Malcolm Chisholm MSP

Welcome to Malcolm Chisholm MSP's biography pages

Malcolm Chisholm MSP

Here you can find out about your MSPs' political activities and how to get in touch with them.

  • Member for: Edinburgh Northern and Leith
  • Region: Lothian
  • Party: Scottish Labour

Malcolm is a member of the following Committees:

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

Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by Malcolm Chisholm

Meeting of the Parliament 29 January 2015 : Thursday, January 29, 2015
Malcolm Chisholm (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (Lab)

How many of the highly skilled people who were working at Pelamis—in my constituency—before its sad demise have been offered employment by wave energy Scotland?



Meeting of the Parliament 29 January 2015 : Thursday, January 29, 2015
Malcolm Chisholm (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (Lab)

I congratulate Dave Stewart on bringing forward this important debate and on highlighting the disparity between the supply of vital psychological support and demand for it. The motion encapsulates that when it says that there are only 394 educational psychologists, although we need more than 1,000 of them. That disparity exists in spite of the fact that educational psychology is a statutory function and, clearly, is crucial to the national priority of supporting early and effective intervention. It is also essential to the implementation of important and admirable Government strategies such as getting it right for every child, and important legislation such as the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014.

Many children and young people will struggle with learning if they do not have support, a proper assessment or a clear plan for their education path, with detrimental consequences for their mental and emotional wellbeing. We should also remember that educational psychologists are critical to planning for young people in care and that they provide specialist advice in a variety of education contexts, from case work advice to whole school analysis and strategic development.

I have been around long enough to remember that similar issues were raised in the Parliament’s early years. Indeed, I remember that, before the Parliament was established, Brian Wilson, who was the education minister between 1997 and 1999, increased the number of educational psychologists. I also remember that, in the Parliament’s early years, Cathy Jamieson conducted a review of the issue, with a 2002 report making 30 important recommendations, many of which are still relevant.

I also note that in 2013 the national Scottish steering group for educational psychology recommended a review, with a view to developing a national framework, and I hope that the minister and the Scottish Government will consider that recommendation, which I think is just as relevant today as it was two years ago.

As David Stewart emphasised as a central point in his opening speech, one fundamental problem is the loss of the bursary that is paid to trainee educational psychologists. If we are serious about ensuring that no child slips through the system without diagnosis and support, we have to revisit the decision to remove that bursary. The motion refers to the £25,000 cost of self-funding course fees and travel and living expenses, which is thought to be directly connected to the 70 per cent drop in applications for educational psychology courses. David Stewart reminded us that that is particularly serious, given that, as we have been advised, a quarter of educational psychologists might retire in the next four years.

Emma Brown, the chair of the Scottish division of the educational psychology training committee, highlighted significant concerns about the issue as long ago as 2010, very shortly after that significant change in the bursary provision was made. She said then that the change would affect

“equality of access for candidates to courses, quality of future Educational Psychology graduates, and ... Educational Psychology Services’ ability to fulfil their duties locally and nationally”.

She also appealed to the cabinet secretary of the day

“to consult with professional bodies”

on this important matter. It seems that that did not happen; certainly no change took place, and I hope that the cabinet secretary—and, indeed, the minister who is to reply to the debate—will consult professional bodies, consider my earlier suggestion of undertaking a review and developing a national framework and, most important of all, revisit the decision to remove the bursary.

12:46  

Meeting of the Parliament 29 January 2015 : Thursday, January 29, 2015
Malcolm Chisholm (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (Lab)

I support the bill, which feels very much like the last nail in the coffin of the poll tax, but we should remember—keeping things in perspective—that that actually happened in England more than 10 years ago.

Although I support the bill, I think that we should recognise that there are some genuine concerns and take them seriously, and we should also question some of the details of the bill.

Having heard the evidence in the Finance Committee, I think that the main concern is about the possible effect of the bill on council tax collection. I therefore think that we have to send out a very clear message that this is a one-off bill because of the particular circumstances of the poll tax and because, to a large extent, there is not much left that could be collected, given that many local authorities recognised that and have stopped collecting already.

We also have to recognise, although Conservative colleagues may not agree, that the poll tax was a completely unacceptable tax—certainly by far the most controversial tax of my long life—because it bore no relationship to the ability to pay. The bill is already in a unique category, which means that we should not draw analogies too much between it and the council tax.

I also recognise that some people feel that it is unfair that they have paid and others have not. We have all had letters about that. Again, however, I think that we have to repeat some of those points to them about the uniqueness of the tax, councils not collecting, there being not much to collect and so on.

