Maureen Watt MSP

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Maureen Watt MSP

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  • Member for: Aberdeen South and North Kincardine
  • Region: North East Scotland
  • Party: Scottish National Party

Maureen is a member of the following Committees:

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

Parliamentary Activities

Member of the Conveners Group

Search for other Speeches made by The Minister for Public Health (Maureen Watt)

Meeting of the Parliament 19 February 2015 : Thursday, February 19, 2015
Maureen Watt

As the member knows, that is the responsibility of my colleague Jamie Hepburn, who has recently announced £15 million of extra resources for mental health issues.



Meeting of the Parliament 19 February 2015 : Thursday, February 19, 2015
Maureen Watt

That is the Scottish Government’s policy and, with the integration of health and social care, that is entirely the way in which we want to move.



Meeting of the Parliament 19 February 2015 : Thursday, February 19, 2015
Maureen Watt

The Scottish executive nurse directors endorse the view that is taken in Scotland, as do other healthcare professionals including Sir Robert Francis, Sir Bruce Keogh and Professor Berwick, who all believe that evidence-based tools are the best way.

In Scotland, we do not talk about minimum staffing levels; we speak about safe staffing levels. We do not speak of nurse-to-bed ratios because nurses do not nurse beds—they nurse patients. Staff numbers are determined according to the clinical need of patients, not according to ratio level or numbers. As I said, in Scotland we use evidence-based tools to determine that need, not a one-size-fits-all fixed staffing regime.



Meeting of the Parliament 19 February 2015 : Thursday, February 19, 2015
The Minister for Public Health (Maureen Watt)

We are absolutely clear that quality of care for Scotland’s people comes first. As a demonstration of our full commitment to achieving the best possible healthcare outcomes, Scotland’s people benefit from a national health service workforce of the highest quality and from higher staffing levels across our NHS than ever before.

To ensure that enough professional staff at the right levels are available when and where they need to be, NHS boards in Scotland are required to have workforce planning arrangements in place. In doing so, they are required to use evidence-based workload and workforce planning tools rather than fixed staffing ratios to assess numbers of nurses and where they should be deployed most effectively.



Meeting of the Parliament 19 February 2015 : Thursday, February 19, 2015
Maureen Watt

I appreciate that there is concern locally about the board’s review of out-of-hours services. All health boards keep their services under review to ensure that they are of the highest quality. I am aware that NHS Lanarkshire is carrying out a review of out-of-hours services, which started on 6 January and is due to conclude on 6 April. I have been assured that all stakeholders will continue to be fully engaged and involved as that important work is taken forward.

The Scottish Government is liaising with NHS Lanarkshire and is being kept up to date with the progress of its review. I would expect that the outcomes of the review to be in line with any recommendations arising from the Scottish Government’s recent out-of-hours service review.



Meeting of the Parliament 19 February 2015 : Thursday, February 19, 2015
The Minister for Public Health (Maureen Watt)

Ministers and Government officials regularly meet with representatives from all health boards, including NHS Lanarkshire, to discuss matters of importance to local people.



Meeting of the Parliament 17 February 2015 : Tuesday, February 17, 2015
The Minister for Public Health (Maureen Watt)

I, too, thank Margaret Mitchell for lodging the motion and congratulate Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland on its contribution to stroke care in Scotland over the past 20 years. I also add my welcome to the young survivors group who are in the gallery.

Stroke remains the third-biggest killer in Scotland and the leading cause of disability, which is why it has been a clinical priority for NHS Scotland since the mid-1990s. Over the years, the stroke community, of which CHSS is a key stakeholder, has worked together to make excellent progress to deliver the best possible health and social care to people who have had a stroke. However, we will always strive to do more.

I am sorry to hear about the situations that Margaret Mitchell described of the people who have suffered strokes in North Lanarkshire. Those situations are not acceptable and I am glad that she has taken up the issues robustly with the chief executive of North Lanarkshire Council and will continue to do so. We should not put up with poor customer care and it must be challenged on every occasion. People have to learn that the best possible care and service should be given to those who need it.

