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  1. 2.05pm: Topical questions
  2. Next: Stage 3 Proceedings: Historic Environment Scotland Bill
  3. Next: Ministerial Statement: Scottish Greenhouse Gas Emissions Annual Target Report 2012
  4. Scottish Government Debate: Town Centre Action Plan, One Year On
  5. 5.15pm: SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson: "The Importance of School Bus Safety Around Scotland"

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Carol Duncan

All times stated are UK

  1. Debate closing

    In closing, Transport Minister Keith Brown says Transport Scotland in taking on a range of measures like high visibility signage.

    Mr Brown says the Scottish government will do more, but says the devolution of further powers would allow more to be done..

    Transport Minister
    Image caption: Transport Minister

    The transport minister says he is happy to meet with Ron Beaty, who he says he has met on a number of occasions.

    Mr Brown says legislation will be brought forward by 2018 to ensure seat belts are fitted in all school transport

  2. 'Tireless commitment'

    Transport Minister Keith Brown praises Ron Beaty's tireless commitment and tenacity in campaigning to prevent school bus accidents.

    The Scottish government is taking forward a range of measures to increase safety on school transport,says the minister.

    Mr Brown says clear and visible signs showing the bus iscarrying young people are vital

    However the minister points out the power to legislate lies with Westminster which refuses to devolve the necessary powers to Scotland.

  3. 'Outstanding example'

    SNP MSP Christian Allard also congratulates Ron Beaty, saying the success of the Scottish Parliament is the Public Petitions Committee which allows people like Mr Beaty can have access to democracy.

    Lib Dem MSP Allison Mcinnes and Labour MSP Lewis MacDonald add their voices to the congratulations for Mr Beaty.

    "Ron Beaty is an outstanding example of an active citizen, affected by a tragic accident to a child on our roads, who has worked tirelessly to reduce the risk to other children of suffering in the way his granddaughter has done." Says Mr MacDonald.

    Mr Beaty has been calling for a law that stops vehicles passing any school bus as it loads or unloads pupils through the School Bus Safety Group.

  4. Praise for Ron Beaty

    MSPs including Alex Rowley and Mary Scanlon add to the praise and acknowledgement of the role Ron Beaty has played in keeping the issue of school bus safety high.

    Ron Beaty
    Image caption: Ron Beaty
  5. Alex Rowley

    Labour MSP Alex Rowley says he has some concerns about the pressures on local authority budgets, saying school transport is often an easy answer when they want to save money.

    He points out that parents parking too close to the school can create a hazard, and he often jokes that some parents would park in the playground if they could.

    The Labour MSP says we need to continue to be vigilant and ensure budgetary pressures do not compromise school transport.

  6. Ron Beaty

    Mr Stevenson congratulates Ron Beaty who has been campaigning about school bus safety since 2004 when his granddaughter Erin was left wheelchair bound after she was knocked down after getting off a school bus.

  7. Stationery school buses

    Mr Stevenson highlights the importance of prominent signage on school buses and flashing lights on the vehicle.

    SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson
    Image caption: SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson

    He stresses the importance of drivers respecting and being aware of stationery school buses.

  8. School bus safety motion

    Mr Stevenson's motion:

    That the Parliament notes the importance of school bus safety around Scotland and what it considers the important work of Ron Beaty of Gardenstown, whom it congratulates for his efforts on this issue, specifically in relation to bus safety signs and bus visibility; considers that there is a very real danger of school pupils being injured if the situation at present is allowed to continue as it understands that recommendations from Transport Scotland are not being carried out across the country, and hopes that the need to ensure the safety of children across Scotland is urgently recognised, acknowledging that Mr Beaty first petitioned the Parliament on this matter in 2005.

  9. Stewart Stevenson: "The Importance of School Bus Safety Around Scotland"

    Apologies the member's debate is now being led by Stewart Stevenson: "The Importance of School Bus Safety Around Scotland"

  10. Post update

  11. MSPs vote

    MSPs vote unanimously to pass the Historic Environment Scotland Bill.

