Marlyn Glen MSP

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Scottish Labour MSP for North East Scotland

European Working Time Directive – 50 per cent of junior doctors in NHS Tayside working over the 48-hour limit with just over 8 weeks to go till its introduction

28 May 2009

Marlyn Glen has been informed by NHS Tayside that with just over 8 weeks to go to the introduction of the 48 -hour maximum working week for junior doctors under the European Working Time Directive (EWTD) , 50 per cent of the health board’s junior doctors are working on rotas that are currently over the 48 hour limit.

Ms. Glen had written to NHS Tayside seeking details of its progress towards full compliance with the Directive by 1 August.

She said,

” The successful implementation of the EWTD is of great importance to the health service.

” Two major purposes of the Directive within the NHS are safeguarding the quality of patient care and the ending the culture of excessive working hours for junior doctors.”

In a letter to Ms. Glen, NHS Tayside confirmed that the working hours of 50 per cent of the health board’s 529 junior doctors comply with the European Working Time Directive (EWTD).

All specialities are committed to reducing working hours to less than 48 by August and they would only anticipate potential problems with three rotas.

Two of these rotas are within Paediatrics and they are hopeful that further planned recruitment will resolve these problems.

Discussions are ongoing within the department to look at potential solutions.

The number and percentage of junior doctors in various specialities who are working over 48 hours a week currently in NHS Tayside are :

Anaesthetics and Intensive Care Medicine – 26 (43 %)

Clinical laboratory – 12 ( 50 %)

Medical specialities – 60 (58%)

Obstetrics and Gynaecology – 20 ( 100%)

Psychiatry – 10 ( 21%)

Surgical Specialities – 86 ( 80%)

Trauma and Orthopaedics – 25 (74%)

Neurosurgery – 6 ( 100%)

Neurology – 5 (83%)

Medical Paediatric Specialities – 16 (48%)

Ms. Glen said that she would be raising with Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon issues such as

· the funding of the costs to NHS Tayside of introducing the Directive

· the provision of medical training for junior doctors under the new 48-hour working week schedule

· testing the effectiveness of the compliance with the Directive

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No plans to re-locate civil service jobs to Dundee, MSP told

21 May 2009

Marlyn Glen said that the SNP Government has given her ” no indication whatsoever ” that it intends to relocate civil service jobs in Dundee.
Ms. Glen commented,
“Dundee is a city of significance and authority which has repeatedly made a compelling case for more civil service jobs.
” It does not need to make a better case now than it has already done.
“It’s time for action, not inertia, from the Scottish Government.”
Ms. Glen had tabled a parliamentary question asking John Swinney, the Cabinet Minister responsible for relocation, asking whether the Scottish Government plans to relocate additional civil service jobs in Dundee.
In reply, Mr. Swinney told Ms. Glen,
“Any decision to relocate Civil Service jobs to Dundee would be taken in conjunction with the Scottish Government’s policy of strategic asset management.
“The policy is based upon better use of the existing Government estate and solutions that represent best value for money for the Scottish Government as a whole.
“Where specific requirements are met, the relocation of public sector jobs remains an option.
“It must be demonstrated that relocation would lead to efficiencies and/or benefits for the wider Scottish Government; the organisation could operate effectively in another location; and relocation would be affordable and would not lead to any compulsory redundancies.

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MSP receives details of over £15 million in “efficiency savings” in NHS Tayside’s budget this year

15 May 2009

Marlyn Glen has been given details of the £15.1 million “efficiency savings” that the Scottish Government are instructing NHS Tayside to find this year.
The savings are being made to meet the demand of the SNP Government for a 2 per cent decrease in the board’s spending.
Ms. Glen had written to the health board , asking for information on this year’s efficiency savings targets, which have been set at £35 million in total in the three year period up to 2010/11
Ms. Glen commented ,
” Front-line services need to be safeguarded in bids to achieve efficiency savings.
” This call for efficiency savings come on top of the very poor increase in health service expenditure for this year allocated to NHS Tayside by the Scottish Government of only £3.7 million in real terms ( taking inflation into account ).
“This represents an increase of less than 1 per cent.
The targets for reductions in various categories in the “Delivery Unit” ( Hospital and Community health services ) include :
Staffing including vacancy control with a target of £3.6 million
Procurement £3.4 million
Strategic Improvement and Service Redesign £1.8 million
Staff travel £500,000
Subject to further review £1.4 million
Miscellaneous £800,000
At the health board headquarters the targets for reduction are :
Reduced rate of employer’s superannuation contributions £1.5 million
Staffing £600,000.

