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Debates and questions

These are the official transcripts of what people said in:

  • the Chamber the place where Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) meet to debate and make decisions
  • committee meetings - committees are small groups of Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) from different political parties

This part of the website also includes written questions and answers. 

Debates and Questions Listing

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Chamber

Official transcripts of what MSPs said in the Chamber. This is the place where all MSPs meet to debate and make decisions.

Meeting of the Parliament 19 November 2019 [Draft] Business until 16:11

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, International Year of Plant Health 2020, Fisheries Negotiations.

Meeting of the Parliament 14 November 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, Day of the Imprisoned Writer, Portfolio Question Time, Scottish Products (United States Tariffs), Decision Time.

Meeting of the Parliament 13 November 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Portfolio Question Time, Artificial Intelligence and Data-Driven Technologies, Business Motions, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time, Pancreatic Cancer Awareness.

Meeting of the Parliament 12 November 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, Sheku Bayoh, European Union Citizens’ Rights, Decision Time, Intimidation in Public Life.

Meeting of the Parliament 07 November 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, Nuclear Test Veterans, Portfolio Question Time, Referendums (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1, Referendums (Scotland) Bill: Financial Resolution, Decision Time.

Meeting of the Parliament 06 November 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

World Day Against the Death Penalty, Portfolio Question Time, Ferries, Curriculum for Excellence, Business Motions, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time, UN Year of Indigenous Languages and European Day of Languages.

Meeting of the Parliament 05 November 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, UEFA European Championship (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1, Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body, Decision Time, Loch Lomond.

Meeting of the Parliament 31 October 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, Hong Kong, Portfolio Question Time, European Union Farming Funding (Convergence Funds), The Scottish Greenhouse Gas Emissions Annual Target Report for 2017, Forestry Act 1919 (Centenary), Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bill, Sentencing (Pre-consolidation Amendments) Bill, Domestic Abuse Bill, Business Motion, Parliamentary Bureau Motion, Decision Time, Correction.

Meeting of the Parliament 30 October 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

European Union Exit, Portfolio Question Time, Glasgow School of Art Fire, Business Motions, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time, Charities, Scotland and Holyrood.

Meeting of the Parliament 29 October 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Fireworks, Social Security (Disability Assistance), Point of Order, Business Motion, Decision Time, Asda Walmart (Contract Imposition).

Meeting of the Parliament 10 October 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Business Motion, General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, Portfolio Question Time, Business Motion, Transport (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 (Day 2), Point of Order, Transport (Scotland) Bill, Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1, Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill: Financial Resolution, Business Motion, Decision Time.

Meeting of the Parliament 09 October 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Portfolio Question Time, Business Motion, Transport (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Business Motions, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time, Charter of Rights for People with Dementia and their Carers.

Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, No-deal Preparations, National Islands Plan, Supporting Innovation, Decision Time, Institute of Occupational Medicine 50th Anniversary, Correction.

Meeting of the Parliament 03 October 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, Great British Beach Clean, Scotland’s Onshore Unconventional Oil and Gas Policy, Portfolio Question Time, Business Motion, Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Motion Without Notice, Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill, Business Motion, Decision Time.

Meeting of the Parliament 02 October 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Portfolio Question Time, Nursery Funding (Deferred Entry to Primary School), ScotRail Franchise, Business Motion, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time, Scottish Women and Girls in Sport Week.

Meeting of the Parliament 01 October 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010 (Post-legislative Scrutiny), Committee Announcement, Decision Time, Citizens Advice Services in Scotland (80th Year).

Meeting of the Parliament 26 September 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, Motor Neurone Disease (Blue Badge Scheme), Portfolio Question Time, Scottish National Investment Bank Bill: Stage 1, Scottish National Investment Bank Bill: Financial Resolution, Decision Time.

Meeting of the Parliament 25 September 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Portfolio Question Time, Business Motion, Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill, Business Motions, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time, Product Recall Database.

Meeting of the Parliament 24 September 2019

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, Supreme Court Judgment (Response), Common Frameworks, Decision Time, Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Week 2019.

Meeting of the Parliament 19 September 2019

The agenda for the day:

General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, Social Security Scotland (First Anniversary), Portfolio Question Time, Getting it Right for Every Child (Practice Development Panel Report), Pre-release Access to Economic Statistics (Committee Bill Proposal), Decision Time.

Committee

Transcripts of committee meetings are uploaded as soon as they've been checked for accuracy. This may be a few days after the meeting has taken place.

Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints

Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee

Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee

Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee

Education and Skills Committee

Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee

Equalities and Human Rights Committee

Finance and Constitution Committee

Health and Sport Committee

Justice Committee

Justice Sub-Committee on Policing

Local Government and Communities Committee

Public Audit and Post-legislative Scrutiny Committee

Public Petitions Committee

Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee

Social Security Committee

Solicitors in the Supreme Courts of Scotland (Amendment) Bill Committee

Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee

Questions

These are questions that MSPs have asked the Scottish Government about its work. It also includes any answers to these questions.

S5W-01358: Liz Smith (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 July 2016

To ask the Scottish Government which legal responsibilities that lie only with local authorities it is proposing to offer schools.

Answered by: John Swinney on 27 July 2016

Answered by: John Swinney 27 July 2016

Driving up attainment levels is this government's priority and we will seek out and listen to all new ideas and innovative approaches to deliver results in education for all young people. I launched Delivering Excellence and Equity in Scottish Education - A Delivery Plan for Scotland on 28 June 2016 which sets out clear milestones for our next steps to towards closing the attainment gap. It can be viewed at: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2016/06/3853

The delivery plan includes a commitment to launch a governance review of the education system in September 2016 which will involve widespread engagement and consultation across the education sector and beyond. The findings of the review will inform our consideration of where the legal responsibilities for the delivery of education lie.