    MSPs then vote unanimously to pass the motion from the debate on town centres, with the Tory amendment being defeated.

    They also vote to pass LCMs for UK legislation: the Deregulation Bill and the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill.

  12. Decision time

    MSPs will shortly vote on legislative consent motions for UK legislation: the Deregulation Bill and the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill.

    They will also vote on the motion and amendment from the debate on town centres and on whether to pass the Historic Environment Scotland Bill.

  13. New funding

    Publication of the report coincides with an announcement of close to £300,000 in funding towards two initiatives intended to support town centre regeneration.

    Melrose town centre
    Image caption: Melrose town centre

    The first is a programme of town centre planning pilots, which will see the Government provide nine local authorities with a share of £119,000 over two years to fund pilot schemes under the proactive planning theme.

    The other will see a grant of approximately £160,000 provided to the Scottish Business in the Community (SBC) to set up Business Hubs in four local authorities, including Angus, Ayrshire, Borders and Moray.

    The hubs would engage with businesses of all sizes and encourage them to work together to improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of their town centres.

  14. The Town Centre Action Plan - One Year On report

    The Town Centre Action Plan - One Year On report has been published ahead of a Parliamentary debate that will be led by Local Government and Planning Minister Derek Mackay today.

    The government says the report highlights a range of milestones that have been reached as part of the Action Plan, including:

    • Agreement between the Scottish Cabinet and COSLA on the Town Centre First Principle, where Government, public bodies, businesses and communities put the health of town centres at the heart of decision-making
    • An expansion of the Fresh Start business rates relief scheme to pubs, hotels and restaurants
    • Record numbers of business properties in Scotland benefiting from an extension of the Small Business Bonus Scheme, with 96,265 properties paying zero or reduced business rates in 2014-15, an increase of almost 4,000 properties since last year.
    • Growth in the number of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) helping to support economic growth in town centres. There are currently 27 BIDs, with ballots on a further eight expected before April 2015.
    • Recognition of the role of town centres in the new National Planning Framework 3 and Scottish Planning Policy
    • A share of £2.75 million in funding awarded to seven projects under the Town Centre Housing Fund, creating 82 units for affordable housing
    • A £186,000 grant to strengthen the role of the Scotland's Towns Partnership (STP) as the 'go-to' body for advice on town centre development
  15. Town Centre Action Plan

    The original Town Centre Action Plan includes:

    Image caption: Selkirk town centre
    • £2m to help bring empty town centre properties back into use
    • Work with Cosla to develop a town centre first principle, illustrated by demonstration projects
    • Powers for local authorities to establish Town Centre Investment Zones
    • £120,000 for Town Centre Charettes
    • A competition for entrepreneurs for regeneration ideas
    • Local government minister named as dedicated minister for town centres
    • Maintaining the Small Business Bonus Scheme for the life of the current parliament
    • Identify support priorities for Business Improvement District projects
    • Investigating expanding Scottish Future Trust "place-based reviews" that encourage town planning decisions with communities at the core
    • Expanding the 'Fresh Start' business rates relief from property with a rateable value of £45,000 to £65,000
  16. Labour

    Labour MSP Sarah Boyack says we need local authorities with more financial tools and capability to make the changes necessary for our town centres.

    Sarah Boyack

    Ms Boyack says the civic role of local authorities to make town centres attractive to people is crucial.

  17. Tory amendment

    Scottish Conservative MSP Gavin Brown's amendment : Town Centre Action Plan - One Year On—As an amendment to motion S4M-11386 in the name of Derek Mackay (Town Centre Action Plan - One Year On), insert at end "; however, in so doing, believes that the Scottish Government generally needs to improve its rate of progress, in particular with regard to the Business Rates Incentivisation Scheme, which has been a disappointment so far, and calls on the Scottish Government to give serious consideration to an updated Town Centre Regeneration Fund and to implement a relief scheme for retail properties that have a rateable value of up to £50,000".

