Secretary For Scotland's Report for Guild Council Meeting 25.9.2008

Group Meetings
I am not aware of any group meetings having taken place since my last report. I can confirm that the Group Secretary is intending to attend the Group Secretary’s Day in November.

back to top

In the Press
13.05.08 - Six hospitals in Scotland's remote and rural areas will provide an enhanced range of services under an action plan that will secure their futures and provide more specialised healthcare locally. 'Delivering for Remote and Rural Healthcare: What it Means for You' sets out the enhanced role of Rural General Hospitals - securing health services and giving patients a guaranteed level of care they can expect in their area. The six hospitals - are:
  • Gilbert Bain Hospital, Lerwick
  • Balfour Hospital, Kirkwall
  • Western Isles Hospital, Stornoway
  • Caithness General Hospital, Wick
  • Belford Hospital, Fort William
  • Lorn and the Isles Hospital, Oban
A Remote and Rural Healthcare Educational Alliance has been established to ensure that staff have access to remote and rural specific education and training.

14.05.08 - A groundbreaking study of Scots' DNA is being launched to discover why the nation has the highest rates of multiple sclerosis in the world.  It is hoped the research, which involves scouring the genes of hundreds of people, will explain why patients contract the devastating disease and help the development of new treatments.

03.06.08 - An enzyme has been discovered which could lead to the development of drugs to reverse the onset of Alzheimer's disease, scientists revealed yesterday.  Scottish researchers have found that the enzyme can partially reverse the process that leads to the development of abnormal formations found in the brains of people with the condition.

04.06.08 - A pioneering method of speeding up patients' recovery after surgery has been hailed a success after a trial in Scotland.  Doctors at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank have been using the Caledonia technique, which originated in Denmark, to treat hip and knee replacement patients.  Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon visited the hospital yesterday and met staff and patients involved.

 08.06.08 - Health Minister Nicola Sturgeon is planning to close a legal loophole that allows private companies to run GP practices.  The Glasgow MSP is looking for an early legislative opportunity to ensure that only traditional providers can run local health services.  She is also unlikely to provide more public funding next year for an independent treatment centre in Stracathro, Tayside, - a further sign of the minister's hostility to private sector involvement in the NHS.

13.06.08 - Changes in the law which will see under-18s banned from using sunbeds were passed by MSPs yesterday.  Unstaffed tanning salons which are coin-operated are also to be outlawed under measures contained in the Public Health Bill.

03.07.08 - Island politicians last night vowed to oppose any attempt to merge their local health boards with larger mainland authorities.  Some see the Scottish Government's decision to form partnership agreements between Orkney/Shetland and Grampian, and Western Isles and Highland, revealed in The Herald yesterday, as the first step to merger.

07.08.08 - Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said new standards on the use of NHS uniforms are being examined following concerns that poor hygiene may be risking patients’ lives. She echoed public concerns about NHS staff wearing their uniforms outside the confines of hospitals and medical centers, aired when members of the public raised questions at the annual review of the Lanarkshire NHS Board yesterday.

07.08.08 - The number of people suffering scarlet fever has surged in Scotland.  Doctors say they are baffled by the 217% rise in cases of the highly contagious disease.  Reports of scarlet fever have more than trebled, with 708 cases so far this year compared with 221 in the first half of last year.

18.08.08 - The Scottish Government has launched a tender to supply electricity on a national basis to all public bodies. Councils, health boards, police and fire services, universities and colleges, Scottish Government Agencies and non-departmental public bodies will be able to use the contract from next autumn. The annual public sector electricity bill is around £200 million and the new strategy aims to harness the combined purchasing power of the public sector to save taxpayers' money by streamlining the management of many different contracts and ensure better energy saving measures.

19.08.08 - Pitlochry's state-of-the-art community hospital was officially opened by Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon. The seven million pound development - which combines the new Pitlochry Community Hospital, a GP surgery, council social work department and a care home – was hailed as an excellent example of integrated community healthcare.

22.08.08 - Douglas Griffin, finance director of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, warned of a £42m budget reduction due partly to unexpectedly high pay settlements set at UK levels.  A similar level of financial cut is expected to affect other health boards around Scotland, all of which face the 2% per year efficiency savings required by Finance Minister John Swinney.

02.09.08 - Car parking charges at NHS hospitals in Scotland are to be abolished, the Health Secretary announced yesterday.  After a review of charging policies, and an interim cap of £3 per day, Nicola Sturgeon revealed charges at the 14 hospitals which charge will be scrapped.  Only three PFI-funded car parks will still be allowed to charge, while staff, patients and visitors will be able to park free at all other sites from December 31.

15.09.08 - Leading scientists believe a national campaign is needed to persuade every Scot to take daily supplements of vitamin D if the country’s appalling health record is to be reversed.  A report, published this week, links poor weather to the lack of the “sunshine vitamin” in Scotland, and urges the Scottish government to launch a nationwide vitamin D programme to lower the incidence of devastating illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer and multiple sclerosis.

back to top

Scottish Health Service Senior Reps Committee
I have attended a couple of these meetings since the last Council meeting.

back to top

Review of NHS Production in Scotland
The national review of Pharmacy Production continues. Both the Service Needs Group and the Project Board have met since the last Council meeting. The final Project Board meeting is scheduled for 13th October. A final paper to be submitted to NHS Scotland Chief Executives will be agreed at that meeting.

back to top

Scottish Health Sector Committee meetings
There have been two meetings of the committee since last Council and I have been unable to attend either. I was on annual leave for the first and at a meeting of the Unlicensed Medicines Project Board on the day of the other.

back to top

Meeting with Prof. Bill Scott 11.9.08
Michael Fuller and I met with Prof. Scott and had a wide ranging discussion on topics of mutual interest and concern. A report of the meeting has been provided to Council members.

back to top

Unite NHS Pay Meeting 19.9.08
I attended the Glasgow meeting to discuss the way forward for Unite on NHS Pay. The meeting was attended by Karen Reay and around 40 NHS activists.

back to top

PCS(AFC)2008/11 was issued on 25th August and details the application of Annex R of the Agenda for Change terms and conditions.

Colin Rodden
22 September 2008

back to top