As well as responding to the immediate needs of my constituents, I want to make a difference to Provan and to Scotland. Where issues arising from casework start to recur and produce a pattern - eg regarding property factoring or the UK Government’s Green Deal – something needs done about the system or process. In addition, there are things I want to promote such as ending rough sleeping and getting reusable nappies more widely used by parents in Scotland. The solutions might not be quick and easy to implement but I am using the tools at my disposal as an MSP to start to raise awareness and address them. I’ll use this section of the website to provide details of my campaigns and updates as appropriate.


Substance Vs. Soundbite

Substance Vs. Soundbite

I know this is a bit of an essay but I think it is important to set out very clearly what is going on with the consultation about Lightburn Hospital.

The last Labour-LibDem administration in Holyrood set up a process, in 2010, to manage proposals from Health Boards for changes in services.

That is the process that is being followed now. It is designed to let the Health Board do its job of making proposals for changes to services, including engagement and consultation with local people, and to let the Scottish Health Council do its job in overseeing the process.

The job of the Health Board is to make final proposals to the Government about any Major Service Changes, once these have been through the consultation process.

Once the Health Board has presented them to her, the Health Secretary then makes a decision on the final proposals.

There is no point in the Health Secretary intervening earlier, because she needs to see the full final details of the proposals the Health Board is making, its reasons for wanting to make those changes and the results of the public consultation process.

At the moment the Health Board doesn't even have a final proposal. It's not clear what services they want to move, and to where, and they keep changing their mind on this and on the reasons why they want to make these changes.

The process works.

In 2011, when the Health Board presented proposals to Nicola Sturgeon, who was then the Health Secretary, she refused to accept them. Her decision was based on the input from local people to the consultation process.

The first set of proposals the Health Board made last year argued that the changes to Lightburn didn't constitute a Major Service Change. If this was the case, it would mean that they wouldn't have to go to the Government for approval.

Under pressure from me and other campaigners, the Scottish Health Council did its job. It intervened, overruled the Health Board and deemed the Lightburn changes a Major Service Change.

That is why we are now entering a three-month consultation phase following on from the engagement process that happened last year.

And that is why it is important that as many local people and organisations as possible make their submissions to the Health Board so that the Health Secretary can see that Lightburn has the full support of the local community.

A tweet from Anas Sarwar just doesn't cut it – not when it's up against detailed analysis and arguments from the Health Board.

That's why I took the time to put together an 11-page document arguing in detail why the Health Board's proposals are a mistake and shouldn't go ahead. My submission thoroughly reviewed the Health Board's case in the context of the needs of the local community and in the light of Scottish Government statements, policies and strategies for health and social care.

In December, I also sent in a detailed set of questions under Freedom of Information legislation and I will be using the Board's response to that in my ongoing analysis.

And as you can see from the graphic below, which shows who has submitted what to them (taken from the Health Board's website), some of us made more effort than others to engage in this process.

My submission, click to enlarge.
Anas Sarwar's submission, click to enlarge.

I'd encourage everyone with an interest to take meaningful part in this consultation process, to give the Heath Secretary good reason to overrule the Health Board when the time comes.

Let's leave the soundbites to others.

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