Category Archives: Press Release

Talks over Inchgreen Drydock

Press Release, 17th September 2015

Talks over future plans for Inchgreen Drydock

On Monday Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Duncan McNeil will hold talks with the areas political and business leaders to see what can be done to secure a major manufacturing project for Inchgreen Drydock.

It follows the news last month that leading entrepreneur Jim McColl has scouted the dock as a potential shipbuilding hub.

Duncan McNeil said:

“The local community has argued for some time now that Inchgreen Drydock is a national asset and it was heartening to hear that Jim McColl supports this view.”

“I hope that as a result of Monday’s discussions with the areas political and business leaders we can begin to turn this significant opportunity into a reality.”

Public Health Bill

3rd August 2015

Public Health Bill

With more and more adults saying that they have successfully quit smoking tobacco as a result of using e-cigarettes, there has been an increase in the level of support for the electronic devices. The Scottish Government is the most recent public body to voice its approval.

However, while there is an emerging consensus that their usage among adult smokers is acceptable, there are those who have made the argument that young people should not be able to purchase the devices.

The smokers among you will know that the younger you start the harder it is to stop.  It’s with this in mind, that those against the sale of e-cigarettes to teenagers have raised their concerns.

There is apprehension that they could act as a gateway to smoked tobacco because they are high-tech and glitzy and therefore more appealing to young people. The case has also been made they might encourage teenagers to develop smoking like habits.

It is in response to such concerns that the Scottish Government, as part of its new Public Health Bill, is planning to make it an offence to sell e-cigarettes to under 18s.

Do you agree or disagree with this measure? The Health committee which I convene will shortly begin scrutinising the Bill and would welcome your views.

Another aspect of the Scottish Government’s Bill the committee would like to hear your perspective on, is the proposal to ban smoking outside hospital buildings.

The issue of people lighting up outside IRH has irked my constituents in the past. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde introduced a smoke free ground to try and tackle this in 2013. But as the Telegraph reported early last year a group of hardcore smokers continued to ignore the new rules. Perhaps this new bill will deter these types of smokers. What do you think?

To read more about the Public Health Bill and to submit your views please visit the Scottish Parliament’s website at

As ever, your submissions will help inform and shape and committee’s work and ultimately result in stronger legislation.

Views called for on the Health Bill

Press Release, 30th June 2015

Views called for on the Health Bill

People from across Scotland are have been asked for their views on legislation which will introduce restrictions on the sale of e-cigarettes and create no smoking areas in hospital grounds.

The Health and Sport Committee which is convened by Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Duncan McNeil is currently scrutinising the Health (Tobacco, Nicotine etc, and Care) Scotland Bill.

The Bill if passed will create a legal requirement for health and social care organisations to inform people when they have been harmed as a result of the care or treatment they have received.

The proposals would also establish a new criminal offence of ill-treatment or wilful neglect of adults which would apply to individual health and social care workers, managers and supervisors.

Duncan McNeil MSP said:

“The proposals in this Bill are wide ranging and if passed will impact on a number of aspects of people’s lives.

“The use of e-cigarettes has always been controversial and how and if they should be regulated is an issue this Committee has already considered.

“It’s important that the right balance is struck between regulating the use of e-cigarettes and supporting those using them as an alternative to more harmful tobacco products.

“Our Committee looks forward to hearing a variety of opinions on these issues.”

Concern over spike in elderly deaths

Press Release, 26th June, 2015

Concern over spike in elderly deaths

Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Duncan McNeil has written to the Scottish Government’s Health Minister raising concerns about the spike in elderly deaths in the area.

The National Records of Scotland recently released figures showing that the number of over-65s who have died so far this year has risen by a staggering 45 per cent when compared to the previous quarter.

In his letter to the Minister Duncan McNeil states:

“The National Records of Scotland recorded 83 more deaths here in the first three months of the year when compared with the same period in 2014. This significant increase is in stark contrast with a much smaller 20 per cent rise in Scotland as a whole.”

“In light of this, I ask you to consider initiating an investigation to get to the bottom of why there has been such a sharp rise. I’m sure you will agree that at a time when we have more elderly people and there are changes to services, anomalies such as this should be accounted for.”

Inquiry into palliative and end of life care

29th June 2015

Inquiry into palliative and end of life care

An inquiry into the quality of palliative care has been launched by the Scottish Parliament’s Health Committee which is convened by Greenock and Inverclyde MSP, Duncan McNeil.

