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03/12/14 12:53

Media Briefing - Tuesday 2nd December

Post cabinet briefing by a Scottish Government Spokesman (SGS) and the First Minister’s Special Advisor (FMSA)

The SGS and FMSA welcomed journalists to the briefing.

The SGS said that Health Secretary Shona Robison had updated Cabinet on the publication of critical reports into the quality of care at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

The SGS said that Ms Robison would visit Aberdeen later today to meet with NHS Grampian Health Board and hear about their action plan to make immediate changes to address the issues outlined by the reports. The SGS drew journalists’ attention to a press release which had been issued and included quotes from the Health Secretary.

In addition to this, Ms Robison had updated Cabinet on positive news from the health service with figures showing the number of staff working in the NHS in Scotland had risen to a record high – up by 7.6 per cent, with over 9,600 more whole time equivalent (WTE) staff.

The SGS went on to say that Cabinet had formally congratulated Duncan Campbell on winning the Turner Prize, and Cabinet members had reflected on a positive week for Scotland’s cultural sector with the news that Dundee had been named the UK’s first UNESCO City of Design and the National Theatre of Scotland’s James Plays had been awarded the ‘Best Play’ award at the London Evening Standard theatre awards 2014.

The FMSA updated journalists that Deputy First Minister John Swinney had led a Cabinet discussion on the Smith Commission proposals, which would be reflected in full in a Parliamentary statement due later today.

He added that the Deputy First Minister had also led Cabinet in a discussion on the forthcoming Autumn statement - the FMSA highlighted a letter that the Deputy First Minister had sent to the Chancellor in advance of the statement calling for early implementation of Smith Commission proposals, and drew attention to the UK Government’s announcement of extra funding being made available to the NHS in the Autumn Statement, pointing out that full details on the funding implications for Scotland are still to be seen.

The SGS then ran through the day’s remaining events, highlighting a press release on the launch of a consultation on Land Reform by Environment and Land Reform Minister Aileen McLeod, and an announcement from Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing on £1 million in funding to support business tourism.

In addition, the SGS highlighted events planned for the rest of the week, including the Deputy First Minister’s response to the Chancellor’s Autumn statement, and Justice Secretary Michael Matheson’s visit to Carlisle and Lockerbie to promote the new drink-drive limit, both taking place on Wednesday.

He added that on Thursday the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners’ Rights Alex Neil would be participating in Justice Committee debate on Human Rights, and that the Housing and Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess would be taking part in a Scottish Government debate on Violence against Women. This followed on from a series of positive announcements in the past month which included the introduction of pilots on a new domestic abuse disclosure scheme ‘Clare’s Law’ in Aberdeen and Ayrshire and plans announced in the Programme for Government to look at further measures to address the issues of revenge porn and domestic abuse in Scotland.