Spare us the partisan blogs, Morag. This …

Comment posted Was no Scottiish University capable of doing the mathematical model on the impact of minimum pricing of alcohol? by Mairi.

Spare us the partisan blogs, Morag. This is about the Universities and specialist research.

Mairi also commented

  • The very essence of Universities is that they do research – pushing out the boundaries of human knowledge. That wouldn’t happen to the same extent if they all research the same things. So proper expertise is always going to be dispersed.
  • I think there is a group at Sheffield who for years have been researching this area. They have expertise in the epidemiology, public health, mathematical modelling and economics (plus perhaps further sub-disciplines) necessary to do this work.

    Likewise, we have lots of expert teams in our Universities that get used by organisations – public and private – in other parts of the UK and abroad. Think aquaculture at Stirling, political polling at Strathclyde (think how often John Curtice is used by media outlets UK-wide) … you get the idea.

    If they went for the people with the right experience and expertise, I have no problem with that.

Recent comments by Mairi

  • Partial victory in campaign for return of local maternity scanning services – but…
    Fiona, I agree with you that there is – and always will be – a place for specialist services –whether for maternity or anything else. With you 100% on that.

    Both guidelines on what scanning should be done, and the qualifications necessary for who can do scanning have changed in recent years. The qualification/ training is a major change – because whereas previously midwives did a one week course, now they (or radiographers) need to do a one-year post-graduate course. Such is the level of skill and capability once you’ve done that course, that apparently a decreasing number of obstetricians now turn their hand to scanning. So I’m led to believe that it would only be a very rare scan that would ever need a centre of expertise. That said, in such circumstances, there would probably be a need for a consultant obstetrician too – so regardless of the sonography capabilities of local midwives, a pregnant woman would need to travel to a centre of excellence.
    And I also applaud your past efforts, and can understand how pessimism can set in.

    Call me mad (love your analogy, by the way!) but I do believe (as I think you do) that we owe it to each other to battle for what we believe is right. I’ve fought battles in the past, won some and lost some. The successes are vital – they give all of us confidence. People in the NHS are first to admit that it can be a difficult organisation in which to bring about change. I should know – I worked in the NHS in both England and in Scotland – for the old Argyll & Clyde Health Board. So I’ve got first-hand experience. And I’ve also got maternity services first-hand experience – having two daughters of my own.

    I’m going to keep going. So many women have been in touch telling me about their awful experiences. There are available solutions that can improve at least part of the overall care they receive. It’s collective will that’s needed to make it happen. From all the politicians, managers, users and others you mention. If you ever want to dip your toe in the water again … let me know. Sounds like you’ve got all the credentials ;)

  • Partial victory in campaign for return of local maternity scanning services – but…
    Hi Fiona

    That’s very interesting – it just shows what can be done. Thanks for sending that.

    The plans to bring back scanning would mean that all scans could be done locally – not just the 12 week / confirmation ones. It would also mean that ad hoc and emergency scanning could be done here – something that currently means a round trip and often an overnight stay for what can be a ten minute scan.

    From what people say, this latest reduction of what’s available locally seems like the straw that broke the camel’s back. If this campaign on scanning can act as a catalyst to reviving the Maternity Services User Groups across Argyll & Bute, and with renewed focus on this vital service, bringing about a wide range of improvements – as happened in Angus – then it will have succeeded.

    Thanks for your good wishes!

  • Partial victory in campaign for return of local maternity scanning services – but…
    The campaign seeks three things, in summary:

    1. The restoration of local scanning
    2. Better communication with service users
    3. More support from the Scottish Government.

    And I count the challenge and correspondence between myself and the officials – in both Inverness and Edinburgh – as part of the whole campaign. When I first wrote to the NHS Highland Chief Executive, the expert/ review group hadn’t even met. So pressure was being brought to bear long before the PPF meeting you refer to.

    Had they got their skates on immediately after the September 2013 service withdrawal and reached a decision to do what’s now planned (however insufficient we may believe that to be), we could have had midwives being trained from September 2014, and some degree of service restoration from autumn 2015. Instead of what we now face, namely starting training in the autumn of 2015, and services a year later.

    Success, such as we’ve witnessed, has been to articulate – publicly – some limited progress on the local service restoration. But I think a lot more needs to be done on this front to accelerate local scanning. As stated, that could be by bringing sonographers from elsewhere to our hospitals (as stated above or locums), training our midwives, or recruitment of trained professionals.

    I believe that a very positive achievement on the second point, re communication, is to establish Maternity Services User Groups across the area. Ideally, they should be part of a wider piece of governance to ensure that services are consistent across the area. The NHS managers themselves, in their announcement too, lamented the inconsistency in what’s been available across Argyll & Bute.

