Nanette Milne MSP

Welcome to Nanette Milne MSP's biography pages

Nanette Milne MSP

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

  • Member for: North East Scotland
  • Party: Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Nanette is a member of the following Committees:

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

Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by Nanette Milne

Health and Sport Committee 24 February 2015 : Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Nanette Milne

There is also the specific issue in C difficile of narrow spectrum antibiotics, such as fidaxomicin—Dr Simpson will keep me right on this—which I believe is prescribed south of the border for a first occurrence or for people at risk of recurrence, whereas the Scottish Medicines Consortium recommendation for Scotland is to prescribe simply for first occurrence and not for those at high risk of recurrence. Do you have any comments to make on that? The prescribing of the drug is very patchy across health boards in Scotland.



Health and Sport Committee 24 February 2015 : Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Nanette Milne

I am pleased to hear that. It is almost reminiscent of what we used to have, with nurses getting together and discussing patients when they handed them over. Lots of patients are still a little bit in awe of a white coat and a uniform. That could be much less formal and better communication would be great.

I want to ask about antibiotic prescribing. Lord MacLean was very critical of the mismatch, pre-2008, between the guidance on prescribing and the practice of it. I know that there have been advances since then, but are you confident that Lord MacLean’s recommendations to address that will be carried out? The report also highlights unacceptable delays in starting appropriate antibiotic treatment for patients who are diagnosed with C difficile.



Health and Sport Committee 24 February 2015 : Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Nanette Milne (North East Scotland) (Con)

My original questions about communication have largely been pre-empted so I will go on to something else.

In my many years’ experience of the health service, communication has always been an issue, not just with infection but proper communication between medical and nursing staff and patients. It is quite concerning that it is still an issue in the 21st century. I know that you have been working on that. Can any further steps be taken to get a proper culture of openness, from the top down to the patient level?



Meeting of the Parliament 24 February 2015 : Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Nanette Milne (North East Scotland) (Con)

I apologise to members, as I shall have to leave before the end of the debate because of other commitments. For the same reason, I will be unable to attend the eating disorders seminar this evening.

I, too, add my congratulations to Dennis Robertson on once again bringing this serious issue to the chamber. The debate, which focuses on the prevalence of eating disorders and the serious long-term health conditions that can be associated with them, is the latest in a line of what has become an annual event. I would like to think that, as we go forward, awareness of the condition will continue to improve, as it has done in recent years. Many people do not associate eating disorders with conditions such as osteoporosis, type 1 diabetes, organ failure and other mental health conditions, and I commend Dennis Robertson for highlighting that in his motion.

The motion rightly emphasises the worrying figures from the NHS Information Services Division on the number of people in Scotland who ask for medical help or treatment each year. It is a significant number, but one that almost certainly masks a so-far unidentified group of people who have one of the disorders but who, for a variety of reasons, do not seek help.

I was aware through previous eating disorder awareness weeks that the campaign has been successful right across the United Kingdom and involves universities, charities, schools, health professionals, local authorities, those affected by eating disorders and individual carers. What I was not fully aware of was the extent to which eating disorders awareness week stretches around the globe, with many states in America participating, and also groups in Canada, Australia and Europe. Perhaps our work as politicians, and our participation in debates such as this, will assist in extending involvement in other areas of the world, thereby spreading the awareness of eating disorders to populations that are not yet aware of them.

In previous debates, I have focused on students who move away from home to an unfamiliar environment, one of the consequences of which can be depression that leads to conditions such as anorexia. In another debate, we looked at the influence that supermodels can have on girls, particularly teenagers, who feel the need to aspire to such levels of so-called beauty. Again, that can develop into complex emotions of inferiority, manifesting themselves in eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia nervosa.

In the time available to me, I would like to look at another aspect of eating disorders that perhaps does not receive the coverage that it deserves, and that is the number of men who are affected. Between 10 and 25 per cent of people in the UK experiencing eating disorders are male, and the majority of men who have eating disorders struggle to get access to appropriate support and treatment. It is therefore particularly difficult to know how many men are actually affected by the conditions.

Often, as with similarly affected females, they want to achieve the body perfect, as displayed by footballers and athletes. Persistent use of gyms, not for fun or sport but to obtain that perfection, and slimming to dangerous lengths can eventually lead to life-threatening conditions. Only this week, statistics from Ireland showed a 30 per cent rise in the number of calls to eating disorder helplines, and the callers included boys and young men.

Thankfully, support is provided for males who are affected by eating disorders through organisations such as the Men and Boys Eating and Exercise Disorders Service. It does tremendous support work across Scotland and has bases in the cities in my region—Dundee and Aberdeen. One of the organisation’s key messages aims to make people understand that an eating disorder is a mental health condition. It also aims to remove the stigma that only women and girls are affected by it. I know that there are many people, particularly parents, who through ignorance or denial believe that it is a female-centric condition.

I would like to end by making a brief comment about eating disorders in men who are middle-aged or older. Although we are miles apart in our political persuasions, I thought that it was extremely brave of John Prescott to announce that he had suffered from bulimia for more than 10 years. It must have taken a great deal of courage for a bluff bruiser like him to come forward to help to end the stigma of eating disorders and I admire him for it. As he said at the time:

“I want to say to the millions of people, do take advice, it can help and it can help you out of a lot of misery that you suffer in silence.”



Meeting of the Parliament 18 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Nanette Milne

I look forward to the open debate and, although I do not think that this will happen, I hope that it will be conducted in a constructive manner. I am pleased to move the amendment in Jackson Carlaw’s name and, having studied the Government’s amendment, I can say that we will support that, too, assuming that it is carried at decision time.

I move amendment S4M-12325.2, to leave out from “regrets” to end and insert:

“accepts that these challenges make detailed scrutiny of the NHS in Scotland essential; notes the importance of rigorously produced and publicly available data to the process of that scrutiny; acknowledges the representations from the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing supporting further consideration of the long-term sustainability of NHS Scotland; considers it necessary to ensure effective planning of primary and social care in order to remove pressure from hospital emergency departments, and regrets attempts to misuse the debate on the future of the NHS for political ends, whether by the use of rhetoric such as ‘weaponising’ or through the claims made surrounding this valued and important institution toward the end of last year’s referendum campaign.”



Meeting of the Parliament 18 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Nanette Milne (North East Scotland) (Con)

When I learned that Labour’s debate today was to be about protecting Scotland’s communities, I did not expect the focus to be yet again on the NHS, with an unrelenting emphasis on an alleged lack of transparency and openness regarding the operation of the service in Scotland. A major role of the Opposition is to scrutinise the Government of the day, but I find it utterly abhorrent that the NHS is, at times, being used for party political gain—regrettably, I have to say, by both main parties in the chamber. That is why our amendment refers to

“the use of rhetoric such as ‘weaponising’”

and to claims, which were made during the latter stages of last year’s referendum campaign, that the future of the NHS would be secure only if Scotland became an independent country.

The NHS is a precious institution to all of us, and any threat to it, real or perceived, is of huge public concern. The last thing that people want is to see the NHS being used as a political tool by parties that are seeking victory at forthcoming elections. It is far too important for that. Everyone I speak to outside this place wants that to stop and asks that politicians of all parties and none come together in support of our NHS and in developing it for the future.

Nobody is denying that our health service is currently and increasingly under very severe pressure or that there are times when it struggles to cope with the demands that are placed on it. There have always been added problems during the winter months, but, as the population ages and many more people are living with multiple and complex health conditions, the pressures on NHS services and staff are relentless and they struggle to cope with demand.

My party absolutely agrees that detailed scrutiny of the NHS is essential as the demands on it continue to escalate in an era in which resources are tight. Of course, that requires the regular publication of rigorously produced statistics and reports that give all of us—both parliamentarians and the public—an accurate picture of the operation of the NHS.

There is now undoubtedly more openness about the NHS than I have known in all my years of involvement with it and more involvement of patients in their planned care. That is a good thing and must continue to improve. Every week, the Health and Sport Committee receives a list of published Health Improvement Scotland inspection reports. For instance, this week we were notified of nine such reports covering hospitals in four health board areas. The Care Inspectorate also provides much useful information in its reports, which are aimed at improving standards in Scotland’s many care homes.

Next week, we will discuss with the health secretary the recently published report on the Clostridium difficile outbreaks at the Vale of Leven hospital, which found many faults and made many recommendations that, if carried out, should ensure that there is no repeat in Scotland of the failings that were found in that hospital. Like others, we welcome the Government’s announcement yesterday that it now plans to publish A and E statistics on a weekly basis.

All those measures are extremely important in developing a clear understanding of the pressures on the system and, where the need for improvement is identified, how that can be undertaken quickly and effectively. However, we need to listen to the warning from Dr Peter Bennie, the chairman of BMA Scotland, who says that, although the weekly publishing of statistics can be a useful indicator of pressure in one part of the system, we must avoid reducing the NHS as a whole to a set of weekly performance figures, skewing the public’s perception of the health service and ignoring the system-wide pressures that extend far beyond A and E.

Dr Bennie is absolutely right that pressure on emergency departments is a symptom of wider pressures across the NHS and that problems in one part of the service cannot be addressed without looking at the whole system. That is why we respect coal-face organisations such as the BMA and the RCN when they seek the co-operation of all stakeholders in the NHS, including politicians, in giving thorough and objective consideration to what needs to change to ensure the long-term sustainability of the NHS in Scotland as it faces the inexorable demands that are being placed upon it.

For a start, we need to relieve the pressures on our emergency and acute services by effectively planning and developing primary and social care to keep people within the community, at home or in homely settings, for as long as possible. That is why it is so important that we successfully achieve the integration of health and social care right across the country.

We need serious discussion about and planning for the future of the NHS, and that must involve all health professions that contribute to primary, secondary and tertiary care, as well as the local authority, third and independent sectors on which much community care depends; politicians at a local and national level; and most important, the patients and carers whose wellbeing depends on a well-run service. That sort of planning cannot be achieved by political point-scoring. Not for the first time this year, I must stress the need for co-operation between politicians on all sides and plead that, where the NHS is concerned, we look at agreeing a way forward and working together to find a sustainable future for an NHS that has been the envy of the world and whose staff deserve our full support but are becoming increasingly demoralised by the constant bickering of their elected representatives.

The Scottish Conservatives are willing and ready to co-operate in that way, and we challenge other parties to do the same. That is what our constituents and the NHS staff who work so hard on our behalf expect of us, and that is what they deserve from us.



Health and Sport Committee 17 February 2015 : Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Nanette Milne

Thank you, convener. I shall leave it at that just now.



Health and Sport Committee 17 February 2015 : Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Nanette Milne

I absolutely agree with Patrick Harvie about the need to discuss one’s ultimate death, but the same applies to palliative care. We know that Marie Curie Cancer Care feels strongly that there should be an open discussion from the time of diagnosis and that people should be looking forward towards the end. Some people feel that there is an incompatibility between promoting really good palliative care and the next treatment, which is certain death by one’s own hand. I do not know what your thoughts are on that.



Health and Sport Committee 17 February 2015 : Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Nanette Milne

Okay.

The other thing that ties in with that is the feeling of medical people who oppose the bill that it could change the patient-doctor relationship. Assisted suicide might well become an alternative treatment option when someone presents with a terminal illness, and I can see that that would radically change the position of trust between the patient and their doctor. Do you see any ethical problem with that?



Health and Sport Committee 17 February 2015 : Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Nanette Milne

We have had inevitable comparisons with the previously enacted law on abortion and the fact that courts can overturn guidance. In a recent court case, nurses who did not want to take part in abortions were, essentially, ruled out of order by the court. Does it trouble you that that could happen—down the line, admittedly—with the bill?

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12423.1 Alex Rowley: Commission on Local Tax Reform—As an amendment to motion S4M-12423 in the n
>> Show more
NoCarried

S4M-12423 Marco Biagi: Commission on Local Tax Reform—That the Parliament supports the establishment
>> Show more
NoCarried

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

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

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
NoCarried

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

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
YesDefeated

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

Search for other Motions lodged by Nanette Milne
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-12225: Nanette Milne, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 02/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11766.2: Nanette Milne, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 02/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11462: Nanette Milne, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 06/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10257.2: Nanette Milne, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 09/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09446.2: Nanette Milne, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 24/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09430: Nanette Milne, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 20/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08752.2: Nanette Milne, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 14/01/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-07718.1: Nanette Milne, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 19/09/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-07599: Nanette Milne, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 05/09/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-07419: Nanette Milne, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 09/08/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Nanette Milne
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-24681: Nanette Milne, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 26/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24682: Nanette Milne, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 26/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24549: Nanette Milne, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 19/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-04040: Nanette Milne, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 16/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-04029: Nanette Milne, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 09/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24346: Nanette Milne, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 05/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24347: Nanette Milne, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 05/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24324: Nanette Milne, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 04/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24325: Nanette Milne, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 04/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24241: Nanette Milne, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 29/01/2015 Show Full Question >>

Further information

Email our Public Information Service for more information.