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Live Reporting

Craig Hutchison and Ailsa Brown

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all folks

    That ends BBC Scotland's Democracy Live coverage of the Scottish parliament on Tuesday 31 March 2015.

    Holyrood at night

    Have a good evening, we'll be back tomorrow morning with coverage of the Finance Committee, which will take evidence from the OBR and the Scottish Fiscal Commission from 9.30am.

  2. Screening programme evaluation

    Public Health Minister Maureen Watt says screening is not without risk.

    Ms Watt says there is a programme of research to improve the management of potential Strep B infections.

    The minister says it is hoped the NSC will be able to evaluate the case for a screening programme later this year or early next year.

  3. No national screening programme

    Public Health Minister Maureen Watt says it is without doubt distressing to all involved when a baby dies and she expresses her deepest sympathies to any family who has lost a baby.

    Ms Watt says the expert evidence said a national screening programme should not be introduced and the government listened to that advice.

    Public Health Minister Maureen Watt
    Image caption: Public Health Minister Maureen Watt

    The minister says testing cannot completely predict which mothers would have Strep B when going into Labour.

  4. Strep B 'usually harmless'

    Scottish Conservative MSP Nanette Milne says Strep B is usually harmless, 99% of babies born to a carrier are born without infection.

    Conservative MSP Nanette Milne
    Image caption: Conservative MSP Nanette Milne

    However, she details the serious GBS infection complications for a baby.

    Late onset infection can be treated successfully, but can lead to meningitis which can lead to deafness, blindness or even death says the former GP.

  5. 'Very traumatic'

    SNP MSP Dennis Robertson says the death of any child is very traumatic for parents - especially at a time when we should be in a state of joy and celebration.

    He says he cannot imagine having a new born baby die - it is a dreadful situation .

    SNP MSP Dennis Robertson
    Image caption: SNP MSP Dennis Robertson

    The Aberdeenshire West says if this can be prevented then that is something we should try to ensure happens.

    I believe there are occasions when parents' choice is perhaps better than clinical choice, says Mr Robertson.

  6. Argument for routine testing

    Ms McDougall concludes saying: "I hope today I have laid out firm argument as to why routine GBS testing should be offered in Scotland."

    She says universal testing been shown to dramatically reduce instances of infection and complications of the baby.

  7. Praise for campaign

    Ms McDougall congratulate Jackie Watt for her stoic campaign calling for routine screening of GBS.

    Jackie Watt's first granddaughter Lola died two years ago.

    Ms Watt has a current petiton before Holyrood, 'Awareness of Strep B in Pregnancy and Infants'.

    The petition calls on the Scottish parliament to urge the Scottish government to introduce new guidelines advising that all expectant mothers are given information about Strep B and are either screened for Strep B as a matter of routine or given information on where to go if they wish to be tested privately.

  8. Testing

    The Labour MSP says that the incidence of early-onset GBS infection in England, Wales and Northern Ireland has remained unchanged since prevention strategies were first introduced in 2003 and that in Scotland it has increased from 0.21 per 1,000 live births in 2000 to 0.47 in 2012.

    Many countries, including the USA, Canada, Germany and Spain, offer routine testing for GBS at 35 to 37 weeks of pregnancy she says.

    Ms McDougall says although the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists does not recommend routine testing, the Scottish government is not bound by this approach, and calls for the government to introduce guidelines so that hospitals in Scotland provide expectant mothers with information regarding GBS and either offer routine testing or provide information on how testing can be accessed privately.

  9. Awareness of Group B Streptococcus

    Labour MSP Margaret McDougall is leading a debate on the awareness of Group B Streptococcus.

    Labour MSP Margaret McDougall
    Image caption: Labour MSP Margaret McDougall

    Ms McDougall says there is lack of public awareness regarding group B streptococcus (GBS) and the effects that it can have on newborn babies.

    She says that in the UK GBS infects over 500 babies every year and that 340 will develop early-onset GBS infection and one in 10 of them will die.

