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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 26 March 2009

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. The NHS and the Independent Sector: Mary Scanlon moved S3M-3796—That the Parliament welcomes the success of the Scottish Regional Treatment Centre at Stracathro and pays tribute to the previous Scottish administration for piloting the scheme; notes that the Stracathro pilot was rated as excellent by its patients and has reduced waiting times, that the centre has no reported healthcare associated infections and that it has saved several million pounds of taxpayers’ money in the process of successfully treating NHS patients; further notes that since 1999 successive Scottish administrations have recognised the contribution that can be made by the independent sector to treating NHS patients, with a record 4,409 treatments performed in 2008, more than double the level in 1999 and a 38% increase since 2007, and accordingly urges the Scottish Government to continue to work with the independent sector in order to deliver the best possible healthcare for the people of Scotland.

The Minister for Public Health and Sport (Shona Robison) moved amendment S3M-3796.3 to motion S3M-3796—

leave out from "success" to end and insert—

"Scottish Government’s commitment to a mutual NHS in Scotland and its decision only to use the private sector for health provision at the margins where necessary; further welcomes the fact that there has been a 37% drop in private sector acute activity, excluding Stracathro, between 2006 and 2008 and congratulates NHS staff for achieving this reduction; notes the role of the private treatment centre pilot at Stracathro, established by the last administration, and awaits the final evaluation of this pilot, and commends the Scottish Government policy to direct investment into the NHS rather than divert scarce resources into private sector health provision."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 45, Against 67, Abstentions 0).

Dr Richard Simpson moved amendment S3M-3796.1 to motion S3M-3796—

leave out from "and pays" to end and insert—

"with its high level of patient approval and welcomes the Scottish Regional Treatment Centre’s contribution to maintaining Stracathro Hospital as both a local and regional resource; notes the success of the nationalisation of the HCI hospital in Clydebank, now the Golden Jubilee National Hospital, and recognises the contribution of both these units and their staff in achieving the continuing reduction in waiting times."

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 84, Against 16, Abstentions 12).

Ross Finnie moved amendment S3M-3796.2 to motion S3M-3796—

insert at end—

", while ensuring that the use of the private sector does not destabilise local NHS provision or undermine the recruitment and retention of NHS staff."

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

After debate, the motion as amended was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 96, Against 16, Abstentions 0).

Accordingly the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament welcomes the success of the Scottish Regional Treatment Centre at Stracathro with its high level of patient approval and welcomes the Scottish Regional Treatment Centre’s contribution to maintaining Stracathro Hospital as both a local and regional resource; notes the success of the nationalisation of the HCI hospital in Clydebank, now the Golden Jubilee National Hospital, and recognises the contribution of both these units and their staff in achieving the continuing reduction in waiting times, while ensuring that the use of the private sector does not destabilise local NHS provision or undermine the recruitment and retention of NHS staff.

2. Alcohol Strategy: Bill Aitken moved S3M-3778—That the Parliament welcomes the decision of the Scottish Government to incorporate its proposals for reform of the law relating to the sale of alcohol into a new health Bill, which will facilitate democratic accountability and greater parliamentary and public scrutiny of its proposals; calls on the Scottish Government to place greater emphasis on a much more rigorous application of the existing licensing laws and to recognise that any changes can be introduced only on the basis of a wider and meaningful consultation with the licensed trade and Scotland’s communities, and believes that any measures taken to tackle binge drinking and underage drinking must be properly targeted and effective so that the responsible, sensible majority of moderate drinkers do not have to pay more or suffer as a result of the excesses of a small minority.

Nicola Sturgeon moved amendment S3M-3778.2 to motion S3M-3778—

leave out from "binge drinking" to end and insert—

"harmful drinking and underage drinking must be workable and properly targeted so that, while the responsible, sensible majority of moderate drinkers are not unnecessarily penalised, wider issues of excess consumption contributing to huge costs to Scottish society are effectively addressed."

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 82, Against 17, Abstentions 12).

Robert Brown moved amendment S3M-3778.1 to motion S3M-3778—

leave out from "any changes" to end and insert—

"tackling Scotland’s complex relationship with alcohol will require significant and long-term cultural change, and believes that any proposals for reform of the law should be targeted and evidence-based, introduced on the basis of strong public support and following meaningful consultation with all relevant interests and stakeholders to ensure that measures to address problematic alcohol consumption do not unfairly penalise the majority of individuals who enjoy alcohol responsibly."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 28, Against 84, Abstentions 0).

After debate, the motion as amended was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 80, Against 3, Abstentions 28).

Accordingly the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament welcomes the decision of the Scottish Government to incorporate its proposals for reform of the law relating to the sale of alcohol into a new health Bill, which will facilitate democratic accountability and greater parliamentary and public scrutiny of its proposals; calls on the Scottish Government to place greater emphasis on a much more rigorous application of the existing licensing laws and to recognise that any changes can be introduced only on the basis of a wider and meaningful consultation with the licensed trade and Scotland’s communities, and believes that any measures taken to tackle harmful drinking and underage drinking must be workable and properly targeted so that, while the responsible, sensible majority of moderate drinkers are not unnecessarily penalised, wider issues of excess consumption contributing to huge costs to Scottish society are effectively addressed.

3. General Question Time: Questions were answered by Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers.

4. First Minister’s Question Time: Questions were answered by the First Minister (Alex Salmond).

5. Themed Question Time: Questions on Rural Affairs and the Environment, and Justice and Law Officers were answered by Cabinet Secretaries, Ministers and Scottish Law Officers.

6. Supporting Economic Recovery: The Parliament debated Supporting Economic Recovery.

7. Business Motion: Bruce Crawford, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S3M-3808—That the Parliament agrees that consideration of the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Bill at Stage 2 be extended to 24 April 2009.

The motion was agreed to.

8. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1 and 2 as noted above.

9. Earth Hour 2009: The Parliament debated S3M-3349 in the name of Shirley-Anne Somerville—That the Parliament supports WWF’s Earth Hour 2009, which aims to encourage millions of people worldwide and across Scotland to switch off their lights for an hour at 8.30 pm on Saturday 28 March 2009, to send a powerful global message that we care enough about climate change to take action and demonstrate widespread public support for an equitable, binding and scientifically credible global deal on climate change and, in Scotland, strong Scottish climate change legislation; considers that 2009 is a critical year for action on climate change with a new global deal to be agreed in Copenhagen in December; acknowledges the opportunity for Scotland to take a global lead with the most progressive legislation in the world through a strong Climate Change (Scotland) Bill; recognises that the global deal must address the historical responsibility of the United Kingdom and other developed countries as major contributors to climate change; commends local government in Edinburgh alongside the many individuals who are early signatories to support WWF’s Earth Hour in Scotland, and further considers that the Scottish and UK governments are in an ideal position to take a proactive, progressive and leading role throughout the 2009 negotiations.

The meeting closed at 5.43 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
26 March 2009

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