Marlyn Glen MSP

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Scottish Labour MSP for North East Scotland

Ninewells C difficile inquiry : MSP calls for more online access for those who believe they have relevant information

29 January 2010

Marlyn Glen is asking Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon to ensure that the website of Lord Maclean’s Vale of Leven Hospital Inquiry carries more details of its extension to include the recent outbreak of C difficile at Ninewells.
This is to allow those who believe that they have information that is relevant to the inquiry into the Ninewells outbreak will be made aware of the public inquiry’s website and how to contact it online.
The inquiry into the C-difficile-related deaths at Vale of Leven has a website at :

http://www.valeoflevenhospitalinquiry.org

Ms. Glen said,
“The remit of the inquiry was extended to include Ninewells only earlier this month, and understandably, the website concerns itself chiefly with Vale of Leven at the moment.
” However, prominence should now be given online acknowledging the eventual Ninewells proceedings.
“I am asking the Health Secretary to ensure that this appears on the inquiry site.
“Alternatively, a new, additional website specifically concerned with Ninewells could be set up, along with a specific e-mail address related to Ninewells rather than related to Vale of Leven as at present.”

Those who believe that they have information that is relevant to the Inquiry should contact the Inquiry Secretary by email at:
information@valeoflevenhospitalinquiry.org

or by post at:
Vale of Leven Hospital Inquiry,
3rd Floor, Lothian Chambers,
59-63 George IV Bridge,
Edinburgh, EH1 1RN.

Or by phone on : (0131) 240 6809

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Filed under: Uncategorized

WARP funding plea for Dundee’s two universities

28 January 2010

Marlyn Glen is pressing Education Secretary Mike Russell to support the retention of WARP funding for universities such as Abertay and Dundee.
The Scottish Funding Council is to review WARP- the Widening Accesss Retention Premium programme – which aims to increase and sustain the number of students from low-participation areas.

In the latest year Dundee University received WARP funding of £700,000 and Abertay University £300,000.

Ms. Glen said,

“Now that the country has edged out of recession , this is not the time to limit the opportunities of those from less advantaged backgrounds to benefit from a university education.

” Education remains the best lifelong path to achievement, irrespective of background or personal circumstances, and WARP is a programme that recognises and fosters that potential.”

Ms. Glen had tabled questions in the Scottish Parliament on how the two Dundee-based universities fare in comparison with other higher education institutes in Scotland in the past three years in recruiting students from low-participation areas.
She has also tabled questions on their success rate at attracting students from state schools and colleges, the drop out rates after the first year of study, and how these compare from the “benchmark” figures set ( e.g. what percentage of students were expected to drop out after first year.)

The questions she has tabled are :

To ask the Scottish Executive what the percentage of full-time first degree entrants from national statistics socio-economic combined classification groups 4, 5, 6, and 7 has been at each higher education institution in each of the last three years for which information is available and what the respective benchmarks were.

To ask the Scottish Executive what the percentage of full-time first degree entrants from state schools or colleges has been at each higher education institution in each of the last three years for which information is available and what the respective benchmarks were.

To ask the Scottish Executive what have been the percentage of students not continuing full-time first degree courses beyond the first year at each Higher Education Institute in Scotland in each of the latest available three years; and what have been the respective benchmarks

Filed under: Uncategorized

MSP praises NHS Tayside work on Healthy Start Initiative

25 January 2010

Marlyn Glen has praised the work of NHS Tayside to encourage healthier nutrition amongst women of child-bearing age , pregnant women and children under 5 in disadvantaged areas.
She has been corresponding with the health board about how £1.5 million has been and is being allocated during the three year period 2008-11 in Dundee and throughout the rest of the health board to increase uptake of the four year-old Healthy Start initiative and to increase the degree of breastfeeding.
Over £793,000 of the £1.5 million is to be allocated to across Dundee, Angus and Perth and Kinross in the coming financial year 2010-2011.
Ms. Glen said,
“Poor diet can have real consequences for people’s health and life chances.
“Intervention at an early age can help prevent serious problems occurring later.
” A healthy diet is particularly important for low income pregnant women and families with young children.
” The initiative offers them more opportunities of healthier food, gaining advice from health professionals ,and giving their children the best possible beginning in life through breastfeeding.”

NHS Tayside described the scheme as “the first time that more vulnerable mums, pregnant and the under-5s will have a co-ordinate programme of opportunities, specially-tailored services, and access to even more support , which will be delivered in partnership with local authorities, other partners, and the communities themselves.”

In the period 2008-11, in Dundee £614,000 has been allocated for three priorities
*£390,000 for a “GrowWell Cafe to provide breastfeeding mothers with a safe and friendly environment where pregnant women, new mothers and their pre-school school children can access information , cooking sessions and other activities
*£212,000 on “intensive breastfeeding support in the first two weeks of birth and the development of a breastfeeding clinic to encourage pro-active problem solving.”

*£12,000 on “Good Health and Nutrition Activities at HELM working with young men and women aged 15-18 years and young parent groups.

