Marlyn Glen MSP

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Scottish Labour MSP for North East Scotland

Statement on the SNP Government’s white paper on an independence referendum

30 November 2009

Marlyn Glen described the multi-choice referendum as ,

” The SNP running away from the very reason for its existence as a political party – independence”

“Instead of a straight-forward YES-No choice between independence and the status quo, the SNP have added alternatives, attempting to soften the stark reality of that choice.

“The SNP have already stated that even if they lost a referendum in 2010, they could introduce it again if they won the 2011 election for Holyrood .

“So the Referendum would become the Never-endum.

” This is why the Bill’s defeat is inevitable, and why it regarded by Scots as an expensive irrelevance when Scotland’s priorities are jobs and the economy.”

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School education control must remain local

30th. November 2009

Marlyn Glen, the Dundee -based MSP, has written to Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop saying that the running of school education in Dundee must not be removed from Dundee City Council and placed under the powers of the Scottish Government following the revelation that Dundee shed 39 teachers in the past year.

She was responding to reports stating that the transfer of education from councils was an option that the SNP Cabinet would raise in talks with council leaders.

She said,

” Councils cannot be expected by the Scottish Government to make its unworkable promises work, particularly when that very same Government denies them the millions of pounds necessary for investment in education.

” The latest Dundee school figures show how remote are the prospect of the council fulfilling the SNP election promise that all primary 1 to 3 classes will have a maximum size of 18 by eighteen months’ time.

” In Dundee, only 187 primary one pupils out of over 1,400 in Dundee are in class sizes of 18 maximum.

“The situation in primaries 2 and 3 is even bleaker.

“Only 19 pupils out of the 2,600 pupils in the 37 primary schools in Dundee are in class sizes of 18 maximum.”

Ms. Glen described the proposal to move responsibility from Dundee to the Scottish Government as “a desperate measure to divert attention away from the Scottish Government’s record of failure in education.

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Housing Association Funding in Dundee falls by over £6 million in two years

21 November 2009

Funding in the form of Housing Association Grant to Housing Associations in Dundee fell overall in the last financial year (2008-09) by over £7 million in real terms compared with the previous year. (2007-08)

Official figures given to Marlyn Glen show that financial support from the Scottish Government to housing associations in Dundee was reduced from just over £15 million in 2007-08 to £8.4 million in 2008-09.

In Angus, the Scottish Government allocation to housing associations dropped in the same period from £7.4 million to £3.8 million.

Ms. Glen said,
“Housing associations have a second-to-none record for building new homes and refurbishing old ones.

” Major cuts such as these undoubtedly reduces their ability to do so, and these are occurring at a time when the construction sector needs such work.

” Recent redundancies in the building trade are testimony to that.

” More housing association homes would take some pressure off council waiting lists.”

For individual registered social landlords in the city the changes read :
Abertay Housing Association £1.8 million reduced to £0.64 million
Angus Housing Association £1 million reduced to £38,000
Bield Housing Association £98,000 reduced to £65,000
Cairn Housing Association £14,000 reduced to £3,000
Hillcrest Housing Association £5.3 million reduced to £3.3 million
Home in Scotland £3.6 million reduced to £2.6 million.
Margaret Blackwood Housing Association £2.1 million reduced to £0.9 million
Sanctuary Scotland Housing Association £27,000 increased to £30,000
Servite Housing Association £1.5 million reduced to £0.7 million

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Over 1,400 elderly people in Dundee have been emergency admissions to hospital after falling in the past three years

16 November 2009

Marlyn Glen has received information from the Scottish Government showing that a total of over 1,400 elderly people in Dundee have been emergency hospital admissions as a result of a fall over the latest three years.( 2005-08)

In 2005-06, the number was 465, rising in 2006-07 to 502 and rising again slightly in 2007-08 to 507.

For individual communities in Dundee, the numbers read :

West End ( Westend, Logie and Blackness, Perth Road, Balgay ) 198

Broughty Ferry ( Broughty Ferry West , Broughty Ferry East, West Ferry, Barnhill ) 245

Lochee ( Lochee, Menzieshill, Charleston ) 163

Kirkton, Downfield Ardler and St. Mary’s ( Kirkton, Ardler Downfield and St. Mary’s ) 130

Hilltown ( Hilltown ) 74

Douglas ( Douglas) 86

Whitfield ( Whitfield) 22

Fintry ( Fintry ) 41

Ms. Glen contacted NHS Tayside after a Parliamentary question revealed that the three Community Health Partnerships (CHPs) in Tayside – Dundee , Perth and Kinross, and Angus did not have a combined falls prevention and bone health strategy in place, but “were developing a strategy”

In reply, NHS Tayside Chair, Sandy Watson, said that a review of its draft strategy should be completed by the end of this month.

He told Ms. Glen,

” Each Community Health Partnership has ” a nominated lead for falls prevention and an associated action plan”

“Perth and Kinross CHP has a designated Falls Co-ordinator, ” he told Ms. Glen “Angus and Dundee CHPs have multidisciplinary /multiagency groups leading on the falls prevention work.

“A Tayside-wide group have developed a draft document but are currently reviewing this to define specific commissioning statements and associated action plans.

“This should be completed by the end of November 2009”

Ms. Glen said,

“The Falls Prevention and Bone Strategy seeks to reintegrate back into the community elderly people who have fallen and to minimise the occurence of further falls through exercise and improvements in bone health.”

“Falls in the home, resulting from factors such as poorer vision, lesser mobility and conditions such as osteoporosis, can contribute to injuries that might have been prevented.