  18. Conservatives

    Scottish Conservative MSP Gavin Brown says there is nothing in the motion he disagrees with.

    Gavin Brown

    However he says the actions of the Scottish government in closing courts in town centres and closing police counters in town centres contradicted the commitment to town centres.

  19. Town centre funding

    Mr Mackay says he announced £119k towards a programme of town centre planning pilots in collaboration with nine planning authorities, testing out ideas which will help simplify planning processes in town centres and help to encourage enterprise and innovation.

  20. Town centres first

    Planning Minister Derek MacKay says "The Action Plan sets out our strategic response to the key themes identified by the external advisory group who undertook the Town Centre Review.

    "It clearly shows where we need to align our main functions and policies in order to create the necessary conditions to support local vision and delivery."

    Derek MacKay

    "The Town Centre First Principle was agreed by Cabinet on 24 June and announced jointly with COSLA on 9 July.

    "It was the main ask from the national review. It calls on central government, local authorities, communities and the wider public sector to put town centres at the heart of proportionate and best value decision making."

  21. Scottish government motion:

    Local Government Minister Derek Mackay's motion: Town Centre Action Plan - One Year On—That the Parliament acknowledges the publication of the report, Town Centre Action Plan - One Year On, and notes cross-government delivery against each of the key themes; welcomes the partnership with COSLA and local government in the agreement and adoption of the Town Centre First Principle; is encouraged by the progress being made during the demonstration phase; agrees that local decision-making and delivery, good place-making and a renewed spirit of entrepreneurialism in town centres are key to their social and economic success; acknowledges the growing engagement and wider work underway by councils, communities and business across Scotland; encourages all parties to share and promote details about their activities through Scotland's Towns Partnership; looks forward to following the progress under the second year of the plan, and reiterates its call for elected representatives at all levels, local communities and wider public and private sector partners to continue to work together to revitalise Scotland's town centres.

  22. Scottish Government Debate: Town Centre Action Plan, One Year On

    Local Government Minister Derek Mackay leads a debate on the Town Centre Action Plan.

    Last year a series of proposals to revive Scotland's town centres was launched by the government.

    Plans included £2m to help bring empty town centre properties back into use, and more rates relief for businesses that take on these properties.

  23. Scottish Greens

    Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie says since before the Climate Change Act 2009 was passed he was concerned about the myth of Scottish Climate Change consensus, saying there was never consensus on how to meet the targets.

    Mr Harvie asks what the minister mean by RPP2 being delivered in full and will his government make energy efficiency in our housing stock a national priority.

    Patrick Harvie

    Mr Wheelhouse says we have to strive to achieve the proposals in RPP2.

  24. Lib Dems

    Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott asks why the cabinet sub-committee on climate change only met once in June, how many times it intends to meet and how important a role will it have.

    Tavish Scott

    Mr Wheelhouse says the cabinet sub-committee is being taken seriously and efforts will be made to have a shorter gap before its next meeting.

  25. Climate change targets

    The coal fuelled Ferrybridge power station

    In response to a question from Labour MSP Claudia Beamish, who asked if the government intended to meet its annual climate change targets, Mr Wheelhouse says the creation of the climate change sub-committee should help efforts to meet the annual targets.

  26. Conservatives

    Conservative MSP Jamie McGrigor asks if enough is being done about the energy efficiency of houses.

    Mr Wheelhouse says a lot of progress is being made on the issue.

  27. Labour

    Labour MSP Claire Baker says this is the third year in a row of the Scottish government missing its statutory targets which is hugely disappointing

    Ms Baker says we are in a difficult place, but it is clear we do have the potential to meet the targets if we just use the levers the Scottish government has at its disposal.

  28. Climate change reality

    We remain committed to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 42% by 2020 and by 80% by 2050, says Mr Wheelhouse.

    "Climate change is a reality it is happening now."

    "Scotland is making good progress but I also agree more needs to be done."

