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Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Rachael Connors

All times stated are UK

That's all folks

That concludes

BBC Democracy Live's coverage of the Scottish Parliament on 14 January 2015.

Holyrood at night

You can watch all the video from today's business on demand at

BBC Scotland's Democracy Live website.

Join us again tomorrow for more comprehensive coverage of the Scottish Parliament.

Common enemy

Mr Yousaf warns that voices of compassion should be expressed but we must be careful not to give ammunition to the terrorists.

He recalls that two grand-nephews of Glasgow Southside Central SNP councillor Jahangir Hanif were among the dead, and sends his condolences.

Education is the key to defeating radicalisation, he adds, because "you can't kill an idea with a bullet".

The minister concludes, "When there is a common enemy there must be a common solution" and "an assault on one must be an assault on us all."

'Blood soaked jotters'

Europe and International Development Minister Humza Yousaf says this is a members' debate we would rather not be having, but it gives us an opportunity to express our solidarity with Pakistan.

Mr Yousaf says his father was born in Pakistan but links do not matter, we all feel the anger and sadness from the event.

International Development Minister Humza Yousaf
International Development Minister Humza Yousaf

Pakistan is one of the the countries which has suffered the most from the war on terror, he says, with thousands killed and millions displaced from their homes.

He recalls the images of shoes strewn across playgrounds, blood soaked jotters, desks filled with bullet holes, and says "this is not what a school should look like".


Analysis: BBC's Shahzeb Jillani in Peshawar on the return of students to the school

It's been a difficult day for many of the children and teachers who survived the Taliban attack.

Some had mixed feelings about going back to the school where they witnessed the massacre. Yet, most of them put on a brave face as they arrived at the school.

At the morning assembly, the mood was sombre. A ceremony was held to remember those who lost their lives, and students and parents were greeted by Pakistan's powerful army chief, Raheel Shareef.

Just 15 of the 132 school children and nine staff who were killed in the Taliban's attack
Just 15 of the 132 school children and nine staff who were killed in the Taliban's attack

He tried to reassure them that the government would do everything to protect their school.

After today's symbolic reopening of the school, classes are expected to resume from Tuesday.

Parts of the school have been repaired and repainted. But the main auditorium hall where most of the children were massacred remains closed.

But across the country, parents remain apprehensive about sending their children back to school.

In a country where fear stalks virtually every aspect of public life, something as simple as going to school has now become an act of courage and bravery.

Violent extremism

Conservative MSP John Lamont says that schools are seen as "soft targets".

Going to school should not be seen as an act of bravery, he continues.

John Lamont MSP

Mr Lamont says to have a real effect we must tackle the root cause of issue; "violent extremism".

He highlights terrorist groups like Boko Haram and tells the story of a girl of around 9 years old in Nigeria who detonated a bomb under her veil.

The global problem requires a global response, he adds.


Labour MSP Johann Lamont says it is an important opportunity to offer our sympathy and condolences to those in Peshawar, but also to families in her constituency and across Glasgow who have been devastated by the attack.

Ms Lamont says it is important to express solidarity with all those who lost loved ones.

Labour MSP Johann Lamont

She says an attack on a school shows the Taliban's wish to attack education as they think it is a legitimate target because it gives the world hope.

The Glasgow Pollock MSP say again it is no surprise they attacked schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen - her "crime", to have spoken up for the right of girls to be educated.

Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai

Malala survived and marked her 16th birthday with a live address from UN headquarters, is now known around the world by her first name alone, and has been lauded by a former British prime minister as "an icon of courage and hope".

She is the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Ms Lamont highlights the horror of the attack on Malala and says "We should stand in awe of her and all of those who face that threat" and carry on their work.

'Global phenomenon'

Former Justice Secretary, SNP MSP, Kenny MacAskill says Scotland has suffered in the past with incidents such as the Dunblane massacre but this is in fact a "crime against humanity".

Former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill
Former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill

He says terrorism is not just something that happens in the western world and the five countries which have suffered the most from terrorism is Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria and Syria.

It is right we should condemn the actions of the taliban but also the repercussions of US drones; "Children grieve the same" wherever it is, he says.

Mr MacAskill concludes: "Terrorism is a global phenomenon."

Pupils return to Peshawar school

Pupils and teachers have

returned for the first time to the school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar where more than 150 people were killed last month.

A ceremony was held to remember the victims of the Taliban attack.

Schools across the country are re-opening after an extended break prompted by the attack on 16 December.

