Meeting of the Scottish Health Campaigns Network 17th September 2011 at Milngavie Community Centre.



 Robert Cumming (Chair)

Malcolm Allan (Secretary)

John Winton

Isobel Vernolini

Yvonne McRoberts

Cathy Leech

Alastair Glen

James Sandeman

Ken Barr

Jean Turner

Margaret Watt

George Venters

Patrick Trust


1)      Apologies:

Lambert Sinclair (Treasurer)

Matthew Dunnigan

Julie McAnulty

Margaret Hinds


2)      Minutes of Meeting of 9th April 2011:

Acceptance proposed by M Watt and seconded by J Sandeman


3)      Matters arising:


R Cumming reported that as N Ireland and Wales BMA appear to support the proposals in the Health and Social Care Bill little interest has been shown in the comparative data produced by M Dunnigan re the performance aspects of healthcare in England and Scotland.

R Cumming confirmed that home dialysis is being supported by BUPA and he intends to raise this with Nicola Sturgeon, Cabinet Secretary for Health, at the next meeting with her.


4)      Treasurer’s report:

The treasurer had prepared a statement of accounts to 31/08/11


Donations        =  £40.00

Fees                  =  £75.00

Bank interest   =  £00.22

Total income    =  £115.22




Hall lets (3)        = £24.00

New website       = £350.00

Treasurer’s report (continued)


Honorarium     =£100


Total expenses = £474.00


Balance at 31/12/10  = £1149.80

Plus income               = £115.22

Less expenditure       = £474.00


Balance at bank        = £791.02


Acceptance proposed by M Watt and seconded by A Glen.


** Note that at the close of the meeting a cheque for £50 was received from P Trust in respect of the Vale of Leven Group and an individual cash subscription of £20 from G Venters. These will be forwarded by the Secretary to the Treasurer on his return from holiday.


5)      New website:

The chair expressed the appreciation of delegates for the work carried out by J McAnulty in setting up the new site with its well-maintained links.

Noted that there will be an annual payment to host of about £30.

J Winton observed that no groups are mentioned and it was agreed that information would be provided to indicate the areas represented by groups. 

K Barr requested that links to health boards be included.   —    Action J McA


6)      Consideration of Topics for next meeting with Nicola Sturgeon:

      During a general discussion the following points were raised.

Several delegates commented that communications with N Sturgeon appeared to becoming less informal with responses delegated to civil servants.

A Glen noted that N Sturgeon will no longer attend annual reviews of Health Boards.

R Cumming and G Venters reported that Lanarkshire health board claims that Monklands hospital is unable to fill vacant posts. They suggested that this may be a strategy to undermine the viability of the hospital and that this should be discussed with N S.

J Winton observed that higher administration costs were being incurred by health boards in meeting targets citing delayed discharges as an example.

P Trust raised a number of points about the Vale of Leven hospital.

A study of medical admissions has been carried out at the V ale. 6000 cases have been examined to establish what can be dealt with at the Vale and what has to be transferred to Paisley. A scoring system has been established to this end. Could this be used more widely?  There remains room for greater co-operation between consultants and GPs.

Minor Injuries Unit works on a 24-hour basis staffed by experienced nurse practitioners for 12 hours with the addition of a GP for the other 12 hours.

Direct access to GP out of hours service applies without the need to contact NHS24 in advance.

Stated that GPs working well at Lochgilphead hospital but that more training is required for junior doctors.

P Trust agreed to produce paper in advance of next meeting with N Sturgeon.

J Winton stated that there are three Minor Injury Units in Fife, functioning between 6 pm and 8 am.  Those attending must go through NHS24 in advance.  This situation applies elsewhere.

R Cumming will ask for figures to indicate how many additional patients are being seen at the Western Infirmary, Glasgow, and at Glasgow Royal Infirmary since the closure of Casualty at Stobhill.

G Venters to raise the issue of e strategy.

J McAnulty to deal with recruitment at Monklands.

G Venters indicated that he would be willing to have a meeting with J McA along with Elaine Smith MSP if this could be arranged.

K Barr seeks clarification on the extension of telecare to rural communities.

C Leech stated that information about the Liverpool Care Pathway is not being readily made available to relatives of patients/residents in Care homes.

