Author Archives: duncanmcneil

Deaths rates at IRH of real concern

2nd November, 2015

Deaths rates at IRH of real concern

I’m sure most people would show some understanding if they were presented at A&E with a minor injury and there were delays in receiving the appropriate care.

After all, the NHS is under huge pressure at the moment with demands coming from all fronts and staff are doing their very best. But when it comes to the most serious injuries, I think we would all expect to receive the necessary treatment quickly.

So it’s with concern that a nationwide study published last week by the Scottish Trauma Audit Group, showed that care provided to trauma patients is not hitting the necessary standards.

When compared to the 19 hospitals that were examined as part of the study, Inverclyde Royal recorded the lowest percentage of patients with serious head injuries who were given a CT scan within an hour, with 0% compliance in 2013 and less than 10% last year.

Most worryingly, doctors at Inverclyde Royal have initiated a probe after the audit found the hospital experienced higher than expected death rates for trauma patients over the period in question. It will seek to establish whether the rates are due to chance or are a result of failures in clinical practice.

I welcome the review. I have written to the Chief Executive of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde asking him to ensure that it is thorough and concluded as soon as possible. I have also asked that the results of the review are published in full and shared with the public. Complete transparency is necessary to reassure the local community that the hospital is doing all it can to improve standards of care.

Mixed week for manufacturing

26th October 2015

Mixed week for manufacturing

Last week was one of mixed fortunes for manufacturing in Inverclyde. On a very positive note the new £97m ferry contract was officially confirmed for Ferguson’s shipyard in Port Glasgow. This is testament to the skills and efforts of the workforce.

Unfortunately on the very same day there was further evidence that the crisis in the oil and gas sector continues to bite as James Walker Devol announced that it intends to make nineteen of its employees redundant.

I have discussed the situation with the Union representing the workers  and I have also contacted the Scottish Government to see what can be done to avert any of the redundancies. It’s vital that we do all we can to protect the jobs at the plant and support its employees.

The announcement from James Walker Devol also came in a week in which TATA Steel confirmed plans to end steel making in Scotland. This recent bout of job losses underlines why it is so important that we have a comprehensive manufacturing strategy in place for Scotland.

We need a strategy that sees manufacturing companies through the tough economic times and which retains and builds on the skills of the workforce.

Any strategy must also utilise key infrastructure sites in Scotland such as Inchgreen drydock. This is a national asset that has real potential to be a key manufacturing hub, something which leading entrepreneur Jim McColl has recognised. That’s why this week I have arranged a meeting with local political leaders and the owners of the dock Peel Ports, to see how we can fulfil our ambition for the site.

I hope that by acting together we can secure a major project for the dock and use this as a stepping stone to bring manufacturing back to the Lower Clyde on a permanent basis.

Make a difference day

Press Release, 23rd October

Make a Difference Day 

Duncan McNeil MSP praised the dedication of over 900 Marie Curie shop volunteers in Scotland as he/she joined the team at the Marie Curie Shop in Port Glasgow to celebrate Make a Difference Day.

Duncan McNeil thanked Marie Curie shop volunteers for their commitment and spoke to the public about the difference that volunteering makes. NAME also turned his/her hand to taking donations, stacking racks and shelves, pricing goods and serving customers.Make a Difference Day on 24 October 2015 is a celebration of volunteering which started in the USA 24 years ago and aims to raise awareness of the benefits of volunteering and contribution that volunteers make to their local communities.

Duncan McNeil MSP said:

“It was great to meet with the volunteers and see the fantastic work they do supporting Marie Curie. These volunteers are making a really positive difference to the local community.”

Richard Meade, Marie Curie Head of Policy & Public Affairs, Scotland said:

“We wouldn’t be able to run our shops without members of the local community giving their time and skills and would encourage anyone interested in helping us, and the people that we support, to get in touch.”

We must do everything possible to secure future of plant

Press Release, 21st October 2015

We must do everything possible to secure future of plant

Greenock and Inverclyde Duncan McNeil has written to Scottish Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing urging him to do all he can to secure the long-term future of James Walker Devol.