Pakistani students walk to school after schools in the city reopened following a Taliban attack in Peshawar on January 12, 2015
Parents have demanded assurances from the government that their children's schools will be protected

The Pakistani government scrapped a moratorium on executions after the massacre and moved to establish military courts to try terrorism cases.

Seven Taliban attackers wearing bomb vests cut through a wire fence to gain entry to the Army Public School in Peshawar in December.

They went from class to class, killing 152 people - 133 of them children - and injuring more than 120. All seven attackers were killed.

'Shoulder to shoulder'

Pakistani soldiers provide security during a mass prayer for the victims of a school massacre, in Peshawar - 21 December 2014
The attack on the school, which was an army school, was "revenge" for military offensives against the Taliban

Mr Malik says we should never abandon allies, it is essential that people in Pakistan know they have friends in Scotland who will stand shoulder to shoulder with them.

'Source of strength'

Mr Malik says relations between Pakistan and Scotland have developed.

When there is trouble in Pakistan, it troubles the hearts of communities in Scotland as well.

A Pakistani army soldier looks at a bullet ridden wall of the Army Public School, attacked by Taliban militants in Peshawar - 18 December 2014
The Taliban attackers went from class to class in the school, killing 133 children and injuring dozens

It is at this time, after the tragedy in Peshawar, that the relationship between the two countries should be a source of strength.


Mr Malik believes this to be the deadliest attack by the Taliban and recognises the deep sadness of the Pakistani community in Scotland.

The Labour MSP says he supports the Pakistan government and its agencies in bringing these attackers' network to justice, and offers his deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers to the families of the children and teachers.

Upturned chairs and blood stains the floor at the Army Public School auditorium the day after Taliban gunmen stormed the school in Peshawar - 17 December 2014
The auditorium, where most of the children were killed, remains closed

He says the horror of the images from the Peshawar attack powers home what people in Pakistan are now facing.

Taliban's attack in a school in Peshawar debate

Labour MSP Hanzala Malik is leading a debate on Taliban's attack in a school in Peshawar.

In his motion Mr Malik condemns the actions of the Taliban's attack in a school in Peshawar, where it opened fire on children and staff members.

Hanzala Malik MSP

Seven Taliban attackers wearing bomb vests entered the public school and opened fire on children as young as five.

Mr Malik says he understands that at least 132 children and nine staff members are already dead and that a further 125 children were wounded before all seven attackers were killed.

Decision time

MSPs back the Scottish government's amendment from Labour's debate on the NHS, with 63 MSPs backing it, 39 against and 14 abstentions.

Decision time at Scottish Parliament

The Labour motion as amended is passed after the Scottish Conservative amendment was also defeated.

Nurses commitment

Ms Marra says she's been doing "a health check" on health boards across the country.

She lists breaches of the SNP government legal guarantee on treatment times at several health boards, reports of staff shortages.

Ms Marra concludes that this is not a very good record for Alex Neil or his predecessor.

Nurses on a ward

She says Scottish Labour has committed to 1,000 extra nurses after a staff survey showed 75% of nurses feel there are not enough of them to do the job.

How much of the government's underspend will be diverted to health, she asks.

Breaking the law

Ms Marra says Labour cannot vote for the government's amendment as it congratulates itself for breaking the law.

She criticises the SNP government's decision to vote the health target for treatment within 12 weeks into law was a mistake.

It has led the government to break the law and to the breaching of the legal rights of 12,500 patients, she says.

Hospital beds
Many hospital wards have higher than recommended occupancy rates, according to the data

The Labour health spokesperson calls on the cabinet secretary to apologise.

Ms Robison says she regrets that any patient was not treated within 12 weeks.

'Delayed discharge'

Labour MSP Jenny Marra says delayed discharge is the "biggest issue" facing the NHS and she welcomes Health Secretary Shona Robison's pledge to make it her top priority.

Ms Marra says blocks in patient flow exacerbates the pressures on A&Es.

Labour MSP Jenny Marra

It is a planning and organisational challenge, says Labour's health spokesperson, but it does need extra resource.

Ms Marra calls for money to be allocated specifically to delayed discharge.

'Safe' NHS

In conclusion, Mr Hepburn says there are "many indications why the NHS is safe in the hands of the SNP".

'No shying away'

Health Improvement and Mental Health Minister Jamie Hepburn says he agrees that the ambitions for the NHS are shared across the chamber.

Where we can work together, we should seek to do so, he says.