    This is progress. Bringing service users and public authorities together can be a challenging process for all parties – yet it’s incredibly powerful and worth pursuing.

  • Partial victory in campaign for return of local maternity scanning services – but…
    Hi Fiona

    Routine ultrasound scanning is no longer offered anywhere in Argyll & Bute. This service was withdrawn in September 2013.

    The National Screening Programme is designed – among other things – to minimise infant mortality. So while no one can be compelled to attend for a scan, the higher the uptake, the greater the chances that problems will be spotted and dealt with.

    At the public meeting in Oban last week, several people raised questions relating more generally to maternity services, and one way of addressing them is to get involved in the Maternity Services User Groups that NHS Highland has committed to setting up. This is a good move, in my view, and would be a good place to bring up the concerns you have.

  • Partial victory in campaign for return of local maternity scanning services – but…
    Hi Lowry

    I was made aware of this issue almost a year ago which is when I first approached the Health Board.

    You’re wrong to suggest that plans were developed before I took notice because when I first contacted the NHS Highland Chief Executive their ‘expert group’ tasked with recommending what to do hadn’t even met. Services stopped in September 2013, and their first meeting was in July 2014. An unacceptably long delay: Babies were conceived and born in that period yet the Health Board couldn’t even hold a meeting to decide what to do.

    I wanted to establish all the facts and take action based on what I discovered. So I’ve been researching what happens in other areas, asking questions of the Scottish Government and making inquiries with other organisations who have an interest in this topic. What we’re campaigning for is well-researched and supported by professionals and users alike.

    Very little communication has taken place since services stopped. The meeting I organised in Oban last week was the first time there had been any public engagement in almost 18 months. User involvement is now happening as a direct consequence. So my interventions have made a difference, I’d suggest.

    Normally you contributions are incisive, Lowry, but you’re wrong about when I started to take an interest in this issue. And my interventions have made a difference so far, for example in promoting and establishing User Groups.

    Crucially, I’m now also challenging how robust and resilient the new plans are. I’m not convinced, and the extra questions I’m asking need to be answered if we want a service that works and stands the test of time. That’s what any campaigner, candidate or representative should be doing.

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38 Responses to Spare us the partisan blogs, Morag. This …

  1. I think there is a group at Sheffield who for years have been researching this area. They have expertise in the epidemiology, public health, mathematical modelling and economics (plus perhaps further sub-disciplines) necessary to do this work.

    Likewise, we have lots of expert teams in our Universities that get used by organisations – public and private – in other parts of the UK and abroad. Think aquaculture at Stirling, political polling at Strathclyde (think how often John Curtice is used by media outlets UK-wide) … you get the idea.

    If they went for the people with the right experience and expertise, I have no problem with that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Imagine what the Scottish media and politicians would say if a national newspaper criticised the UK government for using a Scottish university to produce a report. Surely the best policy is to use the people with the most experience in a particular field.

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    • Of course you do. It is just a surprise that no Scottish University had the required level of expertise in mathematical modelling.

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  3. I’m all for keeping it local but that’s a wee parochial, newsroom. The study needed to be robust and beyond reproach, so best for it to go to where the research is being done. Horses for courses.

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  4. The very essence of Universities is that they do research – pushing out the boundaries of human knowledge. That wouldn’t happen to the same extent if they all research the same things. So proper expertise is always going to be dispersed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. I think its a moot point anyway. The whole exercise is useless. The people they want to target with minimum pricing, will not stop drinking – they will just do without other things.

    Everyday people who don’t abuse alchohol will be the ones that stop buying the odd bottle of wine etc now and the industry will be the true bearer of the costs.

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    • I found the “partisan” blog from Morag to be interesting and a suitable counterblast to the approach to this proposed legislation of the Scotch Whisky Association and their friends in high places.Moderate drinkers have little to fear from this.

      Trying to do something about the problems that Scottish society has with alcohol is surely preferable to doing what past administrations have done up till now.

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      • For ‘Scotch Whisky Association’ you can effectivey read ‘Diageo’ – whose buying power in the lobby is unparallelled.

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    • I think you’ll find the ‘partisan blog’ was a response to Crazy’s cynicism, Mairi. No need to be quite so touchy.(Crazy, I would add I defend your right to cynicism although I agree fully with Ken above.) :)

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      • Thank you Alison. I am afraid having spent most of my life in proverty-striken and deprived areas ie the Land of Neds, I have cynicism deeply rooted in my bones.

        However, in this case, I wasn’t really aiming to cynically dismiss the government’s attempt to curb the after-effects of drink – I was just stating the facts as I see them. Knowing lots of people who this whole exercise is aimed at and knowing it will not change a thing for them.

        Except of course, some might decide to switch to drugs when they realise that drugs are cheaper than booze.