The Finance Committee report raised certain questions, and to some extent the cabinet secretary has already responded to most of them. The first was whether the bill is necessary at all, since we did not find evidence about the use of electoral registers either currently or prospectively. We have had two examples quoted—by Alex Rowley and Mark McDonald—of politicians saying that they were going to use them. I had not heard that before. It may well be that that was the trigger for the bill, but equally the committee heard Glasgow City Council saying that it did not believe that all the new people on the register were around at the time of the poll tax. There are obviously conflicting views on that, but given the evidence that has been mentioned today I think that we have to accept that there was perhaps a certain trigger that the First Minister was responding to.

The point about consultation is important as well. The Finance Committee put it quite delicately and tactfully, saying that consultation should take place prior to legislation. I think that the cabinet secretary suggested that that is not always the case, but I think it is a feature of the Scottish Parliament not just that committees consult on bills when they are published but that Governments tend to consult on the contents of bills before they appear.



Meeting of the Parliament 29 January 2015 : Thursday, January 29, 2015
Malcolm Chisholm

I think that we could discuss that further, but I want to finish on the financial aspects of the bill, which are clearly important. If we say to the public, “£425 million”, they will say, “Goodness me, that’s a lot of money”, but of course only £327,000 was collected last year, and the councils seem to be fairly happy with the less than £1 million that will be distributed to them, although the committee did raise a point about informal or sporadic payments, which the cabinet secretary responded to.

Finally, the committee made a point about there being no estimate of potential savings, although Perth and Kinross Council stated as a fact:

“further attempts to collect ... would be expensive and may come at a cost to Council Tax collection”.

This Sunday will be the end of the poll tax. That is a matter for celebration, but, as Alex Rowley said, we should not become too fixated on the past, because the urgent necessity now is to fix local government finance. I think that we are all glad that there is now a process, which is going to start soon, to try to do that.

16:12  

Meeting of the Parliament 28 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Malcolm Chisholm (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (Lab)

I congratulate Kevin Stewart on lodging an important motion. He was quite right to praise the current Government for the work that it has done on hepatitis C, but he also generously referred to the previous Administration, as well.

There has been a lot of continuity. At the start of the Scottish Parliament, we had the Scottish needs assessment programme—SNAP—report in 2000, which led to two action plans and to “The Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Framework 2011-2015”, of which there will be another iteration very soon. There has been continuity.

I note that the first sentence of the hepatitis C section of the framework quoted me. It is not often that I get a chance to quote myself, but I said in 2004 that

“hepatitis C is one of the most serious and significant public health risks of our generation”.

That is still true, but there has been a lot of progress since then.

One of the issues has, of course, been the development of new drugs, to which Kevin Stewart referred. I am sure that we have all, over the years, spoken to people who were having treatment and who complained about the side effects and aftereffects of interferon-based therapy. Therefore, we have to welcome the new treatments. However, there is an issue: they are extremely expensive. I know that that is an issue for Lothian NHS. Its acute medicines budget has increased by 15 per cent in the past year. I do not know what percentage of that is to do with hepatitis C, but it has significant costs. I am certainly not arguing for those drugs to be discontinued, but there may be a case for the cost of acute medicines to be taken into account more in the distribution formula for health board budgets.



Meeting of the Parliament 28 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Malcolm Chisholm

Kevin Stewart has made an important point. He also gave us statistics that are still alarming. It is not just the overall number of nearly 40,000 people with chronic hepatitis C that is a matter of concern; the fact that half of those who have it are undiagnosed is also obviously a matter of concern. We are also told that 75 per cent of those who have been diagnosed are not in specialist care.

Therefore, there are still big challenges, but as Kevin Stewart and I have emphasised, there has been great progress in prevention and diagnosis—notwithstanding the challenges around developing optimal treatments and around care and support. Those were the themes of the action plans.

There is a good emphasis in the framework on the strong health inequalities dimension and on stigma, which are two very important and relatively new priorities. With Elaine Murray sitting beside me, I am reminded of the excellent work that is being done on health inequalities in Dumfries prison through the nursing at the edge initiative, which focuses on diagnosis and treatment of people in prison who have hepatitis C.

Many people with hepatitis C contracted it through injecting drugs, which is why a lot of the prevention activity is around that, but we cannot forget the several hundred people who have contracted it from blood products. That issue was of great concern in the early years of the Parliament, and it led to ex gratia payments being made, which was started by the Scottish Parliament then copied by the UK Parliament.

