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Live Reporting

Colin Bell and Craig Hutchison

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodnight from Holyrood Live


    That ends our coverage of the Scottish Parliament for Wednesday 4 October 2017.

    We'll be back tomorrow.

    Have a good night.

  2. Minister looks forward to working closely with the RCR

    Shona Robison

    Tory MSP Edward Mountain says the Highlands and Islands needs 20 radiologists and asks if this is the number the health secretary is working towards.

    Ms Robison says this is why distribution of radiologists is important.

    The health secretary says there has been a significant expansion to the the radiology workforce since 2007.

    She says the RCR have accepted an invitation to sit on a board to take measures forward to further strengthen the radiology workforce.

    Ms Robison says she looks forward to working closely with the RCR and health boards to further strengthen the radiology workforce.

  3. Government working with NHS Highland to address radiology service issues

    Image caption: X-Ray

    Ms Robison says the government is committed to a sustainable workforce in the NHS.

    The health secretary says there has been significant expansion in the number of radiology consultants.

    She says there are particular challenges to recruiting to rural areas.

    The minister says the government is working closely with NHS Highland to address issues with the radiology service.

  4. 50 new places will make 'huge difference' - minister

    Health Secretary Shona Robison

    Health Secretary Shona Robison says the government is committed to making sure the radiology service is staffed properly.

    Ms Robison says the government is implementing the changes that have to be made.

    Tory MSP Miles Briggs asks if 50 new places is going to be enough in the long-term and asks if she thinks it will make a difference.

    Ms Robison says it will make a huge difference and that it will continue to be reviewed.

  5. Background: Cancer waiting times in Scotland 'worse than 10 years ago'


    Cancer waiting times are worse than they were 10 years ago, according to Macmillan Cancer Support in Scotland.

    New figures show 13% of patients were not seen within the Scottish government's target of 62 days from urgent referral to treatment - a 3% drop on the previous year.

    The biggest falls were in lymphoma, urological and head and neck cancers.

    Health Secretary Shona Robison has announced the creation of a new group to improve waiting times.

    The first focus of the group, which will receive £1m of new funding, will be on speeding up the roll-out of early cancer detection measures.

    Ms Robison said the average wait for cancer treatment was currently six days.

    Read more here.

  6. 'We all agree travelling for hours on end for an outpatient appointment is unacceptable'

    SNP MSP Gail Ross

    SNP MSP Gail Ross says challenges are being faced throughout the country and solutions must be found.

    Ms Ross welcomes the government's funding and says radiology is an essential part of any health service.

    The SNP MSP says she is disappointed to hear others say this is a Scottish government problem without offering solutions.

    She says "we all agree travelling for hours on end for an outpatient appointment is unacceptable."

    Ms Ross says there is no point complaining about this issue without looking at the solutions.

  7. 'The people are listening to this'

    Tory MSP Jamie Green
    Image caption: Tory MSP Jamie Green

    Tory MSP Jamie Green says a spokesman fro the Royal College of Radiologists has warned that radiology is on the verge of collapse and facing a perfect storm.

    Mr Green says the government deserves credit for its recruitment drive for radiologists but he asks how successful it has been and what will be done in the interim period.

    He calls on the minister to update the chamber on her meeting with the RCR.

    The Tory MSP says: "The people of Scotland are listening to this and will expect the minister to say exactly what she is doing."

  8. Green MSP urges colleagues to promote the Highlands

    Green MSP John Finnie

    Green MSP John Finnie says his obligations as a Highlands and Islands MSP is to understand the issue.

    Mr Finnie says the government has a clear role with funding and NHS are required to ensure a safe service.

    He says MSPs have the responsibility of bringing constituents concerns.

    The Green MSP says Gail Ross suffered shocking abuse on the issue of health in the highlands.

    Mr Finnie says he knows Ms Ross works tirelessly on the issue of health.

    He says Brexit will fuel issues and urges colleagues to promote the Highlands.

  9. 'We should be in no doubt about how serious a situation we are in with radiologists'

    Tory MSP Miles Briggs

    Tory MSP Miles Briggs says "we should be in no doubt about how serious a situation we are in with radiologists."

    Mr Briggs says it has been said that radiology is on the brink of collapse.

    The Tory MSP says this government has known about this in 11 years.

    Health Secretary Shona Robison says it is not true to say there has been no expansion because there has been since 2007.

    Mr Briggs says that will just show constituents in the Highlands and Islands that the government are not addressing the challenges there.

  10. 'There isn't going to be a quick fix without using outsourcing'

    SNP MSP Maree Todd

    SNP MSP Maree Todd says imaging departments are having to work incredibly hard to keep up with demand.

    Ms Todd says there has been a steep increase in demand because of the ageing population and advancements in technology.

    The SNP MSP says the situation is much worse in rural areas and says it is as bad in Cornwall as it is in the Highlands and Islands.

    She says radiologists take a decade to train which is another reason why there are not as many of them.

    "There isn't going to be a quick fix without using outsourcing," she says.

  11. Spending on locums and agency staff has spiraled out of control

    Labour MSP Colin Smyth

    Labour MSP Colin Smyth says the RCR say the shortage of radiologists is pushing the system to collapse.