NHS Tayside continued,

“The funding will enable an increase in the number of support workers such as breastfeeding support workers, nutritionists and other dedicated staff going out into the communities to help young families in their day-to-day lives.
“This approach of bringing services right into the heart of communities is a shift in how health care workers and others can help families, and means that nutrition can be tailored to the particular needs of communities across Tayside.”

The number of households in Tayside receiving Healthy Start vouchers which can be used to buy milk, fresh fruit and vegetables and infant formula is 2,155

Across the whole of NHS Tayside, £600,00 has been allocated on appointing a manager for the programme, developing nutrition training, and an evaluation of the programme.
£125,000 has gone to on the Healthy Start Vitamin Distribution

£182,000 has gone to a Maternal Obesity Weight Management Service for obese pregnant women and after birth weight management groups.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Alcohol consumption : new figures show Scotland could be 10 per cent higher than previous official figures suggest

21 January 2010

Marlyn Glen has released new figures she has obtained from the Scottish Government that sales of pure alcohol per head in Scotland could be 1.6 litres higher – over 10 per cent higher – when those Scots who do not drink are excluded from the estimates.

Scottish Government official figures use the measure of the number of litres of alcohol per head of the population over 16. This is 11.8 litres.

However, this figure takes no account of the Scots who abstain from drink.

Official estimates put these at 10 per cent of men and 13 per cent of women.

When these abstainers are excluded, the figure for sales of pure alcohol rises to 13.4 litres, an increase of 1.6 litres per head above the official figure.

Ms. Glen said,

“These adjusted figures, discounting those who abstain from alcohol, show that the problem with alcohol in Scotland is bigger than the original official figures indicate.”

Commenting on the cost to the NHS in Dundee and Tayside of alcohol-related illness and behaviour, Ms. Glen said ,

“The misuse of alcohol in Dundee and the wider NHS Tayside area is drawing away millions of pounds every year from the NHS that could be spent on other health concerns.

“Ambulance incidents are estimated to account for £2.2 million a year.

“New Outpatient attendances are estimated to account for £1.2 million a year.

“Accident and Emergency attendances , are estimated to account for almost £1.9 million a year.

“Beds occupied by patients with alcohol-related conditions, are estimated to account for £7.6 million a year.”

On the debate over whether or not minimum pricing should be introduced, she said,

“The root problem of minimum pricing is that it unjustly penalises the sensible drinker.

“For some hard drinkers, any minimum price for alcohol would never be too high a price to pay.

“The most realistic road to success comes through educating some people how to drink moderately.

” Some need to learn from countries such as Italy on how people enjoy drinking responsibly, others need to learn from other Scots that drunkenness is neither glamorous nor fashionable nor “career-enhancing.”

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MSP queries Scottish Government on free fruit pledge : 6,600 primary schoolchildren in Dundee still don’t receive it.

14 January 2010

Marlyn Glen is asking the SNP Government why over 6,000 primary 3 to 7 pupils in Dundee still do not receive free fruit despite a promise by the Scottish Government that all primary schoolchildren would receive free fruit.

Information provided to Ms. Glen by Dundee City Council indicates that while all primary 1 and 2 classes in the city receive free fruit, there is still no equivalent distribution of free fruit for pupils in the primary 3 to 7 classes.

Ms. Glen said,

” Three years ago , the SNP election manifesto declared : ’We will ensure that all primary school pupils receive free fruit’

“Three years on from that rash promise, 70 per cent of primary pupils in Dundee do not receive free fruit.

” Councils such as Dundee cannot be faulted for not providing fruit for all primary pupils if the Scottish Government denies them the money to do so.

“The SNP Government cannot pretend otherwise.”

Ms. Glen is calling on the Scottish Government to ensure that all primary school pupils in Dundee receive free fruit.

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More GP practices in Tayside offer extended opening hours

13 January 2010

Marlyn Glen has welcomed news that NHS Tayside are holding discussions with the remaining GP practices who remain undecided about extending their opening hours for patients.

Official Scottish Government figures given to her indicate that

* 39 GP practices in the NHS Tayside area already offer extended opening hours services

*22 practices have said “No” to participating in the scheme

* A further 8 have said that they are “undecided”

The 39 practices represents 56 per cent of the total number of practices in Tayside, an increase on the 51 per cent reported last July.

Ms. Glen said,

“GPs are independent self-employees, and are not employed by the health board, but more flexible access to health services is in the interest of both.

” The scheme is part of a general drive to make health services more in tune with how people live and work today.

“Research conducted by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) found that UK businesses lose around 38 million working hours and £1billion a year because of employees having to make doctors’ appointments during working hours.”

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Marlyn Glen queries Scottish Government spending on survey of Tayside New Year resolutions on health

11 January 2010

Marlyn Glen has criticised the Scottish Government for spending money as part of a £6,000 survey on questions that asked people in Tayside if they were making New Year resolutions about their health.

Ms. Glen said,

” The Scottish Government has spent money researching into something that is already very well -known, namely, that people make New Year resolutions about their health.