The inquiry “We need to talk to Palliative Care” will focus on how patients can access the palliative care they need regardless of where they live and the diagnosis they receive.

MSPs today met with patients and staff at Marie Curie’s Hospice in Glasgow to make a plea for people to tell the Committee of their experiences of accessing palliative and end of life care.

Speaking as the Committee launched the inquiry, Duncan McNeil MSP said:

“The recent debate on assisted dying highlighted that the provision of palliative care in Scotland is not good enough. Our Committee heard that access to palliative care is not available on an equal basis.

“When faced with a terminal condition, it’s clear that the priority must put the patient’s needs at the heart of their treatment and care.

“We want this inquiry to shine a light on access to palliative care in Scotland and what more can be done to improve care for people at the end of their lives.”

“The Committee is also investigating how information should be made available to patients and their families about the types of support that is available and when the right time is to start talking about options for palliative care.”


McNeil writes to Justice Secretary over Pet’s Corner attack

Press Release, 19th June, 2015

McNeil  writes to Justice Secretary over Pet’s Corner attack

Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Duncan McNeil has written to  Justice Secretary Michael Matheson, requesting a review into the law which has prevented the prime suspect for the Pets’ Corner attack from being prosecuted.

The suspect was arrested and charged by Police in April 2013 under Section 19 (1) of the animal legislation. However, a statutory provision of the act is subject to a six month time bar, meaning that criminal proceedings must be raised within six months from the date of the offence. As a result, the suspect cannot not be brought to justice.

In his letter to the Minister Duncan McNeil said:

“The Inverclyde community feel extremely let down by a justice system that has not prosecuted the prime suspect for this crime.”

“Please could you act to ensure that this anomaly in the law is addressed so that perpetrators who commit similar crimes do not escape justice.”


Progress needed on end of life care

6th July,  2015

Progress needed on end of life care

Earlier this year there was a major debate in Parliament and across the country about the proposal to legalise assisted suicide in Scotland.

It was during this debate that the serious shortcomings in palliative and end of life care where brought to the fore.

Richard Meade of Marie Curie Cancer Care summed up the failings well during the health committee’s scrutiny of the legislation when he said;

“at present in Scotland, palliative care is not available to everybody and, when people get it, it often comes much too close to the end, when they could have benefited from it for far longer.”

It is in response to these concerns that last week the health committee which I convene launched an inquiry to see how it can be improved.

We could certainly learn a lot from Ardgowan Hospice which has been a cornerstone of the Inverclyde community for over thirty years with its focus on choice for patients and personalised care.

As part of its inquiry the committee would like to hear your stories. What has been your experience in accessing palliative and end of life care?  And how could it be ensured that it is available in all areas and for all types of terminal illnesses?

These are just some of the questions we are asking. If you would like to submit your views then please visit the Scottish Parliament website prior to August 12th at

Together I hope we can move towards a situation where high quality palliative and end of life care is available to everyone, whatever their condition, wherever they live and at the right time.

Change Law to get Aiden his Blue Badge

Press Release, 26th May 2015

Change Law to get Aiden his Blue Badge

Duncan McNeil MSP has written to Health Minister Derek McKay asking for a change in the Blue Badge law so that children like Aiden McLevy of Greenock don’t miss out.

Aiden McLevy has Downs Syndrome. Going without a Blue Badge to access disabled parking spaces makes life very difficult for him and his parents. Aiden has low muscle tone and sensory awareness. He often trips or refuses to walk and sits down on the pavement. He has a lack of safety awareness and is unpredictable and dangerous in car parks.

Duncan McNeil MSP said:

“If Aiden lived in Wales he would automatically qualify for a Blue Badge. There they have changed the law to include anyone ‘with a mental disorder who is unable to follow the route of a familiar journey without the assistance of another person.’

“The Scottish Government consulted last year on extending the law up here in Scotland. There was overwhelming support for doing so but nothing has happened yet.

I have written to Health Minister Derek McKay asking him to look at where things are regarding a change in the law and how quickly he can do it”


1.  As of now people can obtain a Blue Badge:

-       if they receive the higher rate of the mobility component of DLA

-       if they receive PIP and have been assessed as having severely limited ability in respect of ‘planning and following journeys’ or having limited ability in respect ‘moving round’

-       if they have had entitlement to DLA terminated in accordance with PIP and immediately before that happened was a disabled person

-       if they have had entitlement to DLA terminated in accordance with PIP and immediately before that happened was a disabled person with the relevant award of DLA having been made without limit of time


  1. Many people with Down’s syndrome (DS) can walk and are unlikely to receive the higher mobility rate for DLA. But many also remain unable to ‘follow the route of a familiar journey without another person’ throughout their lives.


