Marlyn Glen MSP

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Scottish Labour MSP for North East Scotland

Number of nursing and midwifery staff in NHS Tayside falls to a 4-year low

25 February 2011

The number of nursing and midwifery staff in NHS Tayside has slumped to its lowest level in almost 4 years, according to new figures released by Marlyn Glen.

Since last September, the number of staff has fallen by 37, to 4,956 last month.

This puts staffing levels lower than they were in each of the past three years and lower than they were in 2007.

Ms. Glen said,

” Despite Scottish Government claims of sparing the NHS from cuts, the number of nursing staff in NHS Tayside has been falling since 2009.
“More over-stretched as well as fewer nursing staff is unwelcome news.

“This results from even greater demands from the Scottish Government on health boards which are already struggling to find ‘efficiency savings’.”

Staffing numbers

Number of nursing and midwifery staff in NHS Tayside at January 2011 4,956

Number of nursing and midwifery staff in NHS Tayside at September 2010 4,993

Annual Number of nursing and midwifery staff in NHS Tayside

2006 4,912

2007 4,995

2008 5,029

2009 5,079

2010 4,993

Jan 2011 4,956 – the lowest figure in almost 4 years

Source : (ISD Scotland data for September of each year and NHS Tayside)

Filed under: Uncategorized

Cervical screening rates : Government to be questioned

17 February 2011

Marlyn Glen has welcomed news of a slight overall increase in the number of women in Tayside attending cervical screening across most age groups in the past four years.
However, amongst the 20-24 age group the numbers attending cervical screening sessions remain significantly lower than all other age groups under the age of 60.
An answer to a Parliamentary question tabled by Ms Glen indicated that the percentage of those in the 20-24 age group attending screening programmes in the past three and a half years had risen overall by 3 per cent to just over 56 per cent in the four-year period between 2006 and 2010.
However, this figure was below the attendance rate between 2000 and 2005 when the highest attendance was 64 per cent.
Similarly the percentage of those in the 20-24 age group attending screening programmes in the past five and a half years had risen overall by 1 per cent to almost 58 per cent in the same four-year period between 2006 and 2010.

This figure was below the attendance rate between 1997 and 2006 when the highest attendance was 68 per cent ( 67.9 in 2000-01)

Ms. Glen said that an NHS Health Scotland study on “identifying and exploring attitudes leading to a low uptake of cervical screening” had been published 18 months ago.
She said,
” The study found that the major difference between those women who attended and those who did not was that non-attenders did not regard cervical cancer as a significant risk, unlike breast cancer.
“The consequent lack of knowledge could then allow distortion of information to influence their decision not to attend.
” These could include that there was no risk if the woman was not currently sexually active.
” Public awareness of cervical cancer was certainly certain raised by the death of Jane Goody .

” Certainly, a heightened public awareness would encourage non-attenders to think again about cervical screening.”

Ms. Glen said that she would be questioning the Scottish Government on how the recommendations in the study were being implemented on raising awareness of cervical cancer.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Dundee Forensics : MSP to raise transfer costs again with Justice Secretary

17 January 2011

Marlyn Glen said today that she will raise once again with Justice Minister Kenny Macaskill the cost of adapting the new police forensic laboratories in Dundee to accommodate the proposed change over from chemistry to biology.

Ms. Glen who had written to the Justice Minister protesting at the proposed transfer of chemists from Dundee’s new forensic laboratory to Glasgow, said that the Minister’s reply did not provide ” a clear answer on the cost of the change in speciality.”

She said,

“The Justice Minister makes his case against the retention of chemistry forensics in Dundee by assertion rather than by evidence.

” He states that the proposals to transfer chemistry away from the city would make the service ‘more resilient’ without defining or describing what this means.

“There appears to have been little or no professional consultation with the professional staff involved that takes account of their concerns arising from their expertise.

” The replacement of a chemistry laboratory by a biology one obviously has implications for increased cost which he has not addressed. “

Ms. Glen also raised with the Minister the effects of the transfer of posts on the efficiency of the court system in dealing with cases involving drugs in Tayside whereby chemical verification in alleged crimes and offences will now take place in Glasgow rather than in Dundee, the additional time, costs and resources that will now arise in dealing with such verification in Tayside courts.

She added, “UNISON are right in saying that the loss of 74 experts in a high-skilled field such as forensics in Scotland will impact on the quality of the analytical services provided.

“These professionals have a decisive role in assisting the police and the courts in their detailed examination of crimes.”

