Edward Mountain

In Parliament

Inquiry into NHS Highland Bullying Allegations - First Minister's Questions - 15 November 2018

I asked the First Minister today if those who have signed non-disclosure agreements with NHS Highland would be free to give evidence in the upcoming inquiry into NHS Highland bullying allegations.

I was delighted to receive confirmation from the First Minister that those with non-disclosure agreement can give evidence.

It is vital that all those who believe they have been bullied in NHS Highland have the freedom to come forward.

If we are to resolve the bullying allegations at NHS Highland then no stone must be left unturned in this inquiry.

Ashley Atkins
Debate: Concern over the State of Scotland's Ferry Services - 31 October 2018

In my speech today I called on the Scottish Government to review their Ferries Plan following a huge increase in CalMac delays and cancellations.

Figures revealed yesterday show there has been a 119% increase in the number of services delayed on the CalMac network since 2007-08.

As I made clear in my speech the Scottish Government promised in its Ferries Plan to review their approach to providing ferry services and to continue to reassess the needs of our island communities. 

The Ferries Plan has sat on the shelf, gathered dust, and nothing has happened to it. It needs to be dusted off and it needs to be looked at, especially because the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Service contract is up for renewal in six years.

Ashley Atkins
NHS Highland Bullying Allegations - Emergency Question to the First Minister - 27 September 2018

I am deeply disappointed that the First Minister would not agree to launch an independent inquiry into corporate bullying in NHS Highland following my emergency question today.

Senior clinicians at NHS Highland have claimed in the press and others have done so privately to me that the culture of fear and intimidation emanates from the very top of the Health Board. 

I cannot therefore see why the First Minister believes that the Chair of NHS Highland is the appropriate person to investigate these very serious concerns. Especially when the Chair has previously rejected claims of a bullying culture and dismissed them as “gossip”.

Experience tells me that if you ever want to get to the bottom of an incident an independent inquiry has more chance of doing so.

Bullying ruins careers and it ruins lives.  It’s simply unacceptable that our hard working doctors and nurses should be intimidated at work. 

 For the sake of all those involved, patients, doctors and nurses, we need this to be resolved.

Ashley Atkins
ScotRail Reliability - Topical Questions - 25 September 2018

I am pleased that the Cabinet Secretary has undertaken to provide more details on how ScotRail will improve how it communicates train service delays to passengers.

It is clear that more targeted measures must now be taken to put ScotRail back on the right track.

That’s why I am urging the Scottish Government to ensure ScotRail draws up an action plan to improve train services in the Highlands.

The most recent performance figures for train services to Aviemore are 20 percentage points worse than the figures for services to the best performing stations in Scotland. That’s unacceptable for Highlanders who need to get to work, travel to school or make hospital appointments.

The Scottish Government has to close that gap and it must do so by pressuring ScotRail to improve reliability and performance.

Ashley Atkins
Highland Toilets - General Questions - 20 September 2018

I challenged the Scottish Government to join me in continuing to press the Highland Council to keep our Highland toilets open.

Last month the Culture and Tourism Secretary said that funds were available on request from the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund to save our toilets. Now it appears the Scottish Government is rowing back from its offer. Why were funds available at request from the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund last month not available now?

The people of the Highlands deserve to know and that is why I have lodged a series of Freedom of Information requests to the Scottish Government.

Ashley Atkins
Rural Bank Branch Closures Debate - 18 September 2018

I have called on banks to review the range of options offered to rural customers impacted by local branch closures. Digital banking, mobile banking and post office banking are not alternatives that work for all. Banks must think again on how they support local customers and rural businesses. 

Ashley Atkins
Supporting Scotland's Canals - First Minister's Questions - 28 June 2018

Scottish Canals' £70m shortfall has already meant the closure of the Edinburgh-Glasgow Canal. Continuing financial difficulties threaten our waterways in the Highlands and across the whole of Scotland. I welcome the First Minister's announcement of an extra £1.6m but this is nowhere near the total needed to repair our canals. I am continuing to challenge the Scottish Government to protect this vital infrastructure. 

Edward Mountain