“That’s money that should have been spent instead on medical solutions to improve health rather than on New Year resolutions to improve health.

“The Scottish Government ’s insistence that they are ‘unable’ to make public details of all the other questions in the survey simply arouses people’s suspicions about the contents of the survey.”

Ms. Glen has written to Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon calling for details of all of the questions asked in the £6,000 survey to be released.

The question was part of a £6,000 survey undertaken on behalf of the Scottish Government .

The survey found that of those surveyed in Tayside , 49 per cent of New Year resolutions were about improving their health, with 27 per cent saying that more walking and cycling would be their New Year resolution.

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Dundee’s participation in new Baccalaureate exam

06 January 2010

Figures given to Marlyn Glen from Dundee City Council indicate that Dundee will have 27 secondary pupils from 6 of its secondary schools taking part in the new Scottish Baccalaureate exam in Science this year .

Only 37 secondary schools across the whole of Scotland are participating in the Science Baccalaureate.

At six, Dundee has the highest number of schools of any local authority taking part.

Figures given to Ms. Glen reveal the number of pupils in the participating schools as :

Baldragon 2

Grove 8

Harris 12

Morgan 3

Menzieshill 1

St John’s 1

Ms. Glen paid tribute to “ steadfast work” of the teaching staff in participating schools and at Abertay University

However, she added,

“ It remains to be seen if the staff have received the necessary time and resources from the Scottish Government to prepare for and to implement this new exam.

“The degree of success that Dundee achieves in the Science Baccalaureate could well determine the value and the credibility of the exam in the eyes of other local education authorities in Scotland.”

Responding to a request for information query from Ms. Glen, Dundee City Council Chief Executive David Dorward said,

“Our Science presentation…far exceeds what is happening in other parts of the country and is down to some very hard work between schools and the University of Abertay Dundee.

“ Unfortunately, we have no pupils this session working towards the Baccalaureate in Languages, but this is a situation which is mirrored right across the country.”

Only 12 schools in Scotland are taking part in the Languages Baccalaureate.

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Dundee council allocation rises by less than £1 million in real terms next year.

31 December 2009

Details of Dundee City Council provisional allocation for its revenue and capital spending from the Scottish Government for 2010-11 show that it is only some £900,000 greater in real terms than the previous year in a budget of over £340 million.

The provisional revenue budget in 2010-11 stands at over £319 million, an increase of over £9 million on the previous year.

However, when inflation is taken into account, the increase falls in value to around £4.8 million.

The provisional capital budget in 2010-11 stands at £22.62 million, a decrease of £3.59 million on the previous year.

However, when inflation is taken into account, the decrease rises in value to around £3.9 million.

Overall, Dundee’s provisional allocation for 2010-11 – combining both revenue and capital – is some £900,000 greater in real terms than the previous year, less than 1 per cent of the budget.

Marlyn Glen, who received the information on the allocation from Scottish Government official figures, said that Dundee’s ” poor increase in allocation” came from a Government which “regards itself as never to blame for the consequences of its unattainable, unfunded populist promises on the provision of council jobs and services.”

Ms. Glen continued,

“In addition, Dundee City Council has been forced by the Scottish Government to reduce its spending by over £5 million in order to qualify for council tax freeze assistance.

“In these times when the priority is to support the local economy and secure jobs, local government spending is not the problem, Scottish Government underfunding of it is.”

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MSP pledges brain for Parkinson’s research

31 December 2009

Marlyn Glen is one of 168 Scots who have pledged to donate their brain for research into Parkinson’s, following a high profile appeal by the Parkinson’s Disease Society (PDS).
Overall, 2,332 new brain donors have come forward from across the UK .
There has been a strong response from people who don’t have Parkinson’s themselves – they outnumber people with Parkinson’s on the register by six to one.
However, there is still a need for additional donors.
The register is open to all, and the charity is particularly calling for younger people with Parkinson’s to sign up, as well as more men.
Across the UK, nearly twice as many women as men have joined.
Research using donated brain tissue has already led to major medical breakthroughs in the treatment and understanding of Parkinson’s.
This includes the development of Parkinson’s drugs which have revolutionised the way symptoms of the condition are controlled.

Marlyn Glen said:
“I decided to donate my brain after I heard about the register at a meeting of the Dundee Branch of the Parkinson’s Disease Society.
“I believe that research is a hugely important aspect of the search for a cure for Parkinson’s.
“I want to do everything I can to aid PDS in curing this condition.
“My mother lived with Parkinson’s for many years, so I understand the impact it has on every aspect of people’s lives.
“Parkinson’s eventually prevented my mother from pursuing the active life she had lived before, but I believe that her determination to continue with her normal way of life enabled her to fight the effects of Parkinson’s for so long.
“I am a strong supporter of the work that PDS does – not just in research but also in educating health professionals about the disease.
“I know from my own family’s experience the huge impact that having a access to a Parkinson’s Disease nurse specialist has on people living with Parkinson’s and their families.”

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