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Summary

  1. The Fair Work Committee takes evidence on the gender pay gap
  2. Topical questions
  3. The Health and Sport Committee leads a debate on the preventative health agenda inquiry
  4. SNP MSP Christine Grahame leads this evening's member’s debate praising the drug, alcohol and mental health charity Addaction

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Colin Bell

All times stated are UK

That's your lot for today, but if you have not had enough politics yet...........

Theresa May calls for a general election
Nicola Sturgeon says June election is Scotland's 'time to be heard'
Jeremy Corbyn 'welcomes' snap election announcement

That's all from Holyrood Live on 18 April 2017, the day Theresa May caught most of us on the hop by calling a general election.

We're back tomorrow morning with the Rural Economy Committee and here's hoping we have another quiet, uneventful day.

Government remains committed to minimum unit pricing

Aileen Campbell
BBC

SNP MSP Christine Grahame intervenes to invite the minister to visit Addaction to meet the team.

Ms Campbell accepts says she would like to visit Addaction in Galashiels. 

The public health minister says the government remains committed to minimum unit pricing. 

She says there is a place for the criminal justice system but the opportunity to direct people away from this at the earliest opportunity is welcomed.

Ms Campbell congratulates Addaction for their work in saving lives and says addiction should continue to be looked at in terms of health. 

Background: Government funding for Addaction

Addaction - Scotland’s biggest drug/alcohol treatment and recovery charity – has been awarded £47,500 by the Scottish government.

The new funding boost, for the charity’s frontline work with individuals and families across Scotland, is from the Scottish government’s grants scheme for voluntary organisations in social and community care.

Director of Addaction Scotland Andrew Horne welcomed the funding, saying: “Addaction Scotland is delighted to receive this award, as we’re eager to improve access to services…and this will really help us do that.

Minister welcomes Addaction staff to the gallery

Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell
bbc
Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell

Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell says she visited the Addaction exhibition and welcomes staff to the parliament.

Ms Campbell says Rod Anderson, Christine Grahame's Local Hero, who works for the charity, sounds like a very special person.

She cites the Scottish government's drugs strategy: The Road To Recovery.

Addaction Scotland expertise

Addaction Scotland says: Our expertise is wide and insightful:

  • Pregnancy and early years issues
  • Community alcohol support
  • Community recovery rehabilitation
  • Working with older people
  • Mutual aid partnerships
Addaction Scotland
Addaction Scotland
Addaction Scotland
  • Blood borne virus, Hepatitis C and HIV support through testing and treatment
  • Overdose prevention work including Take Home Nalaoxone training and supply
  • Harm reduction services including safe injecting equipment provision
  • Sexual health advice, pregnancy testing and free condom distribution
  • Education, employment and welfare issues

Background: New mental health strategy unveiled by Scottish government

The Scottish government has unveiled its new strategy on mental health, committing to spend more than £300m to tackle it in the next five years.

Mental Health Minister Maureen Watt said her ambition was for mental and physical illnesses to achieve "parity of esteem" in the way they are treated.

Ms Watt told MSPs she would work hard to tackle poverty as the "biggest driver" of poor mental health.

There will be a focus on prevention and early intervention
Getty Images
There will be a focus on prevention and early intervention

There are 40 actions in the Scottish government's new strategy.

They include:

  • Increasing mental health workforce in A&E, GP practices, police stations and prisons
  • Reviewing counselling and guidance services in schools
  • Reforming adults with incapacity legislation so it complies with best international standards
  • Establishing a bi-annual forum of mental health experts to help guide the implementation

Read more here.

Addaction Scotland

The Addaction website says: 

"As the largest provider of drug and alcohol support services in Scotland we are never far away from those who need us — people with addiction issues, their families, friends and communities. We're here for anyone who wants our help.

"Our first Scottish service started in 2004 and we now have distinct services across the country, from Dundee to Stranraer. While each one has its own distinct identity, we take a very Scottish approach to dealing with the problems faced by our communities. Much of our pioneering work and success has led the way for our services south of the border."

