ShareThis

.

.

31 August 2006

Outrage Over 'Secret Bugs' In Rubbish Bins - Evening Express

by Lynn Kernan and David Ewen, Evening Express

Secret electronic bugs have been fitted to thousands of household recycling boxes.

The Evening Express can reveal Aberdeenshire Council boxes have devices that can be used to keep tabs on their use.

The penny-sized chips are found under the lip of the lids.

And residents have been told nothing about them.

But the chips - which can tell authorities how many people are using the recycling service - have not been activated by the council so far.

However, MSPs and members of the public have been angered by the prospect.

Today West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MSP Mike Rumbles described the move as "absolutely outrageous".

The Liberal Democrat said: "It's an appalling situation where people have not been informed so a debate can ensue."

He accused his party colleagues in the council's administration of breaking Liberal principles.

SNP Banff and Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson, who has studied the technology being used, said: "It's very Big Brother and the fact they've not told the public they are doing this is an ominous sign of how much we can trust Aberdeenshire Council with our data."

Newmachar mum Yvonne McCrum was speechless when she turned her black recycling box upside down and saw the "world tag".

She said: "There was nothing in the information about that. The council was quick enough to give us information about how taking the tops off of bottles and taking the paper off of cans - but didn't tell us anything about this.

"If the council has nothing to hide why weren't we told."

A council spokesman said no monitoring of recycling was taking place - but did not rule it out in future.

He said: "No firm decision has yet been made."

The spokesman stressed information could not be linked to any individual house.

Each chip has a unique serial number which would allow waste bosses to know where recycling was taking place.

The spokesman said: "The boxes purchased by Aberdeenshire Council do have chips moulded into them as standard, but in Aberdeenshire the chips are not being used.

"The chips are capable of being used to record the number of boxes that are being used for recyclate collection but do not hold personal data, nor can boxes be linked to specific households.

"What they do allow waste management authorities to do is get figures for the number of boxes being presented for collection on particular rounds."

The radio frequency identification (RFID) chip transmits a signal which could be read by a counter on a collection vehicle, allowing the recycling rates to be measured.

But today residents expressed their concern at not being warned.

Yvonne, who lives in Newmachar's Station Road, added: "It is bad enough they know what goes into our black boxes, never mind anything else.

"It seems to me like they are spying on us."

Ron McKail, a retired teacher who lives on Westhill's Brimmond Drive and is chairman of the local residents association, said: "If they are going to put a chip in and keep a note of things then I would like to know about it."

Ellon householder Mary Curran said: "It makes you feel very suspicious, like it's Big Brother watching.

"I will be furious if they start checking how people are using their bins and livid if they start sending out fines because I know lots of people aren't using them because of the hassle."

Inverurie resident Patricia Cowling branded the council "cheeky" for failing to tell householders about the chip. She said: "I heard that they were doing this sort of thing abroad and maybe down south but not here."

The council spokesman defended the decision not to inform residents.

He said: "The system is not active and no personal data would be held on the chip."

to read complete story click on:
http://www.thisisaberdeen.co.uk

Drink-related liver disease deaths rising - The Herald

by ALAN MacDERMID, the Herald

The death toll from drink-related liver disease in Scotland has risen by nearly 60% in eight years, the biggest increase of any alcohol-related disease during this period.

Figures released by the Scottish Parliament show a huge rise in alcohol-related deaths overall between 1998 and 2005, but the comparison has been distorted by the inclusion after 2004 of a number of fatal illnesses - including certain oesophageal cancers.

They were running at record levels in Lanarkshire, Lothian, Argyll and Clyde, and Fife health board areas.

In 1990 there were 657 alcohol-related deaths in Scotland. By 1997, the annual toll reached 1061. By 2000 the death toll stood at 1292, hitting a record 1525 in 2003 before dipping to 1478 the following year.

In 2005, the figure again increased and stood at 1513, according to statistics given to SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson in response to a parliamentary question.

Other figures showed heroin and morphine deaths have increased by 35% since 1999 and totalled 225 in 2004. In 1996 the total was just 84.

There were similar increases in deaths involving the drug ecstasy, which claimed nine lives in 1996 but 17 in 2004. Deaths involving amphetamines also went up, from five in 1996 to 10 in 2004.

Greater Glasgow was the area worst afflicted by drink-related deaths, with 376 last year. Lothian Health Board area had 221 drink-related deaths last year while the then Argyll and Clyde Health Board had 177, Lanarkshire 184 and Fife 76.

SNP Shadow Health Minister Shona Robison said: "The fact that so many people are dying from drink as well as drug-related deaths should come as a stark warning that we have a lot of work still to do to combat Scotland's drink and drugs problems."

Tory health spokeswoman Dr Nanette Milne said: "Society has clearly changed over the past two decades and we now see women drinking as much as men. Sadly, this would suggest that the executive's strategy to tackle alcohol abuse isn't making any real impact on the problem."

An executive spokesman said: "We are well aware of Scotland's problems with alcohol. That is why we have a range of work under way to try and tackle the causes and consequences of alcohol misuse."
Categories [Health and Community Care]
to read original story click on:
http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/69107.html
Reproduced with permission from The Herald (Glasgow) © Newsquest (Herald & Times) Ltd

Scottish alcohol deaths double - Glasgow Evening Times

Scots drink-related deaths have more than doubled in the last 15 years, figures revealed today.

In 1990 the country saw 657 alcohol-related fatalities but that number had risen to 1513 by last year.

Greater Glasgow was the worst affected with 376 deaths last year.

In 1998 the figure was 319 - and during the intervening years the death toll was higher, reaching 406 in 2003.

Lothian health board had 221 drink-related deaths last year, the then Argyll & Clyde health board had 177, Lanarkshire 184 and Fife 76.

Heroin and morphine deaths in Scotland have increased by 35% since 1999 and totalled 225 in 2004, according to statistics given to SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson in response to a parliamentary question.

In 1996 the total was just 84.

There were similar increases in deaths involving the drug ecstasy, which claimed nine lives in 1996 but 17 in 2004.

Deaths involving amphetamines also went up, from five in 1996 to 10 in 2004.

