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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 23 February 2006

Note: (DT) signifies a decision taken at Decision Time.

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

  1. Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Bill – Stage 1: The Minister for Environment and Rural Development (Ross Finnie) moved S2M-3894—That the Parliament agrees to the general principles of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Bill.

    After debate, the motion was agreed to (DT).

  2. General Question Time:  Questions were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

  3. First Minister’s Question Time: Questions were answered by the First Minister (Mr Jack McConnell).

  4. Themed Question Time: Questions on Education and Young People, Tourism, Culture and Sport, and on Finance and Public Services and Communities were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

  5. Fair to All, Personal to Each - the Progress on Waiting: The Minister for Health and Community Care (Mr Andy Kerr) moved S2M-3990—That the Parliament welcomes the significant progress made by NHS Scotland to reduce waiting times; applauds the dedication and hard work of all NHS staff who have helped meet the targets for patients; acknowledges the contribution made by the Scottish Executive through additional investment in the NHS; notes that partnerships with the independent healthcare sector have also contributed to the capacity available to treat NHS patients; supports the continuing work by the NHS to modernise and redesign services to further improve access and accelerate diagnosis and treatment, and supports the Executive’s commitment to achieve further improvements in waiting times while securing a modern sustainable health service for Scotland on the basis of Delivering for Health.

    Shona Robison moved amendment S2M-3990.3 to motion S2M-3990—

    Leave out from “welcomes” to end and insert—

    “congratulates NHS staff for their hard work in delivering progress in meeting targets for patients with waiting time guarantees; however recognises the recent concerns of Audit Scotland that the number of people without a waiting time guarantee has increased, that nearly 24,000 patients have been waiting more than six months for in-patient and day case treatment and that the total number of people waiting for in-patient and day case treatment has changed little in the last two years; further notes that Audit Scotland’s report, Tackling Waiting Times in the NHS in Scotland,regards the increased use of the private sector as being “relatively high-cost” compared to the NHS; welcomes the report’s recommendation that there should be greater involvement and choice for patients, and therefore commends the SNP’s Patient Rights proposals to provide every patient with an individual waiting time guarantee appropriate to them within national waiting time targets.”

    After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 30, Against 80, Abstentions 0).

    Mrs Nanette Milne moved amendment S2M-3990.1 to motion S2M-3990—

    Leave out from “welcomes” to end and insert—

    “notes the progress in eliminating the longest waits; is concerned, however, at the corresponding rise in patients with Availability Status Codes who are not guaranteed treatment within the waiting times target; notes that the extra money going into the health service has not been matched by corresponding increases in productivity; further notes that, despite the efforts and hard work of the NHS staff, patients are not receiving the level of service they demand and deserve because of insufficient capacity to meet demand; is concerned by the stark health inequalities existing between each end of the social deprivation scale, local health service facilities being closed against the wishes of local communities and a slow adoption of new drugs and technologies, and believes that Scotland needs to move to a system with greater responsiveness to the needs of individual patients and communities, put power back in the hands of professionals to prioritise treatment by clinical need and increase the capacity available to treat NHS patients by extending the use of the independent sector.”

    After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 15, Against 95, Abstentions 0).

    Carolyn Leckie moved amendment S2M-3990.2 to motion S2M-3990—

    Leave out from “welcomes” to end and insert—

    “applauds the dedication and hard work of all NHS staff who have helped meet the targets for patients; notes that the NHS has insufficient core capacity and insufficient core staffing of establishments resulting in increased overtime and locum costs; believes that resources that should be directly spent on patient care are being diverted to increasing the profits of private health providers; believes that NHS patients treated by the private sector have had their care standards compromised, for example patients treated by the Advanced Centre for Eye Care (ACE) and those in England with severe respiratory illnesses made reliant on oxygen supplied by the private sector; believes that all private healthcare providers in Scotland should be urgently audited by Audit Scotland to determine whether the standards of care provided are putting patients at risk or imposing additional care burdens on NHS staff; believes that the NHS is under threat as a public health care system and that urgent action is required to protect and improve it, including increased investment in training to provide more NHS doctors, dentists, clinicians, other professionals and support staff to increase the NHS’s own capacity, and believes that Scotland’s stark health inequalities will only be intensified by the increased involvement of the private sector.”

