SHCN Annual General Meeting 22/1/11


Robert Cumming (Chair)

George Venters (Vice Chair)

Malcolm Allan (Secretary/media contact)

Lambert Sinclair (Treasurer)

John Winton

Ruth Winton

Yvonne McRoberts

James Sandeman

Margaret Hinds

David Smith

Alastair Glen

Margaret Watt

Patrick Trust

Matthew Dunnigan

Ken Barr

Cathy Leech

Julie McAnulty


1) Apologies:

Eileen Gorie

Jean Turner

Isobel Vernolini


2) Minutes of the AGM 27/2/10

Approval proposed by M Watt and seconded by P Trust


3) Matters arising from above minutes.

These were dealt with later during the meeting.


4) Chairman’s report.

This had been circulated in advance by the chairman and is summarised as follows:

The chairman, R C, reported on the result of the pilot study on election of members to health boards in Fife and Dumfries and Galloway. He congratulated J Winton on his election to NHS Fife.

The Patient Rights Bill continues its progress through the Scottish parliament along with the provision of healthcare in remote and rural areas.


He expressed disappointment about the rejection of the proposal to introduce minimum pricing per unit of alcohol. A monitoring group has been established to oversee the progress of the Vale of Leven “Vision”. The fire at the Christie ward at the Vale of Leven Hospital set back the provision of mental health care though there has been greater emphasis placed on care in the community since that occurrence.

An assurance has been given that the new South Side Hospital will be completed on time and within the budget of £842m. A Glen pointed out that the contracted sum allows for inflation at 2.5% but should costs increase beyond that level those costs are not met by the contractor.

The limited numbers of single beds in two refurbished wards at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary fall below what is expected of a modern hospital.

Negotiations continue about provision of out patient chemotherapy at the new Stobhill ACH

Issues about the website and the White Paper relating to England will be dealt with later in the agenda.

Delegates had met with Nicola Sturgeon twice in the current session and these meetings have been minuted.

R Cumming suggested that it was perhaps not necessary to meet as frequently as six times per year as specified in the constitution of the organisation. K Barr felt that four meetings would be adequate and this would allow members to discuss issues prior to and after meetings with the Cabinet Secretary. It was agreed that a proposal to alter the constitution to this effect would be put forward prior to the next meeting of members.

The Chairman thanked members and Office Bearers for their support during his year in office.





The Vice chairperson, G Venters also expressed his thanks to the Chair and to members and Office Bearers.

D Smith recommended that the SHCN raise its profile before the next Scottish election with particular reference to the issue of minimum unit pricing of alcohol and to the closing of MIUs at 9 pm.

P Trust detailed the arrangements at the VoL where 18 GPs assume responsibility for managing the MIU after 9 pm and that this would probably function better in non-urban situations.

J Winton referred to the situation in Kirkcaldy where, due to staffing difficulties, NHSFife will have to  replace the A&E at Victoria with a MIU after 6 PM on weekdays. At weekends only a MIU will function. Full A&E will be centralised at QMH Dunfermline.

G Venters suggested that the Network organise a seminar on the topic of GP out of hours cover, and M Watt supported this. P Trust questioned the costs of such an exercise.

P T explained that there was an ‘open door’ policy at the VoL re the out of hours service whereas at Dunoon, K Barr indicated that patients must contact NHS24 before presenting at the hospital.

J Winton asked that members provide input about problems with buildings constructed under PFI.


5) Secretary/media contact’s report.

This, too, had been circulated in advance.

The Secretary has maintained close liaison with members of the NHS Consultants Association and the Keep Our NHS Public campaign. R Cumming is a member of the executive committee of the NHSCA. Both individuals have produced articles for that organisation’s Newsletter relating to aspects of healthcare in Scotland.

Details were provided of information offered to the media.

Members are invited to forward copies of contributions they have made to local media to MA for wider circulation among members.


6) Treasurer’s report

Total income since 31/12/09  = £225.45

:      Expenditure:           = £153.59

Balance at 31/12/2010            = £1149.80

Acceptance of report proposed by M Watt and seconded by J Sandeman.

Treasurer thanked R Cumming for donations which he had received as a result of speaking to various groups. Treasurer proposed that subscriptions by groups should remain at £25.

Seconded by M Watt.

