Richard Simpson MSP

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Richard Simpson MSP

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  • Member for: Mid Scotland and Fife
  • Party: Scottish Labour

Richard is a member of the following Committees:

Richard is a member of the following Cross-Party Groups:

Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by Dr Simpson

Meeting of the Parliament 05 March 2015 Business until 16:03 : Thursday, March 05, 2015
Dr Simpson

I join the First Minister in thanking the staff. However, Professor Crooks, the medical director of NHS 24, was reported this week as saying that NHS 24’s difficulty in recruiting nurses might make the service unsustainable in the long term.

In 2007, Labour’s last planned intake of nursing students was more than 3,300. Why has the First Minister cut the intake of nursing students in every year of the Scottish National Party Government, which has resulted in 3,000 fewer nursing students being admitted to training? Is not that another of our NHS emergency services being put in jeopardy by the SNP Government’s planning failure?



Meeting of the Parliament 05 March 2015 Business until 16:03 : Thursday, March 05, 2015
5. Dr Richard Simpson (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)

To ask the First Minister what measures the Scottish Government is taking to ensure that NHS 24 is able to recruit and retain the staff it needs. (S4F-02633)



Meeting of the Parliament 04 March 2015 : Wednesday, March 04, 2015
Dr Simpson

Will Liam McArthur give way on that point?



Meeting of the Parliament 04 March 2015 : Wednesday, March 04, 2015
Dr Simpson

The problem is that the percentage has not risen. The rejections have gone on for years, despite the fact that the guidance is there.



Meeting of the Parliament 04 March 2015 : Wednesday, March 04, 2015
Dr Simpson

I welcome the £15 million of support for the mental health programme, but if mental health services had received the same share as they received in 2009, they would currently be £75 million better off every year. They are being short changed.

I move amendment S4M-12492.3, to leave out from “notes the recent” to “missed” and insert:

“while welcoming the HEAT waiting time targets for child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), notes that both the 26-week targets for 90% of referrals for March 2013 and the 18-week target for December 2014 were not met for Scotland overall and not met by a number of NHS boards; calls on the Scottish Government to publish the 10-year follow-up to the 2003 Scottish Needs Assessment Programme report, which was promised for 2014; further calls on the Scottish Government to carry out an independent review of the referrals rejected by CAHMS and explain the substantial variation in these rejections; invites the Scottish Government to report to the Parliament on resumption of progress in eliminating the admission of children and adolescents to non-specialist settings, and notes that the target for adult patients referred for psychological therapies continues to be missed;”

16:18  

Meeting of the Parliament 04 March 2015 : Wednesday, March 04, 2015
Dr Simpson

Yes, I accept that. However, in 2009, when the Mental Welfare Commission welcomed the fact that the target had been reached, halving the number of admissions to non-specialist units, it emphasised that the progress had to be maintained. Labour had planned new and refurbished in-patient specialist beds to take the number up to 57. Unfortunately, in an answer to a parliamentary question in October, the SNP confirmed that only 42 beds are currently commissioned, with six more to be opened. That is still only 48 beds, and the result is that the number of admissions to non-specialist units reported by the MWC has risen by 40 per cent, from 141 in 2012 to 202 in December. My question to the minister is this: what target has he set for progress on reducing such admissions, either by providing more beds or by having more of the innovative intensive community services such as we have in Fife?

I always praise the Government when it does something right, and the introduction in 2010 of the UK’s first health improvement, efficiency and governance, access and treatment targets for waiting times, of 26 weeks by March 2013 and 18 weeks by December 2014, was welcome. However, last year we saw an increase, from 20 to 226, in the number of patients waiting for more than 52 weeks, and the 26-week target—not the 18-week target—has still not been met by five health boards. The SNP also promised last year that the 10-year follow-up to the 2003 Scottish needs assessment programme report would be published in 2014. When will it be published? It has not yet been published.

I will finish on a concern that, I believe, the Government must investigate. The latest ISD Scotland figures are no longer developmental but are now credible. In the past year, out of 26,800 referrals, 5,100 were “rejected”. When I asked the ISD about that, it said that they were “deemed inappropriate”. One in five referrals was rejected. Once again, and for the first time since the waiting list scandal in NHS Lothian, we see a massive variation in the number of rejections. In one board, the figure was 5.6 per cent; in one of the island boards, it was 0 per cent, but perhaps that is not relevant; and there were clusters in which the figure was between 11 and 13 per cent, which may be more relevant. However, in two boards, more than 27 per cent of referrals were rejected. There are clear guidelines on their websites about what patients are referred for, yet more than one in four patient referrals are being rejected. The cabinet secretary must investigate that extraordinary variation and, more important, what then happens to those rejected children.



Meeting of the Parliament 04 March 2015 : Wednesday, March 04, 2015
Dr Richard Simpson (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)

I refer members to my declaration of interests. I am pleased to be opening the debate on behalf of Scottish Labour. If members will forgive me, I propose to concentrate entirely on child and adolescent services.

In 2006, the Liberal Democrat and Labour coalition laid out some challenges that were facing CAMHS. They included building the workforce and ensuring that the number of under-18s being admitted to non-specialist units was halved by 2009. Building a workforce takes time, and it is to the credit of both that Administration and the Scottish National Party Administration that, up to 2011, the staffing numbers increased, particularly in psychology and for nursing staff. However, since 2009, the number of full-time equivalent consultants has gone down, vacancies have gone up and the number of family therapists has reduced by a third. Moreover, 28 per cent of all the staff are on temporary contracts. It cannot be good for a service to have that level of temporary contracts.