  10. Decision time

    MSPs backs the motion from Rural Affairs Committee convener Rob Gibson, on the dairy industry inquiry, unanimously.

    MSPs voting
    Image caption: MSPs voting
  11. Debate ends

    Mr Dey praises the work of Grahams Dairy and their plans for a new £20m facility in Stirling are most welcome.

    Milk

    The SNP MSP says the investment in the Campbeltown Creamery is also most welcome.

    He closes saying he wants everyone to work towards producing a "sustainable and equitable profitable dairy industry in Scotland".

  12. Scottish brand

    Mr Dey says the committee has found a means about improving the situation.

    The SNP MSP says the measures highlighted in the debate, like the Scottish government's action plan and today's announcement of funding for First Milk, are as welcome as they are essential.

    He says the new Scottish brand to be launched is also welcome, with Scottish cheese bringing in three times as much if sold abroad as opposed to sales in Scotland.

  13. Committee closes

    Rural Affairs Committee Deputy Convener Graeme Dey is the final speaker in the dairy industry debate.

    Rural Affairs Committee Deputy Convener Graeme Dey
    Image caption: Rural Affairs Committee Deputy Convener Graeme Dey
  14. Milk measures

    Mr Lochhead highlights the creation of a Scottish dairy brand and the Scottish government's dairy action plan, as well as other measures to tackle the milk crisis.

    He says this should help dairy farmers weather the current volatility.

    The minister says the dairy sector must make the best of the opportunities on its own doorstep and he calls for the support of retailers with this.

  15. Untapped potential

    Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead says we are essentially discussing an unfortunate irony, where top quality producers are making top quality products but are struggling to make a profit.

    Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead
    Image caption: Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead

    There is the untapped potential for greater sales overseas and filling our shelves here with Scottish products, he says.

    Mr Lochhead says there have been ups and downs in dairy sector over the last few yeas but hopefully now we can bring about the changes required.

  16. 'Better promotion'

    Sarah Boyack says she says she hopes there will be better dissemination of good practice.

    She calls for better promotion of Scottish produce and better marketing.

  17. Labour closing

    Labour MSP Sarah Boyack says it is a hugely competitive industry, but there is still more that we could see from producers to help promote discussions of how to go forward.

    Labour MSP Sarah Boyack
    Image caption: Labour MSP Sarah Boyack

    Ms Boyack says the 'Kintyre Please? Yes Please' should be emulated across Scotland.

  18. 'Kintyre Cheese? Yes Please'

    Mr McGrigor praises the NFU for the forthcoming campaign 'Kintyre Cheese? Yes Please'.

    NFU Scotland is launching its 'Kintyre Cheese? Yes Please' campaign to encourage members of the public to buy Mull of Kintyre Cheddar, and support dairy farmers within the area.

    NFUS President Allan Bowie will be visiting Campbeltown to take part in the campaign alongside local dairy farmers and NFUS staff in an effort to increase the amount of local cheese bought by consumers.

    As part of the campaign, promotional bumper and car stickers, and roadside banners have been produced promoting the phrase: 'Kintyre Cheese, Yes Please!' with free samples to be given out at The Co-operative Food store, Campbeltown, from 11am to 2pm on April 7.

    As well as the two major supermarkets now stocking Mull of Kintyre Cheddar and Campbeltown Creamery, other smaller outlets in and around Campbeltown are also stocking the cheese within their stores.

  19. 'Sound financial footing'

    Conservative MSP Jamie McGrigor highlights the impact of transport costs on dairy farmers in Bute and Ghia.

    Mr McGrigor says the financial pressures facing First Milk itself are well known and everyone wants to see it on a sound financial footing.

    Conservative MSP Jamie McGrigor
    Image caption: Conservative MSP Jamie McGrigor

    He welcomes the government's action plan and the announcement of £450,000 over the coming weeks.

  20. 'Short shelf-life of liquid milk'

    Lid Dem MSP Jim Hume says the dairy industry provides £400m to our GDP.