    After debate, the amendment disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 13, Against 97, Abstentions 0).

    The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 62, Against 41, Abstentions 6).

  6. Substitution on Committees: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-3995—That the Parliament agrees that Mr Andrew Welsh be appointed to replace Michael Matheson as the Scottish National Party substitute on the Education Committee.

    The motion was agreed to (DT).

  7. Membership of Committee: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-4000—That the Parliament agrees that Mr Jamie Stone be appointed to replace Mike Pringle on the Subordinate Legislation Committee.

    The motion was agreed to (DT).

  8. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 5, 6 and 7 as noted above.

  9. Air Ambulance Trials in Orkney: The Parliament debated S2M-3877 in the name of Mr Jim Wallace—That the Parliament notes the proposal of the Scottish Ambulance Service to replace the Kirkwall-based BN Islander aircraft, successfully used for many years to provide air ambulance cover for Orkney, with an Inverness-based EC 135 helicopter which also covers a much wider area of the Highlands and Islands and beyond; further notes that trials of the helicopter on service in Orkney, carried out since spring 2005, have done little to provide assurances that it can provide even an equal level of service to that provided by the Islander aircraft, with particular concerns relating to its ability to fly in Orkney's winter weather and also its ability to provide adequate cover for the wide area it will be required to serve, and believes that, if the Kirkwall-based Islander aircraft is not retained as a back-up facility beyond the end of March 2006, Orkney will be left with poorer quality and potentially unsafe air ambulance cover.

The meeting closed at 5.59 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
23 February 2006

Appendix
(Note: this Appendix does not form part of the Minutes)

Subordinate Legislation

Affirmative Instruments

The following instrument was laid in draft before the Parliament on 23 February 2006 for approval by resolution

The Scotland Act 1998 (Transfer of Functions to Scottish Ministers) (No. 2) Order 2006

laid under section 115 of, and paragraphs 1 and 2 of Schedule 7 to, the Scotland Act 1998

Negative Instruments

The following instruments were laid before the Parliament on 23 February 2006 and are subject to annulment—

The Seeds (Fees) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2006 (SSI 2006/70)

laid under section 16(6) of the Plant Varieties and Seeds Act 1964

The Water Services Charges (Billing and Collection) (Scotland) Order 2006 (SSI 2006/71)—

The Water and Sewerage Charges (Exemption and Reduction) (Scotland) Regulations 2006 (SSI 2006/72)—

laid under section 68(4) of the Water Industry (Scotland) Act 2002

Not Subject to any Parliamentary Procedure

The following instrument was laid before the Parliament on 23 February 2006 and is not subject to any Parliamentary procedure

The Food Protection (Emergency Prohibitions) (Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning) (West Coast) (No. 6) (Scotland) Order 2005

Revocation Order 2006 (SSI 2006/69)
laid under section 1(10) of the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985

Other Documents

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 23 February 2006 and are not subject to any Parliamentary procedure—

Report of the Board of Management of Cardonald College and Accounts for the year ended 31 July 2005 (SE/2006/28)—

Central College of Commerce Board of Management Report and Financial Statements 2004-05 (SE/2006/29)—

Clydebank College Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 July 2005 (SE/2006/30)—

Aberdeen College Financial Statements for the year to 31 July 2005 (SE/2006/31)—

Borders College Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 July 2005 (SE/2006/32)—

laid under section 22(5) of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000

Committee Reports

The following report was published on 23 February 2006

Justice1 Committee, 1st report, 2006 (Session 2): Stage 1 Report on Scottish Commissioner for Human Rights Bill (SP Paper 508)