I am glad that Margaret Mitchell mentioned adaptations. I was the convener of the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee, the remit of which included housing, and I know how important housing adaptations are in order that, for example, people can move from a hospital setting back to their homes as quickly as possible.

We have done a lot, and that is reflected in the updated stroke improvement plan that was published in August 2014, which sets out eight priority areas to ensure that we continue to strive towards improved prevention, treatment and care. All those with an interest, across all levels and roles, have an important part to play. It is by working together, learning together and sharing that we will deliver improvements.

We must also continue to strengthen ways to actively engage with people affected by stroke in order to learn from them and identify those issues that are important to them.

I am proud to say that we have supported Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland through collaborative working and that our relationship with the charity extends beyond stroke care, as we work collaboratively with it on improving care around heart disease and respiratory issues.

The CHSS community support service is a good example of partnership working between CHSS and the NHS. The service offers an important bridge for stroke patients between speech and language therapy and independent activities in the community. It provides stroke survivors, young and old, with an opportunity to increase their confidence and ability to communicate in a variety of social settings. Of course, the service that is provided to each individual is co-ordinated by someone who understands that person’s needs, and it can be delivered on a one-to-one basis or in peer support groups.

CHSS and NHS Lanarkshire also work in partnership to provide a number of other services, including stroke support nurses, training co-ordinators and financial advice. The services are there, but they are perhaps not being used in the best possible way, or are perhaps not known of. As Malcolm Chisholm said, not every situation is as Margaret Mitchell described.

Since 2010, CHSS has raised awareness of stroke symptoms with 11 successful FAST campaigns, which we support. More recently, in 2013, we provided CHSS with funding to coordinate a FAST campaign along with NHS boards, and it has developed a toolkit for boards to use locally. That funding also supported the production of a short online video featuring actors from the popular “Still Game” series to get the FAST message across. The FAST campaigns are aimed at the general public and healthcare professionals, including GPs. CHSS evaluations of the campaigns indicate that recognition of the FAST campaign message rose from 32 to 61 per cent, and that the proportion of patients or relatives who called NHS services for help within 30 minutes of the onset of symptoms rose from 46 to 62 per cent. That is really encouraging and shows that we must keep the campaign going so that it reaches even more people. I am glad that Dave Thompson highlighted the other campaigns that are run.

We recognise the importance of supporting stroke survivors to improve wellbeing and quality of life. That is why the stroke improvement plan sets out two priority areas that focus on rehabilitation and life after stroke. Those priorities take a person-centred approach and ensure that multidisciplinary stroke teams offer a range of self-management support. Stroke patients will have an acute therapy assessment and stroke rehabilitation delivered by a stroke specialist, based on the needs of the individual.

Personalised and integrated services for adults who have had a stroke will be strengthened further with the implementation of the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013 and the Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act 2014.

We are committed to working in partnership with the voluntary sector to support new ways of delivering services. We have the ideal opportunity to publicly acknowledge the good work that has been advanced in partnership with CHSS across a range of long-term conditions. We are keen to continue to work alongside charities such as Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland to make real improvements to the quality of life of people in Scotland.

Finally, I thank David Clark, who has been chief executive of CHSS since 1994 and a member of the Scottish Government’s national advisory committee for stroke since its inception more than 10 years ago. I wish him an enjoyable retirement when it comes in May.

Meeting closed at 17:35.  

Meeting of the Parliament 05 February 2015 : Thursday, February 05, 2015
The Minister for Public Health (Maureen Watt)

I, too, congratulate Jim Eadie on securing the debate and setting out the stark situation. I welcome the work that the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Scotland and the Scottish antimicrobial prescribing group are doing to heighten awareness, and I thank all the members who participated in the debate, and whose contributions ranged from Rod Campbell’s history lesson to Nanette Milne’s and Richard Simpson’s sharing of their professional knowledge of the subject.

In 2008, this Government recognised the importance of raising awareness of resistance to antibiotics and the need for specific actions and advice to provide all healthcare professionals and the public with information on what we need to do to prevent an increase in such resistance. That is why we set up SAPG, which is a national clinical multidisciplinary forum.