    Mr Hume, himself a farmer, says most of our milk is for the home market, whereas New Zealand produces 95% of its dairy products for export.

    Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Jim Hume
    Image caption: Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Jim Hume

    "In Scotland we are too reliant on the short shelf-life of liquid milk."

    The Lib Dem says the industry must build on the strengths of the co-operatives.

  21. 'Help transportation costs now'

    SNP MSP Mike Russell says there are particular difficulties for the 50 dairy farmers in Bute and Argyll.

    The situation they are in is much worse as they are in a monopoly with First Milk, not a market and they receive the lowest price it is possible to pay, around 15p per litre from tomorrow, with reductions.

    SNP MSP Michael Russell
    Image caption: SNP MSP Michael Russell

    This is vastly below the cost of production, he says.

    The Argyll and Bute MSP says there must be help on transportation costs now.

  22. BACKGROUND: Graham's Dairy jobs

    A Scottish family dairy firm plans to build a £20m new facility in Stirling, creating 450 new jobs.

    Graham's The Family Dairy has revealed plans to build a new dairy, research and training facility at Craigforth.

    The new £20m facility could create hundreds of new jobs and 50 apprenticeships
    Image caption: The new £20m facility could create hundreds of new jobs and 50 apprenticeships

    The 150,000 sq ft facility would include production lines for milk, cream, cheese and butter as well as a research centre for developing new products.

    The Graham family has been farming in Stirlingshire for five generations.

  23. Dairy Action plan

    Mr Fergusson says the dairy action plan is absolutely right calling for better labelling of truly Scottish products and in calling for them getting premium shelf space in supermarkets.

    The Tory MSP says the farmers and processors must add value at every opportunity.

    Scottish government plan
    Image caption: Scottish government's Dairy Action Plan

    "The good news is that the future is bright for the dairy industry if this plan could be fully implemented it could be brighter still."

  24. 'Causes of the crisis'

    Scottish Conservative MSP Alex Fergusson highlights the dairy farmers protesting about low prices for their milk from processors in 2012.

    Mr Fergusson says the resultant voluntary code worked well for a brief while.

    Conservative MSP Alex Fergusson
    Image caption: Conservative MSP Alex Fergusson

    He says the causes of this crisis are principally global.

  25. 'Short term'

    Ms Boyack says if the price paid for milk does not cover costs, then it is easy to see why it is a difficult industry to stay in at the moment.

    Bird pecking milk bottle

    If the price of milk does not cover the cost of production then it is unsustainable, says the Labour MSP, saying while the long term prospects for the industry are optimistic support must be provided in the short term.

  26. New markets needed

    Labour MSP Sarah Boyack says for all of us the dairy industry is an important part of our economy, but particularly so for the islands.

    Ms Boyack says we need new markets for milk and where new jobs can be created in Scotland.

    Labour MSP Sarah Boyack
    Image caption: Labour MSP Sarah Boyack

    She says with global competition and global markets we really need to focus on what we can do in the short term.

  27. First Milk funding announcement

    Mr Lochhead says First Milk accounts for 25% of our 900 dairy farmers.

    The minister announces funding of £450,000 for First Milk which can be drawn down in the next few weeks.

  28. 'Top the charts'

    Mr Lochhead says we have to get more Scottish dairy products onto shelves in supermarkets and challenge foreign countries brands which top the charts in yoghurt and cheese.

  29. Cheese

    SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson asks what can be done to get Americans to eat our cheese and dairy products and put aside their cheese in tinfoil.

    Orkney cheese

    The minister says we certainly make real cheese in this country and says he will encourage Americans to eat more.

  30. 'Remain optimistic'

    Mr Lochhead says the crisis is a result of large scale international events in Russia and China affecting demand.

    He says too much of the Scottish industry has failed to add value to liquid milk and products.

    The prospects for the sector do remain good and we should remain optimistic, says Mr Lochhead.

    Our dairy farmers are amongst the most skilled in Europe, he says, they must weather the current storm.

