Edward Mountain



Edward Mountain MSP asks emergency question on HIAL industrial action

I am deeply concerned by the impact the day of industrial action will have on businesses, families and indeed patients who are reliant on air travel.

 I am therefore disappointed that it appears the Scottish Government is not directly involved with the contingency plans to minimise disruption.

 I think people in the Highlands would expect a lot more than the ‘hands off’ approach the Scottish Government seem to be taking on this very serious matter.

Ashley Atkins
Edward Mountain MSP calls for Scottish Government to apologise following Sturrock Inquiry into NHS Highland Bullying

My statement following the publication of John Sturrock QC’s inquiry into bullying at NHS Highland:

 “I would like to thank John Sturrock for his detailed report.

 It was only the Scottish Government and casual observers who didn’t recognise there were serious problems in NHS Highland.

 John Brown’s Governance Review, published in May 2018 proved it.

When four senior clinicians made allegations of bullying in September 2018, and I called on the First Minister for an Independent Inquiry, the Government still dithered.

 Finally when we get an inquiry we learn and I quote that there was “fear and intimidation” of the staff some who have “suffered significant and serious harm.”

 According to the report it appears that the Scottish Government knew about the dysfunctional nature of NHS Highland in Autumn 2017 and yet did nothing about, waiting to see what others would do.

 In my 40 years of professional experience, I have never read such a damning report. And in her statement I did not once hear the word ‘Sorry’.

 So let me start by welcoming the belated actions the Cabinet Secretary is announcing.

 But to move forward we need to resolve the past.

So let me give the Cabinet Secretary the opportunity, on behalf of the Scottish Government to start off the process rebuilding of our health service by apologising to the staff, patients and people of the Highlands for this situation which is attributable to poor executive management, which is backed up the Sturrock Report.”

Ashley Atkins
Edward Mountain MSP champions Highland Midwives in Holyrood debate

Today I celebrated the work of Highland midwives during a Holyrood debate, which marked the International Day of the Midwife.

I praised the passion and dedication of midwives across the Highlands and welcomed the new midwifery course offered by UHI, which specialises in providing maternity services in remote and rural Scotland.

However, I also cautioned the Scottish Government against measures to further downgrade maternity services in the Highlands.

Ashley Atkins
Edward Mountain MSP attends NHS Highland Annual Review

I was pleased to attend the annual review today to listen to constituents air their concerns to the Chair and Chief Executive of the health board in public. It was clear that the centralisation of services to Raigmore Hospital and maternity provision in Caithness remain big concerns in the region. There were also many individual items that were raised which showed how a lack of public consultation in the redesign of services in the past were currently creating difficulties.

 In the documents provided by NHS Highland we saw a long list of areas where the health board needs to improve. The facts showed that NHS Highland are failing to meet key targets in many areas, from mental health provision to early detection of cancer, and from waiting time guarantees to serious staffing issues.

 Of course, the elephant in the room which the board and the Cabinet Secretary will need to address, was the publication of the Sturrock Review into alleged bullying in NHS Highland which is long overdue.

The new Board face significant challenges and I will do my upmost to help them address the issues facing our health service in the region.

However, there is no scope for further failures from a health board that is categorised as Level 4 on the Scottish Government’s Escalation Framework. That means the health board face significant risks when it comes to service delivery and financial performance, especially as estimates suggest the budget deficit may be as high as £40 million.

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Ashley Atkins
Edward Mountain MSP calls for Scottish Government to intervene on HIAL industrial action

I am disappointed with the First Minister’s answer as it would now appear that the Scottish Government remains unclear on how to prevent industrial action.

Families and businesses who rely on air travel are at real risk of experiencing major disruptions for a long period.

The Scottish Government cannot wash their hands of the situation. I would urge the Scottish Government to take this matter more seriously and take every step to ensure a swift resolution to this industrial dispute.

Ashley Atkins