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9 records found from year 2006

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Saturday, 17 June 2006 10:54
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Drug addicts could be given electrotherapy to help them kick the habit under new plans being considered by the Scottish Executive, The Scotsman has reported.

The controversial treatment sends electric pulses through the skull to help stabilise the brain after quitting "cold turkey" and help to control the body's cravings.

One patient who underwent a five-day course of neuro-electric treatment has since been drug free.

Jack McConnell, the First Minister, is reportedly so impressed with the anecdotal evidence, that he has asked Scotland's Chief Medical Officer to look into the issue.

David Liddell, director of the Scottish Drugs Forum, welcomed a controlled study but warned against seeing the new treatments as a "magic bullet".

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Friday, 09 June 2006 10:27
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Scotland’s First Minister Jack McConnell yesterday denied the Executive’s flagship policy of free personal care for the elderly had been reduced to a postcode lottery.

Mr McConnell made the defence after it emerged that 15 out of 32 councils have waiting lists in place, with more than 200 elderly people in Argyll and Bute denied their legal right to such care.

It has also come to light that some councils will prepare food as part of the policy while others refuse.

Yesterday Nicola Sturgeon, the deputy leader of the Scottish National Party, accused First Minister Jack McConnell of condoning the waiting lists.

"Again this week we've heard some local authorities in Scotland are rationing free personal care because of a lack of resources," she said.

Annabel Goldie, the leader of the Scottish Tories, said it was "very worrying" the Executive was not coming up with the resources to provide free care.

But Mr McConnel insisted that local authorities had been given sufficient funding - £153m last year rising to £169m for 2007-08 – to implement the free care plan. He said the Executive would send social work inspectors to any council deviating from the free personal care policy.

Pat Watters, the president of CoSLA, said waiting lists were part of managing free personal care as demand increased.

But he said the Executive will have to clarify guidance on the policy and increase funds to ensure it works in the long run.

"There is no crisis in free personal care and we are already involved in sensible discussions with the Executive to ensure that this popular policy is sustainable over the coming years," he said.

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Monday, 01 May 2006 10:41
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
A ban in the sale of cigarettes to under-18s could be the next step in Scotland’s anti-smoking plans, it emerged yesterday.

Experts who have been studying the problem of teenage smoking are expected to recommend raising the legal age for purchasing tobacco products to 18.

Ministers have not yet decided whether to back the recommendations, but it is believed that First Minister Jack McConnell’s determination to reduce smoking rates in Scotland will see them do so.

The researchers suggested that allowing teenagers to buy cigarettes at 16, but prevent them buying alcohol until they are 18, sends out the wrong message.

Maureen Moore, the chief executive of Ash Scotland and a member of the expert group, said: "Smoking is far worse than drinking. I am in favour of the ban on under-18s being able to buy cigarettes as part of a whole tobacco control strategy.

"If you raise the age, you are sending out a powerful message about the danger of tobacco and bringing it in line with the restrictions on the sale of alcohol."

A recent study found that 6 per cent of 13-year-olds in Scotland some regularly, with nearly two-thirds getting their cigarettes from shops. And twenty per cent of 15-year-olds smoke regularly, with 86 per cent buying cigarettes from shops.

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Monday, 01 May 2006 10:24
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Children whose parents are addicted to drugs could be taken into care under tough new protection rules due to be unveiled by ministers this month.

The Scottish Executive said it would publish details of child protection reforms “within the next three weeks”, and Cathy Jamieson, the justice minister, yesterday confirmed that social workers would be told to take more vulnerable children into care.

Ms Jamieson said the Hidden Harm plan marked a “sea change” in policy. However, opposition politicians last night accused ministers of a “knee-jerk” reaction to high profile cases.

In January, a Glasgow heroin addict’s 11-year-old daughter collapsed in class after taking the drug. A few weeks later it emerged that toddler Derek Alexander Doran had died after drinking methadone at his home in East Lothian.

Ms Jamieson said social workers had long assumed home was the best place for vulnerable children.

"We will be telling them that assumption is no longer correct," she said. "We will be saying, 'Never mind the rights of parents. It's the rights of the children that matter most.'

"If that means taking children out of chaotic households, then that is what should happen."

It was reported yesterday that the Hidden Harm plans would be unveiled by First Minister Jack McConnell and Ms Jamieson after they were backed by Liberal Democrat coalition colleagues.

Mr McConnell said: "If there is chaotic drug use in a household, then social workers must do what is best for the child, not the parents."

