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  1. MSPs take evidence on Scotland’s air quality from Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham and Transport Minister Humza Yousaf
  2. Brexit Minister Mike Russell is expected faces an urgent question on the Brexit negotiations
  3. The government makes a statement on planning and inclusive growth
  4. MSPs debate a petition calling for the end of the uses of mesh implants
  5. SNP MSP Bruce Crawford leads a debate focusing on improving care for people with neurological conditions.

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Andrew Southwick

All times stated are UK

MSPs praise courage of mesh implant petitioners

Elaine Holmes and Olive Mcllroy
Scottish Parilament
Elaine Holmes and Olive Mcllroy

MSPs repeatedly praise the courageous efforts of Elaine Holmes and Olive Mcllroy whose petition PE1517: Polypropylene Mesh Medical Devices was the focus of this afternoon's debate.

That's all from Holyrood Live on 5 December 2017.

Campaigners in the gallery
Campaigners in the gallery

Government making 'good progress' on Sue Ryder recommendations

Mental Health Minister Maureen Watt

Mental Health Minister Maureen Watt tells the chamber: "I want to ensure you all, this government is fully committed to improving the lives of people with neurological conditions and welcomes the Sue Ryder report."

She says the government is making good progress on a number of fronts the Sue Ryder report has highlighted.

Ms Watt commits the government to reviewing neurological healthcare standards.

She notes the work of Dee View Court that was raised by SNP MSP Gillian Martin and Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald, and says "They do provide excellent outreach services."

SNP MSP praises Sue Ryder's Dee View Court

SNP MSP Gillian Martin
SNP MSP Gillian Martin

SNP MSP Gillian Martin says a facilty like Sue Ryder's Dee View Court court could have made a tremendous difference to her brother in law and his parents.

The SNP MSP says she is conscious most of Scotland does not have access to care as good as that given at Dee View Court.

Sue Ryder 'genuine person centered care'

SNP MSP Graeme Dey

SNP MSP Graeme Dey says the term "person centered" usually makes him "cringe", as it is usually "jargon" or "deployed to mask the kind of care and support they are going to be given instead of what they require or want."

However, he praises the work of Sue Ryder and says it is "genuinely person centered care".

Background: Neurological patients put in care homes for the elderly

Pamela Mackenzie attends to a patient at the Dee View Court centre in Aberdeen
Pamela Mackenzie attends to a patient at the Dee View Court centre in Aberdeen

Many people with conditions such as multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease are living in care homes for the elderly, a charity found in September.

Sue Ryder Care said people with neurological conditions were being let down and needed specialist care.

The charity surveyed Scotland's councils and found 86% of people with neurological conditions in residential care were in homes for the elderly.

It said one in five of these people were under the age of 65.

Read more here.

Labour MSP praises Sue Ryder's Dee View court and highlights campaign

Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald
Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald

Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald says he has seen the work of Sue Ryder first hand and he describes it as excellent and inspiring.

Mr Macdonald says the charities Rewrite the Future report has made a valuable contribution.

The Labour MSP says many people from the North East cannot take advantage of Dee View Court as their are only 24 residents.

He says that is why Sue Ryder has launched an appeal to create 20 new places.

Sue Ryder
Sue Ryder

'Need to look at what local authorities are doing'

Conservative MSP Jeremy Balfour

Conservative MSP Jeremy Balfour welcomes the findings of the Sue Ryder report.

He reveals that: "Six health boards say they have no plans to develop joint plans with local authorities."

Mr Balfour asks the minister to ensure any change in the action plan is evidence based.

Background: Sue Ryder

Sue Ryder
Sue Ryder
Sue Ryder

From the Sue Ryder website

"We provide person-centered hospice and neurological care for people facing a frightening, life-changing diagnosis. It’s not just expert medical care we provide. It’s the emotional support and practical things we take care of too. We do whatever we can to be a safety net for our patients and their loved ones at the most difficult time of their lives.

