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  1. Next: Building Scotland's infrastructure for the future debate
  2. 5.30pm: Members' Business: Eating disorders awareness week 2015

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Ailsa Brown

All times stated are UK

Good night

That's the end of our live coverage from the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 24 February 2015.

Remember you can go and watch the business from today at

BBC Scotland's Democracy Live.

Holyrood at night

We'll be back tomorrow morning with live coverage of the

Local Government and Regeneration Committee from 10am.

Until then have a good night.

Eating Disorders Awareness Week debate ends

The minister says we can always look to get better still and ensure we are doing all we can to support those with an eating disorder.

MSPs clapping

Mr Hepburn finishes by thanking Dennis Robertson again.

CAMHS services

The health improvement minister says there has been a dramatic increase in the numbers being seen by CAMHS services.

Guidance implementation

Mr Robertson intervenes to say that since the guidance was issued several young people have died since then and the implementation of the guidance is not universal.

Mr Hepburn says the government expects health boards to implement it.

Government commitment

Mr Hepburn pays tribute to all the medical staff and volunteers and all the people who help to tackle this potentially life threatening illness.

Health Improvement and Mental Health Minister Jamie Hepburn
Health Improvement and Mental Health Minister Jamie Hepburn

The mental health minister says he wants to stress the government's commitment to improving the treatment of those with eating disorders.

Ministerial close

Health Improvement and Mental Health Minister Jamie Hepburn congratulates Denis Robertson for securing this debate, we all know of his personal interest in the matter and of his brave voice as Mr Chisholm said.

Dennis Robertson MSP
Dennis Robertson MSP


Eating Disorders Awareness Week is a chance to raise awareness and understanding of eating disorders, challenge stereotypes and stigmas and raise funds for


Beat is the UK's leading charity supporting anyone affected by eating disorders or difficulties with food, weight and shape.

This year we will again be running our Sock it to Eating Disorders fundraising event, where we ask the nation to put on silly socks and donate £1 to Beat.

Diabetes and eating disorders

SNP MSP Mark Macdonald focuses his comments around diabetes and eating disorders.

SNP MSP Mark Macdonald
SNP MSP Mark Macdonald

Mr Macdonald says it is not enough to just focus on the issue on educating individuals on insulin use, as you are dealing with people who know all about using insulin and how to use it to manipulate their weight.


The three most common types of eating disorder:

Anorexia Nervosa

This involves starving the body or taking measures to keep weight as low as possible.

Bulimia Nervosa

This is when someone is trapped in a cycle of binge eating and then deliberately being sick or using laxatives to get rid of the food they've eaten.

Compulsive Eating

Like bulimia sufferers, compulsive eaters gorge on excessive quantities of food, even when they're not hungry. However, they do not purge themselves.


Labour MSP Rhoda Grant praises Mr Robertson's courage in pursuing the campaign on eating disorders.

Labour MSP Rhoda Grant
Labour MSP Rhoda Grant

Ms Grant says there needs to be more understanding of the causes of eating disorders as well as improving the treatment.

Debate motion

Mr Robertson's motion says eating disorders are recognised as mental health conditions.

It highlights the serious conditions that can be associated with such disorders, including other mental health conditions, osteoporosis, type 1 diabetes, anaemia, low blood pressure and organ failure.

In the motion he says people are still dying from these disorder and there can still be imperfections in the communication between clinicians and families.

The SNP MSP commends the organisations in Aberdeenshire West and throughout the country that are playing a part in raising awareness and providing support to people with eating disorders, and welcomes what he considers the continued engagement and support from the Scottish Government.

Parliamentary reception

Dennis Robertson MSP will host a reception later this evening in the Scottish Parliament which will highlight the link between eating disorders and diabetes.

The discussion will include presentations by survivor and campaigner Sarah Caltieri; founder of the organisation

Diabetics with Eating Disorders (DWED) Jacqueline Allan; psychiatrist and eating disorder specialist Jane Morris; endocrine consultant Dr Fiona Green, and the Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health Jamie Hepburn MSP.

'Great admiration'

SNP MSP Christian Allard, a close colleague of Mr Robertson in the North East, says as "the man, behind the man, behind the dog" he wants to say that those in working in the field of eating disorders have a great admiration for Dennis Robertson.

SNP MSP Christian Allard
SNP MSP Christian Allard

It's important to realise what Dennis has done in the last four years, says Mr Allard.

He is a leading figure in the fight against the disease.