It is believed that the document will tell social workers to intervene much more quickly in future to protect the welfare of any child living with drug-addicted parents. It will also demand that they communicate better after discovering a child living with addicts.

It is estimated that 60,000 children in Scotland live with drug-addicts – almost one in 15 of all under-16s.

Fiona Hyslop, Scottish National Party spokeswoman on children and young people, accused the Executive of being too slow to address the problem.

"They have come late to this issue. Concerns about children living with drug-abusing families were flagged up by a parliamentary committee as long ago as 2001," she said.

"The sheer volume of cases cannot be underestimated. While not all children living with drug-addicted parents are at immediate risk, there is a serious issue with the huge shortage of foster places. There are also fewer residential places than before."

She said child protection was Scotland's "cinderella" service, with the Executive failing to provide enough money to meet the demands on local councils.

"I think the Executive's response is more of a knee jerk than something that has been thoroughly thought through," she added.

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Sunday, 23 April 2006 09:50
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John Reid, the defence secretary, joined protests against hospital cutbacks in his own constituency of Airdrie and Shotts.

The former Health Secretary yesterday joined thousands of local residents who formed a human chain near Monklands Hospital in Airdrie, amid fears that it may close its accident and emergency unit.

His intervention, in the backyard of Jack McConnell, MSP for neighbouring Motherwell and Wishaw, and of Kerr, MSP for East Kilbride, poses a direct challenge to the executive, which has said hospital services must be rationalised.

Yesterday critics accused Reid of hypocrisy for trying to distance himself from his own party’s policy.

Shona Robison, the SNP’s shadow health minister, said: “This is the same man who presided over centralisation of services south of the border as health minister. He is trying to have his cake and eat it.

“You can’t be a Labour minister and protest against Labour policy. Labour is trying to face both ways and the electorate will see through it”.

Nanette Milne, the Scottish Conservatives health spokeswoman, said Labour ministers were“fighting like ferrets in a sack, trying to defend their own territory”.

However, Reid, who joined a human chain round the hospital, said he was merely reflecting the views of local people.

Addressing protesters yesterday, Reid added: “This is not organised. It’s not the normal political or trade union demonstration. This is just ordinary, non-political people who know how much accident and emergency means to this area.

“The local round table is here, the councillors are here, community representatives as well as MPs”.

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Friday, 21 April 2006 08:54
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
The SNP claimed yesterday that drug addicts are waiting too long to be assessed for treatment.

SNP Holyrood leader, Nicola Sturgeon, claimed that most addicts had to wait more than three weeks to be seen.

Out of the 7000 referred for treatment between last October and December 2005, 1000 will have to wait longer than six months for a referral and more than 400 will have to wait a year.

Nicola Sturgeon told First Minister's Questions yesterday: "Waiting times like this are unacceptable." She attacked the Executive's drug policies after MSPs debated a call from the Scottish Socialist Party to guarantee addicts treatment within one week.

Rosemary Byrne, the SSP's drugs spokeswoman also called for the health service to consider prescribing heroin rather than methadone to addicts.

It was included in a private Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Bill, which MSPs will consider soon.

First Minister Jack McConnell defended the Executive's drug policies.

He said: "We know the number of problem drug users is going down.

"This is still a huge problem in Scotland but we are tackling it.

"We are tackling supply and demand and that is the right approach”.

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Tuesday, 04 April 2006 09:20
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Details of a new partnership involving Scotland's universities, NHS Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and an American pharmaceutical firm Wyeth Pharmaceuticals was announced in New York by First Minister Jack McConnell and in Glasgow by health minister Andy Kerr.

The £50 million deal sets up the world's first 'Translational Medicine Research Collaboration'. It is intended to provide the impetus for Scotland to lead the world in medical research and bring lifesaving new drugs to patients more quickly.

After a meeting with Wyeth, First Minister Jack McConnell said: "This new partnership is an international first. It is great for Scotland and the Scottish economy and will bring health benefits not just for Scots, but for patients all over the world.

"Scotland has a world class reputation in life sciences. Our standing within the international community is high and I am delighted that one of the world's biggest pharmaceutical companies has recognised this by choosing to invest in Scotland.

"This further strengthens our position as a natural home for excellence and innovation, and will do a huge amount to raise the global profile of the pioneering work being done in our universities.

"We may be a small country, but our history shows that we have big ideas. Scots invented many of the things we take for granted and this new collaboration can secure Scotland's position as a world leader in innovation in this century too.

