Marlyn Glen MSP


Scottish Labour MSP for North East Scotland

SNP Government breaks promise to fund councils and health boards on funding to reduce anti-depressants use

26 February 2010

Marlyn Glen has accused the SNP Government of “playing politics with people’s health” by ” failing to fulfill a promise” that they would provide local councils and health boards with funding specifically to set up “counselling and talking therapies” for people with depression, and so cut the number of items of anti-depressants prescribed “by 10 per cent by 2009”

Ms. Glen said that her correspondence with Dundee City Council and Angus Council, NHS Tayside and Dundee Community Health Partnership had revealed that neither the councils nor the health board received any such funding from the Scottish Government in 2008-09.

The 2007 SNP manifesto said that the party in government would support :

“the development of mental health and wellbeing services, such as counselling and talking therapies, in each community health partnership area, backed with ring-fenced funding to health boards and local authorities.

“With this support we aim to reduce the use of anti-depressants by 10 per cent by 2009.”

However, figures obtained by Ms. Glen from ISD Scotland ( the Scottish Government’s statistical agency for health ) showed that the number of items of anti-depressants presrcibed in both Dundee and Angus increased in the last year.

In Dundee , the number rose from 126,933 to 133,852, an increase of over 5 per cent, between 2007-08 and 2008-09

In Angus, the number rose from 77,797 to 80,887, an increase of just under 4 per cent in the same period.

Ms. Glen said,

“The local councils and health board were to be provided with special ‘ring fenced’ funding by the Scottish Government specifically for the purpose of providing ‘counselling and talking therapies’

“The councils received not a penny of funding for these from the Scottish Government.”

She continued,

“This particular broken promise stands out from the many others because it is playing politics with people’s health.

“Depression affects many people in Scotland, and one in five of us will experience it at some time in our lives.

“Last year around 321,000 people in Scotland contacted their doctor for help with depression.”

Ms. Glen said that she would be raising the absence of funding for Dundee and Angus councils and NHS Tayside with Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon, and calling on her to make the funds available to them.



Filed under: Uncategorized

Ninewells C difficile website plea turned down by Nicola Sturgeon

24 February 2010

Marlyn Glen ‘s plea to Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon asking that the website of the Vale of Leven Hospital Inquiry give prominence to the extension of the inquiry to include the outbreak of C difficile at Ninewells last October that led to 5 deaths has been turned down.

Ms. Glen had asked Nicola Sturgeon to ensure that the website contained this information to assist those who believe that they have information that is relevant to the inquiry into the Ninewells outbreak . They would thus be made aware of how to contact the inquiry online.

However, Nicola Sturgeon said that it would be “inappropriate” for her to become involved.

Nicola Sturgeon told Ms. Glen,

“It is a matter for Lord MacLean , as Inquiry Chair, to decide on how he wishes to progress the Inquiry and the content of the Inquiry’s website is determined by the Inquiry.

” It would therefore be inappropriate for me to seek to direct the Inquiry in this matter.”

Ms. Glen said, “I am surprised that the Health Secretary feels unable to ask Lord MacLean to give the proceedings at Ninewells more prominence on the inquiry’s website.

” I cannot see how her act of setting up the inquiry’s terms of reference of the inquiry now prevents her from suggesting to its head that factual information regarding the Ninewells period of the inquiry is placed on its website.

” I have now written to Lord Maclean asking him to ensure that the website contains more information on the proceedings concerning Ninewells.”

Nicola Sturgeon told Ms. Glen, ” If you feel that the Inquiry website should also make reference to the Ninewells outbreak, you might wish to contact the Inquiry directly.”

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Anti-obesity drug use in Tayside soars

20 February 2010

The number of prescribed items of anti-obesity drugs has risen considerably in the past decade, according to official figures released by Marlyn Glen, the Dundee-based MSP.

Commenting on the figures Ms. Glen said, “Obesity is a major public health concern.

“The escalating rate of obesity could wipe out the improvements in health gained from many years’ work to reduce heart disease and smoking.

” The statistics are worrying because of the significantly increased risk that obesity carries for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes and certain cancers.

“Factors such as physical inactivity, and dietary preferences for high calorie, high carbohydrate consumption strongly influence the development of obesity.

“There are no quick or simple solutions to obesity, but there are many worthwhile initiatives seeking to influence people to change to a healthier lifestyle and eating habits that must continue.”