  31. A shining light

    Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead says the committee's inquiry "helped shine a light on issues that affect our dairy sector in Scotland at the moment".

    Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead
    Image caption: Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead

    The dairy sector is extremely important to Scotland and is at the heart of the agricultural and food sectors, he says.

    Mr Lochhead says the dairy farm sector output is key to the rural economy.

  32. 'Wake up call'

    Mr Gibson says it is deeply regrettably that the situation at First Milk happened, but it was a wake up call.

    If there is a silver lining, it is that the committee focused on the industry and shone a light on part of the supply chain, which has been and still is shrouded in too much darkness.

    He says he is hopeful the entire Scottish dairy industry is in a better place and has a brighter future.

  33. 'Ethically reprehensible practices'

    Mr Gibson urges all major retailers to work with the adjudicator and others against any ethically reprehensible practices in the milk chain.

    Trying to buy Scottish milk can be like trying to find "wild haggis", says Mr Gibson.

  34. Transparency

    Mr Gibson says we must "improve transparency" on the pricing of milk.

    Customers have a right to know what producers are being paid for their products, he says.

    One pound for four pints of milk is attractive to consumers, he says but where does it leave the dairy farmers.

  35. BACKGROUND: Milk prices

    Supermarket milk prices:

    Milk bottles
    • Duncan Sinclair from Waitrose: 33.1p per litre
    • Steve McLean from Marks and Spencer: 34.256p per litre
    • Calum Kirk from the Co-Operative Food: 29.84p per litre
    • Tom Hind from Tesco: 32 p per litre
    • John Richardson from Aldi: Milk from Grahams Dairy who pay 26.5p per litre
    • James Bailey from Sainsbury's: 31.6p per litre
    • Björn Nierhaus Lidl. Milk from Grahams Dairy who pay 26.5p per litre
  36. 'Perfect storm'

    Mr Gibson says the committee heard there had been a "perfect storm" that led to the dairy crisis.

    He says in the end there was too much supply of milk and not enough demand.

    The convener says the committee heard more positive sounds about the medium to longer term.

  37. BACKGROUND: Scottish government dairy action plan

    The Scottish government dairy action plan aims to improve the resilience of the Scottish dairy sector and provide the right platform to ensure the entire sector can thrive in the context of volatile market prices.

    Cows a milking

    The plan amalgamates new and existing activities that the Scottish Government, its agencies and others will take forward together to underpin that aim.

    It also takes account of the recommendations made by the Scottish Parliament's Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee following its own enquiry into the Scottish Dairy Industry.

  38. 'Short, snappy inquiry'

    Rural Affairs Committee Convener Rob Gibson MSP says it has been a "short, snappy inquiry into the developing crisis in the milk industry".

    Rural Affairs Committee Convener Rob Gibson MSP
    Image caption: Rural Affairs Committee Convener Rob Gibson MSP

    Mr Gibson says he is delighted the committee's points have been taken into account in the Scottish government's Dairy Action Plan published last week.

  39. Ministerial response

    Learning Minister Alasdair Allan says the fact £1bn a year is being given to Scotland shows the commitment of the government to higher education.

    Learning Minister Alasdair Allan
    Image caption: Learning Minister Alasdair Allan
  40. University of Aberdeen

    Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald asks what discussions took place between the Scottish Funding Council and the University of Aberdeen before the announcement of a £10.5 million budget reduction and the loss of 150 jobs.

  41. Private medicine

    Conservative MSP Nanette Milne says it is depressing we are seeing the politicisation of the NHS.

    Conservative MSP Nanette Milne
    Image caption: Conservative MSP Nanette Milne

    Ms Milne asks how many patients have been treated in private outside of Scotland.

    The minister says she will write to Ms Milne.

  42. Recruiting

    Lib Dem MSP Jim Hume says the SNP should take the 300% rise as a stark warning on recruiting.