"This new partnership will also save lives across the world by speeding up the development of new medicines and getting them from the laboratory to the patient quicker”.

Frank Walsh, executive vice president of Wyeth Research, said: "We are delighted to be the major pharmaceutical partner in this relationship.

"Translational medicine is the key to the successful development of the next generation of innovative medicines which will truly make a difference for patients the world over”.

Health Minister Andy Kerr said: "Translational medicine research is particularly relevant to the NHS, bringing theoretical laboratory based science closer to practical applications of direct benefit to our NHS patients. It is a great example of the public and private sectors working together for mutual benefit. I am delighted that Scotland has been able to develop this pioneering approach”.

The Collaboration will comprise Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow universities, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Scottish Enterprise and NHS Grampian, Greater Glasgow, Lothian and Tayside.

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Monday, 06 March 2006 10:38
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
A two-year-old boy died after drinking his parents’ methadone, it emerged yesterday.

Derek Alexander Doran’s body was discovered in his bed at home in Elphinstone, East Lothian, by his 25-year-old mother.

The Sunday Mail newspaper reported that the child died after mistaking the sweet-tasting heroin substitute for a soft drink. It is unclear how he came into possession of the drug.

Derek’s parents, Lisa Dodds and Derek Doran, 22, are both methadone users and have been questioned by the police. Lothian and Borders police said they were investigating how the heroin substitute came to be in the child’s possession.

Derek died in December but the news of his death was revealed only this weekend. A police spokeswoman said: "The death was reported to the procurator fiscal, as all sudden deaths must be. We are working closely with our partner agencies to ensure a thorough investigation."

The Scottish first minister, Jack McConnell, told the Sunday Mail: "There is a police investigation ongoing so it would be wrong to comment on the specific circumstances until we know the full facts.

"However, over the last few weeks I have been absolutely clear on our commitment to do more to protect children, in particular those who are part of drug-abusing families."

Annabel Goldie, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said the death highlighted the need for a change of government policy on drug rehabilitation and called on the Scottish executive to stop "parking" addicts on methadone.

"We're living in a country where drug abuse has been allowed to eat away like a cancer at the heart of our society. Drug and methadone dependency have reached epidemic proportions with our social services left to pick up the pieces of government policy that lacks the will to tackle the issue head on."

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Thursday, 05 January 2006 11:44
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
An investigation by The Scotsman into the extent of health inequality across the country has provoked dismay among health campaigners, charities and politicians, the newspaper has reported.

The investigation revealed that a boy born in the poorest part of Glasgow can expect to die aged 54 – the lowest life expectancy in the UK. By contrast, men in parts of Livingston can expect to live until nearly 88.

Responding to the findings, Jack McConnell, the First Minister, warned that people in the most deprived parts of the country had to change their attitudes to smoking, drinking, eating and exercise.

The British Heart Foundation said it was "truly shocking that in a country as small as Scotland there can be a gap in life expectancy of 33 years between communities that are often only a few miles apart", while the Child Poverty Action Group described the findings as a "scandal", particularly in a country as rich as Scotland.

The First Minister said the health gap between the two sides of Scotland was "one of the real challenges for government", but added that the state could only encourage healthier living and it was up to individuals to make lifestyle changes to improve their health.

He said: "I think it can be easy to blame the individuals themselves, but I don't think that is the right solution.

"I think what is important is to ensure that we put a framework in place through government, a legal framework, but also support the public services: support for smoking cessation services, support for those who have got alcohol problems, support for those who want to take more exercise, support, for example, for schools where improvements in school meal provision and healthy eating programmes are making a difference - we can do that.

"But ultimately, this is about personal responsibility."

Louise Carlin, Oxfam's manager for Scotland in its UK Poverty programme, said: "There is a need to tackle not just the poverty that exists in developing countries, but also in wealthy countries. In a relative sense, we have to react, not just to the images we see in international terms, but poverty which exists on our doorstep.

"You can have a 50-mile divide within affluent countries."

Murdo Fraser, the Tory deputy leader, said: "This shocking state of affairs shows that the people who are hurt most by the failure of our public services and our economy are those who can least afford to be. Quite simply, the Executive's methods are not working. What we need is genuine public service reform to increase educational opportunities, economic opportunities and health opportunities, particularly for the least well-off, to enhance their quality of life."

Jenny Whelan, the head of CancerBACUP, a support group for those affected by the disease, said: "It is totally unacceptable that someone's life expectancy is being decided by their postcode, especially when the mortality rates vary so dramatically."

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