"Not only do we treat more conditions than any other UK charity in our hospices, neurological care centres and out in the community; we also influence others to improve the lives of people living with them. We see the person, not the condition, taking time to understand the small things that help that person live the fullest life they can. "

'The Scottish government has listened and is acting'

SNP MSP Bruce Crawford
SNP MSP Bruce Crawford

SNP MSP Bruce Crawford begins the debate by saying neurological conditions can affect anyone of any age.

He says their condition can be coupled with care that may not always meet their individual requirement.

The SNP MSP says people with neurological conditions and their families need to be better advised where to turn for treatment.

He says since the Sue Ryder report: "The government has listened and is acting."

Mr Crawford announces that the Scottish government will bring Scotland's first ever action plan on neurological conditions.

"This is good work, and they must be applauded for it."

Sue Ryder: Rewrite the Future

Sue Ryder Care said that without specialist services designed to limit the impact of conditions such as Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, Huntington's disease and sudden brain injury people would suffer needlessly and be unable to live their lives as fully as possible.

The charity said that if the data was extrapolated for the Scotland population as a whole, it would mean an estimated 1,036 people with a neurological condition in a care home for older people, with 202 of these being aged under 65.

They have produced a report on the progress made to improve specialist carefor people with neurological conditions in Scotland. The report makes five recommendations, including an audit of health and social care services for those affected.

Sue Ryder report
Sue Ryder report
Sue Ryder report

Recommendations made in Sue Ryder Care Report

  • Reliable data needed on the prevalence of neurological conditions and whether patients are at home or in care so that care services can be developed
  • Identify what arrangements work well, what should work better and where the gaps lie
  • Guidance on neurological services should be provided to ensure local services are person-centred and meet need
  • Support and advice for general care providers - such as older people's care homes, homecare and community rehabilitation teams
  • The new standards being developed for neurological conditions must include health and social care services with performance indicators to demonstrate effectiveness

Call for specialist care for those with a neurological condition

Mr Crawford uses his motion to highlights

  • the devastating impact that neurological conditions can have
  • the need for specialist care for those with a neurological condition
Science Photo Library
  • the Sue Ryder report, Don’t Write Me Off, on the benefits of consistent specialist care and support
  • the current review of clinical standards for neurological health services
  • a call for a neurological health and social care strategy

Next: A debate on the care of patients with a neurological condition

Science Photo Library
Here is the motion to the debate
Scottish Parliament
Here is the motion to the debate

MSPs unanimously note the mesh implant public petition

MSPs unanimously agree to note the public petition PE1517 on polypropylene mesh medical devices.

Call for assurance the review will investigate any suggestion of bullying

Green MSP Alison Johnstone
Green MSP Alison Johnstone

Green MSP Alison Johnstone asks the health secretary for assurance the review will investigate any suggestion of bullying or harassment.

Ms Robison says it is important that staff are interviewed in a way they can have confidence in the process.

She says concerns must be raised in a confidential environment.

People who raise concerns 'are listened to'

Lib Dems MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton
Lib Dems MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton

Ms Robison confirms to Lib Dems MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton the whistleblower was in contact with her directly, and they have been kept informed of the process going forward.

She says it shows that people "who raise concerns are listened to and it is acted on."

Background: NHS Lothian response

Medical staff

NHS Lothian said all reporting practices surrounding emergency department waiting times were being re-modelled.

Officials admitted local reports had not been "complying with national guidance, meaning that numbers have been understated in performance reports".

NHS Lothian said it had already "created a robust standard operating procedure (SOP), instructed comprehensive staff training around it and begun development work to better support staff".

The report said: "Local procedures were developed to mitigate for an unclear and perhaps out of date SOP. Local procedures should not be allowed to be developed."

Robison says wrong to assert what happened in NHS Lothian has happened elsewhere

Ms Robison

Labour MSP Anas Sarwar asks for an urgent nationwide review of reporting procedures.