Mr. MacAskill replied to her saying,

“The facility in Dundee is a modern space that is designed to flexibly meet the needs of all aspects of modern forensic delivery and will be a major player in this new national structure.

“This new structure will assist SPSA forensic services in being more resilient and consistent – not less.”

Filed under: Uncategorized

Over 20 per cent increase in anti-obesity drugs in NHS Tayside in one year

30 December 2010

In the past year 2008-09 to 2009-10 there has been an increase of 22 per cent ( 21.9 per cent) in the number of anti-obesity drugs prescribed in NHS Tayside.

The figures obtained through a Parliamentary Question tabled by Marlyn Glen MSP show that the number of drugs dispensed rose from 5,659 to 6,902 between 2008-09 and 2009-10.

Over a decade ago, in 1998-99, the number prescribed was 296, just 4 per cent of the latest year’s total.

Ms Glen commented,

“Obesity remains a major public health concern.

“It continues to erode the progress made in health through improvements against other diseases and it contributes heavily to the surge in diabetes

“While rates of smoking continue to retreat, and life expectancy increases, obesity and overweight threaten to undo the gains achieved.

“Changes in lifestyle, eating habits and food choices that are encouraged by and arise from government action, accompanied by a degree of personal commitment from individuals continue to be the best ways to help in tackling this preventable disease of lifestyle.”

The cost of the drugs prescribed rose from £198,000 to £233,000 between 2008-09
and 2009-10.

Numbers of anti-obesity drugs dispensed in NHS Tayside

1998-99 296

2007-08 5,470

2008-09 5,659

2009-10 6,902

Filed under: Uncategorized

Lochee health profile clarified

24 December 2010

Marlyn Glen has been informed by NHS Tayside that the board did not apply statistical tests to health data on Lochee and Dundee to determine if there were any significant differences between them.
( see the text of the letter below)

The data was presented to a recent meeting of the Lochee Community Planning Partnership

The board said that it was “not common practice to apply statistical testing to the local profile data”.

Ms. Glen said that “great care” had to be taken in dealing with data for small areas, particularly in the use of percentage increases in health indicators instead of the straightforward numerical increase.

In one set of data it was stated that there was a 260 per cent rise in the drug- related admission rate to hospital from Lochee over 2 years.

In reply to Ms. Glen, the board said that “260 per cent” increase came from a rise in admissions from 16 to 46 over two years.

The health board revealed to Ms. Glen that on several health indicators Lochee was amongst the highest” for Local Community Planning Partnerships in Dundee “but not the highest”.

These were for :

Comparative illness
Estimated prescriptions for anxiety, depression or psychosis
Emergency admission rate
Admissions for alcohol or drugs misuse
Mothers smoking at antenatal booking
First time mothers aged 19 and under

Ms. Glen commented,
” I welcome the clarification given by NHS Tayside, and they are to be commended on their use of such data for small areas that is absolutely necessary for detecting and following health trends and then intervening accordingly.

“However, for greater public awareness and involvement, it might have been better if health data for Lochee that was expressed as rates ‘per 100,000 population’ was given as straightforward numbers, particularly when the population of Lochee was taken to be just over 18,000.

“Furthermore, it has to be remembered that the ‘Lochee’ portrayed in these figures has boundaries that stretch well beyond the realm of traditional Lochee.”

ends

Text of letter from NHS Tayside to Marlyn Glen

It is well documented that within Dundee City there is evidence of health inequalities, the differences in health experiences and outcomes, across areas; in particular, a greater burden of disease and poorer outcomes are demonstrated in areas of deprivation.

With this in mind, a health profile was produced for each of the local community planning partnerships areas with the intention of providing information for local community workers on the data relating to the health inequalities in their particular areas.

The profiles were intended to be used to help target particular pieces of work in the local community planning partnerships areas.

Individual profiles are of local interest, but if taken out of context, may paint a rather gloomy picture and may exaggerate the position of a particular area, when compared to the average situation rather than viewed in conjunction with the other local community planning partnerships areas.

Numbers are small in some cases and any increase in small numbers will produce a potentially alarming increase in rate.

For that reason, it is essential that trends are viewed over a reasonable period to establish what may be random fluctuations.

The explanations and further comments on the tables as requested follow:

It is not common practice to apply statistical testing to the local profile data.

Rather, our aim is to establish if there are gaps across areas and to identify which areas suffer the greatest inequalities.