Labour MSP says results Addaction achieves are impressive

Labour MSP Colin Smyth
bbc
Labour MSP Colin Smyth

Labour MSP Colin Smyth also praises the work of Addaction.

Mr Smyth says he recently visited the Addaction office in Dumfries but most of the staff were out in the communities providing personalised support to those battling with drugs and alcohol issues.

He says the results they achieve are impressive.

Mr Smyth goes on to say the decision by the Scottish government to reduce direct funding for drug and alcohol treatment support centres was disappointing.

There needs to be a focused approach to tackle drug and alcohol addiction - Tory MSP

Tory MSP Rachael Hamilton
BBC
Tory MSP Rachael Hamilton

Tory MSP Rachael Hamilton says drug and alcohol misuse is not going away anytime soon and it highlights the need for charities such as Addaction.

Ms Hamilton says half of all support for Scotland's health boards to tackle drug and alcohol addiction has been cut.

She says that this is a contradiction. 

The Tory MSP says there needs to be a focused approach to tackle drug and alcohol addiction. 

Background: Drugs deaths in Scotland hit a record high

drug abuse
SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Drugs deaths in Scotland hit a record high in 2015, official statistics revealed.

A total of 706 people died as a result of drug abuse last year - the largest number ever recorded, according to a report by the National Records of Scotland.

It represents a 15% increase on the figure for 2014, when 613 people died.

The number of drug deaths in Scotland have been steadily increasing since 1995, when 426 deaths were recorded.

The report also reveals the effect of drug abuse on older users - almost three-quarters (73%) of deaths were among people aged over 35.

Read more here.

Addaction Scotland

Addaction Scotland has eveloped its expertise and innovation across a wide range of services, including; pregnancy and early years work, community alcohol support, community recovery rehab, working with older people, mutual aid partnerships, blood borne virus (support through testing and treatment), harm reduction and education and employment.

Addaction Scotland
Addaction Scotland

Its says its approach is quite simple:

  • To us you are an individual with values, strengths, anxieties and questions
  • Your needs are at the heart of how our support is provided
  • We will work with you in honest, day-to day partnerships
  • We believe that your recovery is possible and very probable

Addaction getting on with the day job says SNP MSP

Ms Grahame says we should remember in the everyday world, charities such as Addaction just get on with the day job to help and support those who need it. 

Local Hero

ADDACTION
ADDACTION
Christine Grahame praises her Local Hero Rod Anderson

Last summer, Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale MSP Christine Grahame announced her local hero was Rod Anderson, a project worker at Addaction in Galashiels

Ms Grahame uses the debate to read out warm testimony from someone who Mr Anderson helped.

According to the Addaction website Rod "performs miracles every day and has set up a recovery community in the Borders"

" After overcoming his own battle with alcohol, using the support of Addaction, Rod decided to dedicate himself to saving lives and became a substance misuse worker. 

"The nomination added that he is a selfless, unassuming man who helps people get their lives back together."

Addaction has 23 sites in Scotland

SNP MSP Christine Grahame
BBC

SNP MSP Christine Grahame welcomes representatives from Addaction to the public gallery.

Ms Grahame says Addaction is a leading UK drug, alcohol and mental health charity with 23 sites in Scotland.

The SNP MSP says Addaction raise awareness that drug and alcohol addictions are health and well being issues not criminal issues. 

Ms Grahame highlights those who have found employment with Addaction after being helped by the organisations with their own addictions. 

Praise for the staff and volunteers of Addaction

Ms Grahame uses her motion to praise the dedication and work that the staff and volunteers off  the drug, alcohol and mental health charity, Addaction undertake.

The Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale MSP  says Addaction has 23 regional sites in Scotland, including Galashiels, and is the largest organisation of its kind.