    Scottish Liberal Democrat Jim Hume
    Image caption: Scottish Liberal Democrat Jim Hume

    Mr Hume asks for details of how the minister will deal with the staffing crisis.

    Ms Robison accuses Mr Hume of being hypocritical given the record in the NHS down south.

  43. Ministerial response

    Health Secretary Shona Robison says use of the independent sector has actually fallen this year.

    Ms Marra says the decrease is only a handful of patients, the figure for private hospital use is more than four times than a decade ago.

    Health Secretary Shona Robison
    Image caption: Health Secretary Shona Robison

    The health secretary says over the last decade the number of patients treated overall has massively increased too.

    Ms Robison says the government has introduced a £15m new performance fund which will help reduce private spend particularly in NHS Lothian.

  44. BACKGROUND: Private hospitals

    According to the Sunday Post the number of NHS patients being treated in private hospitals has rocketed by more than 300% despite pledges to halt privatisation.

    The paper says new figures revealed 6,417 patients were farmed out to private facilities last year, as hospitals struggle to hit stringent waiting time targets.

    Surgeons

    The figure is more than FOUR times the 1,560 NHS patients treated privately just a decade ago.

  45. We're off

    Labour MSP Jenny Marra asks what the reason is for a reported 300% rise in the number of NHS patients treated in private hospitals.

    Labour MSP Jenny Marra
    Image caption: Labour MSP Jenny Marra
  46. Topical questions

    MSPs will quiz Scottish government minister's at topical question time, shortly.

    The following questions have been selected:

    1. Jenny Marra: To ask the Scottish Government for what reason there has been a reported 300% rise in the number of NHS patients treated in private hospitals. (S4T-00987)

    2. Lewis Macdonald: To ask the Scottish Government what discussions took place between the Scottish Funding Council and the University of Aberdeen before the announcement of a £10.5 million budget reduction and the loss of 150 jobs.

  47. Time for Reflection

    Reverend Lynn McChlery, the minister from Eaglesham Parish Church, in East Renfrewshire, is delivering time for reflection.

    Reverend Lynn McChlery, Minister from Eaglesham Parish Church
    Image caption: Reverend Lynn McChlery, Minister from Eaglesham Parish Church
  48. Coming up

    Topical questions begins at 2.05pm where the Scottish government will be quizzed on private hospitals and Aberdeen University job losses.

    This will be followed by a debate on the Rural Affairs Committee's dairy industry inquiry.

    More cows

    Last item of the day will be a member's debate on Awareness of Group B Streptococcus, led by Labour MSP Margaret McDougall.

  49. Private session

    The committee is now in private session.

    Holyrood

    We will be back at 2pm with time for reflection.

    This committee will shortly be available to view at BBC Scotland's Democracy Live.

  50. Committee draws to a close

    SNP MSP Richard Lyle asks asks when will the NHS reach three cycles across all boards.

    Nurse + IVF

    Dr Lyall says hopefully the evidence will have been gathered by the end of this year to allow us to make a reasoned decision.

  51. Self-funding

    Dr Graham MacKenzie from NHS Lothian says he was against self-funding when he began work in fertility, but having talked to colleagues has changed his mind.

    Self-funding can allow a couple who have had a child by IVF on the NHS to have a sibling, says Dr MacKenzie.

  52. Counselling

    Labour MSP Dr Richard Simpsons asks about counselling and continuity of support for couples, as many will suffer from depression at some stage in the IVF process.

    Dr Vanessa Kay from NHS Tayside says there is counselling support, but patients do not have a named support person throughout treatment.

    Dr Abha Maheshwari from NHS Grampian says they have a named counsellor in the unit and all their nurses are trained in counselling.

    Dr Mackenzie says counselling is offered verbally during all consultations.

  53. 'Risk'

    Dr Graham MacKenzie from NHS Lothian says there is always a risk with IVF treatment.

    He says some couples become very distressed when no further treatment is available on the NHS.