“Elderly people can suffer consequences that are both physical such as fractures and hypothermia, and psychological , such as loss of dignity and independence.”

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C difficile : Marlyn Glen responds to Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon’s statement that 5 points of the 15 point Pennington Plan to tackle the infection

16 November 2009

In response, Marlyn Glen said,

” The question for the Scottish Government is what priority is it giving to the other points in the plan and how much progress has been made.

“For example the Scottish Government wants to reduce C difficile by ‘at least 30 per cent by 2011’

“This is nothing like as precise and demanding as the Pennington plan which says it wants the rate cut by 50 per cent.

” We are all, like the Health Secretary, in favour of ‘Zero tolerance on hand hygiene’

” The question arises, “Are the available resources sufficient to ensure that this is achieved and maintained?”

” We welcome the ‘increased funding provided to tackle HAI up from £15 million to £54 million over three years’ but how does £54 million spread over 3 years compare with how much other health services are spending to tackle healthcare acquired infection.

“For example, in England the NHS is to spend £270 million a year by 2011 on tackling health care acquired infections.”

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Ninewells C difficile outbreak : MSP seeks Scottish Government financial support assurance

11 November 2009

Marlyn Glen has written to NHS Tayside asking how its resources as a health board and those at Ninewells compare with those set out in the 15-point plan put forward by the leading microbiologist , Professor Hugh Pennington, to combat C difficile and other hospital bugs..

Ms. Glen said that she wants an assurance from Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon that “NHS Tayside and Ninewells will receive the resources that they need to control the spread of C difficile and other hospital acquired infections.” based upon the “full implementation” of the recommendations of Professor Pennington’s plan.

Ms. Glen said,

“This comprehensive plan details the strategic approach to be taken in the drive against healthcare associated infections effectively and to reduce the incidence of C difficile cases by 50 per cent by March 2011.

” Its full implementation would set rigorous standards in infection prevention and control that would mean cleaner and safer wards.”

The plan’s recommendations include :

*crash programmes for the provision of isolation facilities for all C Diff/MRSA patients. and for quality hand-washing facilities in all wards.

*The number of staff in key positions such as medical, scientific and cleaning staff to meet national standards

*Funding to ensure that cover is provided for staff shortages

*Target to reduce the rate of C difficile by 50% by March 2011.

The 15 point plan :
1. A robust monitoring system for the implementation of guidance at a board and hospital level is required. This should be subject to rigorous checks by inspection teams, independent of government, undertaking unannounced visits and not relying on a system of self-assessment.
2. An HAI Commissioner – to develop best practice and to co-ordinate and bring a sharper focus to the institutional clutter of those agencies responsible for tackling HAIs.
3. Crash programme to provide isolation facilities for all C Diff/MRSA patients. This is the provision of en-suite
single rooms in sufficient number to end sharing. The Scottish Government need to outline the timescale and resources for this to be achieved across the NHS.
4. Crash programme to provide quality hand-washing facilities (specifically temperature – controlled, sensor – operated, flow regulated taps) appropriately positioned in all wards.
5. Real time detailed analyses at ward level, (with high resolution fingerprinting of the causative microbes) is essential in tracking the spread of infection and for outbreak identification and control.
6. Monthly reporting, on a hospital by hospital basis, must be published and available centrally online for every hospital. Quarterly reporting by HPS of Scotland wide statistics would continue.
7. Budget to ensure that staffing numbers in key posts – control of infection nurse, scientist/microbiologist and cleaning staff posts meet national guidelines. Antimicrobial pharmacists should be deployed in every hospital and a central contingency fund should be established to ensure cover for any staff shortages.
8. Urgent need for workforce planning. It is understood that there are currently no medically qualified academic bacteriologists to train future specialists or conduct research.
9. Target to reduce the rate of clostridium difficile by 50% by March 2011.
10. Funding for the provision of surplus capacity of storage and washing facilities for soiled bedding and clothes at all hospitals in the event of an outbreak of C.diff.
11. Introduce sterile hygiene system for staff uniforms.
12. Facilities for steam cleaning of beds, curtains etc to be available in every hospital.
13. Budget for future increases in the levels of MRSA screening activity and the need for rapid turn-round times for tests with benefits both to the patients and to rapid infection control.
14. Funding for the Reference Laboratory should be increased to permit all isolates to be fingerprinted, and to develop typing systems which will identify new and potentially more virulent strains of C.diff.
15. A properly resourced reference laboratory should be established for Norovirus gastroenteritis, given its link to CDAD, in line with the MRSA and C.Difficile reference laboratories

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How will Scottish Enterprise cuts impact on Dundee and Tayside, MSP asks

05 November 2009

Marlyn Glen is writing to Scottish Enterprise asking them how cuts in their budget will impact upon business activity in Dundee and Tayside.

Ms. Glen said that provisional figures indicated that Scottish Enterprise would have to make decisions on reductions in budgets covering the broad strategic strands of enterprise, innovation, commercialisation and investment.

While the agency has yet to finalise its decision, the enterprise budget could be cut by around £7 million, innovation by £6 million, commercialisation by £7 million and investment by similar amounts .

Ms. Glen said :

“I am asking Scottish Enterprise how these reductions in spending made by the Scottish Government will affect business in Dundee and Tayside in terms of start ups and growth.

” The Scottish Government should not have cut Scottish Enterprise’s funding by £77 million, particularly at a time when the priority should be to support business to help the local economy grow.

” Scottish Enterprise is an agency charged with a specific role to stimulate economic growth, and these imposed cutbacks can only blunt its effectiveness in that role.”

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