Glasgow summit a ‘huge opportunity’ to tackle UK drugs crisis
A summit bringing together experts, health professionals and decision-makers from across the UK is a “huge opportunity” to finally tackle the country’s drugs crisis, the Scottish Conservatives have said.
The UK Government confirmed today that the much-anticipated event will take place in Glasgow on Thursday, February 27.
It means, for the first time, politicians from Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland will discuss the issue alongside professionals such as recovery experts and police.
Last year, Scotland suffered a record number of drug-related deaths, considerably higher than everywhere else in the UK and Europe.
Scottish Conservative Glasgow MSP Adam Tomkins said:
“We’ve led from the front on this issue for many years, demanding action on rehabilitation and recovery, as well as help for communities blighted by this problem.
“It’s been the focus for our health teams, our justice teams, our education teams and our Glasgow MSPs.
“In contrast, the SNP government has been asleep at the wheel, preferring to use this most serious of issues as a constitutional football.
“This summit is a chance for the SNP government to put that right.”
Scottish Conservative Glasgow MSP and public health spokeswoman Annie Wells said:
“This is a huge opportunity for us to tackle the drugs crisis not just in Glasgow, but across the whole country.
“The death toll, especially north of the border, is a matter of public shame and huge tragedy for thousands upon thousands of families.
“But now we can get the very best people together and start initiating real change.
“We must put our political and constitutional differences aside and come up with solutions here – the public will not forgive us if we do not.
‘The UK Government is acting on drug deaths and, in the upcoming Scottish budget, we hope the Scottish Government will do the same and deliver £15.4m for drug rehabilitation beds.”
Freeman is out of ideas and must resign
The Scottish Conservatives have renewed their call for the resignation of Health Secretary Jeanne Freeman after her escalation of the entirety of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to the highest level of special measures and desperate reshuffle of NHS chairs.
Today Ms Freeman informed MSPs that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde would be escalated as a whole to Stage 4 of the NHS Board Performance Escalation Framework.
This follows Ms Freeman’s decision in November to impose a stage 4 escalation on the areas of the board relating to infection prevention, management and control at the QEUH and the Royal Hospital for Children.
As a result of this increased intervention, Ms Freeman has appointed a new “Turnaround Director” to lead the changes.
The Health Secretary has also made changes to senior management at NHS Highland and NHS Orkney.
Miles Briggs, Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary said;
“Ms Freeman’s desperate attempt to reshuffle her way out of an NHS crisis shows just how out of ideas she is.
“Half of our health boards are now in special measures and shifting personnel around will not address the widespread and systemic issues that health boards have long been dealing with.
“The Sick Kids hospital in Edinburgh still hasn’t opened, and the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital continues to deal with the repercussions of the recent scandals involving infections and contamination.
“The SNP’s catastrophic mismanagement of these projects and the wider health service are all on display.
“Ms Freeman demonstrated a profound lack of judgement when she kept details of a deceased child secret, she continues to demonstrate that same lack of judgement if this is the best she can do.
“She should now resign and let someone else try to improve our NHS for the benefit of patients and the extremely hardworking NHS staff doing their best in this broken system.”