It follows the news that the engineering company plans to make 19 of its workers redundant largely because of the slump in oil and gas prices has affected its business.

Duncan McNeil said:

“I welcome the news that the Union and James Walker Devol are working together to try and resolve this very serious situation. In the last week I have been liaising with Unite and I have contacted Scottish Enterprise to see what can be done beyond the PACE support.”

“I have also written to Fergus Ewing the Enterprise Minister urging him and his officials to do all they can to save as many of the jobs as possible and to get the company through this difficult time. James Walker Devol is a key employer locally so it is crucial we do everything possible to secure its long-term future.”


£300,000 for new family support service

Press Release, 15th October

£300,000 for new family support service

Local MSP, Duncan McNeil, has welcomed funding of £299,200 to benefit vulnerable children and families in his constituency.

The money will be used by Barnardo’s to establish a new family support service, Nurture Plus in Inverclyde and has been awarded by Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland’s Partnership Drugs Initiative.

The new service will work closely with local health and social work services to support up to 50 families annually with children up to the age of 12. The aim is to increase the safety of children impacted by parental substance misuse by providing support to the whole family.

Family workers will support parents and their children by offering a tailored support package focusing on keeping children safe, improving parenting skills and improving the children’s home life and helping families engage with the wider activities in their community.  The funding will be spent on staffing and project running costs.

Fiona Duncan, Chief Executive of Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland, said:

“Everyone agrees that children should get the best start in life and be supported to realise their potential. PDI was set up in 2001 to increase the well-being of children and young people affected by alcohol and other drugs. Every year, we support charities working to support some of Scotland’s most vulnerable families. This new service run by Barnardo’s will provide intensive support for children affected by their parents’ substance misuse.  The aim is to keep children at home and crucially, safer in the home environment while supporting parents to recover from their substance misuse issues.  It is the sort of project PDI was established to support and the Foundation is delighted to be able to fund it.”

Duncan McNeil MSP added:

“I welcome this grant award for Inverclyde and Greenock, knowing that families in my constituency will benefit.  Barnardo’s has a great track record working with very vulnerable families in such circumstances and this project will make a difference for children in their earliest years.  This sort of intensive family support will not only help parents recover from substance misuse, but crucially it will also ensure more children can stay at home safely within their families.  Focusing on what they need in terms of parenting support means Inverclyde and Greenock’s vulnerable children will get a better start in life. This grant from Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland’s Partnership Drugs Initiative will help make a real difference.”

Improvement in life expectancy

Press Release, 11th October

Improvement in life expectancy

Commenting on official figures published by the National Records of Scotland the life-expectancy showing that male life expectancy has increased by five years in the last decade Duncan McNeil said:

“It’s good news that men are living longer in Inverclyde. However, life-expectancy still lagging significantly behind wealthier parts of the country, and overall, is still below the national average.”

“There can be no room for complacency and there must be an increased focus in reducing health inequalities in Inverclyde to ensure that we are not living longer lives but healthier lives too.”

Lack of transparency over future of IRH

Press Release, 2nd October 2015

Lack of transparency over future of IRH

Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Duncan McNeil has raised concerns about the lack of transparency regarding the future of Inverclyde Royal.

It follows the news that the hospital needs a staggering £44 million pounds worth of repairs to bring it up to scratch. However,  NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have failed to confirm how the bill will be addressed.

Duncan McNeil said:

“NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have a responsibility to be open and transparent about Inverclyde Royal Hospital’s future and they have failed in this respect.”

“The health board haven’t addressed the substance of the matter which is the concern for the long-term future of the hospital. They have not denied that the bill is continuing to rise and have not given any indication to how much funding will be allocated to address the maintenance backlog.”

“The problems with the fabric of this building need to be addressed urgently. Allowing the building to deteriorate places a growing question mark over the future of the IRH.”

Health Divide

19th October, 2015

The Health Divide

The connection between where you’re from and how long you live has long since been established. The chances are, if you reside in a more deprived part of the country the fewer years you will have.