He says: "Scotland's patients deserve nothing less."

Ms Robison says: "It would be quite wrong to assert what happened in Lothian is an issue elsewhere.

"There is no evidence other departments are not following the national guidance."

She says they have made Audit Scotland aware and will discuss the findings with them.

Tory MSP calls for guarantee no other heallth board has under reported waiting times

Health Secretary Shona Robison
Health Secretary Shona Robison

Health Secretary Shona Robison says there will be an external look at some of these issues.

Ms Robison says the external review will look into all the issues and she expects to have the report early in the New Year.

Tory MSP Miles Briggs says local guidelines have been put in place that should not have been and he wonders it this problem is restricted to NHS Lothian.

Mr Briggs calls for a guarantee that no other health board is under reporting waiting times.

The health secretary says there is no evidence that national guidance is not being followed in other boards.

NHS Lothian were 'not following national guidance'

Health minister Shona Robison

Health minister Shona Robison says: "The findings are very concerning. I have instructed an independent investigation.

"It is important to await the outcome of this review, I welcome the interim action of NHS Lothian."

Ms Robison explains the background to the story.

She says: "On Wednesday 11 October, a staff member of St John's hospital wrote to the chief executive of NHS Lothian and me outlining allegations of bullying, intimation,and alternating waiting times.

"What emerged from the investigation was that concerns were not just restricted to St John's but across Lothian.

"They were not adhering to national guidance. Local operating procedures being followed instead.

"We have made sure NHS Lothian are now following the national guidance."

Background: NHS Lothian A&E waiting times have been under-reported


Emergency waiting times at every acute hospital run by NHS Lothian have been under-reported.

The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, the Royal Hospital for Sick Children and a unit at the Western General Hospital have all breached guidelines.

Incidents rose from 5.7% in October 2015 to 10.5% in September 2017.

It follows an internal review of the four-hour emergency waiting times after a whistleblower raised concerns at St John's Hospital in Livingston.

NHS Lothian said all reporting practices surrounding emergency department waiting times were being re-modelled.

Read more here.

NHS Lothian waiting times urgent question

Tory MSP Miles Briggs asks the Scottish government what its response is to reports that under-reporting of A&E waiting times has taken place across NHS Lothian, and how it will ensure that people responsible are held to account.

Background: Mesh sufferers quit expert group over 'diluted' report

Olive McIlroy and Elaine Holmes said they could no longer trust the expert group on mesh implants
Olive McIlroy and Elaine Holmes said they could no longer trust the expert group on mesh implants

In March the petitioners quit the independent review group looking at the safety of mesh implants.

Olive McIlroy and Elaine Holmes, who both suffered severe complications following mesh implant surgery, claimed the final report had been watered down.

It follows claims that an entire chapter had been removed from the report ahead of its publication.

Scotland's Health Secretary Shona Robison said she would meet with the women to discuss their concerns.

Read more here.


Other countries now taking the lead

SNP MSP Angus MacDonald

SNP MSP Angus MacDonald says "We have had excellent contributions from the chamber."

He says: "There was a sense that in 2014 Scotland was taking the lead, and as work in Scotland has continued it may now be seen that other countries have taken that lead, which is unfortunate considering where we were."

Mr MacDonald calls for a "robust review", and says that "the petition is far from closed".

Praise for petitioners throughout the debate

MSPs have repeatedly praised the courageous efforts of Elaine Holmes and Olive Mcllroy whose petition PE1517: Polypropylene Mesh Medical Devices is the subject of this debate.

The petitioners work with theScottish Mesh Survivors - "Hear Our Voice" campaign.