SNP MSP Jamie Hepuburn
SNP MSP Jamie Hepuburn

Mr Hepburn says the government doesn't "shy away" from the challenges faced and acknowledges that further steps are required to improve A&E services.

The Scottish government has a "clear vision and direction to ensure person-centred care" and waiting times have dramatically improved since 2007, he reports.

Mr Hepburn thanks NHS staff for their efforts.

'Strategic way forward'

Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw says "weaponising the NHS" will work, as it was the most effective part of the Yes campaign in the run up to 18 September 2014.

Mr Carlaw says politicians must rise above "weaponising the health service" and suggests Dr Simpson was doing just that in his motion for this debate.

Jackson Carlaw MSP

The Tory MSP says as MSPs debate doctors and nurses are rushing around packed wards and a debate focussing on recrimination does nothing for them.

He calls for a strategic way forward for the NHS that everyone can unite behind.

Increased funding

SNP MSP Kevin Stewart says he welcomes the £15.2m announced for NHS Grampian, meaning an uplift of £49.1m in the next financial year.

Kevin Stewart MSP

Mr Stewart praises the late Brian Adam for fighting for parity of funding for NHS Grampian and goes on to praise Conservative MSP Nanette Milne for doing likewise.

'Fragile services'

MSP John Pentland notes the fragility of services at A & E which he says is due to "a lack of staff".

John Pentland

He says in one year alone NHS Lanarkshire staff complained 432 times, an average of more than 35 times per month, about staff shortages.

Mr Pentland says in Lanarkshire we've been moving from "crisis to crisis to crisis", and money is a "short term fix".

Calls for cross party approach

Tory MSP and former GP Nanette Milne says the answer to the undeniable problems facing the NHS is "not necessarily to throw more money at them" but to plan carefully for the future.

Nanette Milne, MSP

She says this should be done with cross party support and we should take a joint approach.

" Patients want results not political point scoring", she adds.

Action needed now

Labour MSP Rhoda grant says intervention is needed, to manage care at home before hospital is needed.

A short time in hospital can disenable people, she says.

Rhoda Grant

Ms Grant adds says much of what happening in our hospitals is due to the government's inability to invest in the healthcare system.

Lib Dem view

Lib Dem MSP Jim Hume says the Labour motion sets out well the pressure points within our health service - A&E waiting times; people waiting on trollies for hours on end because of a lack of beds; waiting times missed.

"We will be supporting Labour at decision time."

Lib Dem MSP Jim Hume

Mr Hume says the health secretary must "listen to constructive criticism, not simply pay lip service to it".

He says the Government must ensure that the health service moves in the same direction, that health and social care integration is successful and that we have the workforce we need with the necessary skills now and in the future.

Tory view

Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw's amendment highlights the additional funding resource being committed to the NHS in England, which has resulted in consequential funding for the NHS in Scotland in excess of £1.4 billion between 2010 and 2016.

Mr Carlaw says the budget for England has been protected in real terms while similar protections have not been put in place by the Scottish government.

He calls for all political parties to agree and unite in support of a long-term strategic plan.

Jackson Carlaw

Mr Carlaw says in many respects comparisons with Scotland and England are inappropriate.

We need to look at our own path, our own vision and assess what is being achieved, he says.

Waiting times

Ms Robison says "every patient should receive timely and quality treatment."

Waiting times sign

Ms Robison adds this government has set tougher targets than before 2007 and more than 600,000 patients have been treated in 12 weeks. She claims under a Labour government 12,000 people had to wait more than a year.


Ms Robison says 1,700 nurses have already been delivered and 1,000 more are being delivered.

We'll continue to look at ways to attract health workers to the NHS, she adds, but this is about health and social care integration.

'No upside to delayed discharges.'

Health Secretary Shona Robison tells MSPs £28m has been made available to try tackle a shortage of A&E consultants and try address delayed discharges.

A man sits on his bed in a ward
Science Photo Library

She says: "I absolutely accept improvements need to be made.

"I want to eradicate delayed discharges from the system. Delayed discharges have no upside, it is the worst outcome for individuals at a high cost to the system.

Ms Robison continues that "we have a good record on staffing" and says the staffing total is up by 7.6%.

'More qualified nurses'

Ms Robison says health resources are at a record £12 billion in 2015-16, an increase of £2.7 billion since 2006, with NHS Scotland staffing at a record high, the amendment states.

Her amendment says there are over 1,700 more qualified nurses and midwives than 2006, and says that treatment times have improved significantly in recent years.