The 2006 Labour Government’s CAMHS framework stated clearly that adequate—I stress that word—staffing required a minimum of 15 per 100,000 population. Today, eight years on, seven boards do not have that staffing level. Among the worst is my board, NHS Forth Valley, where the figure is 8.3.

NHS Forth Valley is also one of the worst-performing boards for waiting times. On closer inspection, we find that its referral figures uniquely exclude tier 2 provision—that is, it reports referral times only for tiers 3 and 4. Anyone who is referred to tier 2 must wait six months for an assessment—and that is not the median wait or the longest wait. Why is that board not being placed under special measures for CAMHS in the same way as the Royal Alexandra hospital and, now, the Western infirmary have been for accident and emergency services? Is that equality between physical and mental health?



Meeting of the Parliament 04 March 2015 : Wednesday, March 04, 2015
Dr Simpson

Linking one identifier with another is extremely dangerous. The topic needs a full debate.

I move amendment S4M-12491.1, to leave out from “and the concerns” to end, and insert:

As an amendment to motion S4M-12491 in the name of Willie Rennie (Privacy and the State), leave out from “and the concerns” to end and insert “; notes the concerns of the British Medical Association Scotland and the Royal College of General Practitioners that sharing personal information registered for health purposes with the government for the identification of income tax payers in particular would seriously undermine trust between doctors and patients, with the result that patients may feel reluctant to seek medical help from their doctor; notes also the concerns of privacy protection campaigners such as Liberty, Big Brother Watch and the Open Rights Group that allowing information to flow between health and tax agencies sets a dangerous precedent; believes that NHS identification should only ever be used for other purposes with express and informed consent; recognises the need for identification of all citizens who will be required to pay tax in Scotland; believes that the current proposals should be halted, alternative options should be sought and that the Scottish Government should consult further, and further believes that any future proposals should be subject to full parliamentary scrutiny and primary legislation.”



Meeting of the Parliament 04 March 2015 : Wednesday, March 04, 2015
Dr Simpson

I took one intervention. Can I just have two seconds more? I have one more paragraph. It is important.

In NHS Lothian, over a two-year period, there were 794 breaches of inappropriate access to electronic data. The NHS system is not fit for purpose. It does not meet the European requirements under the I v Finland case. Therefore, we have a situation in which, by using people’s unique identifier, others can maliciously access NHS data.



Meeting of the Parliament 04 March 2015 : Wednesday, March 04, 2015
Dr Simpson

I do not want to be misunderstood; I am not suggesting that those organisations would have access to my NHS data. I accept that they would not. However, if someone gives permission for their authentication details to be used for one purpose, I do not think that it is appropriate for those details to be used for another purpose without their consent.

Willie Rennie also mentioned Ken Macdonald, who has said that the proposals could be in breach of the European rules. That is a very serious statement for the assistant information commissioner to make. He has called for a privacy impact assessment, so I welcome John Swinney’s agreement that that assessment will be carried out. Mr Macdonald has also said that use of a national identifying number—for whatever apparently positive purpose—must be

“subject to a proper debate”,

and he has cautioned against the

“creeping use of such unique identifiers”

that should

“not just happen by default”.

The BMA feels that that would undermine patient confidence in and people’s relationship with the health service.

If the NHS electronic data was totally secure and private—I accept the point that that is not what people will apparently have access to, but they will have access to the community health index number, and the CHI number is being increasingly used in relation to access to NHS data—

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12521.2 Jackie Baillie: Protecting Public Services and Boosting Scotland’s Economy—As an amendme
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Not VotedDefeated

S4M-12521.1 Gavin Brown: Protecting Public Services and Boosting Scotland’s Economy—As an amendment
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Not VotedDefeated

S4M-12521.3 Willie Rennie: Protecting Public Services and Boosting Scotland’s Economy—As an amendmen
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

S4M-12521 John Swinney: Protecting Public Services and Boosting Scotland’s Economy—That the Parliame
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Not VotedCarried

S4M-12495 Joe FitzPatrick on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau: Business Motion—That the Parliament
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NoCarried

S4M-12491.2 John Swinney: Privacy and the State—As an amendment to motion S4M-12491 in the name of W
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NoCarried

S4M-12491.1 Richard Simpson: Privacy and the State—As an amendment to motion S4M-12491 in the name o
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YesDefeated

S4M-12491 Willie Rennie: Privacy and the State—That the Parliament notes the Scottish Government’s c
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NoCarried

S4M-12492.2 Jamie Hepburn: Mental Health—As an amendment to motion S4M-12492 in the name of Jim Hume
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NoCarried

S4M-12492 Jim Hume: Mental Health—That the Parliament notes that one in four people will experience
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YesCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Richard Simpson
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-12546: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 04/03/2015 R Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12492.3: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 03/03/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12491.1: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 03/03/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12341: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12237: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 03/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12082: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 15/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12045: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11989: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 06/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11975.2: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11844: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Richard Simpson
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4F-02633: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 02/03/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24515: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24208: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 28/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24207: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 28/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24194: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 27/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24192: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 27/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24193: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 27/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24057: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 15/01/2015 R Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24058: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 15/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24059: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 15/01/2015 R Show Full Question >>