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Community Health Nurse pilot cost £282,000 in Tayside last year

12 May 2009

Marlyn Glen has been informed by Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon that £282,000 was spent last year in NHS Tayside to develop the community health nurse pilot.
NHS Tayside is one of 3 health boards participating in the controversial scheme in which the all-in-one community health nurse replaces the traditional specialist nursing roles of district nurse, health visitor and school nurse.
The others are NHS Highland and NHS Borders.
NHS Lothian withdrew from the pilot, stating that the new role did not meet local health needs, and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, the largest health board in Scotland, did not take part in the pilot.
Ms. Glen said that she would be contacting NHS Tayside on the development of the pilot in the health board area.
She said,
“One major concern amongst nurses about the new community health nurse model is the potential loss of years of skill and experience from the invaluable work of nurses in traditional community health roles.
“The other is that if health boards in Scotland were to determine their own nursing standards, it would limit the attraction of and the scope for nursing careers across Scotland.”
Nicola Sturgeon said that a decision on the future of community nursing services “will be made once the full implications of the research, which is not expected to be concluded until the autumn of 2010, have been considered.
“Ministers will also consider an interim evaluation report in December 2009.”
However, in January of last year a Scottish Government spokesperson had said,
“The model will continue to be tested in four pilot sites over the next year which will allow an informed decision to be made in spring 2009 about the future of the community nursing service.”

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V&A in Dundee : Still no commitment of finance from Scottish Government

11 May 2009

The Scottish Government is still giving no commitment to provide any funding in principle for the proposed extension of the Victoria and Albert Museum in Dundee.
Marlyn Glen had asked Culture Minister Mike Russell for a guarantee of financial backing for the project.
She said,
” The V&A report has already stated that if the project has ‘ significant government backing’ then it could attract ‘significant support from the private sector’ .
“It has emphasised that if construction work is to begin in two years’ time so that the museum can open in 2013, then the capital spending costs could reach as high as £47.6 million.”
” This is why the prospects of its success depend upon the assurance of financial assistance from the Scottish Government.”
” Cultural excellence comes at a cost .
” I shall be asking the Minister if he intends to re-examine his spending priorities for culture so that the Scottish Government can give Dundee a firm reassurance of finance to help to enable the V&A in Dundee to become a new icon for the city.”

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Speech in the Scottish Parliament on Royal Mail (part-privatisation)

Marlyn Glen : I congratulate Jamie Hepburn on securing this debate on the Royal Mail.
It gives us the opportunity to praise the achievements of the Royal Mail and to repeat the points that my Labour colleague, Cathy Peattie, made in her motion: “Keep the Post Public”. Unfortunately, Cathy Peattie cannot be with us tonight.
The debate gives us the chance to restate our support for the continued public ownership of the Royal Mail and to underline the importance of the universal service obligation to people across Scotland and the UK.
It is a matter of social justice that a letter can be posted at the same price to any address in the UK.
I am pleased that there are continuing discussions on the subject. I, too, support the Communication Workers Union’s position that the best way in which to protect the universal service obligation, including six-day-a-week delivery, is to keep the post publicly owned.
At a time of economic recession, the Royal Mail and its staff are making a profit.
The Royal Mail Group third quarter results show revenue of £2.6 billion, up from £2.5 billion last year. All four businesses are in profit.
This year’s profit to date of £255 million compares favourably to the £162 million profit for the whole of last year. This year’s full-year profits are expected to be double those of last year.
The profits would be higher were it not for the uncompetitive conditions under which the Royal Mail has to deliver mail for rival companies.
For instance, there is the inbuilt difficulty for the Royal Mail of having to deliver over the last mile.
That obligation is essential for the public, but expensive for the Royal Mail.
Although many Labour MSPs have strong opinions on tonight’s topic for debate, they also know that the matter is reserved.
That said, there can be no doubt that Labour MPs are standing up for the principles.
Dundee West MP Jim McGovern, a former parliamentary private secretary, is one of the 140 Labour MPs to sign the early day motion on the subject.
As Bill Butler said in his intervention, we should contrast what the SNP is saying in the motion with what it said on forestry privatisation.
The SNP Administration eventually backed down from privatising our forests, but no SNP member made a principled opposition and that was on a devolved issue that is within our competence.

Jamie Hepburn: Will the member give way?

Marlyn Glen: No. I have only four minutes.

Kenneth Gibson (Cunninghame North) (SNP): Feartie.

The Deputy Presiding Officer: Mr Gibson, that kind of remark is not appropriate. It will not be repeated.

Marlyn Glen: Thank you, Presiding Officer.

The fundamental problem with the Royal Mail is a lack of capital.
I urge consideration of alternatives to recapitalise it to allow it to compete on a level playing field.
In 2007, the UK Government agreed to a £1.2 billion loan facility on commercial terms to modernise the Royal Mail’s operations but, two years later, only half that money has been spent.

Gavin Brown: Will the member give way?

Marlyn Glen: I will not take an intervention because I have no confidence in what the Conservatives might do to the Royal Mail should they be in power.
I am sure that that feeling is shared by members of other parties.
That is an important point.
The current proposals could lead to profitable services being cherry-picked and the core Post Office being left with massive obligations and no real earning capacity.
I also share the unions’ concerns about possible job losses at a time when job retention should be a priority.
The Royal Mail is an integral part of the country’s social fabric.
I urge cross-party support for the call for a new relationship between management and postal unions and welcome the Communication Workers Union’s commitment to negotiate an agreement that would support the modernisation of the industry while retaining universal provision.

