Secretary For Scotland's Report for Guild Council Meeting 14.7.2010

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

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In the Press
23.11.08 - Online retailers are selling drinks and tablets containing silver nanoparticles, claiming the products boost health by killing off harmful bacteria.  The revolutionary particles are being safely and effectively used in bandages and other external treatments, but experts fear internal use could lead to a build-up inside the body, causing brain damage, liver dysfunction and blood diseases.

25.11.08 - Draft NHS standards for neurological services have been published in Scotland. The clinical standards cover services for epilepsy, headache, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. Pharmacists are only mentioned specifically in the Parkinson’s disease section, where they are identified as a core member of the Parkinson’s disease multidisciplinary team.

22.11.08 - The families of 18 hospital patients who died in an outbreak of Clostridium Difficile demanded the resignation of Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon. She has been accused of playing “political games” with the families of the victims of the outbreak at the Vale of Leven Hospital, as she appeared to prepare for a U-turn over an inquiry into the deaths. A week later she said that Strathclyde police had 16 officers investigating the deaths. A petition has also been handed to MSPs calling for a public inquiry. Relatives of patients who died claimed that the infection was "out of control". The Scottish Government is to start monthly monitoring of rates of MRSA and Clostridium difficile in hospitals. The move was a key recommendation of an expert report following the C. diff outbreak. However, whilst nurses and other NHS Scotland staff are heeding the message, doctors are still behind target for obeying hand hygiene rules. A “zero-tolerance” campaign on hand hygiene has commenced, along with new uniform rules. Long white lab coats have been banned, along with ties and long-sleeved shirts, under the latest moves to reduce the risk of hospital infections. 

25.11.08 - Faster treatment times are consistently being delivered across Scotland, Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said today after new statistics showed all of the current national maximum waiting times standards have been effectively met.

26.11.08 - Scotland's bill for health services was £9.5 billion. This figure covers the net operating cost for 2007-8 of the 14 area health boards, eight special health boards, Mental Welfare Commission and Mental Health Tribunal. The NHS in Scotland made £600m in efficiency savings last year, according to the first annual report on the service published in almost a decade. NHS Scotland has been given a clean bill of financial health in the latest report by Audit Scotland (published 4.12.08) into its performance in 2007-08.

27.11.08 - Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon made it clear that MSPs would be banned from standing for elected health boards. The controversial plans for directly elected health boards in Scotland have passed their first hurdle. MSPs voted in principle for legislation to introduce trial schemes in two health board areas. Five of Scotland's NHS authorities have opposed the plans, while a further five have expressed strong concern.

25.11.08 - The Scottish Government is investigating the potential health benefits of vitamin D after reports that low levels of the 'sunshine vitamin' may hold the key to Scotland’s appalling health record.

3.12.08 - The country’s senior medical officer has warned that the growing waistlines of Scotland’s middle-aged men threaten to trigger a heart disease timebomb.  He said 5,000 lives could be saved every year if people exercised, ate more fruit and vegetables and cut out smoking and excessive drinking. He also revealed that the number of deaths from alcoholic liver disease has overtaken those from heart attacks in some deprived areas.   In his annual report, he said Scotland had one of the fastest growing mortality rates for chronic liver disease in the world. The BMA has said that the proposals in the Queen’s Speech to crack down on irresponsible drinking are positive but more action is needed.

05.12.08 - A single sneeze in a busy area can end up infecting 150 people with a cold in just five minutes, new research suggests. An analysis of the germs unleashed from a single commuter's sneeze showed that within minutes they are being passed on via escalator handrails or seats on trains and underground carriages.

08.12.08 - A common virus that produces cold sores may be one of the main causes of Alzheimer's disease, new research suggests, sparking hope that the devastating condition could be treated with existing drugs.

12.12.08 - The ban on giving National Health Service treatment to patients who choose to go private for part of their healthcare is to be lifted in Scotland. Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has drawn up new guidance to allow top-up payments in some cases. At the moment, some patients pay for some treatment privately. However, that can exclude them from receiving other treatment on the NHS at the same time. Ministers believe the new guidance will give patients and health boards more clarity when it comes to "co-payments", the practice of paying privately for extra care while being treated on the NHS. NHS patients in Scotland should be able to top up their care privately but only if private and NHS care are kept clearly separate.

17.12.08 - Pharmacists in Scotland are to have a new pharmacy action plan to replace “The right medicine”, it was announced last week. Speaking at a Scottish Pharmacy Board reception held at the Scottish Parliament, Shona Robison, Minister for Public Health, said “The right medicine” had largely been introduced into pharmacy practice.

14.12.08 - Pain and fear surrounding medical injections could become things of the past with a revolutionary new treatment that allows patients to inhale drugs rather than endure a needle and syringe.  Millions being treated for cancer, diabetes and even vaccines are set to be helped by the groundbreaking 'microcrystal' treatment created by Scottish scientists.

17.12.08 - Scotland is in danger of becoming a ‘Prozac Nation’ critics warned last night after figures showed one adult in ten is on a daily dose of antidepressants.

19.12.08 - A pensioner who died after receiving the wrong chemotherapy drug was let down by human error and poor hospital procedures, a fatal accident inquiry has ruled.  Cancer patient Alexander Cusker suffered in agony for 60 days after being given stronger drug Chlormethine instead of Carmustine.

19.12.08 - Scotland's 24-hour health helpline has seen a surge in callers with flu symptoms, with demand for their service up a third compared to a year ago, it emerged yesterday. NHS 24 said it received 14,616 calls last weekend – a 33.8 per cent rise compared with the same time in 2007.

15.12.08 - The Scottish government has rejected plans by Westminster to force unemployed drug addicts to seek medical help to keep their benefits. Fiona Hyslop, the SNP Education Secretary, said she did not believe that taking away benefits would do anything other than lead addicts back to a life of crime.

05.01.09 - Improvements to the way health boards look after patients at risk of deep-vein thrombosis are yet to be introduced across Scotland, a year after managers were told to take action "as a matter of urgency"..

13.01.09 - The Scottish Government announced plans to eliminate smoking in mental health care settings.  Psychiatric hospitals and units were excluded from the 2006 law banning smoking in public places, but it was always intended that the issue would be addressed later.

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Scottish Health Service Senior Reps Committee 28.11.08
I attended this meeting where the main topic was the forthcoming day of action December 3rd. I attended the demo at the Southern General Hospital during my lunch break.

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Review of NHS Production in Scotland
The next meeting of the group will take place on 2nd February.

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Despite assurances from management, Annex R of the Agenda for Change terms and conditions has still not been implemented in Greater Glasgow & Clyde. A number of grievances have been taken out by staff as a consequence.

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I have dealt with a number of member queries and a couple of new membership applications.

Colin Rodden
23 January 2009

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