    Dr Lyall says there is a risk in terms of IVF partly in egg collection (small risk) and a small risk risk of over stimulation

    That's where, if possible, she likes to use frozen embryos before a further fresh cycle says the doctor.

    She says psychological risk is something she takes very seriously - all the units have a counselling service.

  54. 'Implications'

    SNP MSP Richard Lyle says the cost of an average cycle is £3,600 and asks why are three cycles not available universally in Scotland.

    Helen Lyall says all anybody is saying is there is a need to understand the implications of that first.

    Mr Lyle says a couple waiting for a third cycle can be in a "very, very, very traumatic situation" and may be told they many not get a third cycle.

    IVF being performed by fertility doctor
    Image caption: IVF being performed by fertility doctor

    Dr Lyall points to finance and says guaranteeing a third cycle could lead to waiting lists going up again.

    Dr Abha Maheshwari from NHS Grampian says all clinicians are keen to provide a third cycle, but the implications need to be thought through and planning put in place.

  55. Same-sex couples

    Dr Kay says same-sex couples are treated, but single people are not,

    A couple needs to be in a relationship for over one year in NHS Tayside.

    Helen Lyall says the definition of a a couple in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is a couple living together in stable relationship for two years.

    Dr Lyall says there is no discrimination on race, gender or sexual orientation.

  56. BACKGROUND: National Fertility Group Report

    National Fertility Group Report

    The report recommends the next step would be adoption by all NHS Boards of:

    • Eligible patients may be offered up to three cycles of IVF/ICSI where there is a reasonable expectation of a live birth
    • One partner has no genetic child - as long as all further criteria are met by both partners. Currently the criterion that there should be no child in the home, as outlined in EAGISS, stands.
    • The Group clearly recognises the importance of taking decisions on any further criteria introductions at national level to ensure that equity is retained across
    • Scotland as services are expanded.
    • The Scottish Government has invested £12 million, over the past 3 years, to ensure equity of access to IVF treatment.
  57. Balance

    Dr Vanessa Kay from NHS Tayside says her board has to assess whether there is a reasonable chance of being successful and balance that with the risks of IVF.

  58. Pre-existing health conditions

    Are there any other factors apart from smoking, alcohol, obesity taken into account, asks Mr Robertson.

    Ms Lyall says general lifestyle factors are always discussed as well as pre=existing health conditions.

  59. 'Affordability'

    SNP MSP Dennis Robertson asks if the three cycles recommendation is down to affordability.

    Helen Lyall says inevitably the question of affordability has to come into it.

  60. BACKGROUND: IVF Charity

    A charity is calling for couples in Scotland who need help conceiving to have access to three cycles of IVF instead of two.

    In 2013 a working group, set up by the Scottish government, recommended eligible couples should be offered up to three treatments.

    IVF

    But that would only be after health boards had reduced IVF waiting times.

    Infertility Network UK said it was a "no-brainer" there should now be three cycles as waiting times have fallen.

  61. Increase in consultants

    Dr Abha Maheshwari, Consultant Gynaecologist and Subspecialist in Reproductive Medicine and Surgery, NHS Grampian
    Image caption: Dr Abha Maheshwari, Consultant Gynaecologist and Subspecialist in Reproductive Medicine and Surgery, NHS Grampian

    Dr Abha Maheshwari from NHS Grampian says instead of one fertility consultant four years ago we now have three consultants which allows us to provide more cycles.

  62. 'Increased workload'

    Helen Lyall from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde says however man cycles we provide will lead to an increased workload that must be part of the consideration.

  63. Three cycles

    Helen Lyall from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde says she is not aware of any reluctance in terms of providing extra cycles.

    When the National Infertility Group took two years considering this it was striving for equality of waiting times across Scotland, which has been achieved and which she is very proud of.

    Any number of additional cycles provided increases the chances of pregnancy, which is why we do what we do.

    Providing more cycles is desirable but must be seen in the context of the NHS.

    The NIG said three cycles is optimum.

