You are on page 1of 2



Latest Parliamentary News from Sarah Boyack MSP

At the of voters across the region went to the to elect local councillors. start May from polls

Member of the Scottish Parliament for Lothian (Scottish Labour)


incidence of whistle blowing in the last two years across Scotland. I spoke in a debate this month where I joined colleagues in calling for a free national whistle blowing hotline. Im concerned that staff could not raise these problems and it was patients who blew the whistle. Over the last few weeks Ive been pushing for an update on the investigation into the management culture at NHS Lothian. The investigation followed a report on waiting times which uncovered the suppression of information and an oppressive management style at the health board. I questioned the Cabinet Secretary urging her to publish the findings of the investigation and received a copy of the final report the following day. The report described the intimidating and hostile environment that existed in NHS Lothian, where bad news was not passed up the management chain. I am concerned that despite the clear evidence of bullying behaviour this situation did not come to light earlier. Staff have reportedly been unwilling to use whistle blowing policies due to lack of confidence in their effectiveness and fear of reprisals in their work life. A freedom of information request revealed that there has only been one I welcome the fact that the Scottish Government is working with NHS Lothian to develop a plan to ensure patients are seen and treated within waiting time guarantees. However, given the big pressures caused by staff reductions, and the tightening funding regime it will be an immense challenge for NHS Lothian to meet its statutory waiting times targets. I was disappointed that the Cabinet Secretary did not take the opportunity of the debate to address the lessons that the investigation set out. The dedication of staff in NHS Lothian, and in health boards across the country, deserves tremendous praise. But the work that staff undertake caring for patients is pressurised enough without the additional stress of an oppressive management style. We now owe it to patients, who need to be able to trust waiting time guarantees, to investigate these issues on a national scale to discover the extent of the problem and to find practical solutions.

Local councils are responsible for a wide range of services including as schools, housing, roads, social care and environmental health. These are services that we all rely on in our day-today lives so the decisions councillors make have a real impact locally. The challenge facing local government is to continue to deliver the services that people expect in the face of tight budgets and financial pressure. Against this financial backdrop its clear that tough decisions will need to be made as councils set their priorities. Local councillors are elected to represent you in the same way as MSPs and MPs and are there to help. If you need assistance from your local councillor, you can find out who they are by clicking on the appropriate council logo.

Get the latest news online

For all the latest news of my work in the Scottish Parliament, visit my new website. The website is updated on a regular basis with news of what Ive been up to in Parliament and a video diary on current issues. There are also links to a variety of useful information on the workings of Parliament.

Contact Sarah
As an MSP for Lothian I am keen to hear any problems or concerns you may have. If you think I could help you, get in touch Write: The Scottish Parliament Edinburgh EH99 1SP E-mail: Online:


The completion date for the new Sick Kids hospital has once again been pushed back to early 2017. The latest delays to the project, which was initially due to open early next year, have hung on a land swap deal between NHS Lothian and Consort the firm which owns and operates the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary (ERI). The health board want to build the new hospital on land occupied by a car park at the ERI. They have built a replacement car park and want to swap the land with Consort. However, delays have occurred while Consort negotiates agreement with the banks involved in their operation of the ERI. Early delays to the project came as a result of the Scottish Governments decision to change the way the building would be funded. Initially, the Scottish Government was going to pay for the project using public money as theyre doing for the new Southern General in Glasgow. However, in 2010 they announced that the building would be delivered through the Non-Profit Distribution (NPD) model. Under this model funding would come from private investors to deliver the building. NHS Lothian would then pay an annual fee to the developers to use the site. Since the change to funding arrangements was announced, Ive received assurances that the Scottish Government remains committed to the project. However, we still have no firm date for completion and NHS Lothians ambitions to develop childrens services have been left in limbo. Now the board is being forced to reconsider remaining at the current Sciennes hospital which was deemed not fit for purpose by the Child Health Support Group in 2003. Until there is more clarity, the concerns of staff, patients, trade unions and others will persist about the prospect of Edinburgh losing out while childrens healthcare services are centralised in Glasgow and I will be continuing to press for the Scottish Government to act to break the current deadlock.

Here is a brief look back at some of the stories that have been covered since the last e-news. Live Below the Line At the start of May, I took the Live Below the Line challenge which encourages people to feed themselves on 1 a day for five days to highlight the fact that 1.4bn people live in extreme poverty globally. Southside Association at 40 I was delighted to join members of the Southside Association to celebrate th the groups 40 anniversary. The event offered the chance to look back at the work of members over that period and to look to the future. Pedal on Parliament I joined around 2,500 cyclists from across Scotland at the Pedal on Parliament rally campaigning for improved facilities and funding for cycling.


Over the last couple of months, communities across Edinburgh have been taking part in the National Spring Clean. The campaign, organised by Keep Scotland Beautiful, supports communities to organise local clean ups to help improve their area. The clean-ups have involved all kinds of community and residents groups, schools, youth clubs and businesses. Ive heard from residents who have set to work picking up litter, cleaning graffiti from walls and removing fly posters. I also joined a clean-up in Dalry. One of the things that strikes me most about these events is the way that they have brought members of the community together. The events have involved people of all ages giving their time to help improve their area and it is amazing the difference that can be made in a short space of time. The outcome of these types of event is overwhelmingly positive - Residents benefit from more attractive local spaces, -Visitors get the chance to appreciate what a beautiful city Edinburgh is and; -Those who are thoughtless enough to drop litter are sent a clear message that the community will not put up with it. If you are interested in finding out more about how you can organise a clean-up in your area, visit the Keep Scotland Beautiful website.

I was recently made aware of a new project to help provide support for vulnerable people. The Heres a Hand project is an innovative tool for older or disabled people allowing them to access help when they need it. The service allows users to set up a contact network of people, such as friends and neighbours, who could help with everyday tasks. If a person needs something done, such as changing a blown lightbulb or picking up some shopping they can send a text message to the service. It will then automatically contact the network to see if someone can help out. The service is running a pilot project before rolling it out on a permanent basis. To find out more and to get involved, visit

working hard

Promoted by Sarah Boyack MSP. The costs of this publication have been met out of parliamentary resources