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MSP calls for NHS minimum wage of £7 per hour : 6 per cent of NHS Tayside employees earn less

07 May 2009

Marlyn Glen, the Dundee-based MSP, is writing to Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon in support of a campaign to ensure that all health service employees earn at least £7 per hour, as figures show that 6 per cent of NHS Tayside employees earn less than this hourly rate.

Ms. Glen said,

” This would be another step of progress towards establishing a living wage for low-paid healthcare employees, particularly in these difficult economic times.

” Over a year this would bring appreciable benefit to many families.”

In an answer to a question raised in parliament by Ms. Glen, the Health Secretary said that a total of 834 employees of NHS Tayside receive less than £7 per hour.
They make up 6 per cent of the health board’s 13,607 employees, excluding GPs and GDPs ( General Dental Practitioners )
They are on pay points 1 and 2 of Agenda for Change, with pay point 1 earning £6.76 per hour and pay point 2 earning £6.94.
Only these 2 pay points are below an hourly rate of £7.
The National Minimum Wage currently stands at £5.73 for those aged 22 and over.

Heath Secretary Nicola Sturgeon described their hourly rate as ” significantly above the national minimum wage.”

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Dundee class sizes and number of teachers : No figure from Government, says MSP

29 April 2009

Marlyn Glen has been given no figure by the Scottish Government of what it estimates to be the number of additional primary teachers required in Dundee to reduce the maximum class size to 18 in primaries one to three by 2011 and what the cost of employing them would be.

In reply to a parliamentary question tabled by Ms. Glen, Schools Minister Keith Brown said,

“Under the terms of the concordat local government is expected to make progress towards reducing primary one to primary three classes to a maximum of 18 as quickly as possible.

“The number of teachers required to make progress on the concordat commitment for any individual council is a matter for individual local authorities as employers.”

Ms. Glen commented,

” The Scottish Government repeatedly peddle the myth that they have given Dundee City Council the money to employ enough teachers to reduce class sizes to 18.

” If so, why do they not have the courage to publish their calculations ?

“Or would this show just how much of a raw deal for Dundee their concordat has been for education?

” Dundee needs more teachers to meet the 2011 deadline that Alex Salmond promised.”

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SNP Government break promise of free prescriptions to cancer patients in Scotland

27 April 2009

Marlyn Glen has had plea to the Scottish Government to abolish prescription charges for cancer patients in Scotland to bring them into line with patients in England rejected by SNP Public Health Minister Shona Robison.

Cancer patients in England began receiving prescriptions for their treatment free of charge from the beginning of April while cancer patients in Scotland must wait another two years.

Ms. Glen took up the matter with Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon saying,

” In the 2007 election, the SNP promised that, if elected, they would abolish prescription charges for cancer patients in Scotland ‘immediately’.

“That promise has never been kept.

“Neither was a similar promise kept to those with chronic health conditions who were told by the SNP that they too would have their prescription charges abolished ‘immediately’ two years ago.”

” While cancer patients now have the benefit of free prescriptions in England, cancer patients in Scotland do not..

“This is because the SNP have broken a promise to them that they would abolish the cost of their prescriptions ‘immediately’ after the 2007 election.

“A similar commitment to abolish prescription charges ‘immediately’ for those with chronic medical conditions was quickly abandoned after the 2007 election.

” The SNP’s excuse was that ‘the work to extend the categories of medical conditions that qualify for exemption might have taken until 2009.’

Ms. Glen said that she welcomed the recent reduction in the cost of prepayment certificates and supported the continuing phasing out of prescription charges generally.

She added,

“However, telling cancer patients and those with chronic health conditions that their prescription charges would be abolished ‘immediately’ two years ago and then not doing so, is an entirely different matter from phasing out prescription charges by 2011.”

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No Government commitment to provide more money or teachers for Dundee

20 April 2004

Marlyn Glen has been given no commitment from the Scottish Government that it will provide any additional money to Dundee City Council to employ more teachers for primary 1-3 classes to reach the Scottish Government’s flagship policy figure of 18 or fewer by 2011.

Ms. Glen had highlighted with Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop that only 8 out of 56 classes in primary 1 to 3 in Dundee have a maximum of 18 pupils or fewer.

In Primary 2, only 2 out of 43 classes across the city have a maximum of 18 or fewer

In Primary 3 , only 1 class out of 39 classes has a maximum of 18 or fewer.

She had pointed out that there were now 17 fewer primary school teachers in Dundee schools than this time last year, and that the Scottish Government had recently cut the number of post-graduate primary teacher training places by 10 per cent.

Ms. Glen commented,

” There was never any ambiguity in the wording of the SNP’s vote-winning promise.

” They pledged in their election manifesto that all class sizes in P1-P3 classes would be reduced to a maximum of 18 by 2011.

“Alex Salmond confirmed that pledge a few months later in the Scottish Parliament.

” Now, having denied local councils the money to carry out this promise , they are attempting, unsuccessfully, to persuade parents and teachers that the cash-strapped councils are to blame for the policy being broken.”

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