Drug abuser
Thinkstock
Addaction supports people with substance misuse problems

She says its ethos is that the wellbeing, health and happiness of people, families and communities is paramount.

The SNP MSP says Addaction asserts that people with substance misuse problems should be supported through health and social care agencies and diverted away from the criminal justice system

Addaction will host an exhibition in the Parliament from 21 to 23 February 2017.  

Here's the motion for the Addaction debate

Motion for the Addaction debate
Scottish Parliament

Member's debate: Addaction charity

SNP MSP Christine Grahame will now lead a member's debate celebrating the drug, alcohol and mental health charity Addaction.

The Health and Sport Committee motion is unanimously agreed to

The Health and Sport Committee motion is unanimously agreed to.

Motion
Scottish Parliament

Committee will report back by the end of 2017

Doctors and nurses
Thinkstock

SNP MSP Clare Haughey says the Health Committee will report back on its inquiry into the preventative agenda in the NHS by the end of 2017.

SNP MSP Bob Doris intervenes to highlight the need to target Cashback for Communities to the most deprived areas in sport participation.

Ms Haughey says this is a good idea and thanks him for the intervention. 

She concludes thanking all of those who work in health and social care services and says "we owe them a huge debt". 

'Imperative' that public services take a more preventative approach

Clare Haughey
BBC

Ms Haughey says it is "imperative" that public services take a more preventative approach.

The Health Committee deputy convener says she was, and still is, a mental health nurse and she remains interested in this area. 

Ms Haughey says prevention of health harming conditions will be possible with early mental health interventions. 

She says there are many good examples of preventative spend. 

SNP MSP says the need for a preventative approach is agreed across the chamber

Health Committee deputy convener Clare Haughey says there has been a wide outbreak of consensus during this debate.

Ms Haughey sums up the debate highlighting the topics MSPs focused on.Tory MSP Miles Briggs says the minister did not mention sport at all, with £2m less for schools and P.E.

Ms Haughey says she cannot answer for the minister but is closing for the Health Committee.

The SNP MSP says the need for a preventative approach has been acknowledged across the chamber.

Health Committee deputy convener Clare Haughey
bbc
Health Committee deputy convener Clare Haughey

Tory MSP Miles Briggs says the minister did not mention sport at all, with £2m less for schools and P.E.

Ms Haughey says she cannot answer for the minister but is closing for the Health Committee.

The SNP MSP says the need for a preventative approach has been acknowledged across the chamber.

UK government welfare reforms are 'callous' says minister

Aileen Campbell
BBC

Ms Campbell says UK government welfare reforms are "callous". 

The public health minister says she is surprised that some members have had the audacity to criticise the baby box whilst staying silent on the rape clause.

She says the Scottish government has taken action on inequalities. 

Ms Campbell says the health of Scotland is improving and the ambition is to improve and build a fairer, safer Scotland. 

Minister highlights the review of the approach to targets

Ms Campbell says there is a need for robust data to guide policy.

She says "We need to ensure we invest with confidence in what works."

Sir Harry Burns stepped down as chief medical officer in 2014
bbc
Sir Harry Burns stepped down as chief medical officer in 2014

The minister highlights the review of the approach to targets being led by the former chief medical officer of Scotland.

Sir Harry Burns is chairing the study, which is consulting NHS staff and patients to ensure targets and performance indicators are producing the best results for patients.

An initial report and recommendations are expected in spring 2017.

Mr Burns, who stepped down as chief medical officer in 2014, said it was vital that staff felt "empowered".

The review of targets was announced by Health Secretary Shona Robison in June.

Background: Bid to appeal against minimum alcohol pricing to Supreme Court

Drink
Thinkstock
The Scottish government had called on those in the drinks industry to end the legal process

Last November the Scotch Whisky Association applied to appeal in the UK Supreme Court against minimum pricing for alcohol in Scotland.

The Court of Session ruled against the group in October after a lengthy legal challenge against the policy, which would set a minimum unit price of 50p.