S5W-01487: Claire Baker (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 14 July 2016

To ask the Scottish Government which (a) sectors, (b) businesses and (c) organisations have provided placements to facilitate Fiscal Work Orders, broken down by local authority area.

Answered by: Michael Matheson on 10 August 2016

Answered by: Michael Matheson 10 August 2016

The information requested is not held centrally.

Where possible, local Fiscal Work Order (FWO) schemes should harness the potential of local organisations to both provide activities and be involved in carrying them out. Local authorities are required to appoint a supervising officer in relation to each individual made subject to a FWO, and it is the responsibility of the supervising officer to determine the nature of work which that individual is required to perform. As with other community disposals, local authorities may provide and manage the prescribed activities themselves, or contract with another agency or agencies to do so on their behalf.

S5W-09112: Jamie Greene (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 2 May 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what impact membership of the common fisheries policy has on Scotland's GDP.

Answered by: Fergus Ewing on 11 May 2017

Answered by: Fergus Ewing 11 May 2017

The Common Fisheries Policy provides a framework for managing and supporting Scotland’s sea fisheries, aquaculture and fish processing sectors. Together these sectors contributed £952 million in GVA in 2014.

S5W-01483: Claire Baker (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 14 July 2016

To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of Fiscal Work Orders since the publication of its report, Summary Justice Reform: Evaluation of Fiscal Work Order Pilots, in 2011.

Answered by: Michael Matheson on 10 August 2016

Answered by: Michael Matheson 10 August 2016

The national rollout of Fiscal Work Orders (FWOs), which commenced in April 2015, was a direct response to a recommendation of the final report of the Commission on Women Offenders which was published in 2012. In that report, the Commission highlighted that FWOs were a useful addition to the wider suite of diversion from prosecution measures and that FWOs had been found to have high completion and low breach rates. The Commission therefore recommended that 'Fiscal Work Orders are made available throughout Scotland for male and female offenders'. The Scottish Government accepted this recommendation, and made additional funding available to Community Justice authorities to support the rollout.

In addition, to further support and inform the rollout, the Scottish Government established a National Implementation Group with membership from a range of Justice agencies involved in the delivery of these orders. As part of their considerations, the Implementation Group received informal and time-limited feedback from local authorities which confirmed that FWOs were being used in every authority, albeit in small numbers, and that the rollout was not impacting on service delivery.

S5W-16818: Maurice Golden (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 21 May 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what support it provides to walking football (a) nationally and (b) in communities.

Answered by: Aileen Campbell on 31 May 2018

Answered by: Aileen Campbell 31 May 2018

The Scottish Government funds Paths for All to deliver against national physical activity priorities, including walking for health. Paths for All, Age Scotland and other partners initially developed walking football in Scotland to establish the Scottish Walking Football Network. This led to the creation of Walking Football Scotland which I helped launch on 6 December 2017.

The Scottish FA is also supportive of Walking Football Scotland, with much of the local delivery already coordinated by the community clubs and partners the Scottish FA invests in.

The sport has grown rapidly across Scotland by allowing people to reignite their passion for football – despite injury or illness – simply by slowing the sport down. The new organisation already has more than 45 member organisations which run more than 70 sessions every week. As well as physical and mental health, the additional social benefits that come from playing in a football match make this an excellent and inclusive game which I am proud to support.

S5W-26339: Beatrice Wishart (Shetland Islands)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 11 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the progress of the Shetland sites included in the 4G infill programme.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26309: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 11 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what action it has taken to encourage a reduction in the purchase of (a) bottled water and (b) single-use plastic cups across its directorates in each of the last three years, and what analysis it has carried out of the effectiveness of this approach.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26254: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the reported vote of no confidence in the Chief Executive of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh by its Executive Committee.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26327: Mary Fee (West Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what progress it is making in commissioning an options appraisal to look at the feasibility of having additional mother and baby unit capacity, including what specialist support is required in the north, as set out in its Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Programme Board Delivery Plan 2019/20.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26328: Mary Fee (West Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many specialist mental health midwives are employed by each NHS board.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26329: Mary Fee (West Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government which maternity units have access to a perinatal mental health midwife.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26336: Alison Johnstone (Lothian)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 11 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what consideration is given to the environmental impact of pharmaceutical products as part of the NHS procurement process, and what its position is on making it a requirement for manufacturers to provide such information.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26332: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the report by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) on The Institute for Statecraft, and whether it considers that the organisation should be removed from the Scottish Charity Register.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26315: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 11 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many people have been convicted for falsely acting as a medical professional in each year since 2007.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26333: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on whether registered charities should be allowed to criticise politicians and political parties.

Answered by: Aileen Campbell on 14 November 2019

Answered by: Aileen Campbell 14 November 2019

Charities play a key role in civil society and we welcome the insight and challenge they bring to public policy. The Scottish Government welcomes this debate and challenge, and see it as an essential part of the democratic process.

Charities can campaign on political issues to advance their charitable purposes, including during electoral periods, as long as the requirements of charity law, and where necessary electoral law, are met.

However, the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 makes clear that a body will not meet the charity test if it is, or one of its purposes is to advance, a political party.