    Paul Wheelhouse

    Mr Wheelhouse acknowledges that targets, missed for the third year in a row, are difficult to meet: "The fixed annual targets are considerably more challenging than when they were set and may get more difficult still."

  29. Climate change sub-committee

    The environment and climate change minister reminds MSPs of the creation of the Scottish government's cabinet sub-committee on climate change.

    Mr Wheelhouse says we will work collectively to ensure each portfolio of the government does its best to tackle climate change.

  30. Target missed

    Environment and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse says Scotland is making good progress with a substantial net reduction.

    These percentage reductions mean Scotland is well on the way to its interim target of reducing emissions by 42% by 2020

    Mr Wheelhouse concedes Scotland missed it statutory target in tonnage of carbon.

    He says he will outline the measures to address this miss.

  31. Scottish Greenhouse Gas Emissions Annual Target Report: Ministerial statement

    Environment and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse gives a ministerial statement on the Scottish Greenhouse Gas Emissions Annual Target Report.

    Whitelee Wind Farm
    Image caption: Scotland is praised for its switch to renewable sources of energy

    A ministerial taskforce was appointed earlier this year, to get to grips with Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions after reduction targets were missed for the third year in a row.

    At the time Mr Wheelhouse said the cabinet sub-committee on climate change would aim to ensure co-ordination of the strategic response to emissions, which rose slightly (0.8%) in 2012, bucking a general downward trend over the last decade.

    In 2012, emissions were estimated to be 55.6 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e), above the target of 53.226 Mt.

  32. HES bill debate closes

    Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop closes what has been a very short and very consensual debate.

    It looks certain the Historic Environment Scotland Bill will be passed unanimously at decision time, which begins at the later time of 5.15pm today.

  33. Tory closing speech

    Conservative MSP Liz Smith says the identity of cultural aspects can define a whole community and pays tribute to the work that goes on at sites across Scotland to preserve the historic environment.

  34. Lib Dems

    Liam McArthur, in his closing speech, says the bill illustrates why the merger must not result in centralisation.

    The expertise of HES is an important resource for local councils, revenue raising cannot come at the expense of technical but more costly functions says the Lib Dem MSP

  35. Liz Smith

    Crichton Castle, Midlothian
    Image caption: Historic Scotland cares for castle, churches and monuments

    Liz Smith, speaking for the Scottish Conservatives, says her party warmly welcomes the bill as the logic behind it is sound and it will enhance Scotland's historic environment.

  36. Labour MSP Patricia Ferguson

    Labour's culture spokesperson Patricia Ferguson says the historic environment tells every story of every community in Scotland.

    Patricia Ferguson

    "It is perhaps our most green resource, changing function over time."

  37. Historic environment

    Ms Hyslop says the Historic Environment Scotland bill will deliver real and important benefits to the people of Scotland.

    She says the creation of Historic Environment Scotland (HES) will bring together the skills and resources of Historic Scotland and RCAHMS in one place.

    "Our historic environment must be part of the solution not part of the problem."

    The bill will create a lead body not a command body, insists the cabinet secretary.

  38. HES bill debate

    Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop begins the final debate on the Historic Environment Scotland Bill.

    The new body, HES, will take on the functions currently carried out by Historic Scotland and RCAHMS, including those relating to:

    -protecting and managing the historic environment

    -listed buildings

    Edinburgh Castle
    Image caption: Edinburgh Castle

    -scheduled monuments

    -promotion of understanding of the historic environment and its collections

    -leadership with regard to the historic environment.

    After the debate two MSPs tried to raise points of order relating to first minister's questions.

  39. Minister's amendments passed

    Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop speaks to her technical amendments to the bill.

    Fiona Hyslop

    The technical amendments are duly unanimously passed.

    Ms Hyslop then speaks to amendments on the determination of appeals by the Scottish ministers, which are also passed unanimously.

  40. Tory amendment falls

    Liz Smith sees her amendments defeated with 44 MSPs backing them and with 65 MSPs voting against.

  41. Conservative amendment

    Conservative MSP Liz Smith explains there could be conflicts of interests for HES with the bill as it stands.