SNP shadow health minister Shona Robison said: "The fact more people are dying from drink as well as drug-related deaths should come as a stark warning that we have a lot of work still to do."
Categories [Health and Community Care]
to read the orginal story click on:
http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/hi/news/5056579.html
Reproduced with permission from The Herald (Glasgow) © Newsquest (Herald & Times) Ltd

29 August 2006

Health Minister's 'snub' to maternity units slammed - Buchan Observer

LOCAL MSP Stewart Stevenson has hit out after Health Minister Andy Kerr revealed he has no plans to visit threatened maternity units in the North-east ahead of making a crucial decision over their future.

The Minister had been invited to visit the units by the SNP in order to see for himself the services on offer, to meet with campaigners, and to see for himself the journeys which expectant mothers would need to take in order to access services in Aberdeen.

Mr Stevenson has repeatedly called for maternity services to be retained at a local level in the North-east.

Mr Kerr has responded to the invitation by stating he has no plans to visit the units in question, and will make his decision based upon the recommendations of the Health Board and the representations made about them.

Commenting, Banff and Buchan MSP Mr Stevenson said: "I find it truly staggering that the Health Minister thinks that a decision on the future of these maternity units can be made without any need to visit them and witness first hand the damaging effect that these closures would have.

"I would have hoped that the Health Minister would have wanted to see these excellent facilities for himself rather than rely on the recommendations of a Health Board which run contrary to the policy for local delivery of health services which the Scottish Government is trying to implement.

"For Andy Kerr to assume that he can make a decision of such enormity from the comfort of his Edinburgh office, simply by looking at written submissions, is typical of this Scottish Government which consistently fails to listen to the people.

"Community campaigners will feel utterly let down that the Minister sees no reason to visit these units and see for himself just what the closures would mean for expectant mothers in the area. It is now more important than ever that the Health Minister is made aware of the strength of feeling locally."
Categories [Health and Community Care]
to read the original story click on:
http://www.buchanie.co.uk

28 August 2006

Rebels urge party members to oust all Tory MSPs at Holyrood elections - The Scotsman

by HAMISH MACDONELL, Scottish Political Error, The Scotsman

* Activists call for de-selection of all Scottish Tory MSPs
* Move highlights MSPs' failures in the Scottish Parliament
* Deep divisions evident within Scottish Conservatives

Key quote: "Many Conservatives believe that our MSPs have failed in their duty to highlight the enormous costs, and now the generally accepted uselessness, of the Scottish Parliament, which the Conservatives so accurately predicted prior to devolution." Tory candidate, Jim Mackie

GRASSROOTS Scottish Conservative activists have called for all of the party's 17 MSPs to be de-selected in a damaging internal rebellion that threatens to derail Tory chances of making gains at next year's Holyrood elections.

The Scotsman has learned that some senior activists have become incensed with what they regard as the failure of their MSPs to make any real impression in the Scottish Parliament.

They believe that the MSPs are more concerned with protecting their jobs than standing up for Conservative values and want a complete clear-out, paving the way for new, enthusiastic, candidates in their place.

In an unprecedented move, party members have been asked to show their disapproval of current MSPs by ranking them last on the party's regional lists for next year's election - giving them little chance of re-election.

Although limited to a small number of senior activists at the moment, the campaign represents a humiliating snub to the efforts of Annabel Goldie, the Scottish Tory leader, and her MSPs.

It is also a significant and damaging blow to the party, revealing deep divisions and dissatisfaction within the Scottish party just eight months from the Scottish elections.
Categories [Tory]
... more - click below for complete story
http://thescotsman.scotsman.com

27 August 2006

Debt Crisis Is Now Forcing Teenagers Into Bankruptcy - Sunday Express

by Meg Milne, Sunday Express

Crippling debt is forcing a record number of young Scots, some just 18, into bankruptcy, it emerged yesterday.

New figures show 122 people between the ages of 16 and 24 were declared bankrupt last year bringing the total to 563 since 2000.

The figures also reveal the youngest person to be officially sequestrated by the courts was 18 years old.

Details of the debts have been compiled by the Accountant in Bankruptcy, an Executive Agency for Scottish Ministers.

The shocking statistics were revealed by Deputy Justice Ministers Hugh Henry to Banff and Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson in a Parliamentary answer.

Now financial experts are predicting the number will rise dramatically as an increasing number of young people struggle to pay off student laons and credit card debt.

The National Union of Students estimates each student now has £15,000 of debt by the time they graduate. With the figure mounting the Student Loan Company confirms borrowers are more than £186million behind in their loan repayments.

The company is now paying debt collectors £190,000 a year to claw back £100,000 a month.

Scottish Nationalist Mr Stevenson said yesterday: "I am not suprised by these figures. I and a number of other MSPs have long suspected there is a clear link showing the increased cost of education is burdening students with debt.

"The figures also confirm young people are going bankrupt as a direct result of the cost of their studies.

"They are using bankruptcy as the only way to get out of debt."

However, financials advisors blame the many bankruptcies on a "spend now, worry later" culture, rising interest rates and energy bills.

Lenders are accused of throwing money at customers, particularly teenagers and students without checking properly if they have the resources to repay.

One bankrupt Edinburgh student ran up debts of more than £30,000 on two loans, two credit cards and a store card.

The total number of bankruptcies in Scotland is now at an all-time high with 100 people a week going bust.

Figures compiled by financial advisors Grant Thornton show that, in the second quarter of 2006, the number of people declared bankrupt rose by five per cent on the previous three months to 1,305.

With the figures for the last year the highest ever for sequestrations 20 Scots a day are facing financial meltdown.

Since 2000, more than 11,300 people have gone bankrupt.

A bill to modernise Scotland's insolvency laws is currently going through Holyrood.
Categories [Enterprise and Lifelong Learning]
the Sunday Express has a web site at:
http://www.sundayexpress.co.uk

Poll: SNP set to seize power at Holyrood - Scotland on Sunday

by EDDIE BARNES, Political Editor, Scotland on Sunday

ALEX Salmond is on track to take Scotland to the brink of independence, according to a startling new poll which shows the SNP has opened up a clear lead over Labour.

With just eight months to go until the Holyrood elections, the party has established a four-point lead over its nearest rivals, and appears to be pulling away.

The SNP claims that if the poll result was repeated at voting booths next year it would eradicate Labour's majority at the Scottish Parliament.

If Salmond becomes First Minister, he has pledged to introduce a bill for an independence referendum within 100 days of taking up office.

The poll is the first major test of public opinion in Scotland since Tony Blair incensed many within his own party over his support for Israel during the conflict in Lebanon.