We all know that the Penrose inquiry will report in March, and we must be mindful of the issues around that very complex situation. We all look forward to reading the conclusions of that report, and I believe that it will lead to demands for further payments. Constituents of mine are still contacting me about that. We must not forget that there are still a large number of people who contracted hepatitis C in that way, and we must do all that we can to meet their specific needs and circumstances.

17:51  

Meeting of the Parliament 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
Malcolm Chisholm (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (Lab)

When will the task force report, and when was it expected to report?



Meeting of the Parliament 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
Malcolm Chisholm (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (Lab)

I will be gentle with Bob Doris by saying that there is consensus about the vision but there is concern and disagreement about its implementation. We have had agreement about the vision for more than 10 years. We have agreed about a partnership-based and patient-centred approach; about developing continuous, integrated care in the community; about having a focus on prevention, anticipation and self-management; about using patient experience to improve quality; about addressing health inequalities; and about enhancing the safety of the patient. There has been agreement about that for a long time, and there has been some great implementation.

I am a great fan of the patient safety programme, and I am always ready to praise the work of the Scottish Government in relation to that. In fact, I think that the Government should sometimes publicise it a little more. Another aspect that is mentioned in the motion is the early years collaborative, and I am a great fan of that, too, although it will take more time for results from that collaborative to realise themselves.

Collaboratives being a good thing, I remind the cabinet secretary of what I suggested last week: why not reinstate the emergency care collaborative? Professor Derek Bell, who is the number 1 expert on emergency care in the United Kingdom and who headed up the emergency care collaboratives in England and Scotland, said that the situation had deteriorated in the five years since that collaborative was disbanded.

The problems lie in faltering implementation in relation to developing services in the community. Jenny Marra has already quoted the Audit Scotland finding that there has been no progress or little evidence of progress in moving money to community-based services, so I will not repeat it.



Meeting of the Parliament 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
Malcolm Chisholm

In just a minute.

The 2020 vision document itself says that there is

“a focus on ensuring that people get back into their home or community environment”

as soon as possible. Once again, the problem of delayed discharges going in the wrong direction is highlighted. The actual implementation is against the vision.



Meeting of the Parliament 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
Malcolm Chisholm

We certainly need to develop the community infrastructure, but the reality is that we must develop hospital services, too. I know that all too well in Lothian. Last week, in the context of the general increase in delayed discharges, I flagged up the 15 per cent of beds in NHS Lothian that are occupied by delayed-discharge patients. I expressed concern—and I should express it again—about the fact that Lothian, with its £70 million funding gap, received only £4 million out of the £65 million last week. I am still not entirely clear about the reasons for that.

There are clearly concerns about the need to build up community infrastructure. We also have the problems in emergency care, and I have already referred to Derek Bell’s suggestion, but we need to build up capacity both in hospitals and in the community. That is why the Government would be unwise to dismiss so readily the two positive, specific suggestions involving extra resources that have been made by Labour over the past couple of weeks.

On the issue of seven-day working, I have read the “Seven Day Services Position Paper”—there may well be more than one paper, but I have certainly read one of them in the past few days. The flaw in the Government’s position is that it thinks that seven-day working can be implemented without extra resources. Labour is coming to the rescue of the Scottish Government. We are saying that it can have the proposals and that we are prepared to push it to put the available money into them.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

 
AbstainDefeated

 
YesCarried

 
YesCarried

S4M-12160.2 Michael Matheson: Women Offenders—As an amendment to motion S4M-12160 in the name of Kez
>> Show more
AbstainCarried

S4M-12160.3 Margaret Mitchell: Women Offenders—As an amendment to motion S4M-12160 in the name of Ke
>> Show more
AbstainDefeated

S4M-12160 Kezia Dugdale: Women Offenders—That the Parliament welcomes the decision of the Scottish G
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12154.1 Lewis Macdonald: Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) – Supporting Indivi
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-12120.1 Jenny Marra: 2020 Vision, the Strategic Forward Direction of the NHS—As an amendment to
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-12101 John Swinney: Budget (Scotland) (No.4) Bill—That the Parliament agrees to the general prin
>> Show more
AbstainCarried

S4M-12095.4 Ken Macintosh: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Malcolm Chisholm
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-12152: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11495: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 11/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09793: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 23/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09717: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 11/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09451: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08996: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 07/02/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08757: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 14/01/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08510: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 04/12/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08101: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 30/10/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-07756: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/09/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Malcolm Chisholm
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-24182: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24181: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24180: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24179: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03850: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 08/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03818: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 01/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23400: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23058: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 07/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03674: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 03/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03630: Malcolm Chisholm, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/10/2014 Show Full Question >>

Further information

Email our Public Information Service for more information.