'Brave voice'

Labour MSP Malcolm Chisholm praises Dennis Robertson on his dedication to campaigning against eating disorders.

Labour MSP Malcolm Chisholm
Labour MSP Malcolm Chisholm

Mr Chisholm thanks him for his resolute campaigning and says he has been a brave voice in making this argument.

Getting better

Mr Robertson says NHS Grampian would be a service exemplar if the community service support was there to complement the hospital service.

He says we have got better at treating eating disorders, with psychiatry improving and more people using the Marzipan Code of Practice.

The SNP MSP says it is estimated eating disorders cost £7-8bn each year and calls for more funding.


The SNP MSP says: "The chamber is well aware of my own story and it's with sadness I recall the fact Caroline died four years ago, tomorrow."

On the anniversary of his daughter's death he asks himself why and he says he thinks he knows the answer..."it happened because it happened".

Dennis Robertson MSP
Dennis Robertson MSP

Mr Robertson says it was not because there was no intervention, but perhaps the wrong intervention.

The communication between clinician, parents and patient is still not at a level to ensure a young person gets the care they need.


Mr Robertson says it would appear that those with diabetes and eating disorders still don't have a recognised diagnosis with no medical condition attached to this.

'Raising awareness'

Mr Robertson says someone had told him things only change "death by death".

He says he hopes things will change "raising awareness, by awareness, by awareness".

Last year saw the first ever eating disorder conference at this parliament, which was well attended says the West Aberdeenshire MSP.

'Raising awareness'

SNP MSP Dennis Robertson welcomes members from

Diabetics with Eating Disorders to the gallery.

SNP MSP Dennis Robertson
SNP MSP Dennis Robertson

Mr Robertson says we still need to continue raising the awareness for people with eating disorders, within the medical profession.


Dennis Robertson's 18-year-old daughter Caroline died in 2011 after suffering from the condition for five years.

Mr Robertson's daughter Caroline died in 2011 after a five-year battle with anorexia
Mr Robertson's daughter Caroline died in 2011 after a five-year battle with anorexia

The SNP MSP has called for greater awareness among GPs and medical professionals to enable sufferers to be diagnosed and treated earlier.

Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2015 debate

SNP MSP Dennis Robertson is leading a debate on

Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2015.

23 to 27 February marks Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2015.

Young girls are particularly likely to be admitted to hospital for eating disorders
Young girls are particularly likely to be admitted to hospital for eating disorders

The most recent figures from NHS Information Services Division estimate that, in Scotland, around 2,000 patients in a single year sought treatment for an eating disorder.

Mr Robertson believes that the real figure is impossible to know due to the great number of people who do not seeking help from a GP.

Unamended Bills

Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick says she promised to come back to the chamber as Business Minister Fergus Ewing thought the Legal Writings (Counterparts and Delivery) (Scotland) Bills was the first bill to have completed its passage unamended.

Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick
Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick

"I thought not and as I suspected 10 bills completed their passage unamedned" she says.

Infrastructure debate ends

Infrastructure Secretary Keith Brown concludes saying there is no commitment from the UK government to bring HS2 to Scotland.

Infrastructure Secretary Keith Brown
Infrastructure Secretary Keith Brown

Mr Brown says it does not make sense to have a high speed rail link between Edinburgh and Glasgow when we do not know if HS2 will come to Scotland.

Edinburgh trams

Infrastructure Secretary Keith Brown says the parties share many of the same infrastructure priorities, except for when they all voted for the Edinburgh tram project, which the SNP voted against.

Edinburgh tram

Labour closing

Labour MSP David Stewart says this has been an excellent debate with strong passionate speeches across the political divide.

The digital infrastructure is also vital within the infrastructure portfolio he says.

Labour MSP David Stewart
Labour MSP David Stewart

Mr Stewart also says rail must compete with roads.

Conservative closing

Conservative MSP Gavin Brown says the Scottish government has done some good work in relation to infrastructure and transport and housing and other parts and it would be churlish to say otherwise.

Conservative MSP Gavin Brown

However there are areas where there is legitimate concerns and the government must not hide from these but answer them, says Mr Brown.

Lib Dem closing speech

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Willie Rennie says it is worth reflecting, when member's talk about infrastructure projects, that they are only possible because of the UK economic strength.

Lib Dem MSP Willie Rennie

Queensferry Crossing

Drivers on the Forth Road Bridge are reported to be slowing down to check out the construction of the new Queensferry Crossing.

David Climie, of the Forth Replacement Crossing Team, told MSPs he had "no doubt" the massive building project was proving a distraction for traffic.