Both the two main parties in Scotland that oppose Blair's foreign policy, the SNP and Liberal Democrats, appear to have gained as a result, with Labour well down on their 2003 showing.

Polling experts said the results confirmed that next year's election race would be the closest yet for control of the Scottish Parliament.

In an interview with Scotland on Sunday today, the SNP leader set out his plans for his first few weeks in office, declaring he will govern with "a hard head and a soft heart".

... more ... for complete article click on:
http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com

24 August 2006

‘It’s Scotland’s oil’ does the business for the Dragons’ Den team

by ROBBIE DINWOODIE, the Herald

The SNP won an unexpected "election" victory yesterday after MSPs were put under a Dragons' Den-style cross-examination of their policies at the Scottish Parliament.

The format was that of the BBC's Dragons' Den programme — four hard-nosed entrepreneurs passing hard judgment on a pitch — but it was a welcome surprise for the SNP when all four bought into the plan for an independent Scotland put to them by Jim Mather.

He was up against fellow MSPs Christine May for Labour, Murdo Fraser of the Scots Tories, Jamie Stone of the LibDems and Shona Baird for the Greens.

Not only did all the business experts back his view about how Scotland could flourish as an independent country, so too did most of the audience at the Festival of Politics in the Scottish Parliament.

Mr Mather, an entrepreneur before becoming an MSP, clearly spoke the language expected of the Dragons' Den team. Hosted by Evan Davis, presenter of the BBC2 programme, five MSPs had to pitch their vision for the best way to encourage entrepreneurs to invest in the country.

Rachel Elnaugh, founder of Red Letter Days, was joined by Dundee business woman Amanda Boyle, entrepreneur Chris Gorman OBE, and Edinburgh chef and restaurant owner Tony Singh. In the style of the show, the panel made the politicians answer tough questions after giving their brief presentations.

Christine May pointed to Labour policies such as improved business education, manufacturing output and funding opportunities.

Deputy Tory leader Murdo Fraser said he would invest in transport infrastructure, change public sector procurement rules and lower business rates to make Scotland more attractive to business.

For the LibDems, Jamie Stone said Scotland had the potential to become the "Saudi Arabia" of renewable energy, while the Greens' Shona Baird said money could be made from using waste materials as well as wind and wave power to create energy. But Mr Mather spoke of using Scotland's oil wealth to create a better business environment and to improve life expectancy in a bid to increase the country's wealth.

Mr Gorman said: "In business you have to be apolitical and I just looked at who was pitching me the best story and it was Jim."
Categories [Enterprise and Lifelong Learning]
--- --- ---
to read original story click on:

http://www.theherald.co.uk

23 August 2006

Lothians crime levels rocket four times as fast as average

by IAN SWANSON, Scottish Political Editor, Edinburgh Evening News (iswanson@edinburghnews.com)

CRIME levels in Lothian and Borders have risen four times as fast as the Scottish average since 1997, official figures show.

And today opposition politicians called for more police on the beat to try to reverse the trend.

Figures provided by Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson in a written parliamentary answer to SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson show the number of crimes recorded by Lothian and Borders police rose from 71,510 in 1997 to 84,179 in 2004 - an increase of 17.7 per cent.

In Scotland as a whole, the figure went up from 420,642 to 440,372 - a rise of 4.6 per cent.

SNP justice spokesman and Lothians MSP Kenny MacAskill said the figures were "saddening and worrying".

And he urged increased police visibility on the streets. He said: "It's not just about numbers, it's about officers doing what the public wants them to do. A visible police presence reassures the public."

Earlier this summer, a breakdown of recorded crime on police beats last year revealed the centre of Edinburgh as Scotland's crime capital. It showed more offences reported in Princes Street and the New Town than in any other single area of Scotland.

And a study for the Edinburgh Community Safety Partnership earlier this year found one in five people living in Edinburgh was affected by crime.

But one in three victims of crime last year failed to make a report to police. Nearly half of all residents who had been attacked stayed silent, while four in ten victims of a sex attack or harassment did not come forward and a third of those subjected to vandalism failed to contact police.

Lothian and Borders police today claimed the figures created "a misleading impression".

A force spokeswoman said: "It would seem that the figures cover all groups, including offences reflecting police pro-activity. For example, drugs supply offences can only be recorded when they are detected. The carrying of offensive weapons is similar in this respect.

"The rise in crime figures across the Lothians and Scottish Borders therefore includes all proactive activity by police."

The Scottish Executive pointed out that while crime levels had increased in Lothian and Borders between 1997 and 2004, the figures were still considerably lower than the peak year of 1991, when recorded crimes totalled 92,935 in Lothian and Borders and 572,921 across Scotland.

An Executive spokeswoman said: "We also know that non-sexual crimes of violence decreased significantly - by more than 11 per cent in 2004-05.

"And those offences which did increase were mainly motoring offences (by 22 per cent) - due to the continued roll-out of the safety camera programme which is designed to cut road fatalities and injuries - and vandalism/fire-raising (19 per cent), which were both affected by the introduction of the new Scottish Recorded Crime Standard.

"However, we are far from complacent and are determined to create safer communities to protect the law-abiding many from the law-breaking few."
Categories [Justice]
--- --- ---
to read original story click on:
http://news.scotsman.com

22 August 2006

Rural Fuel Not Affected By Supermarket Price Cuts

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has expressed concern that while those in urban areas will be pleased that the Supermarkets have reduced the price of petrol, many of those in rural areas, dependent on their car, will miss out on these reductions and continue to pay higher petrol prices.

Mr Stevenson is calling on the UK Chancellor to introduce a system whereby those in rural areas would pay a fairer price on their petrol.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

"While those living in close proximity to a major Supermarket will be pleased that fuel prices have been reduced, this will not affect many living in rural areas who continue to pay the highest fuel prices not only in Europe but in the world.

"In the past fortnight the UK media have been harping that the big cities could see forecourt prices reaching the pound a litre mark. However, many rural areas in Scotland have been paying that and more for nearly a year. In fact, in one or two areas the price is a high as £1.10 a litre.

"Rural communities do not enjoy the same public transport links as urban areas and are, therefore, heavily reliant on their own cars. However, with continued increases in petrol prices, rural economies could be destroyed. It is, therefore, vital that the UK Chancellor introduces a lifeline to these communities.

"The Chancellor of the Exchequer has the power to offset these rises through tax and must take action to protect rural economies, such as Banff & Buchan. Implementing a fuel tax regulator, as suggested by the SNP, could provide this protection without affecting revenue.