    Liz Smith

    Ms Smith's amendments refers to the extent of compliance with directions.

    The culture secretary says she agrees the corporate plan for HES must have the highest status, but must oppose the amendments.

  42. Amendment defeated

    The Lib Dem amendment is defeated with 45 MSPs backing it and 62 voting against.

  43. Lib Dem amendment

    And we're back after that five minute suspension and MSPs are voting on Lib Dem Liam McArthur's amendment

  44. HES first vote

    Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop says it is not that she thinks the word "maintenance" in Liam McArthur's amendment is not important it is that it could be detrimental to HES.

    Fiona Hyslop

    As this is the first amendment to be voted on we will have a five minute suspension.

  45. Lib Dem amendment

    Orkney Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur is speaking to an amendment to the Historic Environment Scotland (HES) Bill.

    Liam McArthur

    Mr McArthur's amendment relates to the functions of HES to add a requirement to owners to promote the maintenance of the historic environment.

  46. Historic Environment Scotland Bill Stage 3

    MSPs unanimously agreed with the general principles of the Historic Environment Scotland Bill after its Stage 1 debate on 19 June 2014.

    The bill proposes the merger of Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS).

    Stirling Castle

    Its main provisions deal with the establishment of a new Non-Departmental Public Body, Historic Environment Scotland.

    Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said the central purpose of the bill was to create a single modern body with clearly defined functions.

  47. Justice secretary

    Ms White asks "what kind of limbo" will Scotland be put into if the UK government does not stay within the EAW.

    Kenny MacAskill

    Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill says the EAW has served us well, adding this is political posturing from down south which is "damaging to all of us in our society who wish to see justice done".

  48. What is the EAW?

    The EAW operates EU-wide and replaced separate extradition arrangements between the EU member states. The EAW was introduced in January 2004, and was prompted by the international anti-terror drive after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US.

    A national judicial authority, such as a court, can issue an EAW to get a suspect extradited. For an EAW to be valid, the suspect must be accused of an offence incurring a maximum penalty of at least a year in prison, or must have been already sentenced to at least four months in prison.

    The EAW means faster and simpler surrender procedures for suspects. EU states can no longer refuse to extradite one of their citizens on grounds of nationality. Extradition no longer requires a political decision for a suspect to be handed over. The EAW means mutual recognition of criminal justice systems in the EU.

  49. European Arrest Warrant

    SNP MSP Sandra White asks the Scottish government how the decision to hold a vote on the future of the European Arrest Warrant before 20 November could impact on justice in Scotland.

    Sandra White

    There will be a vote in the Commons, ahead of the Rochester and Strood by-election, on whether the UK should continue with the European Arrest Warrant, which is considered essential by the prime minister, the Home Office and the police.

    However some Tory backbenchers are unhappy with the EAW.

  50. Health secretary

    Health Secretary Alex Neil reiterates his announcement of a new £40m GP development fund.

    Alex Neil

    Mr Neil says since the tenure of the SNP government has increased funding to primary care services by 10%, leading to an increase of GPs by 5.7%

  51. GP Funding

    The first topical question today is from Lib Dem MSP Jim Hume, whose question has been somewhat overtaken by events.

    He is asking about the failure to fund GPs adequately.

    However Health Secretary Alex Neil has announced an additional £40m is being made available to help GP practices in the most deprived areas of Scotland.

    A close-up shot of a doctor writing a prescription

    The funding is part of the Scottish government's budget for next year.

    It will also help GPs working in remote rural communities and those looking after a significant proportion of very elderly patients.

  52. Topical questions

    Topical questions will begin shortly.

    Lib Dem MSP Jim Hume will ask the Scottish government what its response is to reports that patients are being put at risk by its failure to adequately fund GPs.

    SNP MSP Sandra White: To ask the Scottish government how the decision to hold a vote on the future of the European Arrest Warrant before 20 November could impact on justice in Scotland.