Indeed, official figures released on Wednesday by the National Records of Scotland (NRS), show that average life expectancy in Inverclyde is almost five years less when compared to wealthier council areas such as East Dumbartonshire.

But the health divide doesn’t just exist between different council areas it also exists within communities. If we were to dig a little deeper, I’m sure we would find a gulf in life expectancy between those who live in some parts of the east end of Inverclyde compared to those in the West End.

While Inverclyde clearly has some catching up to do with other local authorities there is some good news. Both men and women in Inverclyde are living longer. When compared to a decade ago, men are living five years more and women three years more.

The elderly population contribute so much to society through their volunteering and the words of wisdom and support they give to family, friends and neighbours. So the fact that they are living longer will have a positive impact on the community.

However, the rising elderly population also presents a challenge. Currently our health services are having difficulty coping with the increase in demand which is affecting the quality of care given to older people who often have complex health needs.

This is why it is vital that the balance of care is shifted out of our hospitals and into the community. This will allow the elderly to receive care that is specific to their needs within their own home or in a homely setting. We don’t just want people to be living longer we also want people to be living healthier lives too.

A busy week all round

12th October, 2015

A busy week all round

One thing that can’t be said about the Parliamentary week is that it lacks variation. As an MSP you can engage and meet people on a whole range of issues.

Last week began with a visit to the newly refurbished Clydesdale Bank branch on West Blackhall Street to hear about their commitment to local services.  The visit was particularly refreshing when we consider the series of bank closures made on the high street in recent years.

Following my meeting with Clydesdale staff, it was through to Edinburgh for my weekly meeting as convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Health Committee. I was glad to hear from the Health Minister Jamie Hepburn, that the Scottish Government has accepted one of the key recommendations the health committee made regarding the recent Carers Bill.

In response to concerns raised by carers the committee urged the government to enshrine a discussion about emergency planning in the adult carer support plan in order to give carers the peace of mind they need. If carers face an emergency they need to know that replacement care will get sorted out speedily and efficiently.

This week I also had the privilege of sponsoring an event highlighting the power of human rights to improve people’s health and the care and support they access.The event brought to life the experiences people have had as they challenge the status quo around health and social care.

The final day before the Parliamentary recess MSPs voted unanimously in favour of the general principals of a bill to ban smoking in cars carrying children.  As I said in my speech during the debate, I hope that this bill will send out a clear message about the harmful effects of second hand smoke.

It was a busy week all round but as we go into the Parliamentary recess there will be no let up as I give extra focus to pursing the concerns and issues brought to me by my constituents.

Growing concerns over future of IRH

Press Release, 28th September 2015

Growing concerns over future of IRH

Growing concerns have been raised about the long-term future of Inverclyde Royal by Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Duncan McNeil.

Earlier this year it was reported that the hospital needed forty-four million pounds worth of repairs to bring it up to scratch. However, the local MSP has learned that the repair bill has continued to increase.

Duncan McNeil raised his concerns in Parliament when he quizzed the Health Minister Shona Robison.

He asked the Minister

“During the cabinet secretary’s discussions with the chief executive of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, did she have time to discuss the staggering £44 million maintenance backlog at Inverclyde royal hospital? Reported in 2013, that figure is almost double the figure that was reported in 2011.

“As I understand it, rather than it being diminished, that figure is increasing and placing a huge question mark over the future of our local hospital. Can the cabinet secretary assure us that the issue will be addressed urgently to ensure that there is a viable future for Inverclyde royal hospital?”

In her reply the Minister did not deny the repair bill was increasing:

“I can confirm and reassure Duncan McNeil that Inverclyde royal hospital has a viable future. On the maintenance backlog, we expect all health boards to have in their capital plans a clear plan for maintenance, particularly if there is a backlog. We will continue to discuss issues with the health boards, including NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.”

Following the exchange in Parliament Duncan McNeil said:

“I will hold the Minister to her promise. The Scottish Government and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde must work together to ensure that the backlog bill is addressed as quickly as possible. The people of Inverclyde deserve the best health facilities available.”