S5W-26335: Christine Grahame (Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 11 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the review of mineral permissions, which includes peat extraction, currently taking place every 15 years, what its position is on whether this should be shortened, given changing attitudes to the importance of peat to the environment and habitats.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26330: Mary Fee (West Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the commitment made in its Programme for Government, how much it will provide to third sector organisations in (a) 2019 and (b) 2020 to deliver perinatal counselling and befriending services for women.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26331: Mary Fee (West Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to each of the recommendations made by the Perinatal Mental Health Network in its report, Delivering Effective Services: Needs Assessment and Service Recommendations for Specialist and Universal Perinatal Mental Health Services.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26302: Richard Lyle (Uddingston and Bellshill)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government whether it has been consulted by the UK Government on achieving comprehensive parity across broad issues of support for people infected and affected by contaminated blood and blood products; how many meetings have been held on this issue and who attended; whether proposals on how to achieve parity were presented or discussed at any of these meetings, and, in light of the UK Government indicating that new money will be made available to Scotland to achieve parity in terms of regular payments to infected people, with a commensurate uplift in support to widow and widowers, whether this money has been made available and, if so, when it will be utilised.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26292: Finlay Carson (Galloway and West Dumfries)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what the NHS currently spends per annum on prescription formulas for babies under six months old.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26304: Rachael Hamilton (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many active child daycare centres have been built in each year since 2009, also broken down by local authority.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26313: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what analysis it has carried out of progress with the development of stem cell therapy for people with multiple sclerosis (MS). 

Awaiting answer

S5W-26301: Liam Kerr (North East Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what information it has regarding how much it cost to organise and run in Scotland the (a) (i) 2011 and (ii) 2016 Scottish Parliament election, (b) (i) 2010, (ii) 2015 and (iii) 2017 general election, (c) (i) 2012 and (ii) 2017 local government election, (d) (i) 2014 and (ii) 2019 European Parliament election and (e) (i) 2011 alternative vote, (ii) 2014 Scottish independence and (iii) 2016 EU membership referendum.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26308: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5O-03409 by John Swinney on 19 June 2019 (Official Report, c. 17), what review it has conducted into the extent of multi-level teaching across the country.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26291: Finlay Carson (Galloway and West Dumfries)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government where the £2 million allocated for improvements in breastfeeding levels in the financial year 2018-19 has been spent, and on what.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26237: Jamie Greene (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what information it has regarding how many private car owners have participated in a ride-share scheme in each year since 2009, also broken down by parliamentary region.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26303: Rachael Hamilton (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many nurseries in each local authority area have been (a) built, (b) expanded and (c) refurbished since August 2017, and how many will be (d) built, (e) expanded and (f) refurbished by the end of the current parliamentary session.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26319: Rachael Hamilton (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many additional childcare staff and workers have been recruited in each local authority since March 2018.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26263: Alexander Stewart (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what action it will take to protect firefighters from attack.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26300: Liam Kerr (North East Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many school pupils in each local authority area have been excluded for (a) physical assault and (b) assault with a weapon in each of the last three years.

Answered by: John Swinney on 14 November 2019

Answered by: John Swinney 14 November 2019

Statistics on pupil exclusion from school are collected biennially by the Scottish Government. Headline statistics for 2018-19 will be published on 10 December with further breakdowns published in March 2020. Information for 2016-17 is shown in the following table.

Pupils excluded for physical assault by local authority 2016/17

 

Physical assault using improvised weapon

Physical assault using weapon

Physical assault with no weapon

Aberdeen City

14

16

198

Aberdeenshire

14

11

203

Angus

*

*

70

Argyll and Bute

*

*

31

Clackmannanshire

*

*

55

Dumfries and Galloway

13

8

90

Dundee City

12

15

120

East Ayrshire

12

9

132

East Dunbartonshire

*

*

21

East Lothian

12

5

97

East Renfrewshire

*

*

12

City of Edinburgh

22

18

235

Na h-Eileanan Siar

*

*

6

Falkirk

17

10

98

Fife

26

18

237

Glasgow City

44

58

373

Highland

19

*

154

Inverclyde

*

*

30

Midlothian

9

*

95

Moray

10

8

72

North Ayrshire

10

7

41

North Lanarkshire

34

14

261

Orkney Islands

*

*

*

Perth and Kinross

18

*

108

Renfrewshire

12

7

82

Scottish Borders

7

5

60

Shetland Islands

*

*

*

South Ayrshire

7

*

60

South Lanarkshire

24

19

195

Stirling

5

5

42

West Dunbartonshire

13

11

87

West Lothian

13

25

218

All local authorities

378

294

3,492

    

Note: Where pupils are excluded multiple times they are only counted once for each exclusion reason.
‎ * denotes counts of fewer than 5 pupils, or values that may allow a count of under five to be calculated.

S5W-26240: Jamie Greene (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what information it has regarding how many people have used public transport in each year since 2009, also broken down by parliamentary region.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26239: Jamie Greene (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what information it has regarding the three most used forms of transport in each year since 2009, also broken down by parliamentary region.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26316: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how much the NHS has spent on staff (a) training and (b) career development in each year since 2007, also broken down by the number of hours taken up.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26246: Jamie Greene (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what information it has regarding the variation in petrol costs in each year since 2009, also broken down by parliamentary region.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26245: Jamie Greene (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how it promotes car ride-sharing.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26241: Jamie Greene (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what information it has regarding how many people in each year since 2009 have (a) held a driving licence and (b) (i) owned and (ii) driven a private car, also broken down by parliamentary region.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26323: Rachael Hamilton (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government whether Education Scotland and the Care Inspectorate have completed work on their single shared inspection model for early learning and childcare and, if not, when it will be completed.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26307: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how much each local authority has paid to carry out (a) urgent and (b) essential repair or maintenance work in (i) primary and (ii) secondary schools in each year since 2007.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26311: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many contracts on the (a) Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and (b) Royal Hospital for Children and Young People construction project were sub-contracted.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26314: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many child hospital patients have been admitted to adult wards in each year since 2007.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26317: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to establish services to support people who are addicted to online gaming.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26321: Rachael Hamilton (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government by what date the review of the curriculum for excellence is expected to be completed.