Table 15: Comparative illness rate per 100,000 population
The range of rates was 9,536 – 20,118; Lochee (17,540) was among the highest but not the highest
Table 18: Estimated prescriptions for anxiety, depression or psychosis
The range of rates was 10.5% – 13.5%; Lochee (13.3%) was among the highest but not the highest
Table 19: Emergency admission rate per 100,000 population
The range of rates was 7,788 – 14,600; Lochee (13,472) was among the highest but not the highest
Table 20: Elective admission rate per 100,000 population
The range of rates was 6,451 – 10,759; Lochee (9,031) was in the middle of the range
Table 21: All cause mortality rate per 100,000 population (<75 years)
The range of rates was 317 – 734; Lochee (641) was among the highest but not the highest
Table 22: Admissions for alcohol or drugs misuse
Alcohol: The range of rates was 514 – 1,348 ; Lochee (1,243) was among the highest but not the highest
Drugs: The range of rates was 0 – 306 ; Lochee (306) was the highest
In Lochee, there was an increase in drug related hospital admissions from 07/08 – 08/09 but the previous two years had remained stable. Other areas had also increased over the period but more gradually. Numbers here are small (admissions increased from 16 to 46) and although this was a substantial increase over a short period, longer term data may show this to be a random peak. Numbers may refer to repeat admissions of individuals.
Table 23: Mothers smoking at antenatal booking
The range of rates was 6.7% – 32.7% ; Lochee (29%) was among the highest but not the highest
Table 24: First time mothers aged 19 and under
The range of rates was 4.3% – 25.4% ; Lochee (20.8%) was among the highest but not the highest

Filed under: Uncategorized

Over 280 construction workers in Dundee seeking work as housing spending cut by half

22 December 2010

Marlyn Glen is highlighting with the Scottish Government the plight of over 280 construction trade workers in Dundee who are currently seeking work.

Official Scottish Government statistics show that the number of those looking for by occupation is :

Bricklayers and masons 35
Roofers, roof tilers and slaters 10
Plumbers, heating and ventilating engineers 50
Carpenters and joiners 100
Glaziers 5
Plasterers 5
Floorers and wall tilers 20
Painters and decorators 60

Her move occurs as an answer to her parliamentary question on spending on housing in Dundee by the Scottish Government shows an estimated fall of 50 per cent – over £6 million pounds this year compared with last year – in the Affordable Housing Investment Programme

The estimated £6 million spend this year (2010-11) is also less than half in real terms of what was spent in the city in 2006-07.

Ms. Glen commented,

“There is broad agreement across the construction industry of the critical need for the Scottish Government to prioritise investment in the building sector.

“Not only will this create jobs in construction but it will also encourage growth in other vital sectors of the local economy as well.”

Filed under: Uncategorized

Education Maintenance Allowances applications plunge by almost 40 per cent in Dundee and College Bursaries face 2 per cent cuts.

22 December 2010

Marlyn Glen is raising with the Scottish Government its proposals to cut college bursaries for the least well-off students by almost 2 per cent, or £1.5 million in real terms, a move that could affect students at Dundee College.

Ms. Glen said that the “good news” that the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) in Scotland had not been scrapped as it has been in England was “tempered by this plan for college bursaries which will see those strapped for cash losing out.”

She added that while the EMA had been spared, the number of applications for an educational maintenance allowance in Dundee had fallen by almost 40 per cent as a result of the changes introduced by the SNP Government.

These changes were the lowering of the parental income threshold and the scrapping of the £20 and £10 payments.

The number of applications for an EMA in Dundee fell from 834 in 2007/08 to 524 in 2010/11.

She said that NUS Scotland had expressed its concern that removing these £10 and £20 payments would lead to over 7,000 young people who benefited from these payments in 2007-8 either dropping out, or ceasing to attend classes regularly.

Educational Maintenance Allowance : data for Dundee
2010/11, 524 applications received , 39 refused
2009/10, 776 applications received , 88 refused
2008/09, 819 applications received , 11 refused
2007/08, 834 applications received , 13 refused
The 524 applications received in 2010/11 is 62 per cent of the 834 applications received in 2007/08 i.e. a drop of almost 40 per cent

Filed under: Uncategorized

6 Emergency Workers prosecutions in Dundee

22 December 2010

6 people have been successfully prosecuted in Dundee and 16 overall in Tayside under the Emergency Workers (Scotland) Act , in the latest available year, according to an answer to Parliamentary Question raised by Marlyn Glen MSP.

Solicitor-General Frank Mulholland told her that in 2008-09, 3 of the successful prosecutions in the city and 5 across Tayside came under Section 1(1) of the Act, which refers to assaulting or impeding certain providers of emergency services

MS. Glen was informed that a further 2 successful prosecutions in Dundee and 9 in Tayside overall came under Section 5(1) of the Act which applies only to incidents that occur “in a hospital or on land adjacent to and used wholly or mainly for the purposes of a hospital”.