  64. BACKGROUND: Cycles

    Most of the time in IVF clinics in the UK, eggs are taken, fertilised and the resulting embryos implanted.

    New IVF criteria was introduced in Scotland in 2013
    Image caption: New IVF criteria was introduced in Scotland in 2013

    This is thought of as using fresh embryos.

    However, about one in five cycles of IVF in the UK uses frozen embryos - these were "spare" embryos kept from a previous IVF attempt.

  65. 'Postcode lottery' ends

    Dr Vanessa Kay from NHS Tayside says there used to be a postcode lottery as to what one cycle was termed but that has been standardised now.

    Dr Vanessa Kay, Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, NHS Tayside
    Image caption: Dr Vanessa Kay, Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, NHS Tayside
  66. Fresh Embryo Cycle

    Helen Lyall from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde says traditionally once cycle was viewed as the fresh embryo transfer.

    Helen Lyall, Consultant Gynaecologist and Clinical lead Assisted Conception Unit Glasgow Royal Infirmary, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
    Image caption: Helen Lyall, Consultant Gynaecologist and Clinical lead Assisted Conception Unit Glasgow Royal Infirmary, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

    On some occasions some couples had sufficient frozen embryos which is combined in one cycle with the fresh transfer.

  67. BACKGROUND : IVF criteria

    IVF criteria in Scotland:

    -A guaranteed two full cycles of IVF, as well as unlimited frozen transfers for eligible couples until the woman's 40th birthday

    -Women aged between 40 and 42 will be offered one full cycle of IVF provided they meet all necessary criteria

    -From 31 March, 2015, all eligible couples will start treatment within 12 months of being accepted for IVF treatment

    More IVF

    -Obese women - those with a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30 - will have to lose weight and have a BMI of 29.9 or less before treatment

    -If either partner smokes, they will need to have stopped before treatment is started

  68. Decreased waiting lists

    Dr Graham MacKenzie from NHS Lothian says in 2009 there was a long waiting list and then funding increased.

    Dr Graham MacKenzie, Consultant in Public Health, NHS Lothian
    Image caption: Dr Graham MacKenzie, Consultant in Public Health, NHS Lothian

    Dr MacKenzie says the waiting time for fertility treatment has since been reduced dramatically.

  69. Introductions

    The Health Committee now takes evidence on fertility treatment.

    The witnesses

    Mr Doris introduces Dr Vanessa Kay from NHS Tayside, Dr Abha Maheshwari from NHS Grampian, Dr Graham MacKenzie from NHS Lothian and Helen Lyall from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

  70. Minor legislation

    Deputy Health Committee convener Bob Doris begins by considering minor legislation.

    It is considering the following negative instruments:

    • National Health Service Pension Scheme (Scotland) Regulations 2015 (SSI 2015/94)
    • National Health Service Pension Scheme (Transitional and Consequential Provisions) (Scotland) Regulations 2015 (SSI 2015/95)
    • National Health Service Superannuation Scheme (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) Regulations 2015 (SSI 2015/96)
    • Food (Scotland) Act 2015 (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Order 2015 (SSI 2015/100)
    • National Health Service (Clinical Negligence and Other Risks Indemnity Scheme) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2015 (SSI 2015/102))

    The committee made no recommendations on any of the regulations.

  71. The Health Committee begins

    The committee will take evidence on fertility treatment.

    Gropu

    The committee will take evidence from Dr Vanessa Kay from NHS Tayside, Dr Abha Maheshwari from NHS Grampian, Dr Graham MacKenzie from NHS Lothian and Helen Lyall from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

  72. Coming up

    First up today we have the Health Committee who is taking evidence on fertility treatment.

    After lunch will be topical questions, which will focus on private hospitals and Aberdeen University job losses.

    This will be followed by a debate on the Dairy industry inquiry.

    Milk

    Last item of the day is a member's debate on Awareness of Group B Streptococcus.

  73. Good morning

    Good morning and welcome to BBC Scotland's Democracy Live coverage of the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 31 March 2015.

    Holyrood