Answered by: John Swinney on 14 November 2019

Answered by: John Swinney 14 November 2019

We are in the process of developing the terms of reference for the review and therefore a precise timeline has yet to be agreed. Further discussions are needed with the OECD, who I have asked to lead the review, and with national partners through the Curriculum and Assessment Board, before these plans are finalised.

S5W-26231: Jamie Greene (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what information it has regarding CO2 emission levels from (a) private cars, (b) public transport and (c) other forms of transport, including the average daily emission, in each year since 2009, also broken down by parliamentary region.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26318: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to review the age criteria for breast screening.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26324: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of NHS England's commitment to rolling out a new national programme of eye care in all special schools from 2020, whether NHS Scotland will make the same commitment.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26242: Jamie Greene (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what information it has regarding the average distance travelled by people using public transport in each year since 2009, also broken down by parliamentary region.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26306: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many (a) short-visit, (b) full and (c) other type of school inspections have been carried out in each of the last five years.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26290: Finlay Carson (Galloway and West Dumfries)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what progress has been made to improve breastfeeding rates.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26293: Finlay Carson (Galloway and West Dumfries)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what the NHS currently spends per annum on reflux medications for babies under six months old.

Awaiting answer

S5W-25686: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5F-03625 by Nicola Sturgeon on 10 October 2019 (Official Report, c.12), what action it plans to deal with the volume of women who have had partial mesh removal and now seek the remainder removed.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 8 November 2019

Any woman who is experiencing difficulties, including where she suspects this may be due to partial mesh removal, should not hesitate to speak to her GP or other clinicians involved in her case. Those clinicians are fully expected to treat the patient’s concerns seriously and to take appropriate action. The pathway of care for women who are experiencing complications is set out in answer to S5W-23623 on 6 June 2019.

All answers to written parliamentary questions are available on the Parliament’s website, the search facility for which can be found at http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx .

S5W-25674: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5F-03625 by Nicola Sturgeon on 10 October 2019 (Official Report, c.12), what its position is on holding a full public inquiry into mesh removal practice in Scotland.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 8 November 2019

Earlier this year I asked that a short-life working group be set up to examine the present course of care for women who experience mesh complications. The group agreed a remit to consider what additional steps could be taken to offer choice to women who want – and are clinically suitable for – removal of mesh. The group further agreed to review and identify areas of best practice in the United Kingdom and beyond, and if not already available, consider how these can be provided in Scotland. The group's remit is set out in more detail in response to S5W-23623 on 6 June 2019.

Given the action already taken by the Scottish Government, it is not clear what a public inquiry would achieve.

All answers to written parliamentary questions are available on the Parliament’s website, the search facility for which can be found at http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx .

S5W-25682: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what progress had been made in obtaining budget approvals for mesh removal from women in Scotland by the US surgeon, Dr Veronikis.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 8 November 2019

The member is referred to the answer to S5W-25679 on 8 November 2019.

All answers to written parliamentary questions are available on the Parliament’s website, the search facility for which can be found at http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx .

S5W-25671: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what sanctions are available where clinicians are found to have provided misleading information to patients or have recorded this on patients' notes.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 8 November 2019

The General Medical Council (GMC) sets the professional standards to which all UK doctors must work as a condition of continuing registration; recording their work, establishing and maintaining partnerships with patients, and acting with honesty and integrity. Where serious concerns are raised about a doctor’s behaviour or professional performance, the GMC will investigate and take action where necessary. The GMC will normally work with employers (where applicable) in the first instance, to see if there are any wider concerns about a doctor and identify if concerns relate to contractual matters or potentially impaired fitness to practise. Where a doctor’s fitness to practise is found by a panel of the Medical Practitioners’ Tribunal Service (MPTS) to be impaired for any reason, that panel will impose appropriate professional sanctions such as a period of supervised practice or, for the most serious failures, erasure from the medical register and removal of licence to practise.

S5W-25687: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on whether it is ethically bound to grant legal aid to the mesh-injured women seeking legal recourse for their injuries.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 8 November 2019

The Scottish Government would encourage any woman who is pursuing a case to apply for Legal Aid should she feel she may qualify. Advice on Legal Aid is available here .

S5W-25829: Lewis Macdonald (North East Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 14 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-21068 by Paul Wheelhouse on 31 January 2019, how many of the 1,204 respondents were (a) in full-time employment, (b) in temporary employment, (c) contract staff and (d) self-employed in (i) the oil and gas, (ii) the renewables, low-carbon or engineering and (iii) other sectors.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 8 November 2019

SDS have advised that of the 1,204 respondents, 817 (68%) were in employment. Of those in employment, 440 (37%) were in full-time employment (30+ hours), 33 (3%) were in part-time employment (less than 30 hours), 156 (13%) were agency/temp workers and 188 (16%) were self-employed. By sector, 410 (34%) were working in oil and gas, 50 (4%) were working in the renewables, low carbon or engineering sector and 357 (30%) were working in other sectors. The break-down of employment type by sector is given at the following table.