1 of the successful prosecutions in the city and 2 across Tayside came under Section 2(1) of the Act, referring to assaulting or impeding certain emergency workers responding to emergency circumstances.

Ms. Glen was told that in 2009-10, 13 charges under the Act were reported to the Procurator Fiscal at Dundee, more than double the number in 2008-09 (when there were 6) and a further 5 charges were reported to other Procurators Fiscal in Tayside.
The Act makes it a specific offence to assault, obstruct or hinder someone providing an emergency service – or someone assisting an emergency worker in an emergency situation.
It covers a wide range of occupations such as police, fire and ambulance staff, doctors, nurses and midwives in hospitals.

Police, fire and ambulance workers and medical staff in hospitals are covered whenever they are on duty, as well as when they are actually dealing with emergencies.

Ms. Glen said,

“People who work in emergency services do so, often under difficult and dangerous circumstances.

“They have the right to carry on their life-saving duties without being subjected to the threat of abuse, aggression or obstruction.”

Filed under: Uncategorized

Dundee teacher staffing : No “realistic or accurate figures” available at present

15 December 2010

Marlyn Glen, the Dundee-based MSP, has been informed by Dundee City Council that they can provide her with no “realistic or accurate figures” at present about teacher staffing levels in Dundee schools for the forthcoming year.

The news, following a declared £4 million spending cut in education by the council next year, comes at a time when the latest Scottish Government statistics on teacher numbers in Dundee reveal that almost 1 in every 10 secondary teachers in Dundee has gone in the past two years.

Ms. Glen raised with the council proposals being examined by both COSLA and the Scottish Government on a funding deal that that would ensure that all those who have finished their one-year probationary period and for those about to embark on their probationary year were employed next year.

However, COSLA estimates indicate that such proposals would leave an estimated 1,200 teaching posts unfilled across Scotland.

Ms. Glen pressed Dundee City Council for its forecast of how many teaching posts in Dundee would remain vacant as a result of the proposed funding deal.

But in reply, Director of Education Jim Collins said,

“I regret that our detailed staffing exercise has not yet begun for session 2011-12. That is a process that usually begins around mid-December. I therefore am not in a position to give you any kind of realistic or accurate figures at the present time.”

As previously revealed by Ms. Glen, Scottish Government statistics show that the number of secondary teachers in the city dropped in the last two years from 811 to 732 – a drop of 79 equivalent to just under 10 per cent of secondary teachers in the city.

The pupil-teacher ratio in secondaries rose from 10.2 to 10.6 in the same period.

The number of primary school teachers in Dundee between 2009 and 2010 dropped from 676 to 666 – a drop of 10.

The pupil-teacher ratio rose in primaries from 14.0 to 14.2 in the city.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Teacher numbers : Almost 1 out of every 10 secondary teachers in Dundee gone

14 December 2010

Marlyn Glen today commented today on the latest Scottish Government statistics which reveal that almost 1 secondary school teacher in Dundee out of 10 has left in the past two years.

She said,

“Since the SNP Government assumed full responsibility for its budget in the past two years, Dundee has lost 79 secondary teachers, almost 1 out every ten teachers in secondary schools.

“This is occurring at a time of great concern and uncertainty about the resources for and the direction of the new Curriculum for Excellence .”

The number of secondary teachers in Dundee between 2009 and 2010 dropped in the latest year from 765 to 732 – a drop of 33.

The pupil-teacher ratio in secondaries rose from 10.2 to 10.6 in the same period.

The number of primary school teachers in Dundee between 2009 and 2010 dropped from 676 to 666 – a drop of 10.

The pupil-teacher ratio rose in primaries from 14.0 to 14.2 in the city.

Ms. Glen said,

“This coincides with the Scottish Government’s own figures showing that only 27 per cent of P1-P3 pupils in Dundee are in class sizes of 18 or less or in two-teacher classes with a pupil-teacher ratio of 18 or less.

” Yet, the Scottish Government promised that all P1-P3 pupils in the city would be in classes of 18 or less by this school session.”

She said that the statistics on the number of teachers and class sizes in Dundee “demonstrate decisively the conspicuous failure of the SNP Government’s education policies in Dundee.”

“The SNP-controlled council in the city maintains a monolithic silence every time the SNP Government fails Dundee.

“It’s time they were standing up for Dundee against the SNP Government rather than sticking up for the SNP Government in Dundee.”

Filed under: Uncategorized

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