But the SWA said it had a "strong view that minimum pricing is incompatible with EU law" and would appeal further.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said the decision was "deeply disappointing".

The Scottish government wants to press ahead with setting a minimum price per unit of alcohol "as soon as possible".

'We need to prioritise prevention'

Alcohol
BBC

Ms Campbell says "we need to prioritise prevention."

The public health minister says this is about a whole host of disciplines and portfolios and working together at local level can make real differences. 

She says Scotland has frequently led the way in alcohol and tobacco prevention. 

The minister raises the government's continued efforts on alcohol minimum pricing. 

Ms Campbell says Scotland's cancer screening strategies are among the best. 

Minister says services must be reformed to better meet the needs of the people

Pubic Health Minister Aileen Campbell
bbc
Pubic Health Minister Aileen Campbell

Tory MSP Miles Briggs concludes calling on ministers to work with the Health Committee going forward.

Pubic Health Minister Aileen Campbell says the debate has been "mature and considered".

Ms Campbell says she looks forward to the committee's report and working with it to tackle the challenges. 

The minister says smoking, drinking and alcohol abuse amongst young people are now at some of their lowest levels ever.

She says established orthodoxies should be challenged and services must be reformed to better meet the needs of the people. 

Tory MSP concerned about Scottish government's decision to stop funding for Jog Scotland

Jogging
BBC

Mr Briggs says he is concerned about the government's decision to stop funding Jog Scotland

Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell intervenes to highlight government funding of £2m. 

Mr Briggs asks if any of that funding is for Jog Scotland. 

Ms Campbell says the funding is for various programmes.

Mr Briggs says the two words missing from Ms Campbell's answer is "Jog Scotland". 

Tory MSP says there is a need for cross-portfolio working

Tory MSP Miles Briggs
bbc
Tory MSP Miles Briggs

Tory MSP Miles Briggs thanks all the organisations that provided submissions to the Health Committee.

Read the myriad of submissions here. 

Mr Briggs says there is a need for cross-portfolio working and parliament's working on this must be improved.

He says the focus on exercise and a healthy diet is vital. 

'Postcode lottery that exists must be challenged'

Anas Sarwar
BBC

Mr Sarwar says the "postcode lottery that exists must be challenged". 

The Labour MSP says the opportunity to make a generational shift should be taken. 

He says often mental health issues are arising for young people at the most important part of their lives. 

Mr Sarwar says local government cuts mean that local services are having to be cut and this has a negative impact on preventative health.

There are opportunities to tackle obesity and diet says Labour MSP

Scottish Labour's health spokesman Anas Sarwar
BBC

Scottish Labour's health spokesman Anas Sarwar says he would like to believe that the people of Scotland would have been more interested in this debate than the news of another general election.

However he says  he must accept that it is likely this debate is on the back burner.

Mr Sarwar says Scotland has made progress with preventative health but more challenges still exist. 

The Labour MSP says there are opportunities to tackle obesity and diet.

The language of prevention has been used but not given the resourcing says Lib Dem MSP

Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton
bbc
Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton

Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton, as many others have, begins by quoting the late Dr Campbell Christie and his commission.

Mr Cole-Hamilton says the language of prevention has been used but not the resourcing.

He says criticism can only have credibility where it comes with credit given when it is due.

The Lib Dem MSP welcomes the Scottish Medicines Consortium agreein to approve HIV drug Prep. 

He says: "We understand the keystones of prevention but singularly we fail to meet that understanding with preventative spending."

Nobel Prize winning economist quoted by Tory MSP

Child with adult
bbc

The highest rate of return in early childhood development comes from investing as early as possible, from birth through age five, in disadvantaged families. Starting at age three or four is too little too late, as it fails to recognize that skills beget skills in a complementary and dynamic way. Efforts should focus on the first years for the greatest efficiency and effectiveness. The best investment is in quality early childhood development from birth to five for disadvantaged children and their families.”

James HeckmanNobel Prize winning economist