Sector

Full-time employment (30+ hours)

Part-time employment (less than 30 hours)

Agency/temp workers

Self-employed

Total

Oil and gas

222

9

104

75

410

Renewables, low carbon, engineering

29

1

5

15

50

Other

189

23

47

98

357

Total

440

33

156

188

817

S5W-25672: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what information it has regarding the five issues that have attracted the largest amount of legal actions against NHS Scotland since 1999.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 8 November 2019

Neither the Scottish Government nor NHS Central Legal Office holds the information sought.

S5W-25666: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government whether (a) it and (b) NHS Scotland made an attempt to contact the US mesh surgeon, Dr Veronikis, when he was in the UK in September 2019, in light of the reports that he offered a meeting.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 8 November 2019

Scottish Government officials informally discussed with Dr Veronikis the possibility of meeting with him during his September visit. However, this was ultimately not considered practical.

S5W-25809: Lewis Macdonald (North East Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what progress the Oil and Gas Leadership Group has made on strategic issues relating to the future employment prospects for offshore oil and gas workers in the context of transition to a net-zero carbon economy.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 8 November 2019

The Oil and Gas Leadership Group plays an important role for engagement between sector, Government and the wider public sector. We recognise that the actions needed to become net-zero by 2045 will transform all sectors of our economy and society. This was the main agenda item during the last two ILG meetings which took place on the 7th May and the 17th September 2019.

As the pace of our transition increases, the need to ensure our transition is just and fair becomes ever more important. We have established an independent Just Transition Commission to provide practical advice on how best we can make the transition to a net-zero economy in a way that is fair for all.

The Commission started its work in January 2019 and has already held a meeting and an associated stakeholder event focused on the Oil and Gas sector. The commission will engage with businesses, workers and communities across the country in the lead up to providing practical recommendations to Scottish Ministers by early 2021.

S5W-25715: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 8 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-25444 by Fiona Hyslop on 3 October 2019, in light of its webpage, Ministerial engagements, travel and gifts, not recording data about ministerial bus travel, whether it will provide the information that was requested regarding the last 10 bus journeys that the First Minister has travelled on official business, broken down by the (a) date, (b) length and (c) cost of the journey.

Answered by: Fiona Hyslop on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Fiona Hyslop 8 November 2019

Where practical to do so, Ministers use public transport or walk to their engagements. Due to the nature of engagements and the requirement to carry out sensitive Government business, the First Minister has not used the bus as a means of transport when on official business.

S5W-25665: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government whether (a) it and (b) NHS Scotland was represented at the International Continence Society Conference in Gothenburg and, if so, whether an attempt was made to contact the US mesh surgeon, Dr Veronikis, at that event.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 8 November 2019

A specialist mesh complications clinician was present at the conference in question. Whilst that clinician intended to speak to Dr Veronikis, she was not able to as he departed before she had the opportunity.

S5W-25831: Lewis Macdonald (North East Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 14 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-21068 by Paul Wheelhouse on 31 January 2019, how many of the (a) respondents and (b) recipients of training had previously worked offshore.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 8 November 2019

When the fund was set up it did not differentiate between offshore and onshore applicants, so this detail was not captured as it was not relevant to the funding. Therefore SDS do not hold this information.

S5W-25821: Colin Smyth (South Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 14 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what its plans are for fares reductions for (a) passengers and (b) non-commercial vehicles on the (i) Scrabster-Stromness and (ii) Aberdeen-Kirkwall route over the life of the 2019-27 contract for Northern Isles Ferry Services.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 8 November 2019

The 2016 SNP manifesto committed to taking action to reduce ferry fares to Orkney and Shetland. Despite positive engagement, a State aid complaint was made to the European Commission by Pentland Ferries on 8 June 2018 regarding our plans to reduce fares. At this time, we have therefore been unable to implement our preferred ferry fares policy of Road Equivalent Tariff on Northern Isles ferry services so far.

The Scottish Government is engaging directly with the European Commission on the complaints that have been lodged and we look forward, through that work, to establishing an agreed mechanism for delivering RET for Orkney and Shetland.

In the meantime, islanders travelling on Aberdeen-Kirkwall-Lerwick routes will receive a 20% reduction on cabin fares and a three-year freeze on passenger, non-commercial vehicle and cabin fares, coming into effect on 1 January 2020. This package of measures builds on the 30% discount for passenger and vehicle fares already enjoyed by islanders on routes to Shetland.

We are unfortunately not able to consider making any reductions to Pentland Firth fares at this time, until the State aid complaint is resolved. However Ministers remain committed to pursuing all avenues to deliver RET for Orkney and Shetland as soon as possible and to working in a collaborative manner with private operators to deliver the policy.

S5W-25684: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what type of employment contract has been discussed for the commissioning of international mesh expertise.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 8 November 2019

The award of any contract is a matter for the Health Board concerned, once it has applied due diligence. The Health Board providing the contract determines how it would assure itself, depending on the nature of what is being proposed. An important consideration is the evidence of practice it is in a position to assess, for example previous contacts and experience with existing clinicians, the availability of published papers, etc. In addition, there are a number of details that would need to be clarified prior to any visit, including patient selection, pre-op assessment and imaging, after-care and follow-up, time period, terms and conditions, remuneration, and so on.

The precise detail of any contract, including in the case of Dr Veronikis, will therefore be considered on this basis as for other visiting clinicians.