"If Mr Brown can support France when they successfully achieved a derogation on fuel prices for their remote regions, then why can't he support Scotland's rural areas?"
Categories [Environment and Rural Development]

Over 20,000 Aberdeenshire Pensioners Will Pay No Local Income Tax

Local SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed an announcement by SNP Deputy Leader Nicola Sturgeon that over 20,000 pensioners in the Aberdeenshire Council area will not have to pay a penny in Local Income Tax under an SNP led Scottish Government.

In a speech to pensioners in Edinburgh Ms Sturgeon laid out the SNP’s proposals to improve the lives of Scottish pensioners when an SNP-led Executive takes power from Labour in next year’s Scottish Parliament elections. A major element of that speech was spelling out the benefits for pensioners of replacing the council tax with a local income tax as well as improving the delivery of free personal care.

Commenting on the SNP’s plans to improve the lives of Scottish pensioners Mr Stevenson said:

"Making the lives of Scotland’s pensioners better will be a important policy plank of the SNP as we prepare for Government after the 2007 elections. The Council Tax is deeply unfair to pensioners and hits them particularly hard.

"Currently, 19% of the basic state pension goes on council tax in Aberdeenshire. That is simply too big a burden for pensioners to bear.

"That is why the SNP will abolish the unfair Council Tax and replace it with a Local Income Tax based on the ability to pay.

"This will directly benefit the vast majority of pensioners in Scotland in Aberdeenshire.

"Under the SNP proposals over 20,000 pensioners who pay no income tax in Aberdeenshire will have the council tax abolished and will pay no local income tax.

“There will be no ifs or buts, no means tests – they will simply have nothing to pay.

"With a local income tax the vast majority - approximately 90% - of pensioners throughout Scotland will pay nothing or less than they do now.

"The abolition of the unfair Council Tax will put money back in the purses and wallets of pensioners across Scotland. It will do so without subjecting our old folk to bureaucratic means tests which they find demeaning.

“With 2007 a two horse race between the SNP and Labour the pensioners of Aberdeenshire will have a clear choice with the SNP offering support or the Labour-LibDem Executive offering continued failure.”

20 August 2006

Repeat orders show Asbos ‘aren’t working’ - Sunday Herald

by Liam McDougall and Kirsty Taylor, The Sunday Herald

THE Scottish Executive came under fierce attack last night over the number of repeat antisocial behaviour orders (Asbos) given to offenders, more than half of which have been issued in the First Minister’s own constituency.

The first survey of multiple Asbos has revealed at least 22 Scots have received repeat orders for refusing to stop their disruptive behaviour.

In North Lanarkshire, where Jack McConnell has his Motherwell and Wishaw constituency, 12 people have had 25 Asbos served on them. Almost one in every 10 Asbos granted in the area (13 out of 158) is a repeat order.

The controversial measure – in operation since April 1999 – was introduced to bring an end to violence and public disorder. McConnell has also hailed Asbos as a key weapon against young vandals and thugs wreaking havoc in communities. In 2004, he extended the use of the order to under 16s.

But last night, in the wake of the new figures, McConnell was facing accusations that the number of repeat orders indicated a “failing” policy that did nothing to deter antisocial behaviour.

Stewart Stevenson, SNP deputy justice spokesman, said: “Asbos are neither an attempt to engage with people who are causing problems in the community, nor are they an adequate punishment. If people are receiving multiple Asbos, it is a clear sign that Asbos are not working. ”

In all, eight Scottish local authorities have issued repeated antisocial behaviour orders. Aberdeen City Council admitted it had an individual who had received two orders at the same time. South Lanarkshire, Fife and West Lothian all had one person who had been given two Asbos.

Clackmannanshire Council said William Watson, evicted from his home in Alva earlier this year for constant noise, had received two Asbos. Scottish Borders Council had two tenants with repeat Asbos, including 58-year-old Robert Pupkis from Peebles who was given repeat orders for continually rowing with his wife Margaret, who also has an Asbo .

Dumfries and Galloway Council confirmed it had issued repeat orders . North Lanarkshire Council revealed it has taken out 25 orders, including three against a 31-year-old female . Of the 12 given multiple Asbos in the area, eight were female.

And nine of the 12 given repeated Asbos were aged 25 or older. All 12 received the Asbos for “harassment”, “noise” or “loud music”. The age of the offenders and nature of their behaviour raised concerns the underlying problems of offenders were not being addressed.

Jane Donoghue, a researcher on Asbos at Stirling University, said: “Addiction, mental health problems and learning difficulties frequently feature in Asbo cases, but the primary – and often the only – focus is on the effect of the perpetrator’s behaviour. ”

Andrew Mackie, a spokesman for Asbo Concern, said: “Unless you address the underlying causes of the behaviour you are wasting your time.”

Margaret Mitchell, Tory justice spokeswoman, said the figures on repeat Asbos showed the Executive was failing to tackle youth disorder .

A Scottish Executive spokeswoman said: “Ordinary members of the public have made clear that they want to see antisocial behaviour tackled. We have listened to them and delivered real action that shows we are on their side – and we make no apology for that.”

The figures on repeat Asbos come after McConnell voiced his “absolute dismay” at the police and local authorities that only four Asbos have been served on unruly under 16s.
Categories [Justice]
--- --- ---
to read orginal story click here:
http://www.sundayherald.com/57430
Reproduced with permission from The Herald (Glasgow) © Newsquest (Herald & Times) Ltd

19 August 2006

Shock Rise In Bail Breaches - Sunday Post

by Paul Johnson, the Sunday Post

CASES of offenders breaching special conditions of bail have increased tenfold since the Scottish Executive came to power.

The statistic is being condemned by opposition politicians as evidence the administration is failing to protect the public.

In 1997 there were 701 cases where offenders broke additional bail conditions while they were free awaiting trial. That had risen to 7086 cases by 2004, the latest data available.

The figures relate to contraventions of special orders imposed by the courts, such as electronic tagging and curfew orders.

They also include exclusion zones, commonly set up to protect the victims of domestic abuse from being approached by offenders. The figures don't include offenders committing additional crimes while on bail.

The statistics were contained in a reply by Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson to a parliamentary question submitted by the SNP's deputy spokesman for justice, Stewart Stevenson.

