FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said it is important the concerns of St Margaret of Scotland Hospice are addressed.
During First Minister’s Questions, MSP Gil Paterson asked Ms Sturgeon for a meeting with the health secretary to discuss the on-going crisis at the hospice.
On Thursday, January 19 the First Minister also expressed how valued the services provided by the hospice are to those who benefit from them and that when she was health secretary had a close relationship with the centre.
Mr Paterson, the MSP for Clydebank, said: “I was pleased that the First Minister accepted what I was saying and that a meeting will take place with the cabinet secretary for health and I. The aim is to come to a resolution on the matter at St Margaret of Scotland Hospice — the charitable status, and possibly even more importantly, the ethos of the hospice must be kept intact. The hospice is unique not because it’s a hospice in Clydebank, it’s unique because as far as I’m aware it’s the only hospice in Scotland carrying out this type of valuable work.”
FULL TRANSCRIPT OF FMQs
Gil Paterson (Clydebank and Milngavie) (SNP): As the First Minister might be aware, there are on-going discussions about the future of 30 long-term care beds in St Margaret of Scotland Hospice in Clydebank, in my constituency. Yesterday, at a special full meeting of West Dunbartonshire Council, a motion on the hospice in the name of the former provost, Denis Agnew, was passed. The hospice is concerned that proposals by the integration joint board to use beds as social care beds might raise questions about the hospice’s charitable status and, more important, its ethos. I believe that an amicable solution is entirely possible. To that end, can I request a meeting with the health secretary to explore whether the Scottish Government can play a role in supporting a resolution to this very important issue between the integration joint board and the hospice?
The First Minister: First, I know how valuable and valued the services provided by St Margaret of Scotland Hospice are to those who benefit from them. When I was health secretary, I had a very close interaction with the hospice and, indeed, helped to allay some of the concerns that it had back in those times.
As I understand it, the West Dunbartonshire health and social care partnership has said that there is nothing in the proposed arrangements that would undermine the hospice’s charitable status. However, it is clear from what I have already heard and from what Gil Paterson has said in the chamber that the hospice still has concerns, and it is important that we try to address those concerns. Gil Paterson has asked specifically for a meeting with the health secretary, and she will be happy to meet him to discuss how the integration joint board and the hospice can find not only an amicable solution but, most important, a solution that will allow St Margaret of Scotland Hospice to continue to provide the excellent care that it provides for people in its surrounding communities.
Press releases prepared by Alan Ferguson, Gil Paterson MSP's communications manager, who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07342 061722..