  53. Time for Reflection

    Today's Time for Reflection will begin at 2pm and will be delivered by the Reverend Alastair H Symington MA BD, Member of the Kirk Session, Minister Emeritus Troon Old Parish Church and a Chaplain to the Queen in Scotland.

  54. Chamber business

    Welcome back and shortly we will be covering topical questions on GP funding and the European Arrest Warrant.

    Then there will be a ministerial statement on the Scottish Greenhouse Gas Emissions Annual Target report, after the government missed the target three years in a row.

    Holyrood chamber

    Next up is the Scottish government debate on its Town Centre Action Plan, one year after its instigation.

    SNP MSP Sandra White will round of the day with a member's debate flagging up the plight of renowned American musician Dr Steve Forman who has taught at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland for the last six years.

    Dr Forman has played with Pink Floyd, John Lennon and Fleetwood Mac in his time. He is not on benefits and earns enough to get by but not enough for the UK government to allow him to remain in Glasgow.

  55. Committee concludes and coming up

    That brings us to an end of the public part of the Health Committee.

    In the afternoon, after topical questions, MSPs will debate the Historic Environment Scotland Bill for the last time before voting to pass the legislation.

    Scottish Parliament building
    Image caption: Scottish Parliament

    Then there will be a ministerial statement on the Scottish Greenhouse Gas Emissions Annual Target report, after the government missed the target three years in a row.

    Next up is the Scottish government debate on its Town Centre Action Plan, one year after its instigation.

    SNP MSP Sandra White will round of the day with a member's debate flagging up the plight of renowned American musician Dr Steve Forman who has taught at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland for the last six years.

    Dr Forman has played with Pink Floyd, John Lennon and Fleetwood Mac in his time. He is not on benefits and earns enough to get by but not enough for the UK government to allow him to remain in Glasgow.

  56. Combined effort

    Hospital room. Pic: SPL

    A meeting will be held with Local Government Minister Derek MacKay and Finance Secretary John Swinney to try to significantly reduce the problem of delayed discharges says the health secretary.

    Mr Neil says it is "one of my top priorities" to address delayed discharges by working with local authorities.

  57. 'Stacking shelves'

    Mr Neil says he is working with Cosla, as the Scottish government recognises we are not paying enough for residential care and the need for the living wage to be introduced for staff and says in areas like Aberdeen you can earn more stacking shelves than working in a care home.

  58. Delayed discharge

    Mr Neil says delayed discharges from hospital are a problem due to local authorities having difficult in providing appropriate follow-up care assessments, which in turn means that beds needed for people coming out of A&E are occupied by people who could be discharged from hospital.

    The health secretary says the debate is about: "The quality of provision and not just the quantity of provision."

  59. NHS Targets

    SNP MSP Richard Lyle asks about how many targets are presently in place in the NHS, do we have too many targets in place or should we have more.

    Mr Neil says looking at the heat targets, there are 12 with most to be achieved by March 2015.

    "We need to look at where we go from there".

    NHS hospital

    He praises the treatment time guarantee for bringing down waiting lists to 12 weeks for most health boards and the turnaround time of 4 hours for A and E which he says is unanimously backed by clinicians.

    There is room for debate on the worth of some of the other heat targets, concedes the health secretary.

  60. Meeting priorities

    Christine McLaughlin, from the Scottish government, says there is an element of strategy and evaluation on how spending is delivering results.

    Christine McLaughlin

    Ms McLaughlin says the process could be improved: "We're looking at a more priority based spending review... and could do more on quantification of projects."

  61. 'Worried sick'

    SNP MSP Bob Doris focuses on mental health improvement and service delivery.

    Bob Doris

    Mr Doris highlights the SAMH Worried Sick Report, which details the impact of welfare reforms on people's mental health.

  62. Room for improvement

    Spending money efficiently and effectively is an area of improvement says the health secretary: "We need to get better at evaluating what we're doing so we know where we get the best bang for the buck."

    Mr Neil says it is something that most government's could improve.