The number of items of anti-obesity drugs ( Orlistat, Sibutramine, Rimonabant) prescribed in NHS Tayside over the past decade was 296 in 1998-99 which rose to 5,470 in 2007-08

The cost of these drugs in NHS Tayside was £11,754 in 1998-99. By 2007-08 it had risen to £222,592.

Orlistat is a drug that helps obese people to lose weight. Sibutramine is an appetite suppressant. Rimonabant is an anorectic drug with the role of keeping off weight once it has been lost.

Obesity is also a major factor in type 2 diabetes, and in angina, myocardial infarctions ( heart attacks) and strokes.

Scottish Government research estimates that 15 per cent of cases of angina may be attributable to obesity, 18 per cent of heart attacks and 6 per cent of strokes.

Using these assumptions, in 2009 in NHS Tayside, then : 190 out of 1,268 cases of angina may be attributable to obesity.

284 out of 1,580 cases of myocardial infarction may be attributable to obesity.

85 out of 1,424 cases of stroke may be attributable to obesity.

Obesity also sharply increases the risk of :

*type 2 diabetes ( 12.7 increase in relative risk for women, 5.2 for men )

 *high blood pressure ( 4.2 increase in relative risk for women, 2.6 for men )

 *heart attack ( myiocardial infarction) ( 3.2 increase in relative risk for women, 1.5 for men )

*colon cancer ( 2.7 increase in relative risk for women, 3.0 for men )

*angina ( 1.8 increase in relative risk for women, 1.8 for men )

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Alcohol-related behaviour costs NHS in Tayside over £1.6 million a year in ambulance call outs.

15 February 2010

Marlyn Glen has commented on figures she has received suggesting that alcohol-related behaviour is costing the NHS in Tayside over £1.6 million a year in ambulance call outs.

Over 27,000 ambulance incidents were recorded in the latest year.

Research indicates that a quarter of such call outs are related to incidents connected with alcohol.

The average cost of an ambulance call out in Tayside is £244.

Ms. Glen said,

“These figures show how substantial amounts of money and resources are being drained away from crucial NHS services by alcohol-fuelled behaviour that is both preventable and damaging to health.

“The evidence is clear – too much, too often drunk by a few costs the NHS too much, too often.”

” Irresponsible drinking puts the ambulance service under strain.

” Less care and attention can be devoted to those who really need their assistance if ambulance crew members have to deal with injuries and illness due to alcohol -related behaviour”


Scottish Government research suggests that 25 per cent of all ambulance incidents are alcohol-related

Number of ambulance incidents in Tayside in the latest year = 27,825
Number related to alcohol = 25 per cent , therefore the number is 6,956
Cost per incident = £244
So cost of alcohol-related ambulance call out to the NHS in Tayside is = 6,956 x £244 = £1.69 million per year

Parliamentary Questions

Scottish Executive

Ambulance Service

Marlyn Glen : To ask the Scottish Executive how many emergency ambulance incidents there were in NHS Tayside in the last year for which information is available.

Nicola Sturgeon: The Scottish Ambulance Service have advised that in 2008-09 there were 27,825 emergency ambulance incidents in NHS Tayside. This is made up of 10,872 category A calls (life threatening) and 16,953 category B calls (serious but not life threatening).

Marlyn Glen : To ask the Scottish Executive what the average cost is of an accident and emergency ambulance incident.
Nicola Sturgeon: The average cost of ambulance activity is published annually in the ISD Scotland Cost Book.

This information can be found at:

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MSP welcomes NHS Tayside decision to release Ninewells internal report on C difficile outbreak

16 February 2010

Marlyn Glen has welcomed the announcement by NHS Tayside that it will release the findings of its own internal investigation into the recent C difficile outbreak at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee.

Ms. Glen said, “I welcome this move by NHS Tayside which acknowledges the importance of keeping the public fully informed of its analysis of how this tragic outbreak occurred and what can be learned from it that can make the control of healthcare acquired infections more effective.

” The publication of this report will be particularly welcomed by the families involved, by the appropriate health professionals at Ninewells, and by the public who regard tackling healthcare acquired infections as one of their top health priorities.

” I shall ensure that a copy of the report can be downloaded from my website once it is made available by NHS Tayside.”

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“Cheerless news” over civil service jobs for Dundee

12 February 2010

Marlyn Glen, the Dundee-based MSP, described her reply from Scottish Gpvernment Finance Secretary John Swinney on more civil service jobs for the city as ” cheerless news for Dundee”.

