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Summary

  1. The health committee considers the Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Bill at stage 2
  2. The health secretary makes a statement on St John’s paediatric services
  3. MSPs debate the government's isolation and loneliness strategy
  4. A Tory MSP leads a debate on housing for older people

Live Reporting

By Louise Wilson

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all from Holyrood Live!

    Jeane Freeman

    That's all from Holyrood Live on Tuesday 29 January 2019.

    The children's ward at a West Lothian hospital is to partially re-open to out-of-hours inpatients from 18 March, the health secretary confirms today.

    St John's Hospital in Livingston had to stop accepting patients at night last year due to staff shortages.

    This has meant young patients being sent to Edinburgh late at night for emergency treatment.

    Health Secretary Jeane Freeman told MSPs that a 24-hour service would be restored for four days a week - Monday to Thursday - from March.

    NHS Lothian aims to have staff in place to fully re-open the inpatient unit seven days a week by October 2019.

  2. Scottish government working with partners on housing and ageing

    Housing Minister Kevin Stewart
    Image caption: Housing Minister Kevin Stewart

    Housing Minister Kevin Stewart points to the Scottish government's Age, Home and Community strategy, which was refreshed last year.

    He says there is still work to be done around housing and ageing, and confirms the government is working with COSLA, health partners and others on this.

    The refreshed strategy seeks to address the issues of isolation and suitable housing, Mr Stewart adds.

    The minister says it is "disappointing" that some local authorities have decided to cut funding for Care and Repair Scotland.

  3. Background: Call for Commissioner of Ageing to be established

    Kevin Stewart with housing experts

    A Commissioner for Ageing should be established in Scotland to ensure there is better integration of services for older people, a report from Stirling University has concluded.

    Experts warned that housing is often not centred in discussions on the provision of services.

    Project lead and senior lecturer in social policy Dr Vikki McCall said: "We must act now if we are going to meet the housing needs of future generations by 2030."

    The report also recommended ensuring older people are properly consulted on policy changes, making information accessible and building new suitable housing.

    The biggest challenge in Scotland was considered to be rural areas not anticipating future needs.

    Read the report here.

  4. Lack of services for older people leads to 'inferior housing situation' - Tory MSP

    Tory MSP Graham Simpson
    Image caption: Tory MSP Graham Simpson

    Tory MSP Graham Simpson says the number of people in Scotland aged over 75 is projected to increase significantly over the next few years.

    He suggests there is a lack of integration across services which support older people, leading to an "inferior housing situation".

    Housing provision and support for older people is beginning to come together but it is not there yet, he states.

    The Tory MSP says the report found an inadequate supply of different types of housing and a lack of clarity around access to support services.

  5. Background: Council cuts limit adaptations for older people's homes

    Older people holding hands

    Councils have been unable to make use of housing support services for older people due to cuts in recent years, a new report has warned.

    Initial findings from the report, co-produced by Age Scotland and Stirling University, suggests the the ability to adapt homes to suit older people's needs improves the quality of later life.

    But public funding cuts have put these improvements under threat.

    This comes after news from Care and Repair Scotland has found local services have faced unprecedented financial pressure in recent years due to council cuts.

    The full report will be published next month.

  6. Debate: Housing Through the Lens of Ageing

    Tory MSP Graham Simpson is leading a debate on the needs of older people in terms of housing.

    Here is his motion...

    Motion text
  7. Decision time

    The Scottish Tory amendment to the Scottish government's motion on tackling social isolation and loneliness is passed unanimously, as is the final amended motion.

    Govt motion
    Image caption: Government motion
    Tory amendment
    Image caption: Tory amendment

    The Scottish Labour amendment is defeated with 23 votes for and 84 votes against.

  8. Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland appointment

    Caroline Anderson

    SPCB member Kezia Dugdale is speaking to her motion on the appointment of a new Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland.

    MSPs will vote on the appointment of Caroline Anderson at decision time.

    The Commissioner is responsible for investigating complaints about the conduct of MSPs, local authority councillors, members of public bodies and lobbyists.