  63. Health and social care integration

    Alex Neil says the integration fund of £100m is not a successor to the change funds, it is to "oil the wheels of the transition" to integrated health and social care, part of that jigsaw to help the transition.

  64. Tobacco trouble

    Dr Richard Simpson says since 2005 alcohol consumption in Scotland has been dropping, but tobacco has flatlined for the last few years, "we seem to be stuck".

    He says the most deprived areas are still smoking at a level of around 38%.

    Woman smoking

    He says the budget line reflects a complacency the strategy does not reflect.

    Mr Neil says we spend a lot on public health, but we could and should be doing more in terms of exercise and diet as well as alcohol and tobacco.

  65. 2020 Vision welcome

    Labour MSP, Dr Richard Simpson welcomes the government's 2020 Vision.

    Richard Simpson

    He asks if a link could be provided to the local development plans which are supposed to have primary care highlighted, but in the ones he has seen that is not the case.

  66. Recruitment challenges

    Alex Neil outlines the "challenges in terms of recruiting and retaining the people we need".

    He says these are difficulties in getting people to move to rural and island communities, feminisation of the workforce, a general trend towards part-time working of people in their 50s as they head towards retirement and pension changes which means doctors are taking retirement earlier.

  67. GP bureaucracy

    The health secretary says he is keen to involve all stakeholders and all the political parties in driving forward improvements in the NHS, adding he wants to take as much politics out of the health sector as possible.

    He highlights the extra £40m in GP funding and says it is a "worthwhile investment" and part of a general strategy to further enhance primary care.

    Mr Neil also says it is important to reduce the bureaucracy GPs face to allow them more time with their patients.

  68. Community services

    Health Secretary Alex Neil says mental health provision has been deinstitutionalised and that the same should happen with primary health and social care: "So we can stop admitting people to hospital unnecessarily and treat them in the community."

  69. GP funding

    Mr Neil's appearance coincides with his announcement of an additional £40m being made available to help GP practices in the most deprived areas of Scotland.

    The funding is part of the Scottish government's budget for next year.

    A close-up shot of a doctor writing a prescription

    The extra funding will also help GPs working in remote rural communities and those looking after a significant proportion of very elderly patients.

    The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has warned a lack of adequate funding for GPs is putting patients at risk.

  70. Audit Scotland

    Last week Audit Scotland said the NHS in Scotland is finding it "increasingly difficult to cope" with the "significant pressures" being placed on it..

    The public body watchdog said NHS budgets were tightening at the same time as demand for health services was increasing.

    And it said the NHS had not met waiting time targets, and may not be able to do so in the future.

    NHS A+E sign

    Health Secretary Alex Neil said the Scottish government's long-term vision for the NHS would be "refreshed".

    This was to ensure it "reflects the increasing demands from patients and the new way services will be delivered under health and social care integration", he said.

    The Audit Scotland report said progress towards the Scottish government's vision of a more community-based health system by 2020 had been "slow".

  71. 2020 vision

    Alex Neil

    Mr Neil says Scotland's health is improving at a slower rate than other European countries so the government will continue on its preventative agenda.

    The health secretary details the spending plans for 2015-16 and says the government is committed to publically funded health services in Scotland.

    He says he will publish an update to the government's 2020 vision in the new year.

  72. NHS budget

    SNP MSP Aileen Macleod welcomes the increase in NHS budget of £256 which will see health spending rise above £12bn for the first time.

    Operating theatre

    The overall increase of £256 million in health resource spending - exceeding the Barnett consequentials - was announced by Finance Secretary John Swinney in his Budget statement.

    It will see a 2.2 per cent increase on frontline NHS resource spending.

    Additional Capital funding will take the overall increase to £288m in 2015-16, bringing the total health budget to £12.16 billion.

  73. Health Secretary

    Health Secretary Alex Neil gives an opening statement to the committee.

    Mr Neil says the NHS is "an asset which is precious to us all".

    He says the vision for 2020 is that "everyone is able to live longer and healthier lives at home or in a homely setting".