Olive McIlroy and Elaine Holmes
Scottish Parliament

The petition calls on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish government to:

  1. Suspend use of polypropylene Transvaginal Mesh (TVM) procedures
  2. Initiate a Public Inquiry and/or comprehensive independent research to evaluate the safety of mesh devices
  3. Introduce mandatory reporting of all adverse incidents by health professionals
  4. Set up a Scottish Transvaginal Mesh implant register with view to linking this up with national and international registers
  5. Introduce fully Informed Consent with uniformity throughout Scotland’s Health Boards; and
  6. Write to the MHRA and ask that they reclassify TVM devices to heightened alert status to reflect ongoing concerns worldwide.

SNP MSP says MHRA appearance before the commitee was 'woeful'

Public Petitions Committee deputy convener Angus MacDonald
Public Petitions Committee deputy convener Angus MacDonald

Public Petitions Committee deputy convener Angus MacDonald says it is clear that thanks to this petition the Scottish government called for a moratorium on mesh implants, suspending their use.

Mr MacDonald pays tribute to the work petitioners Olive Holmes and

He says the committee saw a "woeful performance" by the MHRA.

The SNP MSP says Alex Neil called for an international mesh summit.

Background: Mesh patients say they were 'duped'

Elaine Holmes said she was "cynically used" by the review group
Elaine Holmes said she was "cynically used" by the review group

The petitioners who were part of the review group looking at the safety of mesh implants were "duped" and "cynically used", MSPs were told in September.

Mesh survivor Elaine Holmes said she and fellow patient Olive McIlroy were kept on the Scottish group to make its final report appear "less biased".

Ms Holmes appeared before Holyrood's Public Petitions Committee.

They called for MSPs to ensure the current suspension of mesh procedures "remains firmly in place".

Transvaginal mesh implants are medical devices used by surgeons to treat pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence in women, conditions that can commonly occur after childbirth.

Read more here.

Minister says only MHRA can ban the procedure

Ms Robison

Labour MSP Johaan Lamont asks what the health secretary thought a moratorium would be.

Ms Robison says mesh implants are not a banned procedure as only the MHRA can ban the procedure.

The health secretary says if a woman wants the procedure there is nothing that can be done tot stop them.

She says she is not a clinician and their advice must be her guide.

The health secretary says the MHRA is looking at interational evidence.

Robison says the government has raised a number of concerns about the MHRA

Health Secetary Shona Robison says the MHRA must take into account evidence from around the world.

Ms Robison says the government has raised a number of concerns about the MHRA.

The health secretary says many issues have been raised about the independent review process.

She says: "We should allow Professor Britton to carry out her review."

Health Secetary Shona Robison
Health Secetary Shona Robison

The minister says it is important that there is full disclosure of interests when a review is conducted and that they are registered.

Labour MSP Neil Findlay asks if the health secretary now accepts the review was compromised.

Ms Robison says "I certainly understand the concerns about the review process."

However she says some of the review recommendations were very, very important.

Tory MSP says NICE's guidance should come as a wake up call for Scottish governmen

Mr Briggs praises the speeches of Jackson Carlwaw, Neil Findlay and Alex Neil.

The Tory MSP says the cabinet secretary has had to appoint Prof. Alison Britton to review the review of mesh implants.

He says NICE's guidance should come as a wake up call for the Scottish government.

'Why have directives been ignored' - Miles Briggs

Conservative MSP Miles Briggs

Conservative MSP Miles Briggs says he was "angry" after meeting survivors who he said hadbeen "badly let down".

Mr Briggs says: "Half of Scotland's health boards continue to use these mesh devices.

"Why when we have these directives are they ignored?"

Labour MSP says mesh implant review and MHRA are compromised

Mr Sarwar

Mr Sarwar says: "We have to accept the review is compromised

"We have to accept the MHRA is compromised."

He goes on to say the government response is also compromised and he says confidence is crucial going forward.

The Labour MSP says: "There has been a cover up."

He cites the medics on the review group not declaring their interests to back this up, which he says is "shameful behaviour".

Mr Sarwar calls for a transparent and honest review.