S5W-25680: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what statistical information the Scottish mesh clinician team will gather prior to its visit to the US in November 2019.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 8 November 2019

Any material taken to the US will be determined by the clinicians undertaking the visit.

S5W-25668: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5F-03626 by Nicola Sturgeon on 10 October 2019 (Official Report, c.15), what its response is to reports that some mesh patients have been advised, and have had recorded on their notes, that they had a full mesh removal only to find out subsequently that this was not the case, resulting in some having residual and remaining mesh removed and, in light of these reports, what action is being taken to ensure that patients are given accurate information.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 8 November 2019

As indicated in response to S5O-03674, it is important that we give further consideration to those reports. This is a serious issue and the proper process requires careful review of selected patient cases. We therefore need to establish which cases require review and, importantly, to identify individuals with the required knowledge, authority, standing and independence to carry that out. Health Board accountable officers discussed the matter at their October meeting. I have asked NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to propose a means, scope and timeline for that review to be conducted, with assurance from the Accountable Officers group and the Chief Medical Officer that that is the required level of response to determine the basis of the reports.

All answers to written parliamentary questions are available on the Parliament's website, the search facility for which can be found at: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx

S5W-25664: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5F-03625 by Nicola Sturgeon on 10 October 2019 (Official Report, c.12), what its response is to reports that the US mesh surgeon, Dr Veronikis, is no longer planning to come to Scotland.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 8 November 2019

The First Minister and Chief Medical Officer have spoken to Dr Veronikis and the Chief Medical Officer, accompanied by Scottish clinicians, is visiting him in the US this week. The visit gives clinicians the opportunity to directly observe Dr Veronikis and members of his multidisciplinary team in his practice in a different healthcare environment and to explore how his skills could best be used in any return visit to Scotland.

S5W-25676: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with Scotland-based mesh surgeons regarding the uses of techniques that are reportedly higher-risk, such as muscle-cutting approaches.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 8 November 2019

The Chief Medical Officer has had high-level discussions with clinicians concerning technique. As indicated in answer to S5W-25675 on 8 November 2019, technique forms part of the discussions the Chief Medical Officer and clinicians are undertaking during their trip to the US.

All answers to written parliamentary questions are available on the Parliament's website, the search facility for which can be found at: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx

S5W-25790: David Stewart (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 10 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what steps it has taken in relation to its Ferry Services Procurement Policy Review since the publication of emerging findings on 20 December 2017.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 8 November 2019

Humza Yousaf’s Statement to Parliament of 24 May 2018 confirmed that the Scottish Ministers would tender the Northern Isles Ferry Services and continue to build a case for making a direct award to an in-house operator that satisfies both the application of the Teckal exemption and the State aid rules well in advance of the existing Clyde and Hebrides contract ending in 2024.

In the intervening period, our priority has been focused on tendering the Northern Isles Ferry Services and continued engagement with the European Commission about Pentland Ferries' State aid and RET complaints. The current Northern Isles Ferry Service contract has been extended by 3 months, from 31 October 2019 until 31 January 2020, to allow for conclusion of outstanding correspondence with the European Commission.

S5W-25830: Lewis Macdonald (North East Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 14 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-21068 by Paul Wheelhouse on 31 January 2019, how many applications for training were not approved, also broken down by those from the offshore oil and gas sectors.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 8 November 2019

SDS have advised that as of 20 th January 2019, there were 4,825 closed applications. This figure is in part due to multiple applications being received from individuals. It is not possible to provide a breakdown of closed applications by applicants who worked in the offshore/onshore oil and gas sectors as when the fund was set up it did not differentiate between offshore and onshore applicants, so this detail was not captured as it was not relevant to the funding. A breakdown of the reasons for application closure is provided at the following table.

Reason for application closure

As at 20 th January 2019

Not Eligible

610

Withdrawn

1,988

Disengaged*

2,227

Total

4,825

*= SDS have advised that in terms of the ‘disengaged’ figure, generally multiple contact attempts would be made by an adviser over a 6 week period. This would involve email and telephone contact attempts. If there was no direct reply from the delegate, they would receive a final letter (via email) advising they had 3 working days to establish contact with their adviser. Only after this final 3 day window, would the applicant then be classified as disengaged.

Sector

 

Full-time employment (30+ hours)

Part-time employment (less than 30 hours)

Agency/temp workers

Self-employed

Total

Oil and gas

 

222

9

104

75

410

Renewables, low carbon, engineering

29

1

5

15

50

Other

 

189

23

47

98

357

Total

 

440

33

156

188

817

S5W-25679: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5F-03625 by Nicola Sturgeon on 10 October 2019 (Official Report, c.12), whether it will fund mesh removal surgery in the US for women if they do not opt for tissue- and muscle-sparing removal or non-tissue and muscle-cutting removal.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 8 November 2019

Health Boards may seek out-of-area treatments for patients where considered necessary and appropriate. However, any such referral is a matter for the patient and the clinicians involved in the case.

As indicated in answer to S5W-23623, answered on 6 June 2019, should a patient make a request of this kind, clinicians will initially have a discussion with that patient and, if agreed, will then refer it to the Health Board for consideration. The Health Board will review the application, in doing so considering whether the treatment requested can reasonably be provided in Scotland, and in due course will inform the clinician and patient whether the request is accepted.