Ms. Glen had asked the Scottish Government to “give the city a firm commitment that Dundee will be the home of new long-term Scottish Government agencies”.

“This” , she said, ” would represent a significant investment in the local economy.”

She said, “Two years ago the SNP Government shut down the civil service relocation policy that had brought jobs to Dundee.

” In its place the SNP said they were ‘ looking to locate new agencies outwith the central belt, but this will be done on merit’ and that ‘ Dundee is perfectly able to compete on its own merits for new agencies — and will do so.’

“Since then the SNP Government have set up several new agencies, but none of them has its HQ in Dundee.

“For example, Skills Development Scotland is based in Glasgow, while the Scottish Futures Trust is based in Edinburgh.

“Now Mr. Swinney’s response reveals the SNP’s determination to make do with fewer agencies , and not to create new ones.”

In reply Mr. Swinney said, “In January 2008, the Scottish Government set out its relocation and asset management policies.

“In essence, we announced that any potential relocation by the Scottish Government will be considered in terms of ensuring that business delivery functions can operate as effectively as possible, and that the Government’s simplification policy and preference not to create new bodies where possible will be upheld.

“Relocation will only be considered in terms of providing best value for money for the Scottish Government as a whole and delivering improved services at a time of tight financial restraint.

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40 per cent cut in teacher training places as 250 Dundee primary school teachers set to retire over the next decade

9 February 2010

Marlyn Glen said today that the decision to cut back on teacher training numbers at Dundee University this year will have ” severe repercussions for primary education in Dundee over the next decade” and called on the Scottish Government to “re-think its ill-considered proposal.”

She was responding to the decision by the Scottish Government to reduce the number of places on the post-graduate teaching course at Dundee University from 143 to 40 this autumn.

She said, ” There are over 250 primary school teachers in Dundee who will be at or approaching retirement age over the next 10 years and who will need to be replaced.

” There are currently 155 primary school teachers in the 55-and-over year old age group, and a further 98 in the age group 50-54 years.

” These cuts in teacher training places will store up problems for the future when these posts have to be filled.

“In view of the widespread opposition that these cuts have provoked, the Scottish Government must re-think its ill-considered proposal.”

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Ninewells C difficile outbreak : FoI submitted

8 February 2010

Ninewells C difficile outbreak : FoI submitted

Marlyn Glen, the Dundee-based MSP, has confirmed that Labour has made a FOI request to NHS Tayside to make public the results of the health board’s own internal investigation into the recent C difficile outbreak.

This follows a reply from NHS Tayside responding to a plea from Ms. Glen who had asked for the internal report to be released.

The health board said that evidence related to the C difficile outbreak at Ward 31, Ninewells Hospital is being submitted to the Vale of Leven public inquiry. it added, ” This will ensure full disclosure of the relevant facts, and that it is our view that any information in the public interest will emerge in the inquiry process.”

Ms. Glen said, “NHS Tayside need to inform the families concerned, Ninewells staff and the wider public of their findings and analysis of the outbreak inquiry long before the public inquiry inspects the health board’s evidence.

“They all need to know what were the circumstances surrounding the fatal outbreak and what recommendations have now been implemented to improve infection control .

“The retention of public confidence requires making this information public now.

“This can be done without compromising individual confidentiality.”

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MSP calls on NHS Tayside to release its own internal findings on C difficile outbreak

02 February 2010

Marlyn Glen has re-iterated her call for NHS Tayside to reveal the findings of their own investigation into the C difficile outbreak at Ninewells.

Ms. Glen has written to both Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon and to NHS Tayside calling for its release.

Ms. Glen said,

“It is very much in the public interest, in the interests of the families concerned and in the interests of hard-working staff that the health board reveal as soon as possible what they have concluded were the reasons for the tragic outbreak.

 “The public need to know that lessons have been learned from the Ninewells outbreak to prevent a recurrence of its causes.

“That’s why NHS Tayside should release the results of their own investigation.

“This would ensure the retention of public support in the campaign against hospital superbugs, and confidence in further preventative measures that are being taken.”

Ms. Glen said that NHS Tayside, in common with other health boards, use a “Root Cause Analysis” procedure which, they say, helps them “understand what may have caused a heathcare acquired infection and whether action can be taken to prevent it happening again.”

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