    Mr Smyth says 8% of radiologist posts and 13% of consultant posts are unfilled.

    The Labour MSP says rural areas are suffering most and this recruitment crisis is putting a financial burden on the NHS.

    He says spending on locums and agency staff has spiraled out of control.

  12. The Brexit scenario is hanging over everything in UK politics

    SNP MSP Fulton Macgregor

    SNP MSP Fulton Macgregor says the Brexit scenario is hanging over everything in UK politics.

    Tory MSP Miles Briggs intervenes to say the problems in the health service did not start with the Brexit vote.

    Mr Macgregor says he accepts that.

    The SNP MSP says the three main hospitals in NHS Lanarkshire are equipped with full radiology departments and he would like to thank them and the NHS for their hard work.

  13. Government 'must get on top of the delays'

    Tory MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston

    Tory MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston says in Orkney one patient has been forced to wait over ten months and they are still waiting.

    Mr Johnston says he has been advised that some heart patients in NHS Grampian are having to wait over one week for a bed to become available.

    He says the government "must get on top of the delays."

    "I've heard this described as a looming crisis, there is nothing looming about it," he says.

  14. 'It is a bigger issue than throwing money at something'

    SNP MSP Kate Forbes

    SNP MSP Kate Forbes says "we all accept" the challenges facing radiology in Scotland and says the government are allocating funding to help with issues.

    Ms Forbes says long term funding is critical to make sure these debates do not have to be revisited.

    The SNP MSP says there has been an increase in radiologists everywhere in Scotland apart from the Highlands which suggests there are challenges in the area that perhaps money will not solve.

    She says it may be about offering housing or opportunities to trainees in these areas.

    "It is a bigger issue than throwing money at something," she says.

  15. 'This is about people and not politics'

    Edward Mountain

    Mr Mountain says solutions must be found to fix patient care in the short term and it is not the time for political spin."This is about people and not politics," he says.

    He calls on the Scottish government to match the dedication of radiologists in Scotland.

  16. Background: Radiology trainees


    Health Secretary Shona Robison announced that £3m would be invested to increase the number of additional radiology trainees by at least 50 over the next five years.

    The Scottish government's target is for 95% of patients who receive an urgent cancer referral to receive treatment within 62 days.

    However, the figure for the period between April and June 2017 was 86.9% - down from 88.1% in the previous quarter.

    The target was only met by three NHS Boards: NHS Dumfries and Galloway, NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Orkney.

  17. 'It is clear the radiology team at Raigmore is overstretched and understaffed'

    Raigmore hospital
    Image caption: Raigmore hospital

    Mr Mountain says this is a problem that isn't going away

    The Tory MSP says only one out of 20 health boards are able to meet reporting requirements, according to the Royal College of Radiologists.

    He says around 8,000 scans are still waiting to be reviewed in NHS Highland.

    Mr Mountain says safety fears have been raised at Raigmore since 2014 and now there are fewer radiologists.

    He says there are only two interventional radiologists at Raigmore and he says that is not enough

    The Tory MSP says: "It is clear the radiology team at Raigmore is overstretched and understaffed."

  18. 'Imagine you are waiting for a scan to be read after being told you might have lung cancer'

    Tory MSP Edward Mountain

    Tory MSP Edward Mountain says this is one of the most urgent issues impacting on patient care across Scotland.

    Mr Mountain says it is time for politicians to support radiologists and that it is at the heart of modern medicine.

    The Tory MSP says the shortfall of radiologists across Scotland means patients wait too long for treatment.

    He says the number of scans have increased by 65% and the number of radiologists to read the scans have increased by 1%.

    "Imagine you are waiting for a scan to be read after being told you might have lung cancer," he says.

  19. Background: 'Appointments not being cancelled'

    Responding to radiologist staff concerns, Dr Ken Macdonald, associate medical director at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, said steps were being taken to address the shortage, and appointments were not being cancelled.

    He told BBC Scotland that there were two main factors behind the situation at the hospital.

    Dr Macdonald said: "One, you are seeing an increasing demand for radiology services within the Highlands - approximately 10% every year for complicated scans like MRI and CT.

    "And that is against a backdrop of a reduction in the number of consultant radiologists at Raigmore Hospital.

    "In the past 18 months we have developed three vacancies for consultant radiologists, and two of those have occurred in the last six months. That puts a bit of additional pressure on the service."

    Image caption: Developments in scanning technology has led to rising demand for radiology expertise

    He added: "This has to be seen against a backdrop of both a UK and Scottish shortage of radiologists.

    "So we are not the only health board area in Scotland experiencing these difficulties.

    "The underlying problem is the number of radiologist who are being trained hasn't kept up with demand for radiology services."

    To overcome the difficulties at Raigmore, the health board has been looking at recruiting radiologists in training to ease the burden on consultants.

  20. Background: 'Hidden shortage' of radiologists across Scotland


    A national shortage of radiologists is partly to blame for recruitment difficulties at a Highland hospital, a health board has claimed.

    Medics have written a letter to NHS Highland raising concerns about vacancies at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.

    The health board said there were too few radiologists both in Scotland and UK-wide.

    But officials at Raigmore insisted the service was "safe and effective".

    Read more here.