Scottish Health Campaigns Network Meeting

3rd October 2009 Milngavie

  • Robert Cumming (Chair)
  • Lambert Sinclair
  • Malcolm Allan
  • Yvonne McRoberts
  • John Winton
  • Isobel Vernolini
  • Jean Turner
  • Margaret Watt
  • Eileen Gorie
  • Margaret Hinds
  • James Sandeman
  • Ken Barr
  • George Venters
  • Julie McAnulty
  • David Smith


  • Patrick Trust
  • Matthew Dunnigan
  • Alastair Glen


1.  RC indicated that although Geoff Mawdsley could not attend he still wished to attend at a future date.

2.  Minutes of meeting 4th April 2009  Acceptance proposed by M W and seconded by JW.

3.  Matters arising from above.  These would be dealt with during the agenda.

4.  Treasurer’s report.  Details were provided and it was indicated that the balance stood at £1023.58. A further cheque for £50 was given to the treasurer by KB on behalf of CATCHES.  With this addition, the current funds stand at £1073.58.

5.  Chairman’s report: RC indicated that he had been unable to provide the response by Nicola Sturgeon to those delegates using Tiscali and AOL due to the file size of the information.  RC had attended a conference organised by Scotland Patients Association (SPA) and it was reported that the presentation by Sister Rita of St Margaret’s Hospice could be accessed on that website.  The next meeting to be organised by SPA will take place on 4th November at the Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh.  Patients will speak at that meeting but will do so anonymously.  RC had spoken at a special policy meeting in York of the NHS Consultants’ Association on the subject of the purchaser/provider within the NHS and pointed out that this does not apply in Scotland.  MA had contributed an article to the NHSCA Newsletter on the provision of primary care in Scotland, and a copy of this had been e- mailed to delegates in advance of the meeting.  Similarly a copy of an open letter to US Senator Kerry about the NHS in the UK had been signed by RC on behalf of SHCN and circulated to delegates.  RC stated that following a meeting in May at Holyrood, he had received a letter from Prof. Beverley Hunt encouraging him to attend a meeting on the proposed SIGN guidelines on venous thromboembolism(VTE) in his capacity as representing the Network and as a former consultant haematologist.   This took place at the end of September.  He reported that 25,000 patients die annually as a result of either venous or arterial embolism.   He indicated the importance of patients at risk from this complication carrying details of any existing pre-existing conditions and current medication.  At the meeting in May,Professor Hunt urged the Scottish Parliament to draw up a cross party group to tackle the problem.  MW drew attention to the availability of identification by using MediAlert.

6.  Review of Meeting with Cabinet Secretary on 25th August 2009.  Details about this and the response by NS had been e mailed to delegates (but see 5 about file size).  RC commented on the decision by NS to discontinue the north and south (of Glasgow) monitoring groups. It was felt that the views of The Medical Staff Association were not always given sufficient emphasis by the Area Medical Committee.  It is intended to raise the issue at the annual review of GG and C Health Board.  J McA will write a letter to NS about provision for treatment of mental health in North Lanarkshire, noting that 130 beds are planned for either Monklands or Wishaw Hospitals but that no decision has yet been taken. This letter will be signed by RC on behalf of the SHCN.  A copy also to be sent to local MSP(s).  JW spoke on the effective use of the Freedom of Information Act to access information about the PFI contract for the costs involved in the build for the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy. This indicated an annual payment of £317.3m for 30 years producing a total of £520m on an original figure of £170m MA indicated that the response by NS on the Minor Ailment Service appeared to display a misunderstanding of the points which he had raised.   He expressed surprise that the Department was prepared to regard “anecdotal evidence” of the effectiveness of MAS as adequate. Consideration of  potential savings which might be made by the use of generic as opposed to proprietary ‘over the counter’ medicines had been undermined by confusing the relative costs of the two categories and this had been exacerbated by the introduction of the issue of generic substitution, a topic which had not been raised.  It was agreed that MA should write to NS via the Chair in an attempt to clarify these points.  MW indicated that she was now able to obtain prescribed homeopathic medicines  within the NHS.  She emphasised that there was no dialogue between the GG and C Health Board and St Margaret’s Hospice, Clydebank.Beatson Oncology Centre  MW and JT confirmed that the problems raised with NS persisted.  DS questioned if all posts were filled.  How much use at all is made of locums(continuity of care).  How many staff on leave/maternity leave etc.?  JT questioned how much use is being made of independent sector. RC reported £20m in 2006/07 as the approximate costs to Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board.

7.  Report on meeting on ”Rationing, Charity and Private Support – For how much longer can the UK afford the NHS?” held in the  Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh in June.This report by GV who had attended the meeting had been circulated in advance.

8.  Election of Health Board Members.This will be piloted in two areas—Dumfries and Galloway and Fife.JW spoke on details. 12 members will be appointed, 12 elected. One councillor will also be included and this member will be chosen by the local council. The Chair will continue to be appointed by  the Scottish Government.JW indicated that he might consider standing for the Health Board in Fife. Elections will take place in June 2010.Canidates expenses will be limited to £250. The election will be by postal ballot and will include 16 year olds.

9.  Future of Stracathro ISTC.JT attended a briefing as an observer.The ISTC contract with Netcare will not be renewed . Instead a tripartite participation of the Health Boards of Fife, Grampian and Tayside would provide a service which would include 50% of these board’s requirements for plastic surgery and also be a regional centre for vasectomy. JW reported that Fife and Tayside had struggled to meet the required numbers of contracted patients. Fife and Tayside Boards pay for transport to Stracathro in order to encourage patients to attend the centre.

10.  Reports from Groups.LHC from Fife had submitted a report in advance and this had been circulated.HSFSE- MH commented that one of the two lifts in the new Victoria ACH was not functioning. Suggestion is to contact the estates manager of GG and C. The Balfour Beatty Consortium was responsible to the Health Board for maintenance of the PFI building. Also commented on was the inadequate signage within the ACH.RC also noted the on- going problems with filters for dialysis apparatus at Victoria and Stobhill ACHs.

11.  AOCB JS has submitted a paper to RC with projection on future provision of emergency care beds, care homes, and health and social care for an aging population. These are based on the Registrar General of Scotland’s  projections for 2031 and cause serious concerns for the future of medical care both in hospital and in the community with an estimated 40% of the population being over 65 by that date.It was a noted that the residents of the Kinloch Rannoch area had submitted a petition to the Scottish Parliament for the provision of 24-hour GP cover in a remote and rural areas.MW asked that RC write to the secretary of the SHCN to establish if she intends to continue in that role.MA thanked Anne Cumming and Robert for continuing to provide excellent catering arrangements for delegates and enquired if the contributions covered the costs. It was agreed that the provision of sandwiches and mini sausage rolls together with tea/coffee and bottled water would meet our requirements and that in future cakes etc would not be necessary.

12.  Date of next meeting.RC will write to NS following the discussions at this meeting and will get back to delegates with any response. Following any such response a date, possibly in early January will be agreed with delegates.  A Vote of Thanks to the Chair was proposed by MW.Meeting ended at 4.10 pm


Malcolm Allan                         3rd October 2009