The speed limit on the existing bridge will be dropping from 50mph to 40mph in the spring.

Average speed cameras are also being installed on part of the A90 and M90.

Queensferry crossing
Getty Images
Queensferry crossing
Getty Images
Queensferry crossing
Getty Images

The Borders Railway: In Figures

Borders Railway
Borders Railway
  • Construction is forecast to cost £294m
  • There will be seven new stations along the 30-mile route
  • Around 1.5m tonnes of soil has been excavated along the route
  • A total of 95,834 sleepers have been laid
  • It will take 55 minutes to travel between Edinburgh Waverley and Tweedbank stations
  • There will be more than 600 car parking spaces at stations along the route, including 241 at Tweedbank station, which will operate as a park and ride
  • It has been estimated that it will boost the economy by £33m

Full list of 2015 infrastructure projects:

Laying tracks for Borders Railway
Borders Railway
  • NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde - New South Glasgow Hospitals
  • NHS Lanarkshire - Primary Care Health Centres
  • NHS Tayside - Reprovision of Adolescent Mental Health Inpatient Service
  • Borders Railway
  • A82 Pulpit Rock Improvement
  • A96 Inveramsay Bridge Improvement
  • Brimmond Primary School, Aberdeen City
  • Ellon Academy, Aberdeenshire
  • Alford Academy, Aberdeenshire
  • Lairdsland Primary School, East Dunbartonshire
  • Garrowhill Primary School, Glasgow City
  • Inverness College
  • Inverness Campus

Lib Dem amendment

Willie Rennie's amendment welcomes the increasing amounts of capital funds made available to the Scottish government by the UK government and the additional borrowing powers agreed.

It says the recently published SNP fiscal plans increase debt and divert money from infrastructure to debt interest for a generation.

Lib Dems

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie says there has not been enough detail from the Scottish government on its plans to increase infrastructure spending by £180bn in the UK.

Scottish Lib Dem Leader Willie Rennie

The infrastructure secretary says by increasing real-terms spending, limited to half a per cent each year, it would increase infrastructure investment of £25bn in 2016/17; £43bn in 2017/18; £52bn in 2018/2019 and £60bn in 2019/2020.


Gavin Brown says the Scottish government complains bitterly about the money it has available but had a £30m underspend in 2011-12.

Tory MSP Gavin Brown

He accuses the Scottish government only ever want to debate HS2 in the run up to a general election.

The Tory MSP concludes by saying in 1895 you could get from Dundee to Edinburgh in 57 minutes - but nowadays the fastest rail trip is 64 minutes.

Cost of borrowing

Conservative MSP Gavin Brown says his amendment is clear and asks for an investment update plant to be published as soon as possible.

He warns if the Scottish government economic plan is followed you would eventually eliminate the deficit in 2024 which is two parliaments away.

Mr Brown asks what impact that would have on the markets or the cost of borrowing.


Conservative MSP Gavin Brown's amendment calls on the Scottish government to explain the performance of the non-profit distribution pipeline (NPD) since its creation, and asks the Scottish government to publish an updated progress report for the Infrastructure Investment Plan as soon as possible.


Mary Fee says she backs HS2 coming to Scotland .

The Labour MSP says the Scottish government decisions in infrastructure investment need to match the ambition on Scotland's climate change legislation.


Scottish government

plans to sell Prestwick Airport back to the private sector are viable but it could take "some years" for them to be achieved, a public spending watchdog has said.

Ministers bought the struggling airport for just £1 from owners Infratil in late 2013 amid fears it could close.

Prestwick Airport images
Audit Scotland said ministers must develop comprehensive plans over the airport's future development

They have so far committed to provide £25.2m in loan funding to the airport.

Audit Scotland said it could take almost a decade before Prestwick would be able to start repaying the money.

Litany of delays

Mary Fee says the Scottish government have not informed the public or Scottish Parliament of the combined estimated financial commitment arising from there infrastructure projects.

The Labour MSP says a "litany of projects have been delayed", including the Aberdeen Peripheral Route, Borders Rail, EGIP and the dualling of the A9.

She also calls on the Scottish government set out a clear vision and strategy for Prestwick Airport.

It requires robust business and financial plans, a potential risk and exit strategy, setting out the timescale for selling the airport to the private sector.


Labour MSP Mary Fee

Ms Fee says: "We should all agree that developing a strong forward thinking infrastructure policy is crucial to a sustainable and prosperous Scotland."