    The Commissioner also regulates how people are appointed to the boards of public bodies in Scotland.

  9. On to closing speeches........

    Labour MSP Alex Rowley says while his party welcomes the strategy, the impact of "failed austerity" remains a concern.

    If you don't have the resources to support the implementation of strategies, they become meaningless he argues.

    Tory MSP Michelle Ballantyne says it is important to tailor services to people's individual needs, including when it comes to preventing loneliness.

    She calls for social prescribing to be considered more.

    Equalities and Older Person Minister Christina McKelvie tells the chamber that the government is "absolutely committed" to working with the third sector.

    "We can build a more connected Scotland where we treat people with kindness and compassion," she says.

  10. Background: Girls 'more likely to face loneliness'

    Lonely girl

    Young women are more likely than young men to have feelings of loneliness, according to a study from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

    About one in 10 young people in the UK often feel lonely, says the first such analysis from the ONS.

    The study found a "stigma" attached to loneliness, with young people fearing it would be seen as "failing".

    There were young people who used social media to "cover up" their feelings and pretend their lives were not lonely.

    Read more here.

  11. Background: Loneliness more likely to affect young people

    Lonely young woman

    Young adults are more likely to feel lonely than older age groups, says a study from the Office for National Statistics.

    The research found that almost 10% of people aged 16 to 24 were "always or often" lonely - the highest proportion of any age group.

    This was more than three times higher than people aged 65 and over.

    Researchers suggest that older people might become more "resilient" to worries about loneliness.

    Read more here.

  12. Background: Loneliness: The cost of the 'last taboo'

    Lonely man

    Researchers have put a financial price on an "epidemic of loneliness" - estimating it costs £6,000 per person in health costs and pressure on local services.

    But the London School of Economics study of older people says for every £1 spent in preventing loneliness there are £3 of savings.

    Deborah Moggach, author of the novel adapted for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel films about retired people from the UK going to India, said: "Loneliness really is the last taboo."

    She said old age must not be an "inevitable descent into despair" and more efforts had to be made to stop people becoming isolated and lonely.

    Read more.

  13. SNP MSP suggests creating register of support services

    SNP MSP Sandra White
    Image caption: SNP MSP Sandra White

    SNP MSP Sandra White highlights a number of services on offer in Glasgow which seek to prevent loneliness among older people.

    There is no official register of what help is available and perhaps this is something we could look at, she suggests.

  14. 80% of carers feel lonely says Labour MSP

    Labour MSP Mark Griffin

    Labour MSP Mark Griffin says more cuts will only dismantle and undermine the local services which keep communities together, he says.

    Mr Griffin highlights that 80% of carers feel lonely and calls on the Scottish government to use its new social security powers to help prevent this.

  15. Background: Loneliness has same health impacts as smoking 15 cigarettes a day

    Older person

    Half of all over 75s say their main form of company is their television or pet, according to Age Scotland.

    And 200,000 older people in Scotland go half a week or more without human contact.

    The charity has warned that loneliness can have the same health impact as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

    It can also increase the risk of stress, depression and dementia.

  16. Background: 'Gaming has made me a lot more open'

    Video content

    Video caption: 'Gaming has made me a lot more open'

    From Obama Llama to Magic the Gathering, this comic book store offers people the chance to play some of their favourite games and meet new people.

    Jason Wilson, who owns Ellerium Games in Inverness, hosts a board game event and encourages people from different backgrounds to come along and try something different.

    For Jason and many of the people who take part in the event, it's more than just a place to hang out.

  17. Tory MSP highlights impact of disability employment gap on loneliness

    Tory MSP Jeremy Balfour

    Tory MSP Jeremy Balfour highlights how disabled people often suffer from social isolation and loneliness.

    The greatest issue around isolation and disability is employment, he suggests, pointing to the disability employment gap.

    Mr Balfour goes on to express concern about integrated joint boards cutting funding to voluntary organisations which help to tackle isolation.