The health secretary says 98% patients of patients, over 600,000 people, have received treatment within the 12 week treatment time guarantee.

Government response

Health Secretary Shona Robison is leading in this debate for the Scottish government.

Ms Robison's amendment says that even with additional funding of £28 million for winter pressures being made available, there have been challenges in meeting the increasing demands in A&E departments.

Health Secretary Shona Robison
Health Secretary Shona Robison

Across the festive period nine out of 10 patients were seen within four hours it says.

Ms Robison acknowledges that further steps are required to reduce delays in discharge, improve patient flow and ensure that A&E targets are sustainably met in the future.

'Burn out'

Dr Simpson concludes: "I do acknowledge, until 2011 progress was being made by this government, and it was good progress.

"We need to resolve the problems before our hard working staff burn out."

Nursing cuts

Dr Simpson continues by saying that it is not sustainable to retain consultants on a 9-1 appointment.

He tells MSPs the SNP government has cut student nursing intake by 20%, allowed boards to cut 2,400 nursing posts, cuts that were six times greater than in England, midwifery school places were cut, in a time when complex births had increased and there was a UK shortage of midwives.

He says he welcomes the fact that all these decisions have been reversed, but it is a "disgraceful sign of poor planning."


The level of flu is subnormal, he adds, we haven't even had a bad winter yet and A&Es across the country were swamped over Christmas.

Treatment Time Guarantee

Scottish Labour have claimed the SNP's waiting time law has been breached more than 12,000 times since it was introduced, as a result of pressure on Scotland's NHS.

The party said analysis it had conducted showed that the Scottish government's Treatment Time Guarantee had been breached every month since it was introduced in 2012.

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy said the Scottish government owed an apology to every one of the patients who had not been treated within the legal waiting time limit of 12 weeks.

Aberdeen Royal Infirmary

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: "Over 626,000 patients, or 98% of all NHS patients, have been treated within the 12-week waiting time guarantee since it was introduced in 2012."


The Scottish government has announced that it will make an

extra £65m available to the NHS in the next financial year.

The funding boost will make sure that all area health boards receive "uplifts" which are at least 1% above the rate of inflation, ministers said.

It comes after winter pressures resulted in a busy week for Scotland's accident and emergency departments.

Some planned medical procedures had to be postponed as demand soared.

Accident and Emergency Department

The additional cash will see territorial health boards receive an average boost of 3.4% in the next financial year.

The funding comes from an additional £127m of Barnett consequentials passed to the Scottish government.

Waiting times 'scandal'

Dr Simpson says there is actually a scandal at the centre of the target business.

He says having a legal guarantee of being seen by 12 weeks is a nonsense unless it is going to be met.

ARI reception

The law should be abandoned, every breach of the target is not a number but a person says Dr Simpson.

1,000 extra nurses

Dr Simpson highlights Scottish Labour's commitment to fund 1,000 extra nurses in the NHS from a "UK-wide mansion tax that will pool and share the resources of the UK for the benefit of Scotland's health service".

Nurse in hospital ward

He says the delayed discharge targets are not being met across Scotland and he 'deplores the Scottish government's record in breaking its own law guaranteeing treatment in 12 weeks over 12,500 times across the country'.

Labour leads 'Scotland's Future' debate

Labour MSP Richard Simpson is leading a debate on Scotland's future, focusing on the health service.

Dr Richard Simpson MSP

Dr Simpson's motion says the NHS in Scotland is under extreme pressure, with waiting times rising at accident and emergency (A&E) departments across the country.

He says there are people waiting on trolleys for hours and waiting time targets missed in many hospitals.

The motion highlights the NHS staff survey which reported that 75% of Scotland's nurses think that there are not enough of them to do the work.

NHS support

Health Secretary Shona Robison says our staff are at the heart of the NHS and their health and wellbeing is taken seriously.

Ms Robison says the government is ensuring boards have policies and actions in place to support staff.

She says it is important we understand the nature of injuries to NHS staff, particularly when there has been violence involved.

NHS stress

Labour MSP John Pentland asks what measures the government is taking to protect NHS staff in light of recent reports of high levels of injuries at work and sick leave due to stress.

nurses at workstation

Minister's response

Health Improvement Minister Jamie Hepburn says NHS boards have done "significant work" to identify where boards need to increase capacity and details specialist centres.

Ms McInnes responds saying mental health services need to be "local, local, local" and where possible face to face.

MSP Alison McInnes

Mr Hepburn says there is an important balance and these are specialist services so can't always be local but where possible will be.