The Banff and Buchan MSP told The Sunday Post, "We can see clearly the Executive has utterly failed to ensure appropriate supervision for people on bail. The system clearly allows too many offenders to breach conditions and suffer no penalties and to continue re-offending.

"The bail system is singularly failing to serve the public and protect them properly."

Last September, First Minister Jack McConnell came under attack over figures showing the number of people committing additional offences while on bail in the Strathclyde and Lothian and Borders police force areas had more than tripled over five years.

A week later he admitted to the Labour Conference in Brighton, "People in Scotland are sick to the back teeth of hearing about crimes committed by people out on bail."

He promised the system would be toughened up, including raising the minimum sentence for bail breaches from three months to one year.

Last month, the Lord Advocate, Lord Boyd of Duncansby, sent new guidelines to prosecutors in murder cases. These stated the Crown would oppose bail in all murder cases and if bail was granted the decision would be appealed.

The guidelines came soon after the case of a teenage murder suspect who was allowed to go on a family holiday while on bail.

The Scottish Tories chief whip, Bill Aitken, has joined the condemnation of the figures.

"These are shocking and it would be interesting to see if sanctions were imposed upon any of these offenders."

An Executive spokesperson said, "The increase in breaches of conditions reflects an increase in the granting and enforcement of additional bail conditions in order to provide safeguards over and above the standard bail conditions.

"Examples of this would be exclusions from an address in domestic abuse cases, curfew orders and electronic monitoring.

"So it's a good thing more of these special conditions are being imposed in appropriate cases.

"While that may lead to an increase in breach rates, it's still the right thing for judges to do if they consider such conditions appropriate.

"Bail is a difficult issue that concerns many people, but we're committed to improving the system.

"Through the Criminal Proceedings (Reform) Bill, we are increasing the maximum sentence for breach of bail conditions from two to five years in solemn cases and from three to 12 months in summary cases and reasons will be given for every bail decision." Categories [Justice]
--- ---
to read original story click on:
http://www.thesundaypost.co.uk

Judge's Concern About Early Release Of Sex Offenders Should Be Heeded

Commenting on remarks made by senior judge Lord Hardie that sex offenders should only qualify for automatic early release after serving a substantial part of their sentences and after a risk assessment had been undertaken Stewart Stevenson MSP, the SNP's deputy justice spokesman, said today (Saturday) that his remarks should be heeded.

Lord Hardie made his remarks yesterday following sentencing of a convicted sex offender to a 16-year extended sentence after he had re-offended whilst being out on automatic early release.

Commenting Mr Stevenson said:

"This is yet another indictment of the Executive's failure to adequately govern Scotland's criminal justice system. Only this week we learned that two men convicted of attempted murder were free to do so because they were out on license.

"Lord Hardie is a very senior judge and his comments should be heeded.

"He is simply highlighting the inadequate system of supervision we have for those who have been released from jail and the need for a greater focus to rehabilitate offenders whilst they are in prison." Categories [Justice]

16 August 2006

SNP MSP Comments On Sentencing Of Reoffenders Out On License

Commenting on the sentencing of three men to a total of 19 years in prison for attempted murder whilst two of them were out on license after previously being sentenced for assault Stewart Stevenson MSP, the SNP's deputy justice spokesman, said the current system of licensing needed to be reviewed.

Commenting Mr Stevenson said:

"That two men out on license for a previous assault undertook this brutal attack brings into question the current system of license. Such occurrences do not help create public confidence. These thugs should not have been in the position to ruin a man's life.

"It's clear that the current system of monitoring has not been adequate in this case and we need understand the reasons for that breakdown.

"Already we have seen figures of the numbers on license going back to prison rising and that is a matter of serious concern.

"Changes to the current sentencing policy will require additional resources outside prison otherwise the services that the parole board will be relying on will be even more stretched. Categories [Justice]

15 August 2006

Grampian NHS Must Respond To Community Dental Needs – Stevenson

Today [Monday] Grampian NHS was shown to be the worst area in Scotland for NHS dental practice provision. In a Parliamentary Answer to Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson, the Health Minister reveals a net loss of 4 dental practices in the last ten years while across Scotland the gain has been 39.

Speaking from his constituency, Stewart Stevenson said,

Scottish Executive figures have previously shown that the North East has 3.9 dentists per 10,000 population while Glasgow has nearly twice that at 7.48. Today's figures reveal that far from engaging effectively with the provision of dental services, NHS Grampian has presided over abject failure.

In only one of the last six years have we seen a net increase in the number of dental practices offering NHS services, the worst performance of any health board.

It is time for NHS Grampian to make the kind of effective efforts that have, for example, seen a net 18 new practices open in the Highlands over the last 10 years.”

Commenting on particular problems in his own constituency, Stevenson stated,


New provision planned for Banff is welcome. But that will be little help to places like Fraserburgh where patients may often wait for a year for remedial work to be done. We urgently need new dental practices and dentists if oral standards are to improve.” Categories [Health and Community Care]

14 August 2006

Local MSP Set To Clock Up 400 Surgeries On Annual Constituency Tour

Local MSP Stewart Stevenson has announced details of his sixth annual surgery tour of Banff & Buchan communities. And on Day Four of his tour, Mr Stevenson will have clocked-up 400 surgeries since he was elected in 2001.

Starting next week, the SNP MSP will be visiting 43 towns and villages in his marathon surgery tour over the next two weeks. Mr Stevenson’s Mobile Office will be criss-cross the constituency, from Inverallochy to Forglen and Sandend to Cruden Bay.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“My mobile surgery tour encompasses many small villages and communities and gives me first hand experience of hearing and seeing some of the issues on the ground.

“I think it is important for constituents to be able to meet their MSP in their own locality and the summer tour gives me the opportunity to get into some of the smaller communities that I may otherwise not be able to call upon. It is also a very valuable exercise in allowing me to visit rural businesses which I may otherwise not have contact with during the course of the year.

“During this tour, I will have held over 400 surgeries since I was first elected. I always enjoy the summer tour immensely so I am very much looking forward to getting out on the road.”

The surgery tour kicks-off on Wednesday 23 August in New Pitsligo and finishes in Forglen on Friday 1 September.