All answers to written parliamentary questions are available on the Parliament's website, the search facility for which can be found at: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx

S5W-25667: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5F-03625 by Nicola Sturgeon on 10 October 2019 (Official Report, c.12), in light of the First Minister's comment that "clinicians will visit the United States in November...and remain willing to meet [the mesh surgeon] Dr Veronikis, if he agrees to reconsider his position", if this meeting does go ahead and Dr Veronikis agrees to come to Scotland, what the earliest possible date could be for him to start carrying out operations.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 8 November 2019

Any visit by Dr Veronikis will take place after discussions with the Chief Medical Officer who, as set out in response to S5W-25664 on 8 November 2019, is visiting him in the US this week. As previously advised in answer to S5O-03531 on 12 September 2019, Dr Veronikis has indicated that he has clinical commitments until at least January 2020.

All answers to written parliamentary questions are available on the Parliament’s website, the search facility for which can be found at http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx .

 

S5W-25678: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government whether mesh patients will be offered a choice between tissue- and muscle-sparing removal, non-tissue and muscle-cutting removal or full and partial removal.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 8 November 2019

All cases are treated individually depending on the circumstances of the patient in question. In each case the Scottish Government expects all appropriate and available treatments to be discussed with the patient, allowing the patient to give their informed consent.

S5W-26259: Maureen Watt (Aberdeen South and North Kincardine)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 7 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the forthcoming first anniversary of the closure of The New School Butterstone, when the Scottish Ministers will respond to the call for an independent review into this matter.

Answered by: John Swinney on 8 November 2019

Answered by: John Swinney 8 November 2019

An independent review into the closure of the New School Butterstone has been commissioned and will be led by James Martin CBE.

The Review will consider the procedures followed by the Board of The New School Butterstone, the Care Inspectorate, Education Scotland, the Registrar of Independent Schools, all relevant Local Authorities and the Scottish Government in advance of the decision by the Board of Governors to close the School, and the School’s care accommodation service, on 23 November 2018.

The Review will focus on these procedures to provide reassurance to all those affected, with the overriding purpose of the Review being to consider this information fully and, if applicable, identify any learning that could enhance practice in the future.

Further details are available at https://www.gov.scot/groups/new-school-butterstone-closure-independent-review/

S5W-25675: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what information it has regarding whether Scotland-based surgeons have provided the US mesh surgeon, Dr Veronikis, with portfolios of their mesh removal skills.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 8 November 2019

Scottish clinicians were not requested to provide evidence of skills prior to travelling to the US. However, comparison of techniques and review of available objective evidence of both benefit and harm, will form part of the discussions clinicians are undertaking during their visit there.

S5W-25688: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what information it has regarding how many legal cases related to mesh injury have been settled out of court.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 8 November 2019

NHS Central Legal Office confirms that no cases that are part of a large group action have been settled out of court. It is understood a small number of individual clinical negligence cases involving mesh have settled in this way; however for reasons of confidentiality a precise number cannot be stated.

S5W-25789: David Stewart (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 10 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-25471 by Paul Wheelhouse on 3 October 2019, what the next steps are in its Ferry Services Procurement Policy Review, including the (a) legal, (b) policy and (c) financial workstreams.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 8 November 2019

We need to satisfy ourselves and the European Commission that a direct award to an in-house operator would be lawful under Teckal and the State aid rules. The next steps in the Ferry Services Procurement Policy Review are set out in our Interim Report - Emerging findings published on 20 December 2017.

Humza Yousaf’s Statement to Parliament of 24 May 2018 confirmed that the Scottish Ministers would tender the Northern Isles Ferry services and continue to build a case for making a direct award to an in-house operator that satisfies both the application of the Teckal exemption and the State aid rules well in advance of the existing Clyde and Hebrides contract ending in 2024.

In the intervening period, our priority has been focused on tendering the Northern Isles Ferry Services and continued engagement with the European Commission about Pentland Ferries' State aid and RET complaints. The current Northern Isles Ferry Service contract has been extended by 3 months, from 31 October 2019 until 31 January 2020, to allow for conclusion of outstanding correspondence with the European Commission.

S5W-25788: David Stewart (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 10 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-25471 by Paul Wheelhouse on 3 October 2019, on what dates it last corresponded with the (a) European Commission and (b) RMT regarding using a Teckal exemption to take public contracts for lifeline ferry services permanently in-house, and whether it will publish the most recent correspondence with the European Commission on this matter.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 8 November 2019

Following publication of the interim report on the future approach to the procurement of ferry services on 20 December 2017 Interim Report - Emerging Findings Humza Yousaf, then Minister for Transport and the Islands, sent a letter to the European Commission’s Transport Commissioner on 24 January 2018. The Commission replied on 23 February 2018. Both letters were placed in the Scottish Parliament’s Information Centre.

I meet regularly with the STUC and ferry unions, including the RMT. The last meeting took place 10 September 2019. The RMT can raise ferry-related issues at those meetings, including the Scottish Government’s approach to the Teckal exemption.

Humza Yousaf’s Statement to Parliament of 24 May 2018 confirmed that the Scottish Ministers would tender the Northern Isles Ferry services and continue to build a case for making a direct award to an in-house operator that satisfies both the application of the Teckal exemption and the State aid rules well in advance of the existing Clyde and Hebrides contract ending in 2024.

In the intervening period, our priority has been focused on tendering the Northern Isles Ferry Services and continued engagement with the European Commission about Pentland Ferries' State aid and RET complaints. The current Northern Isles Ferry Service contract has been extended by 3 months, from 31 October 2019 until 31 January 2020, to allow for conclusion of outstanding correspondence with the European Commission.