P Trust and R Cumming noted that comprehensive information is available on websites but that it would be helpful if leaflets were produced and made available in surgeries, pharmacies and libraries though in some cases available space can prove a problem, as does the volume of other material.

Suggested that an on line question by C Leech to N Sturgeon might be appropriate.


J Turner/M Watt of Scotland Patients Association (SPA)

The on going problem of ‘whistle blowing’ and the consequences e.g. termination of contract with residents of Care homes when concerns raised by residents or relatives or carers outwith the care home setting.

Levels of qualified staff employed in care homes require better regulation.


This led to some discussion about increasing financial pressures on local authorities in providing places in care homes and the effect on delayed discharges. P Trust stated that figures for delayed discharges are required to be produced monthly by hospitals.

Lightburn is to be closed with the loss of 90 plus beds.The inpatient component is to be transferred to Stobhill and the OP function to Glasgow Royal.

M Watt spoke of Glasgow City Council’s five new Care homes, one already built with a further four to follow.

J Winton stated that in Fife council run Care homes cost £300 more per week 

than those in the private sector, and questioned whether the increased costs were attributable to more administration. 


R Cumming intends to point out that the NO SMOKING policy is not being fully implemented in most hospital grounds.


7)      Health and Social Care Bill:


      R Cumming had written to Angus Robertson MP Leader of SNP at Westminster and a copy of this had been circulated. In common with protocol, MPs reply only to constituents.

Why did SNP not vote against Bill? Although directed at changes to NHS in England there is a failure to recognise the potential implications for Scotland.

A Glen suggested that the SHCN should ask N Sturgeon that the Scottish Government discuss plans for future training of medical personnel with the Westminster Government.

M Dunnigan had produced charts to illustrate the difference between Scotland and England as to the number of procedures carried out within the NHS in the respective countries. The number of procedures carried out in England has increased since the introduction of ‘payment by results’. He intends to produce a joint paper with Allyson Pollock.


8)      Reports by groups:

R Cumming reported on the on going discussions about re-introducing chemotherapy at Stobhill hospital. The hope is that a consultant will attend a clinic one day per week at Stobhill. A meeting has taken place with Fiona McLeod MSP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden. The next meeting of campaigners with J Best of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is scheduled for 28th September.

It was noted that oncology services continue to be provided at the Vale of Leven.

Isobel Vernolini, Local Health Concern Fife

A report had been circulated in advance. This highlighted that cost savings in Fife are having an impact on services relating to the delivery of healthcare.

An attempt to stop home birth assistance has been ‘knocked back’ largely by the Scottish Health Department.

Elected members of the health board were responsible for putting on hold plans to centralise palliative care in Kirkcaldy.

Initiatives have been started to reduce hospitalisation of some of the elderly in an attempt to reduce delayed discharges.

The acute wing at Victoria Kirkcaldy is due to open to the public in Dec/Jan with QMH Dunfermline downgraded to Ambulatory care and MIU. Rising PFI charges pose a problem.


9)      Future of Network:

Continuing emphasis to be placed on the work being carried out at the Vale of Leven hospital and the results of joint working of Consultants and GPs.

K Barr questioned how much the Network had achieved since its inception.

The outcomes at the Belford Hospital, at Caithness, Glasgow Homeopathic and Monklands hospitals and the introduction of the election of members to Health Boards in two pilot areas were quoted as examples of where the SHCN could claim to have contributed to the end results.

M Watt expressed the opinion that five Health Boards would be adequate rather than fourteen while P Trust emphasised the need to keep services as local as possible.

K Barr also emphasised that public consultations should be genuine.


10)  AOCB:

Attention was drawn to the very recent statement on Care Homes made by N Sturgeon in the Scottish Parliament with particular note being made of the importance of unscheduled inspections.


11)  Date and Venue of Next meeting


To be advised once a date has been agreed for the next meeting with Nicola Sturgeon.

The meeting closed with a Vote of Thanks to the Chair for coping well with the additional responsibility of catering in the unavoidable absence of Anne Cumming. Delegates asked for the their best wishes to be conveyed to Anne for a full recovery from her recent operation.


Malcolm Allan


Scottish Health Campaigns Network

19th September 2011