Note: The surgery tour will take place over 5 days from 23 August to 1 September. Surgeries will be held in the Scottish National Party caravan and no appointment is necessary although constituents are welcome to phone the office in advance to advise their attendance. Details of venues and times will be advertised in the local press. Categories [MSP Constituency]

11 August 2006

Stevenson Calls For Community Engagement In Deveron Terrace Planning Inquiry

Following his attendance at the timetabling meeting held in Banff on Thursday on the planning implications of a proposed football and tennis facility at Deveron Terrace, local MSP Stewart Stevenson has called for all interested parties to use the opportunity to make their views known.

Speaking after the meeting the MSP said,

The enquiry will probably start on Tuesday, 7th November and last two weeks. Many of the local interested parties have already indicated that they will give evidence and I welcome that.

With major players such as Aberdeenshire Council, Historic Scotland and Tesco engaging advocates to put their case, it is important that everyone representing community interests submits a well argued case.

On an issue with such a range of views in the local community, Mr Trevor Croft who is the Inquiry Reporter, has a significant challenge in drawing up a recommendation to present to Scottish Ministers.

I welcome the proposal that documents relating to to the Inquiry be displayed in both Banff and Macduff as this proposed development is important to both.”

Commenting on the timescale, Stewart Stevenson added,

Disappointingly after such a long period of uncertainty, it seems that Ministers are unlikely to receive a recommendation until late January and would normally take some months to deliver a decision..

For those people living near the proposed development such a long period of uncertainty will be very unsettling. And for parties such as the Princes Royal who want to improve facilities in Banff and Macduff, it will add costs and delay.” Categories [MSP Constituency] [Communities]

10 August 2006

Stevenson Welcomes Progress With Development Constraints

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the news that SEPA and Scottish Water are considering proposals to relieve the problems developers are facing in obtaining planning permission due to water and sewerage infrastructure constraints.

Speaking from his Constituency Office, Mr Stevenson said:

“SEPA is proposing to withdraw its standing objection to private sewerage systems, e.g. septic tanks in areas where there are plans to upgrade the sewerage system. In settlements where the population is less than 2000, SEPA states it will consider applications on a case by case basis.”

“Clearly, if these measures are adopted, they may make some difference to the housing situation in our more rural communities, where the shortage is often particularly acute.”

“These measures have not been put in place yet, and still need to be ratified by both Scottish Water and SEPA. They do however constitute an improvement over the current situation, and demonstrate that the consistent lobbying by politicians, developers and private individuals over several years, has proved effective.”

“At present, people wishing to build or develop a property commonly find themselves in a Catch-22 position, where they are advised that the sewerage system is at capacity and that they will not be allowed a connection. On amending their plans to include a septic tank, if one can be installed, they are informed by SEPA that they cannot do that since the property lies within an area served by the public sewerage system even though that system has no spare capacity.”

“This frustrating situation, which has persisted for years now, is testament to an inflexible and overly-bureaucratic approach to the problem, which has effectively strangled a good deal of development across the North-east.” Categories [Environment and Rural Development]

Jail Drugs Shock - Daily Record

SCOTLAND'S prison service chief said yesterday he believes 99 per cent of female inmates are on drugs when they begin their sentences.

The statement by Tony Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Prison Service, came in a written response to a parliamentary question by SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson.

No exact figures are kept on new arrivals at Cornton Vale - Scotland's only female prison - but every inmate is offered help for alcohol, drug or mental health problems.

------
to see orginal story click on:
The Daily Record Categories [Justice]

9 August 2006

Women arrive at prison 'on drugs' - BBC

The chief of Scotland's prison service has claimed that 99% of female inmates are probably on drugs when they begin their sentence.

Tony Cameron said spot checks at Cornton Vale over recent years had led him to make the assumption.

His views came in a written response to a parliamentary question by an SNP MSP.

It said that while there were no exact figures on arrivals, all new inmates were offered help for alcohol, drug or mental health problems.

Prison service spokesman Tom Fox added: "That is simply our experience of the prisoner group we are dealing with.

"Only occasionally are we finding prisoners who do not have a drug problem."

'Poor records'

Nationalist Stewart Stevenson said he was not surprised by the response to his question, but he called on the service to improve the way it monitored the help being given.

He said: "Although the answer is telling us that everyone is offered help they can't tell us how many took it, which seems rather bizarre when virtually their entire client base is there because of drugs.

"I think the prison service needs to concentrate on that and manage it in much more detail so they can tell us about their successes and failures."

Mr Fox said the service should not be criticised simply because the statistics were not recorded in the way requested.

"That we do not hold these statistics does not undermine the fact that we put a great amount of time and resources into meeting the needs of prisoners when they arrive in prison," he said.

------
to read original story click on:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/ Categories [Justice]

Fishermen's leader hails TV documentary series - The Scotsman

A GROUNDBREAKING television series on the lives of five Scottish trawler crews has helped transform negative perceptions of the industry, a fishermen's leader said yesterday.

Last week's five-part documentary series Trawlermen on BBC1 attracted more than five million viewers each night. It featured the Doric-speaking crews of white-fish and prawn boats operating from Peterhead, Britain's largest fishing port, on the Buchan coast.

Bertie Armstrong, the chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation, revealed yesterday that the screening of the series had attracted unprecedented messages of support from members of the public after bringing home the crucial importance of one of the most dangerous jobs in Britain.

One viewer wrote to the federation: "The programme showed everyone the true cost of our fish and chips. Our fishermen are some of the bravest blokes in the world."

Mr Armstrong said: "We've had many responses from the public saying how impressed they were with Trawlermen and wanting to pass on their thanks to the BBC and the men involved.

"At long last it is good to see the practical challenges faced by the industry being portrayed in an honest fashion."

Mr Armstrong said the series had focused on vessels from the white-fish sector of the Scottish fleet which had shrunk by 65 per cent over the past six years.

Stewart Stevenson, the SNP MSP for Banff and Buchan, said: "The lives of our fishermen have been shown to five million people across the UK in the kind of detail which has never been shown before.

------
to read the original story click on:
The Scotsman Categories [Environment and Rural Development]

8 August 2006

Maternity unit hangs in the balance - The Banffshire Journal

By George Boardman

THE closure of Banff’s maternity unit is far from a done deal. Claims in the press that the Scottish health minister, Andy Kerr, would simply rubber-stamp NHS Grampian plans to close all four rural maternity units – including the one at Chalmers Hospital in Banff – are well wide of the mark, according to inside sources.

