being demolished in a just a few years.

24.01.08 - NHS Ayrshire & Arran finally revealed how they plan to retain the accident and emergency unit at Ayr hospital that had been under threat of losing the service.

31.01.08 - The SNP claimed a first for Scotland as all waiting time targets for NHS treatment have been met and sights are now on maximum 18-week 'patient journey'.

27.01.08 - The battle against hospital superbugs has suffered a serious setback after scientists discovered c. difficile has developed resistance to metronidazole, the main antibiotic used to kill it.

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Scottish Health Service Senior Reps Committee 7.12.07 & 25.1.08
SPF: The main debate is focused on the BHBC action plan and how to implement it. The Minister has been offered the chair of the SPF. The next meeting is 8th February. There is pressure to have patient representatives on partnership fora, but there are always concerns about the democratic accountability they have. They are also looking at reps for the medical colleges.
SWAG : Have discussed Working Well (a strategy and targets for a holistic approach to working in the NHS), KSF (everyone has to have a PDP by March 09), workforce strategy, PIN policies, BHBC, the appointment of consultants and Modernising Medical Careers. There are three options for consultant appointments
  1. The status quo with medical hierarchy making the decision
  2. Appointment by health boards
  3. Future appointments in a partnership of boards and medics
STAC: Discussing pay protection, transitional points and other items.
JMEG2: An expert group has been set up to review all the results and look for anomalies across boards. Jim Ito is on the group. 143k staff have been assimilated; 15k left at the end of December 2007. 80% of staff have had back pay. About 20% of staff have requested reviews.
Disputes resolution: trying to produce something for situations where employers refuse to abide by national policies.
Pensions: The transfer window will run from February to May 2009. The 2004 evaluation report has stated that if no review had taken place, the employers contribution would have increased from 14 to 15.3%. There are still no details on transfer values - hopefully available later this year. Guidance is being prepared. Priority is being given to those not getting benefits statements and those on Mental Health Officer status. A one-day pensions conference is to be held in Edinburgh on March 10th. [Subsequent note: This conference was cancelled]

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Clarke Inquiry Evidence Session 10.1.08
I represented the GHP in Scotland in presenting evidence to the Inquiry. I have yet to see a transcript of the meeting.

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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.

Colin Rodden
4 February 2008

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