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 Richard Simpson (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)

Health and Sport Committee 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Dr Richard Simpson (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)

Good luck with that.



Health and Sport Committee 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Dr Simpson

I have a general question to open with. Since 2001, before the Christie commission, Dr Walker was involved with us and I was on the committee. We have talked about a shift in the balance of care from the acute sector to preventative care, and how that is fundamental to ensuring that we have a sustainable health service. Do you see anything in the budget that evidences a coherent attempt to make that shift, given the additional impotence of the Christie commission, which was absolutely clear that we would fail if we did not get this right? I know that some of this is down to level 4 spending by the health boards, but unless there is a drive from the centre—from Parliament, the Government and this committee—we are just playing at it, I think. Would you like to broaden that out a little bit?



Health and Sport Committee 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Dr Simpson

I have a supplementary question. If we take the section of the budget headed “Improving Health and Better Public Health”, it has an increase of 1.3 per cent this year. However, what happens if we strip out the family nurse partnership programme? It is a programme that we all support and is very interesting, but it is hugely and inordinately expensive. If I had said to one of my nursing colleagues when I was a GP “We’re going to give you a workload of 20 patients and if they drop out you won’t have to replace them”, they would have bitten my hand off for that job. The work with the families in the family nurse partnership is not intense work, and a case load of 20 is just extraordinary. If we strip out the family nurse partnership programme, we can see that everything else is going down.

We have a huge problem with obesity, but the food and health budget is down by 48 per cent. The grants to voluntary bodies, which are critical for delivery in many public health issues, are down by 13 per cent. The healthy working lives budget is static. Is the section of the budget on health improvement and health inequalities appropriate? I know that some of it is shifting and that we must tease that out; for example, the keep well programme has been put under the authority of health boards and they are being told just to get on with it now. However, there is no evidence that the keep well programme is working.

Would you like to comment on that section of the budget? That is the only identified preventative spend that we have.



Health and Sport Committee 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Dr Simpson

There is the spend on tackling tobacco and alcohol issues, but the spend on alcohol is down for another year, despite it being a major problem; and the spend on smoking cessation has been flat for four years now. Those are the big public health issues, as well as obesity.



Health and Sport Committee 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Dr Simpson

I make it clear that I am not against the family nurse partnership programme: we are all committed to it. It is valuable and in America it has been proved to be functional. However, budgets involve making choices, and it is difficult to know whether we should be expanding the programme as rapidly as we are doing, given the costs that are involved.



Health and Sport Committee 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Dr Simpson

This might be a silly question, but what if we had said in 2001 that 3 per cent savings a year would have to be made—which we have been doing almost continuously—and that 1 per cent would have to be applied to public health, instead of the money always going back to the Government or back into the health service to be used for acute services? Would it be worth our directing funding centrally to that extent? That would be on top of the integration fund, which would be separate. We would not direct precisely where resources should be used—the health service must proceed in the most effective, evidence-based way. What if we said now that the money could not just be put back into acute services, and that at least 1 per cent had to be used as I have described?



Health and Sport Committee 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Dr Simpson

I am an MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife.



Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Dr Richard Simpson (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)

I join other members in thanking the cabinet secretary for his comprehensive statement and clarity in tackling the issue.

It is good that our health service has already had experience of dealing with Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever. What risk assessment has been carried out with regard to demand for the 14 isolation rooms and associated equipment during a normal winter? It is predicted that the Ebola outbreak could well last into 2016, and the growth curve will not stop at least until summer next year. What training and equipment is being made available to ambulance workers?



Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Dr Richard Simpson (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)

I welcome the opportunity to participate in the debate. It is critical that the Smith commission, in fulfilling its difficult task to a fearsomely tight timetable, holds to a set of principles. The initial pronouncements from the commission in that respect, which have been agreed by the three parties, are a good start. Unless we base the powers that we are to obtain on principles, we will have problems in the future.

We need to recognise that Scotland requires more powers if it is to play its fullest part in a prosperous United Kingdom. However, collectively, in prospering, we need to tackle the poverty, inequality and lack of opportunity that are the norm for too many of our fellow citizens here and across the UK. The powers that we ask for or receive should not damage the United Kingdom. I believe that, rather than proceed with a long list of powers that should be transferred, we should start by looking at each power and deciding whether it would be better held and delivered at a Scottish level. Whether that is at Holyrood, in our communities through local authorities or in our smaller individual communities is a matter that must be debated—I entirely support Sarah Boyack’s speech in that respect.