'The Banffshire Journal’ can reveal that a final decision could still be months away – allowing plenty of time for pro-Chalmers campaigners to fight for the rights of local mums to have their babies in Banff, rather than have to travel to the maternity units in Elgin or Aberdeen. NHS Grampian propose that a new maternity unit would open at Peterhead to cover north Aberdeenshire.

The board can expect the minister to make a rigorous assessment of their plans before any decision is taken. “That could be months away,” admitted a source.

NHS Grampian Board took their decision to recommend closure of the maternity units at Banff, Aboyne, Fraserburgh and Huntly at their meeting in Aberdeen last Tuesday.

They say that falling birth rates and an ageing population mean that there are better ways of using NHS resources.

But MSP Stewart Stevenson says: “I must say that I was deeply concerned and distressed over NHS Grampian’s recent decision to recommend the closure of maternity units at Huntly, Banff, Aboyne and Fraserburgh.”

He notes that the Scottish Executive’s policy requires that health services are delivered as close as possible to the local communities that need them. “That should mean that maternity services in principal will continue to be delivered in that community, and I call upon everyone involved in this matter to make sure that their views are known when the Minister makes his decision.”

Whatever the decision, NHS Grampian say that it will have no effect on the ongoing process to modernise and rebuild Chalmers Hospital in Banff.

There is now only one maternity bed pencilled in for the renovated hospital, and the layout was already planned to allow the bed to be used for other purposes.

A spokesman also confirmed: “The hospital will still be the base for the community midwife unit, and offer a full range of ante- and post-natal care.”

After a very vociferous campaign against closures when they were first suggested, the NHS board were forced to extend their consultation period.

It culminated in a special workshop day last month, where groups which had previously been involved in the original consultation were invited to meet senior management in Inverurie to work though the entire NHS Grampian agenda for future services. Maternity is only a small part of that future – but it was the one which generated most opposition to change.

The board had to endure a hostile reception when it took its consultation roadshow to Banff last year, where local people were unhappy about the workshop style of the meeting. It led to claims that the method was designed to 'divide and conquer’, and prevent momentum building up from the floor of the hall.

The most active anti-closure campaigns have been seen in Fraserburgh and Aboyne.

------
for the original story click on:
The Banffshire Journal Categories [Health and Community Care]

7 August 2006

Stevenson Congratulates BBC On 5 Million Audience For Trawlermen Series

Following the five editions of the programme Trawlermen which is being carried on BBC1 across the UK this week, Banff and Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has spoken out strongly in favour of real life series such as Trawlermen. Speaking today from his constituency office in Peterhead, Mr Stevenson said:

“The lives of our fishermen have been shown to 5 million people across the UK in the kind of detail which they’ve never shown before. The price of fish is very high and as the programme says, it’s the most dangerous job that there is.

“The five skippers and their crew are to be congratulated on their ability to bring humour and the Doric tongue to a wider audience and show people the true cost of putting fish on their plate.

Commenting on the use of subtitles for some of the dialogue, Mr Stevenson said:

“While I was personally mildly irritated by the use of subtitles, the skippers and their crew have assured me that they felt that this would be an appropriate way of reaching a wider audience - and with five million people watching they’re probably correct.” Categories [Environment and Rural Development]

6 August 2006

Concern at plans to downsize Carstairs - Sunday Herald

by Judith Duffy, Health Correspondent, Sunday Herald

THE number of beds at Carstairs hospital is to be cut by a third as dozens of patients are moved to lower-security institutions.

New policy guidance on mental health facilities for offenders shows the high-security hospital is to be dramatically reduced in size as more medium and low-security beds are introduced.

Women will also no longer be sent to Carstairs, after experts concluded that high-security psychiatric care for female criminals was not required in Scotland.

The plans follow new legislation which gives patients, including those detained for murder, the right to be moved to a lower-security facility when their condition improves.

While experts and mental health campaigners back the changes, opposition politicians have warned that public safety must remain top priority .

Previous attempts to build new facilities for mentally ill offenders have met fierce opposition. The decision to build a medium-security unit at Glasgow’s Stobhill Hospital was approved despite a four-year campaign against it by local groups.

Bill Aitken, Conservative MSP for Glasgow, said: “It is impossible not to feel sympathy for those who have mental health problems, but where they constitute a risk to the public, then the public interest must be paramount. ”

Stewart Stevenson, SNP deputy justice spokesman, welcomed the move, but added: “It is important to take communities along with us.”

The number of beds at Carstairs will be reduced from 193 to 128. Provision of medium-security beds for male patients will more than double from 50 to 120-140, while low-security beds will increase from 139 to 160-70.

For female patients, 21 high-security beds at Carstairs will be replaced by eight medium-security beds and up to 24 low-security beds. In exceptional cases, high-security facilities in England will be used if required.

Andreana Adamson, chief executive at Carstairs and leader of the Forensic Network team, which developed the policy for the Executive, said: “With human rights and the Mental Health Act, you really need to be proportionate in your restrictions of people.”

The Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland, which has raised concerns about patients becoming “entrapped” in Carstairs, welcomed the plans. Director Dr Donald Lyons said: “It is essential that the very small number of people with mental disorders who pose a serious risk to others are cared for in secure conditions at the right time, and only for as long as is necessary.”

An Executive spokeswoman said the reduction in bed numbers reflected the fact that there were fewer patients requiring conditions of high security, and that public safety “comes first”.

She added: “Patients are transferred to conditions of lower security only when there is clinical agreement that such a transfer is appropriate and safe.”

------
to read original story click on:
http://www.sundayherald.com/57094 Categories [Health and Community Care] [Justice]
Reproduced with permission from The Herald (Glasgow) © Newsquest (Herald & Times) Ltd

3 August 2006

Doric Group Defends BBC's Use Of Subtitles In Trawlermen Series - Press & Journal

by ANDREW KELLOCK, Press & Journal

The group which is the guardian of the Doric has backed the BBC's decision to use subtitles in a TV series focusing on the daily trials and tribulations of north-east fishermen.

The Buchan Heritage Society believes the dialect spoken in ports like Fraserburgh and Peterhead - where Trawlermen was filmed - is a language rather than just a regional accent. And they say it should be considered in the same way as Gaelic. Trawlermen follows the lives of the crews of four fishing boats working out of the Blue Toon and is being screened all this week on BBC1.

Last night, retired skipper George Sutherland said the subtitles had not spoiled his enjoyment of the series.