  1. According to evidence, children and young people with Ds under 16 are likely to be denied a Blue Badge because they can walk and thus do not meet the eligibility criteria any longer. It is important to note that many children and young people with Ds can walk but still present a danger to themselves and others because of little or no awareness of danger from traffic. Moreover many remain unable to follow a familiar journey on their own. As a result children are likely to lose their Blue Badge for a few years but, when they turn 16, they could possibly obtain a Blue Badge again under PIP criteria and the severely limited ability to plan and follow a journey on their own due to their condition.


  1. INCLUSION Scotland advises that ‘from 17 December 2014, a new entitlement category applies in Wales for the Blue Badge. You can now qualify automatically if, as a result of a mental disorder, you are unable to follow the route of a familiar journey without the assistance of another person (Statutory Instrument 2014/3082)’.






Press Release, 21st April 2015


Commenting on the revelation that Inverclyde Royal Hospital has a forty-four million pounds repair bill Duncan McNeil said:

“This is a hard-pressed community, and it gives me great concern for the future of our health services, especially since the biggest hospital in Europe, the South Glasgow University Hospital, has been built just up the road and the health board have to make that work. If this trend continues, is there a question mark over the future of IRH?”

“We need answer as to why we have got to a stage where the hospital has fallen into such a state of disrepair. The huge bill will also raise questions in people’s minds about the long-term sustainability of the building, and the impact this will have on staff and patients.”

“Given the huge health challenges we face locally, including a rising elderly population, the citizens of Inverclyde deserve the best health facilities available and the funding that would make this possible from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHS GGC) and the Scottish Government.”

“While I acknowledge the recent upgrade to IRH’s accident and emergency department, it would seem we have a long way to go to bring the whole building up to scratch.”

Notes to editors










McNeil welcomes commitment to public debate on NHS

Press Release, 8th June 2015

McNeil welcomes Health Minister’s commitment to public debate on NHS

Duncan McNeil MSP has welcomed today’s commitment from the Cabinet Secretary for Health Shona Robison to a full public debate on the future of Scotland’s National Health Service.

Last week, the Labour MSP tabled a motion in Parliament highlighting the joint call made by the Royal Colleges for such a debate.

The Greenock and Inverclyde MSP said:

“I welcome the Cabinet Secretary’s commitment to a public debate on the future of the NHS. It’s essential that we have this debate to ensure that it does not only survive but evolves to meet the future needs of the people of Scotland.”

“Every day we are witnessing the huge pressure it is under as demand grows. It’s clear a fundamental rethink is required about what our priorities are for our NHS and the way in which we deliver health services.”

Notes to editors

Duncan McNeil’s motion lodged on Thursday is copied in below. It has received cross-party support.

S4M-13372# Duncan McNeil: NHS Scotland: Time for a Public Debate—That the Parliament notes the joint call by the Royal College of Nursing and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties in Scotland for a public debate on what are considered to be the difficult decisions that need to be made about future investment in Scotland’s NHS; believes this to be a measured and considered approach that could kick start changes to the way the NHS provides services; considers that, while the NHS budget is protected and, in recent years, the number of staff employed by the NHS has increased, demand for care from Scotland’s growing and older population has increased in places such as Greenock and Inverclyde, and notes the joint call for a mature debate involving the public, health and care professionals and MSPs from all political parties so that there is a consensual approach to future changes to Scotland’s beloved NHS to ensure that it does not only survive but evolves to meet the future needs of the people of Scotland.

Supported by: Ken Macintosh*, Stuart McMillan, Dennis Robertson, Jim Hume, Tavish Scott, Lewis Macdonald, Elaine Smith, Graeme Pearson, Elaine Murray, Jackson Carlaw, Jackie Baillie, Richard Simpson, Johann Lamont, Jayne Baxter, Cara Hilton, Neil Findlay, John Pentland, Margaret McDougall, Malcolm Chisholm, Hanzala Malik, Patricia Ferguson, David Stewart, Hugh Henry, Michael McMahon