European antibiotic awareness day is a major public health initiative that has been held annually since 2008. It aims to encourage responsible use of antibiotics and to tackle the global issue of resistance to them. I commend the contribution of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Scotland to the EAAD campaign. It has supported EAAD from the outset through the media and communications to pharmacists, and for the past two years it has been greatly involved in planning the Scottish activities.

During the 2014 campaign, RPS Scotland, in partnership with the Scottish Government, SAPG and Community Pharmacy Scotland, was central to our self-care leaflets initiative. Those leaflets support pharmacists in providing patients with specific advice about symptoms of respiratory illness, as well as facilitating referral to a GP if required. Their primary aim is to promote community pharmacies as the first port of call for advice and treatment for winter illnesses, which are typically caused by viruses, and to reduce patient expectations of receiving antibiotics as the first line of treatment. That approach has attracted interest from Public Health England, which is looking to replicate it.

Each year, SAPG organises distribution of EAAD support packages to each NHS board. Those are tailored and disseminated to hospitals, GP practices, care homes and other healthcare providers. Community pharmacies receive their packs as part of their year-round support for national public health campaigns.

As Jim Eadie highlighted, an important component of that annual campaign is the antibiotic guardian initiative. Anyone can sign up to be a guardian—I am pleased that Malcolm Chisholm has done so—from healthcare professionals, veterinarians and farmers to members of the public. SAPG promotes sign-up to the initiative and all communications about EAAD. Many staff who work in antimicrobial stewardship have used the antibiotic guardian logo signature strip to promote the initiative.

To date more than 12,000 people have signed up across the UK. On signing up, the guardian chooses an action pledge to support the overarching aim, which is to ensure that antibiotics work now and in the future. Public Health England will shortly be sending an evaluation questionnaire to all guardians who have consented to follow-up. That will help to measure, and to confirm, whether guardian pledges were kept.

Planning for the 2015 campaign will commence in the spring; I encourage members to play their part locally in raising awareness. What better way is there to do that than to become an antibiotic guardian?

As has been mentioned, since 2008 infection, prevention and quality improvement teams have achieved a significant reduction in C difficile rates and in prescribing of high-risk antibiotics through the introduction of local and national prescribing indicators. The latest SAPG annual report, which was published in January this year, shows that there was a 5.4 per cent decrease in the number of prescriptions for antibacterials in primary care GP practices. Also, the use of broad-spectrum antibacterials associated with higher risk of C diff was reduced by 12.7 per cent in primary care settings.

Those figures are encouraging; however, further work linking C diff cases with morbidity and mortality, and prescribing data is being carried out to help our understanding of the epidemiology of disease in the community and to identify areas for further reduction measures.

As members who have taken part in the debate have mentioned, resistance to antimicrobials continues to pose a serious public health threat globally. The loss of effective antimicrobials undermines our ability to fight infectious diseases and to manage the infectious complications that are common in vulnerable patients. A key challenge is the fact that few new antimicrobials have been developed.

A key area of work in the effort to tackle the threat of global antimicrobial resistance was the setting up of a UK five-year AMR strategy, which was launched in September 2013. The UK and Sweden led the development and adoption of a new World Health Organization resolution on AMR, which provided a mandate for the development of a WHO-led global action plan by May 2015. Through the UK strategy, we are working with the WHO and member states to develop the plan, which will take the “one health” approach. This Government works closely with the UK Government and the other devolved administrations to drive forward that work, which is aimed at slowing the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance. The first annual report, which was published in December 2014, showed that good progress had been made.

