Local MSP welcomes the launch of Abellio in Stirling

Dr Richard Simpson MSP attended the launch of the Abellio group in Stirling today.

The Dutch operator is taking over the franchise for the next 10 years from ScotRail as of today and will be responsible for running Scotland’s trains.

Abellio has pledged to introduce new trains between Edinburgh and Glasgow, refurbished high speed intercity diesel trains with more than a third more seats, free wi-fi on all trains and 23 per cent more carriages across the network.

The Mid Scotland and Fife MSP attended the launch this morning at the Stirling Railway Station.

Dr Richard Simpson MSP said:

“I welcome the new operator here in Stirling and I hope Abellio will provide high quality and more convenient services for passengers.

“I hope very much that the Abellio group will deal with the overcrowding issue on the 17:25 train from Edinburgh to Dunblane and the 18:00 train from Edinburgh to Alloa which is also often overcrowded. This is an issue I have raised many times and I hope it will be resolved.

“I also hope that the Abellio Group will address the potential shortfall in coaches after the Borders Rail opens and that services to Stirling and Alloa will not be cut as a result.”


Dr Richard Simpson MSP welcomes changes to IVF services in Scotland

The Health and Sport Committee in the Scottish Parliament returned to the topic of assisted conception.

The Infertility Network Scotland was invited to become part of the National Infertility Working Group to review the existing provision of the service within NHS Scotland which was inconsistent across Scotland.

The principal aim of the group was to help resolve the inequity of access to IVF services across Scotland.

Dr Richard Simpson MSP welcomed the fact that the post code lottery and long waiting times for assisted conception have been resolved with all boards now providing two cycles of treatment and waiting is less than 12 months. He went on to pay tribute to the late Helen Eadie MSP who campaigned on these issues.

Mid Scotland and Fife, Labour MSP, Dr Richard Simpson said:

“There still remain a number of issues to be resolved. These include a move to three cycles for eligible couples; ensuring that all couples have access to counselling where it is needed, and ending the unfair practice of denying access to NHS treatment, for couples where one of the partners has a child by a previous relationship that lives with them.”

Dr Simpson felt that this last issue was a matter of equity and a human right.

Commenting on that issue, Dr Richard Simpson MSP said:

“The fact that taking custody of a child precluded the couple from treatment whilst not taking custody allowed for a couple to be eligible is just wrong.”

He called for an early announcement on this last issue from the National Infertility Group.


Mental Welfare Commission joins Scottish Labour calls for new drive on Mental Health

Dr Richard Simpson, Scottish Labour’s shadow Minister for Public and Mental Health, who was a psychiatrist, welcomed the public stance of the Mental Welfare Commission.

Colin McKay of the MWC warned that the progress which had been achieved in Scotland through the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) [Scotland] Act 2003 could be lost if Parliament did not ensure a rights based approach.

Dr Simpson had already called for a wider review at the Stage One debate on the Bill in the Scottish Parliament:


Dr Richard Simpson MSP said:

“I have concerns that this narrow amending bill does little to enhance the rights of those who may be detained. It appears to be largely addressing what are seen as service administrative issues.”

“I am concerned at the extension to a number of lengths of time where detention can be applied. I will be tabling amendments to block some, and to ensure that other occur only where it is clearly in the best interests of the person affected.”

“If the government does not announce a wider review to examine the judgments which have been made by the courts and the compatibility of the Adults with Incapacity [Scotland] Act 2000 with the 2003 Act in respect of capacity I will also seek to table amendments to the bill, ensuring the right to appeal against emergency and short term detention on the issue of capacity.”

Dr Simpson went on to say:

“There are other issues which give me great concern including the overuse of psychotropic medicine in both Acute Hospital and Care home settings. But this is exactly why a fuller review is required.”


Notes to editors:
The Mental Health (Scotland) Bill has passed stage one. Stage 2 will commence after the Easter recess.
The Mental Health (Care and Treatment) [Scotland] Act 2003 was based on the Milan report 1999 and incorporated important principles.
The Adults with Incapacity [Scotland] Act 2000 includes a right of appeal to a court if the person whose capacity is being judged to be impaired does not agree.
The 2003 Act was the first Mental Health Act in modern times which was not simply an adopted UK Act. It was largely followed by Westminster in the subsequent UK Act.
The judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Salontaji-Drobnjak v Serbia established that it is a violation of Article 6.1 ECHR to be denied, access to a court concerning the restoration full legal capacity, if an adult has been assessed as lacking legal capacity in some respect. There is currently no such appeal in the 2003 Mental Health Act, yet there is a right in the Adults with Incapacity Act 2000.
The GMC consent guidance makes clear, and case law has established that a patient with the capacity to make a decision about some proposed medical treatment has a right to refuse it, even though the patient has a mental illness and even though death might be the likely consequence of the refusal.