Scottish Health Campaigns Network


 Minutes of meeting on 20th April 2013



Julie McAnulty (Chair)                                                Dr David Williams (Vice Chair)

James Sandeman (Secretary)                           Dr Patrick Trust (Treasurer)

Ken Brown      Grange/Howard CC                 Margaret Hinds            Health Forum SE

Alastair Glen    Health Forum SE                     Anne Hughes     )        (Renfrewshire

Eileen Gorie     Vale of Leven                          Catherine Hughes)       (re Centre for

Tom Herbert    Stobhill                                                                                    (    Integrative Care


1) Apologies:   Ken Barr (Cowal)        Martin Allan (Drumchapel CC)


2) Minutes:

a) Minutes of 8th December 2012: amendment of wording under AOB to read NHS Highland has ceased referring patients to the Centre (for Integrative Care) although some do attend for integrative care reviews:

Proposed by Margaret Hinds, seconded by Alastair Glen.  Adopted.


b) Minutes of AGM on 16th March 2013 (section between Treasurer’s Report and Election of Office Bearers: discussion on the future of SHCN):

Proposed by David Williams, seconded by Tom Herbert.  Adopted.


3) Matters arising:     None                                                                                 Actions


4) Membership:         

Discussion of move from groups (of which only 3 remain) towards individuals and Community Councils (CCs) etc, with particular reference to membership fees.

PT stressed that with a reasonable float and few outgoings the issue of fees is not urgent.

Mixed views on whether CCs could afford fees, given their grant income of around £600: KBr would canvass CCs in the Kilmarnock area for their reaction                 KBr

Given that SHCN focus and membership are both in a transition stage, the question was raised as to what ‘product’ we were offering to prospective members.  Issues have yet to be defined.

Ÿ  Agreed to hold over discussion of membership fees until the autumn.


Treasurer sought confirmation of cheque signatories:

  • Agreed they would be Julie McAnulty, Patrick Trust and James Sandeman.

Appropriate forms completed for processing at the bank.                                                 PT

JMcA reminded that the website hosting fee had recently been paid.  She will continue to manage the w/s.                                                                                                  JMcA


5) Outpatient Chemotherapy at Stobhill:

TH reminded that the service was provided at the Old Stobhill under Consultant Haematologist Dr Robert Cumming.  It was then transferred to GRI, and later to the Beatson.  Around this time the ACADs were opening at Victoria and Stobhill, and a Chemo unit was installed in the New Victoria but not in the New Stobhill – on the grounds that patient numbers were insufficient.  This is contested, as although the NHSGGC figures quoted showed roughly twice as many patients attending the Victoria unit, the population of the Stobhill catchment area is in fact the greater.

The anomaly is heightened by a 2004 NHSGGC leaflet promoting the New Stobhill and listing the services to be provided there, including “Treatments for blood disorders and cancers”.  What happened?

TH has asked the Board Chairman for independent patient data.

There is no direct public transport from the Stobhill catchment area to the Beatson, and patients already feeling below par should not be obliged to use two or more buses in each direction.  The “patient transport” system was said to work badly, with volunteer car drivers being poorly managed and not always reliable.

JMcA asked how much does NHSGGC spend on taxis?

PT remarked that in contrast the service provided at Vale of Leven was valuable and safe, while the Beatson is struggling to meet demand.

JMcA stressed the incompatibility of the current arms-length system with the Scottish Government’s avowed policy of keeping healthcare local.

She suggested that the cost of provision at Stobhill would be cheaper than running it at a number of Health Centres.

  • Agreed this would be an issue to consider raising with the Cabinet Secretary. All


6) Rural out-of-hours service:

In the absence of Ken Barr it was agreed to hold this over.

JS referred to a conference held near Fort William on 19th April on the subject – no details have so far emerged.


7) Integration of Health and Social Care:

JMcA stressed that the main thrust of the impending Scottish Parliament Bill was in Elderly care, while a high proportion of Social Work spend was on addiction (not generally an elderly issue). Some suggestion it might be linked to a reduction in the number of Health Boards.