The Scottish Government is fully committed to supporting that strategy and related initiatives in order to maintain focus on, and pace in, achieving further reductions in healthcare-associated infections, and to ensure appropriate antibiotic prescribing and vigilance against resistance to antibiotics. To tie in with that work, the Government, through the Scottish HAI task force, set up an expert group on controlling antimicrobial resistance in Scotland—CARS for short—which is chaired by the Scottish Government’s chief medical officer. The purpose of the group is to oversee Scotland’s antimicrobial resistance strategy and to support delivery of the UK AMR strategy. CARS will build on and maintain the momentum that has been generated by the Scottish management of antimicrobial resistance action plan, version 2 of which was published last July and which is available at the back of the chamber. CARS will produce a delivery plan that focuses on the seven key areas of the UK strategy. It will develop outcome measures and publish an annual report on progress that aligns with the UK strategy.

In NHS Scotland, in 2015-16, an AMR public awareness campaign will be developed and delivered by NHS Health Scotland, with input from other key agencies. The Government is committed to supporting that important work through the Scottish HAI task force.

Scotland has established itself as a leader in antimicrobial stewardship and is recognised worldwide as having an exemplar antimicrobial stewardship programme. Through the work of organisations such as the RPS, the SAPG and other key stakeholders, huge inroads have been made in ensuring adherence to local prescribing guidelines in hospital and primary care settings. However, continued efforts are required to sustain that and to improve the situation further. I thank Jim Eadie for bringing the debate to the chamber.

13:11 Meeting suspended.  14:30 On resuming—  

Meeting of the Parliament 05 February 2015 : Thursday, February 05, 2015
Maureen Watt

The chief scientist office has responsibility for encouraging and supporting research into health and healthcare needs in Scotland. The CSO responds primarily to requests for funding research proposals that are initiated by the research community in Scotland. We are not currently funding any research project on the cause or treatment of chronic migraine, but we would welcome research proposals in the area, which would of course be subject to the usual peer and committee review.



Meeting of the Parliament 05 February 2015 : Thursday, February 05, 2015
The Minister for Public Health (Maureen Watt)

All clinicians in national health service boards in Scotland are expected to be aware of and to adhere to guidelines that are published by the Scottish intercollegiate guidelines network, or SIGN. SIGN guideline 107, on diagnosis and management of headache in adults, which is from November 2008, provides clinical guidelines for the management of headache, including chronic migraine.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12385 Liz Smith: STEM Education in Scottish Schools—That the Parliament agrees that a solid grou
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YesCarried

S4M-12395.1 Fergus Ewing: An Energy Strategy for Scotland—As an amendment to motion S4M-12395 in the
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12395.2 Patrick Harvie: An Energy Strategy for Scotland—As an amendment to motion S4M-12395 in t
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12395 Murdo Fraser: An Energy Strategy for Scotland—That the Parliament notes with concern the l
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12385.3 Alasdair Allan: STEM Education in Scottish Schools—As an amendment to motion S4M-12385 i
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12382.3 Mary Fee: Building Scotland’s Infrastructure for the Future—As an amendment to motion S4
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12382.1 Gavin Brown: Building Scotland’s Infrastructure for the Future—As an amendment to motion
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12382.2 Willie Rennie: Building Scotland’s Infrastructure for the Future—As an amendment to moti
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12382 Keith Brown: Building Scotland’s Infrastructure for the Future—That the Parliament recogni
>> Show more
YesCarried

Amendment 1 moved by Gavin Brown on motion S4M-12344 John Swinney: Community Charge Debt (Scotland)
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Maureen Watt
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11826: Maureen Watt, Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 08/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11630: Maureen Watt, Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11555: Maureen Watt, Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 14/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11407: Maureen Watt, Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11321: Maureen Watt, Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11258: Maureen Watt, Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11079: Maureen Watt, Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11059: Maureen Watt, Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10794: Maureen Watt, Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10733: Maureen Watt, Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
This Member currently holds a ministerial post. First Minister and Ministers cannot ask the Government questions which is why no recent questions are displaying here. Please use the full search to find details of previous questions by this Member.
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03664: Maureen Watt, Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03599: Maureen Watt, Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03511: Maureen Watt, Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4T-00786: Maureen Watt, Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22342: Maureen Watt, Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03460: Maureen Watt, Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03419: Maureen Watt, Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21330: Maureen Watt, Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03218: Maureen Watt, Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03168: Maureen Watt, Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 23/04/2014 Show Full Question >>

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