The former chairman of the Scottish White Fish Producers Association and vice-president of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation gave regular interviews to television and radio journalists, often from the deck of his record-breaking Broch-registered vessel Sans Peur. He said: "I never changed the way I spoke but I maybe pronounced my words a bit more clearly and carefully.

"I don't think there would have been much point in me trying to get the industry's message across if nobody could understand what I was saying.

"The programme has been very good, one of the best made about the fishing industry."

Marlene Lowe, secretary of the Buchan Heritage Society, said: "The Doric is a language, on a par with Gaelic, and if a programme is being shown all over the UK the subtitles are a must really."

John Buchan, skipper of the Peterhead-registered Fairline, said: "If you sit down to watch a Gaelic programme, you're not going to be able to follow it without the subtitles, unless you speak the language and it's the same with the Doric."

Banff and Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson said Trawlermen, which is being screened across Britain, had provided a good insight into the difficulties fishermen face in what is the country's most dangerous profession. He said he had been "mildly irritated" by the part use of subtitles, and he quipped: "I look forward to the day when EastEnders is given similar treatment."

The penultimate and last episodes of Trawlermen are being shown this evening and tomorrow.

------
to read the orginal article click on:
The Press & Journal Categories [Environment and Rural Development]

SNP On Cornton Vale Report

Speaking Today (Thursday) on the publication of the HMIOP report on their inspection of HMP and YOI Cornton Vale, the SNP's Deputy Shadow Justice Minister Stewart Stevenson commented on the report.

Mr Stevenson said:

"The Prison Inspector is right to focus on the rise in the number of women being locked up in our jails.

"We know that we must lock up dangerous criminals who pose a threat to society, but there are still far too many people in prison who shouldn't be. We need a real solution to the problem of crime which affects our communities, because Labour and the Lib Dems are failing to control this serious problem.

"With many driven to crime by their addictions, it is unacceptable that addiction support services in Cornton Vale are struggling.

"In addition given that mental health problems are a significant feature of the prison's population, the reported reduction in psychology service is also particularly disturbing.

"Bored prisoners will look for escape in drugs and this is a problem that is absolutely avoidable.

"These are the reasons why I believe that it's time to examine allocating greater resources outside the current prison system. This will reduce overall costs and deliver better results for society, victims and offenders alike." Categories [Justice]

2 August 2006

MSP Astonished At Gross Under-Reporting Of Demand For NHS Dental Services In Fraserburgh

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has expressed astonishment at figures from NHS Grampian which state that in the whole of Fraserburgh and surrounding area, less than 260 people are on the waiting list to register with an NHS dentist.

Commenting on the issue, Mr Stevenson said:

“I find it very hard to believe that there are only less than 260 people in the whole of Fraserburgh and the surrounding villages who are not registered with an NHS dentist and wish to do so.

“I know from my mailbag and from discussions with health and dental professionals that the figure must be far in excess of this. The danger now is that NHS Grampian will base decisions on future service provision in Fraserburgh on the number of people registered on their waiting list.

“I would therefore encourage everyone who is currently without an NHS dentist to register with NHS Grampian’s waiting list. By doing so, we can increase the pressure on the health authorities to make provision in those areas where need is greatest.” Categories [Health and Community Care]

Outcry over addict births funding - BBC


NHS Grampian has been criticised for announcing plans for a midwife to look after drug addicts while ending births at rural baby units.

The midwife will help pregnant addicts in Fraserburgh, Peterhead, Banff and Turriff.

Mothers have been told they will no longer be able to give birth at Aboyne, Banff and Huntly, while Fraserburgh maternity will merge with Peterhead.

Banff and Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson described it as bad timing.

A similar post to help addict mothers already exists in Aberdeen.

NHS Grampian said drug addicted women can often need additional support when they are pregnant and there was a need for the midwife.

Campaigners have vowed to fight on after losing the latest stage of their battle to save rural maternity services in Aberdeenshire.

NHS Grampian recommended stopping the services amid declining birth rates. The plans must now be approved by the health minister.

Mr Stevenson said the addict midwife news was very poor timing.

He told BBC Scotland: "At a time when they are cutting back on investment on midwives it seems quite astonishing they should be hiring a new midwife to help drug addict mothers.

"NHS Grampian has to recognise the need for maternity support in communities."

NHS Grampian said that after recommending ending births at some rural units, all communities would be treated equally due to an even geographical spread of services.

Ante and post natal care is expected to continue at all four units.

One mother, Clare Dow, 32, from Kintore, said of the ongoing campaign: "You have got to hope we can still win.

"I feel quite strongly about it - it's about freedom of choice."

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MSP Mike Rumbles vowed to take the fight to save Aboyne to the Scottish Executive.

He said: "It's really not acceptable that health boards make this sort of decision after public consultation makes it clear how valuable these services are.

"Expectant mums should be able to have a choice.

"I have written to [Health Minister] Andy Kerr asking for a meeting so that I can have the opportunity to explain to him why NHS Grampian is wrong to limit the choice of expectant mothers in this way."

------
to view the original story click on:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland Categories [Health and Community Care]

1 August 2006

Stevenson Fury At NHS Grampian's Recommendation On Maternity Units

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has condemned NHS Grampian’s decision to recommend the closure of maternity units at Huntly, Banff, Aboyne and Fraserburgh.

Speaking following today’s meeting of NHS Grampian, Mr Stevenson expressed his outrage at the decision of the Health Board. While welcoming the news that Peterhead’s maternity unit is safe the MSP is supporting the communities in Banff and Fraserburgh in their ongoing campaign to keep their maternity units. Mr Stevenson said:

“Fraserburgh is the only town over 10,000 population in Scotland that’s more than one hour’s travel away from an acute services hospital, and this is yet another blow by the NHS in Aberdeen against the community here. It is time that they started to listen to the community in Fraserburgh in providing services they require.

“This is of course a decision that ultimately has to be taken by the Health Minister in Edinburgh. The community has time to make their views known to the Minister and I will be supporting them in doing so.”

Mr Stevenson continued:

“The policy of the Scottish Executive is based on Professor Kerr’s recent report which requires that health services are delivered as close as possible to the local communities that need them. That should mean that maternity services in principal will continue to be delivered in that community and I call upon everyone involved with this matter to make sure that their views are known when the Minister makes his decision.” Categories [Health and Community Care]
Name:
  required
Address:
  required
Email:
  required
Tel No.
  optional
Message:
  required

Stewart Stevenson
does not gather, use or
retain any cookie data.

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP