Shona Robison MSP

Welcome to Shona Robison MSP's biography pages

Shona Robison MSP

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

  • Member for: Dundee City East
  • Region: North East Scotland
  • Party: Scottish National Party

Shona is a member of the following Committees:

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

Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by Shona Robison

Meeting of the Parliament 25 November 2014 : Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Shona Robison

Yes, absolutely. As I said in my statement, we will be discussing with the families—as will Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS Board—how they wish to be involved in the implementation of the recommendations. That might not be for everybody but, for those families who wish to be involved, it is a very important part of implementing the recommendations.

As regards updating Parliament, I am committed to coming back to Parliament as often as is required, to ensure that Parliament is kept up to date with the process and the progress of implementation of the recommendations. I reiterate the offer to the Health and Sport Committee to discuss the report in more detail and, also importantly, to keep the committee informed as to the progress of implementation.



Meeting of the Parliament 25 November 2014 : Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Shona Robison

Yes—that is definitely something that we want to take forward. As I have said, we may well go beyond some of the recommendations in some of the elements that we implement.

Rhoda Grant touches on an important point. We discussed this a little with the families yesterday. The issue is how best we utilise the information and the desire of families to communicate when they are not happy with something that they see or experience while they or their family member are receiving treatment. That is a matter of good communication. Indeed, one theme running through the report is how poor the communication was.

Many of the systems are better now. There is better communication and better patient involvement, whether that is provided through patient satisfaction surveys or basic communication with families on wards. It is also a matter of making time for that. There have been changes to how shift patterns work, so that one shift of nurses are not all leaving at the same time as another shift is starting. There needs to be communication there, which it is important to be able to impart to the families.

Without a doubt, there is more that we can do in order to ensure that, if families or patients have something that they wish to feed back or say, the opportunity is afforded to them. That means that we can continue to improve the national health service further.



Meeting of the Parliament 25 November 2014 : Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Shona Robison

We will be looking at that recommendation to decide which national agency is most appropriate to take that forward. There are a number of recommendations that we will have to consider in some detail before we decide what is most appropriate, but it is important to remember that the recommendations apply not only to the territorial boards but to the national boards as well, and we will discuss with them which agency is most appropriate. I can assure Colin Keir that the recommendation will be taken forward and implemented.



Meeting of the Parliament 25 November 2014 : Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Shona Robison

The Healthcare Environment Inspectorate—as Richard Simpson has himself implied—is a good inspection regime. Its establishment was announced back in 2008 and it started its work in 2009, as he said. We will be extending its powers to include the ability to close wards if that is what it recommends.

The inspection regime is one that I believe works well, and it is an independent scrutiny tool in our health service that should probably have been around for many years before it was established. The fact that it was not established earlier is something for us all to reflect upon, but it is there now and we will ensure that it continues to do its good work. If further improvements can be made to the HEI system, I am certainly prepared to consider them, in addition to accepting all the recommendations that have been made in the report.

On the vacancy for an infection control nurse at Hairmyres, I agree that such roles are critical and that there should, where possible, be no delay in the recruitment of those key personnel. However, what is important is that systems now do not rely on one person. That is one of the lessons that have been learned from the past: systems must be robust and not succeed or fail because of one individual infection control nurse. Nevertheless, it is important that those roles are there.

Lessons have been learned from previous reports. After the CDI outbreak in 2007 to 2008 in Northern Ireland, a number of actions were taken in Scotland, and hugely important lessons were also learned from Mid Staffordshire and in response to the Francis inquiry. That led to a huge amount of work in the NHS. I remember attending meetings as Minister for Public Health and Sport and going through in fine detail what those lessons were going to be and how they would be applied to the NHS in Scotland.

We will always learn lessons from elsewhere. Importantly, I also wrote to health ministers across the UK yesterday to share the findings of the latest report, because it is important that people, whether in the UK or beyond, learn lessons from the report.



Meeting of the Parliament 25 November 2014 : Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Shona Robison

I reassure Gil Paterson that there has been a significant level of investment. The capital investment at the Vale of Leven in the past 10 years has been more than £9 million. That has, without doubt, improved the fabric of the building, the ward layout and the hand-washing facilities, addressing many of the criticisms of the fabric that are contained in the report. I assure the chamber that that investment has made the Vale of Leven a very different hospital and one that is very well regarded and thought of within the local community.

I should also say that patients have a very positive experience at the Vale these days. The most recent patient satisfaction survey showed a huge level of positive rating for care and treatment. That was not the case before 2007 and through the period of this outbreak. It is fair to say that the hospital at that time was out of sight and out of mind. It had suffered from a lack of investment; it fell between two stools of organisational change. That led to a lack of morale among staff and a feeling that the hospital had a major question mark over its future. All of that, along with all the poor practices, is very much the backdrop to the infection outbreak, as Lord MacLean laid out clearly.

I am pleased that Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS Board has invested in this hospital. It is now a well-functioning hospital and, as I said earlier, it is held in high regard by the local community.



Meeting of the Parliament 25 November 2014 : Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Shona Robison

It is important that the issue of staffing was explored in great detail in the report. On page 211, the report states that the infection control nursing expert—a Mrs Perry—looked into the staffing levels and ratios at the Vale of Leven and found that although they were acceptable, when patients became acutely ill, there was no change to those levels and ratios or the skills mix. One of the key findings of the report was that there has to be leadership on the wards and in management so that, when the circumstances on a ward change and there are suddenly more acutely ill patients, there is the ability to take action to address that.

Recommendations 31 and 36 are important and we will certainly take them forward and make sure that they are implemented.



Meeting of the Parliament 25 November 2014 : Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Shona Robison

We will absolutely ensure that all the recommendations are implemented. I am absolutely confident that we will not see another situation like the one at the Vale of Leven hospital. I say that because the mechanisms that we have in place pick up outbreaks. There are and there will be outbreaks in the NHS, but the issue is what is then done about those outbreaks.

I will give a good example of that. In January, there was an outbreak at the Victoria infirmary. In 24 hours, three cases were identified and, because of that, it was counted as an outbreak. All the correct procedures were taken, there was no further spread of the infection and no death arose from it. That is how our NHS should work—an effective response to the challenges that arise with infections in our hospitals. Because of the robust processes that quickly pick up outbreaks, I am absolutely confident that we will not see a Vale of Leven situation arise again.

At the Vale of Leven, as Lord MacLean identified in his report, infections were identified and outbreaks that should have been identified going back to January 2007 were not picked up. The infection then ran rampant throughout the hospital. I am absolutely confident, with the processes that we have in place in the NHS, that that would simply not happen now. People should take confidence from that.

The last thing that I want to see arising from this tragic and disturbing report is for patients to be worried about going into hospital. Our NHS is a different institution from the one that it was in 2007. Patients, particularly elderly patients, should have the confidence when they go into hospital that everything will be done to minimise any chance of them acquiring an infection while they are being treated.



Meeting of the Parliament 25 November 2014 : Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Shona Robison

I recognise Jackie Baillie’s role in supporting the families and patients—I saw yesterday how much they appreciated that. I absolutely agree with her comments about the families’ determination. They should be respected for what they have endured and the dignity that they have brought to this process.

Jackie Baillie will be aware that detailed discussions on compensation are going on between the health board and the families, and that there is a legal basis for how the process will be worked through. I am clear that those who have lost loved ones as a result of negligent acts by the NHS should be adequately compensated for their loss. It is absolutely essential that, when clinical negligence claims arise, boards learn from those claims and put in place steps to ensure that there are no repeat cases. Although the matter is confidential, I have made it clear to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde that it should be as helpful as possible in that regard.

I understand what Jackie Baillie says about the difference between the inquiry cost and, potentially, the settlement of claims. She will appreciate that it is difficult for a Government to have any control over the costs of an inquiry. That is an issue with the Inquiries Act 2005 that we should look at. Indeed, the inquiry has been a long process and, as Jackie Baillie said, it has reached a cost of about £10 million.

I reiterate that these are sensitive discussions, but I have made clear to the health board that I expect it to be as helpful as it possibly can be in its discussions with the families.



Meeting of the Parliament 25 November 2014 : Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Shona Robison

As I said in my statement, there has been a huge change in the number of C diff cases since 2007: an 82 per cent reduction in cases in the over-65 age group. The good practices that are in place and the performance of the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate have led to that huge reduction.

Since 2007 we have reduced the number of Clostridium difficile infections in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde in those aged 65 and older by 84.7 per cent; the number has fallen from 472 cases in the quarter January to March 2007 to 72 cases in the quarter April to June 2014.

Nationally, the latest C diff rates show a reduction of 81.9 per cent over the same timeframe, from 1,775 cases in 2007 to 322 cases in 2014. I hope that Stuart McMillan agrees that that is a significant decline in the number of C diff cases. However, we can never be complacent, which is why we will take forward all the recommendations in Lord MacLean’s report.



Meeting of the Parliament 25 November 2014 : Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Shona Robison

All the issues that Nanette Milne raised have been a focus of the NHS for many years. There have been huge changes in the practice of antibiotic prescribing, and hygiene procedures and awareness of best practice in infection control are front and centre of what happens in our hospitals. The patient safety programme that operates across Scotland has been internationally recognised for the good practice that it has brought.

Nanette Milne commented on the senior ward nurse and leadership in wards, which are hugely important.

We will take forward all the recommendations, because more can always be done to build on the good work that has happened since 2007. We will ensure that that happens.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
Not VotedCarried

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
YesCarried

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
Not VotedCarried

S4M-11567.2 Margaret Mitchell: Lowering the Drink Drive Limit—As an amendment to motion S4M-11567 in
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11507.1 Cameron Buchanan: Progressive Workplace Policies to Boost Productivity, Growth and Jobs—
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11507 Angela Constance: Progressive Workplace Policies to Boost Productivity, Growth and Jobs—Th
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11494.3 Jackie Baillie: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11494.2 Alex Johnstone: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11494 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—That the Parliament
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11484.1 Jackson Carlaw: Human Rights—As an amendment to motion S4M-11484 in the name of Roseanna
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Shona Robison
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11030: Shona Robison, Dundee City East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10736: Shona Robison, Dundee City East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10257: Shona Robison, Dundee City East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09293.1: Shona Robison, Dundee City East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08879: Shona Robison, Dundee City East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/01/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08797: Shona Robison, Dundee City East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/01/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08612: Shona Robison, Dundee City East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/12/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08546: Shona Robison, Dundee City East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/12/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-07808: Shona Robison, Dundee City East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/09/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-07761: Shona Robison, Dundee City East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/09/2013 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 S3W-26491: Shona Robison, Dundee East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 14/08/2009 Show Full Question >>
Question S2O-12337: Shona Robison, Dundee East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 07/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32069: Shona Robison, Dundee East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/02/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32068: Shona Robison, Dundee East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/02/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32067: Shona Robison, Dundee East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/02/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32076: Shona Robison, Dundee East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/02/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32073: Shona Robison, Dundee East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/02/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32077: Shona Robison, Dundee East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/02/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-31964: Shona Robison, Dundee East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 23/02/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-31967: Shona Robison, Dundee East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 23/02/2007 Show Full Question >>

Further information

Email our Public Information Service for more information.