The Health & Social Care Act in England is a separate matter, but she warned that it could have repercussions in Scotland.

JMcA drew attention to the need for adequate scrutiny, with the danger of relevant information being withheld on grounds of “commercial confidentiality”.  The marriage of two well-established cultures (in Councils and NHS) is not going to be easy, and accountability must be ensured.

PT’s experience in West Dunbartonshire is encouraging, with the parties working well together.  One useful step was the introduction of Welfare Rights workers rather than Social Workers in GP practices, helping patients fill in unfamiliar forms and thus ensuring that patients receive the benefits they are entitled to.

He added that one particular area of collaboration was on alcohol and drugs issues.

He warned that patient choice could introduce more private-sector providers, already happening in England but not welcome in Scotland.  One undesirable result could be different places receiving different levels of service: general services should be locally available, with only specialised services being concentrated in centres of excellence.

He further stressed the key role of real collaboration between the Chief Executives of Social Work/CHP/Health Board.


8) Independence – Cross-border issues:

JMcA highlighted the issue of training: deregulation of NHS in England could place the Consortia in charge.

PT stressed that standards are set by the Royal Colleges, so quality should be maintained.  The elephant in the room could be funding.

Scotland has always exported trained health staff, and we were warned this could increase – to our cost.

AG pointed out that under current arrangements a resident Health Board pays for treatment elsewhere, and this is expected to continue.

JMcA referred to “designated services” in England, with the private cap increased from 5% to 50%, likely to lead to longer waiting times.

She pointed out that an EU resident is entitled to go to another country for treatment not available at home, and in England a Consortium will decide on the treatment profile in its area.  Consortia will want for financial reasons to avoid long term chronic conditions: sufferers may therefore move to a more “friendly” area.

The abolition in England of GP boundaries may exacerbate the issue.

SHCN should respond to the current Consultation on Cross Border Healthcare & Patient Mobility.  [this can be found on www.scotland/gov/uk/Publications/2013/04/6270/0   Closing Date 14th June 2013]           All


  • Agreed this would be a topic for an eventual meeting with the Cabinet Secretary, for his update at least.                                                                                                     All


9) Stroke:

MH deplored the lack of widely-available literature on stroke care, and the apparent gap in knowledge about which hospitals have a stroke unit- particularly in view of the 4-hour window for intervention.

She also highlighted the lack of availability of physiotherapy care for stroke victims.

PT pointed out that NHSGGC are working on improvements in stroke care, and added that heart attacks are already better handled.

He added that the need for local services applies strongly here: acute unit beds are under pressure and therefore patients must be transferred as soon as fit to a suitable local unit.


10) Meeting with Cabinet Secretary:

We must have a solid agenda to make full use of such a meeting

  • Agreed we ask Alex Neil for an autumn meeting, with agreement to firm up on an agenda in time for him to obtain necessary briefing.                                                      JS
  • Agreed our next meeting would concentrate on this agenda.                           All


11) AOCB:

CH advised that the Centre for Integrative Care (Homeopathic) was closed “for refurbishment” in early March, supposedly for a month, but there are no signs of a re-opening.

Borders and Lothian have withdrawn their support, but NHS Lanarkshire are still in play.

CH has written to Alex Neil requesting national funding, since the facility is clearly difficult for one Health Board to manage alone.  NHSGGC are said not to be keen on maintaining the Centre.

  • Agreed SHCN will write to the Chairman of NHSGGC to request an update on when the Centre will re-open.                                                                                                JS

MH raised a report on the Herald on 12th March about the abandonment of a £50m IT eCare system to link NHS and Social Work departments.  The provider is Atos (as in disability assessment), and the system is to be dropped this summer.

KBr reported that in his area IT is cutting into face-to-face time with patients, since the input process took so much time.


12) NEXT MEETING:               Saturday 15th June (subject to confirmation the room is free)          JS