Marlyn Glen MSP

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Scottish Labour MSP for North East Scotland

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

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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

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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.”

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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

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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.”

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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.

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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.”

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Dundee dental bursary scheme success hailed

10 December 2010

Marlyn Glen has welcomed answers to her Parliamentary Questions which show that the dental bursary scheme at Dundee University which provides financial incentives for students to work in NHS dentistry in Scotland on graduation has produced 128 graduates, 49 of whom are now working in NHS Tayside.

The scheme, introduced in 2006 by the previous Labour-led Scottish Executive, offers annual bursaries of £4,000 to dental students at Dundee who guarantee to work in NHS dentistry in Scotland for up to a maximum of 5 years as from students’ second year of study.

The bursary has been available since 2006 at Glasgow University as well and since 2006 has produced 178 dental graduates as members of the dental workforce in NHS Scotland.

Education Secretary Mike Russell informed Ms. Glen that almost £1 million – £968,000 – was spent in the last academic session, 2009-2010, at Dundee University.

242 dental students at Dundee received bursaries in that session.

Ms. Glen said,

” The entry of these Dundee graduates into NHS dentistry is having a real impact, thanks to this bursary scheme.

” In addition, the Dundee graduates are now working across the whole of Scotland with the exception of two health boards.

” Their commitment to work in the NHS, as well as their professional excellence is helping to sustain Dundee’s reputation as a centre of dental excellence and also promoting the good name of the city.”

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Dundee Forensic Laboratory : Protest to Minister over transfer of posts from Dundee

8 December 2010

Marlyn Glen has written to Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill protesting at the proposed transfer of chemists from Dundee’s new forensic laboratory to Glasgow.

She described the decision as “deeply offensive” saying,

” A week is not just a long time in politics, but in the workings of the Scottish Forensic Services as well.

“Last week a bright new future in Dundee was hailed for the profession.

“The announcement that posts in Dundee were to be shed was withheld and announced yesterday by video conferencing. ”

Ms. Glen has asked Justice Minister MacAskill for the following information

Why knowledge of the transfer of posts from Dundee to Glasgow was withheld till this week,

Why the staff concerned heard of this via a video conference link without prior contact having been made on an individual basis with staff.

What judgement was made beforehand on the impact of such a swift decision on the careers of the scientists involved , the consequences for them and their families, and the consequences for the Forensic Service in Dundee .

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.

What modifications, if any, will need to be made to the laboratories in Dundee to accommodate the change over from chemistry to biology and their cost.

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