S5W-25685: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what the process is for commissioning partners in international mesh expertise, and how it ensures that bias is not an influencing factor.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 8 November 2019

The continued sharing of learning and experience is an accepted part of a clinician’s role. UK clinicians will seek to work with other clinicians or academics based on their reputation amongst peers and an assessment of the specific learning or technical practice they can bring.

Should any engagement require a formal contract, Health Boards will undertake due diligence as set out in answer to S5W-25684 on 8 November 2019.

All answers to written parliamentary questions are available on the Parliament’s website, the search facility for which can be found at http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx .

S5W-25677: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government whether the (a) Chief Medical Officer and (b) the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport has discussed with counterparts from the rest of the UK the possibility of the US mesh surgeon, Dr Veronikis, coming to Scotland.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 8 November 2019

Scottish Government officials partake in regular discussions with colleagues in the UK Government and other devolved administrations on matters relating to transvaginal mesh. Whilst officials have not held detailed discussions with other UK countries about bringing Dr Veronikis to Scotland, colleagues in the other administrations are keen that we keep them informed of developments.

In addition, officials have corresponded with the GMC concerning Dr Veronikis.

S5W-25689: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government whether mesh-injured women who settle legal cases out of court are required to sign non-disclosure agreements.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 8 November 2019

NHS Central Legal Office is not aware of any of any case where a pursuer has been required to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

S5W-25673: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 October 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what information it has regarding how many women have registered with lawyers to seek compensation for injuries and disability caused by mesh implants.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 8 November 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 8 November 2019

This is a matter for lawyers and the patients concerned. As such, the Scottish Government does not hold the information sought.

S5W-26289: Colin Smyth (South Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 7 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what the waiting time for cataract operations has been in each of the last 10 years, broken down by NHS board. 

Awaiting answer

S5W-26265: Monica Lennon (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 7 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will publish details of the progress that has been made in achieving the deliverable actions set out in its eHealth Strategy 2014-2017, including encouraging "all GP practices...to provide online repeat prescribing and online appointment booking as online services, with a view to at least 90% of practices offering this service by 2017”.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26270: Monica Lennon (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 7 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will publish a timetabled implementation plan to support the delivery of its Digital Health and Care Strategy.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26262: Maurice Golden (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 7 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government whether its target of 60% of household waste to be recycled or composted and prepared for re-use by 2020 will be met.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 15 November 2019

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 15 November 2019

We have been making progress over recent years on meeting the target however the current household recycling rate figures indicate that there is more to do to ensure we achieve it.

We have set out an ambitious programme to go further in increasing recycling rates and supporting the circular economy, for example we will be hosting a summit by the end of this year to ensure a more consistent, efficient and easier to understand approach to recycling and recently launched the circular economy bill consultation paper.

S5W-26297: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 7 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government whether it complies with the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) regarding the offering of all vaccines.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26271: Monica Lennon (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 7 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what digital health and care services it aims to provide in each NHS board area, and by what date.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26294: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 7 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government for what reason pharmacies are reportedly running out of flu vaccine supplies, and what action it is taking in response.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26273: Maurice Golden (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 7 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to provide long-term certainty for land managers who wish to invest in carbon sequestration through new tree planting.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26272: Maurice Golden (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 7 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government whether the Forestry Commission’s new Woodland Carbon Guarantee is a model that it would consider for use in Scotland.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26269: Monica Lennon (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 7 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what target it has set for all (a) GP practices and (b) hospitals in each NHS board area to provide access to Wi-Fi to patients, and what progress is being made with this.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26264: Monica Lennon (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 7 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to ensure there is public participation and a service design-approach to national digital health and social care services.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26298: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 7 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many times in each year since 2016 Charlotte Street Partners has invited (a) a cabinet secretary, (b) a minister and (c) its officials to a meeting, broken down by reason for the invite, and what its response was.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26299: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 7 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many times in each year since 2016 (a) a cabinet secretary, (b) a minister and (c) its officials invited Charlotte Street Partners to a meeting, broken down by reason for the invite, and what response it received.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26268: Monica Lennon (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 7 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what progress it is making on introducing a portal for patients in each NHS board area.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26296: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 7 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to promote access to the flu vaccine programme in 2020 to everyone with asthma.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26277: Brian Whittle (South Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 7 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide details of all recipients of funding from the Investing in Communities Fund in the current year, also broken down by amount.

Answered by: Aileen Campbell on 15 November 2019

Answered by: Aileen Campbell 15 November 2019

The Scottish Government launched the new £11.5m per year Investing in Communities Fund in 2019/20. All applicants were notified of the outcome of the fund on 1 November 2019, following which the Empowering Communities Programme webpage on the Scottish Government’s website was updated on 5 November. This includes a list of the organisations and projects approved by the independent panel.

Our webpage will be updated to include confirmed funding awards for 2019-20 on completion of the technical checks currently underway.

The Empowering Communities Programme webpage can be found at:

https://www.gov.scot/policies/community-empowerment/empowering-communities-fund/

S5W-26267: Monica Lennon (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 7 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government when everyone in each NHS board area will have online access to their medical records.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26288: Colin Smyth (South Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 7 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what action NHS Dumfries and Galloway is taking to (a) support access to and (b) reduce waiting times for cataract surgery.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26295: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 7 November 2019

To ask the Scottish Government whether it plans to deviate from the advice given by the Chief Medical Officer to GPs regarding eligibility for the flu vaccine for people with asthma and, if so, for what reason.

Awaiting answer