A further principle that has not so far been enunciated is that, when the Scottish Parliament—or the Welsh or Northern Ireland Assembly—chooses a different path, the UK Parliament should be barred from penalising the devolved Parliament. An example of such penalising was seen when Lord Stewart Sutherland’s UK-commissioned report on the provision of personal care came out. In the jurisdictions of England and Wales, decisions were reached that awarded funding for attendance at two different levels and for nursing care, while in Scotland we adopted free personal care.

The state subsidies in England were different, but they amounted to almost the same total, yet the Scottish Parliament has lost funding of about £500 million since 2002. I therefore welcome the Labour Party’s proposal that attendance allowance in its totality should be transferred to this Parliament. The principle that we should not be punished is important.

I understand that the Scottish Government’s defence for not treating pensions differently, as it indicated that it would have liked to do, is based on the principle that it would have been doubly punished for taking an action that it believed in. We must take responsibility for what we do and must never be in the position of blaming others for things that should lie in our power.

The attendance allowance situation was regarded across Scotland as being unreasonable and unfair, yet the whole area of personal care is fundamental to our future. We have had the Sutherland, Marmot and Dilnot reports and now the Barker report from the King’s Fund indicating that health and social care is fundamental to the equity and justice of our society. Each jurisdiction must have the power to try its own solutions and take responsibility for them.

As a public health spokesperson, over the past few weeks I have been in discussions with a number of experts who have concerns about issues that affect our communities differently from how they affect the rest of the United Kingdom. Alcohol, tobacco, obesity and premature death associated with poor nutrition affect the whole UK, but they affect Scotland to a greater extent. The experts believe that, as part of tackling those issues, Scotland should have powers to levy—or not to levy—excise on any food or drink in any way that it wishes.

The different public health issues related to alcohol, tobacco and other food and drink, which result in poorer health and higher obesity rates, mean that they believe that such powers must be transferred—I presume with a reduction in any residual block grant by a proportion that reflects our population share of UK receipts. That raises another principle. When we act on something in our society and that creates a benefit, that benefit should accrue to this Parliament and not to the United Kingdom. That is fundamental to our approach.

The experts quote the example of Canada, where different states have taken different approaches to alcohol taxes for different reasons. At one point, one state had a particular problem with a high-alcohol-content beer. Sales were soaring and there were significant crime and health consequences for communities. That state increased the duty, thereby controlling sales and reversing the problems, while other states chose to tax different types of alcohol in different ways to address different problems. That is an important principle.

Public health and nutrition experts will watch how other nations and states attempt to tackle obesity and poor nutrition through fiscal measures. While the jury is out on many of the issues in question, Scotland should be free to experiment. Some experts have suggested that our Parliament should take powers over the marketing and advertising of all food and drink, as far as that is possible in the EU.

I hope that the settlement will be stable, if not for the lifetime of younger members, at least—please God—for mine. I hope that the constitutional debate that we have entered into will be conducted in good faith by the different parties. I believe that it will be, although some members’ speeches seem to indicate that that will not be the case, which I deeply regret. I think that our representatives will go into the process with an open mind, as will the representatives of other unionist parties. It will take stateswomen and statesmen a great deal of effort to achieve a balanced and united settlement that the Scottish people will accept, and I wish them well in that endeavour.

16:56  

Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Dr Richard Simpson (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)

And you are not self-serving?

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-11332.2 Jenny Marra: Supported Business—As an amendment to motion S4M-11332 in the name of Fergu
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YesDefeated

S4M-11332.1 Gavin Brown: Supported Business—As an amendment to motion S4M-11332 in the name of Fergu
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11332 Fergus Ewing: Supported Business—That the Parliament recognises the economic and social va
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YesCarried

S4M-11304.3 Michael Russell: Addressing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Schools—As an amendment to mo
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YesCarried

S4M-11304 Liz Smith: Addressing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Schools—That the Parliament believes
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YesCarried

S4M-11123 Joe FitzPatrick on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau: Business Motion—That the Parliament
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NoCarried

S4M-11114.2 Kenny MacAskill: Policing—As an amendment to motion S4M-11114 in the name of Graeme Pear
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NoCarried

S4M-11114 Graeme Pearson: Policing—That the Parliament acknowledges that policing in Scotland contin
>> Show more
NoCarried

S4M-11116.1.1 Patrick Harvie: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to amendment S4M-11116.1 in the name
>> Show more
NoCarried

S4M-11116.1 Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-11116 in the name of Jo
>> Show more
NoCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Richard Simpson
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11171: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11170: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11169: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11168: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11167: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11046: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 30/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10948: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10844: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10359: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10233: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 04/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Richard Simpson
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-22939: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 28/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22880: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 16/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22879: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 16/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22882: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 16/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22881: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 16/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22875: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 16/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22874: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 16/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22876: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 16/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22878: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 16/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22877: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 16/10/2014 Show Full Question >>