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  6. LOL More of your liberty and wealth getting stolen by the Scottish Nazi Party,
    how Kim Jung Fat salmond and his green shirt colleagues have embraced the EU version of Hitler’s plan from 1941 lets punish all the people for the sake of the few, Here is a novel idea lets lower the drinking age say (15) set up 15-18 year old educational pubs have responsible “adults” to monitor the consumption guess what maybe our children would learn to drink sensibly, rather than sitting outside with a group of their peers drinking till the stuff is finished

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    • How offensive can one get.?

      If Keith McMillan believes he is a “sensible adult” then if you don’t mind I will seek out someone who does not call their fellow human beings by such gutter words. Should be ashamed.

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      • Hamish100
        You get the award for being the most sensitive poster LOL now what gutter words have I used? Damn Argyll has got so PC? Maybe we should pass a law banning words that people don’t like (demolition man comes to mind “John Sparta you have been fined 100 credits for using inappropriate language”)
        In the UK as a whole we have 68,835 statute laws not including the UN, EU or HSE enforced statute laws look at the way your police are dressed (safety for them or intimidation) is that a free democratic society?
        Our government is created and operated as a for profit corporations (look it up on D&B business solutions) our police force, courts, NHS, DVLA and any government agency is set up as a profit making company (here is a link D+B http://www.dnb.com/) try looking up Oban court house or Strathclyde police.
        Hamish we have all been stitched up sold on the ticket of “this is for the safety of our country” yet your money and wealth has been stripped and sent abroad for the banker’s enjoyment.
        The Scottish people will let the SNP introduce this law and the price of drink will go up, but guess what the people that drink will continue to drink, it won’t stop underage drinking, it won’t stop binge drinking, but you will be happy because you have a new law
        Why not just make the drunks pay for their hospital treatment, or the police time dealing with their bad behaviour, What a silly idea of trying to make people responsible for their actions

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  7. Bad day somewhere , that’s for sure!

    “Scottish Nazi Party”, “Green shirts”, “EU versions”, “Hitler’s plan from 1941″.

    Where is this fantacist coming from?

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      • Robert; sometimes in politics the people fall asleep and listen to the polimagician crap and guess what when the truth comes out they don’t want to hear it

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        • ‘Falling asleep’ reminds me of that MSP who was brought to book in Holyrood today for three times failing to attend questions in parliament – most recently preferring a very nice lunch indeed that was described in loving detail by the BBC. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’d fallen asleep afterwards, and I think that her parliamentary days might be numbered.

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          • Joan McAlpine’s parliamentary days should be numbered for this latest (and sixth such absence) of a series of varied errors that point to high degree of juvenile irresponsibility and lack of judgment. But she is the First Minister’s aide, is said to have been lunching with him today, so, although this calls Mr Salmond’s judgment into question as well, the betting on her survival has to be off.

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          • For the avoidance of doubt, in the interests of accuracy, and because it’s worth recording for posterity, it was actually the sixth time she’d skipped class; Ms McAlpine started with smoked venison with a Strathdon blue cheese dressing and red wine pear, followed by breast of Scottish chicken with grilled asparagus chorizo, olives and Parma ham. (apparently she didn’t photograph her meal and put it on her blog, and I think the BBC lost a comma). No mention of any drink partaken or pudding course consumed might support the fact that Ms McAlpine was preparing for Health and Wellbeing Question Time. An opposition MSP accused her of being a newspaper columnist, but that smacks of character assassination.

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          • Update, courtesy of today’s Herald: There was indeed drink taken, her meal was ‘washed down with a bottle of Pinot Grigio’. Could explain the lack of photos or blog. The Herald goes on to describe her as ‘a former newspaper executive’ – so she could have brought her lunching habits with her to her new school, or it might just have been a run-of-the mill lunch for the pupils at this particular establishment.

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    • Bad day somewhere , that’s for sure! (a great day actually)
      “Scottish Nazi Party”,(look at the laws these people have put in place) “Green shirts”,( have a look into the treaty of Rio and SNP plan for a one size fits all police force) “EU versions Hitler’s plan from 1941″ (try stop watching east enders for one night and have a look into the history of the EU)
      Where is this fantacist coming from? (Everything you have quoted is correct mate well documented just a case of you researching it.)
      But here Ken if I have it all wrong tell me about Alex Salmond SNP and the cover up of the “Abuse of Hollie Gregg” you know the case that when the mother found out the truth and exposed it she was sent to a mental hospital or the lawyer representing her getting his office and home raided “case papers and some other evidence being taken” tell me when was the last time you heard of someone being locked up for a year on a breach of the peace
      Fantasist yeah that’s me mate so guess that must make you one of the sleeping sheep

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