Treasurer proposed that an honorarium of £100 be paid to the Chairman (who was reluctant to accept this) and this was approved unanimously.


7) Auditors report.

Auditors, JW and KB, approved accounts and congratulated the treasurer on the clarity of his bookkeeping and their report was accepted without dissent.


8) Election of Office Bearers:

The chairman indicated that the existing office bearers were prepared to offer themselves for re-election.

M Watt proposed that they be re-elected en bloc and this was seconded by P Trust. Motion carried without dissent.


9) Minutes of 23/10/10

Acceptance proposed by M Watt and seconded by J Sandeman.


10) Matters arising from above minute.

No matters arising.


11) Matters arising from topics raised with Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing on 24/11/2010 and subsequent responses from her letter (previously circulated).


Single rooms at GRI (also see under chairman’s report (4) )

RC had raised this with the Staff associations at Stobhill and GRI (R Milroy) but has had no feedback. The impression is that staff are reluctant to speak up where there is an atmosphere of intimidation



It is recognised that it is difficult to obtain evidence of bullying and intimidation despite their being a process in place intended to protect “whistle blowers”. R Cumming will raise this whole issue with Nicola Sturgeon.

C Leech spoke of the STUC’s ‘There is a Better Way’ and proposed that the SHCN meet with the STUC. Any such meeting would include in its agenda the issue of cutbacks of trained staff.

R Cumming suggested that representatives from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and the British Medical Association (BMA) in Scotland should also be invited to participate but pointed out that in the past these organisations had not been included in discussions with the STUC as they are not affiliated to the STUC.

C Leech will initiate contact with Ian Tasker, one of the assistant secretaries of the STUC.


IT- GPASS will be phased out next year to be replaced by EMIS. Pointed out that this system does not enable GPs to communicate with hospitals,


A&E in Fife – A full reply had been received by R Winton.

J Winton reported that capital budget in Fife to be cut by 25%.


Staffing levels ( J McAnulty)

J McA argued that it is more cost effective to employ highly trained staff than to substitute more poorly paid staff i.e. that outcomes were better. If insufficient trained staff in place, training of junior staff suffers.


Vale of Leven

Covered under (5)


12) Waiting time targets

M Dunnigan advocated a system where patients should, in this electronic age, receive an appointment date within a few days of the hospital being contacted.

Consultants should be able to adjust referrals according to clinical need/priority.

He circulated a paper showing comparisons of average waiting times between referral and admission for 11 elective hospital procedures in England, Scotland, Wales and N Ireland. These refuted the conclusions drawn from the Nuffield Trust report which indicated that Scotland compared poorly with England.

He also praised the quality of treatment at the Golden Jubilee Hospital. D Smith wondered if general surgeons from other hospitals in Glasgow were still used to respond to abdominal problems arising from cardio thoracic surgery at the GJH.


13) SHCN website

A new password has been given to J McAnulty. In view of the potential cost of setting up a new site various suggestions were made as to how to minimise the cost. J Winton asked if we knew how many ‘hits’ the site received but this was not known. J McA will get in touch with a contact and will report back before entering into any financial commitment.


14) Health White Paper-England

R Cumming and K Barr have written to their respective MPs about the dangers of the White Paper to the NHS in England. Other members were encouraged to do so to emphasising that any changes to conditions and terms of service in England would affect the whole of the UK.- as will the training of junior staff. The private sector are not interested in medical education either at undergraduate or postgraduate levels

G Venters suggested that M Allan should contact media drawing attention to M Dunnigan’s “good news” about the performance of the NHS in Scotland based on the evidence which he had circulated.


15) Reports from groups.

J Winton spoke of “bed blocking” in Fife because of budget restraints affecting provision of care in the community. This was particularly evident in the case of 12 psychiatric beds.


16) AOCB

K Barr expressed concern about the closure of community hospices.





On behalf of members, L Sinclair presented Anne Cumming with a floral tribute in recognition of her continuing to attend our meetings and, along with Robert, for providing such excellent catering arrangements. Their joint contribution is much appreciated.


17) Date and Venue of Next Meeting.

To be decided after R Cumming has been in touch with office of Cabinet Secretary.

The meeting closed with a vote of thanks to the Chair for his contribution in the run up to the meeting and for his conduct of the meeting.


Malcolm Allan

Secretary SHCN

24 January 2011