333 bus service

Back in August, I wrote to the Chief Executive of NHS Tayside expressing concern about the reduction in Service 333 – the ‘hospital link’ bus, primarily between Ninewells Hospital and Perth Royal Infirmary.
I have had constituents who are either NHS staff or hospital visitors contact me regarding their concerns and have therefore corresponded with both the NHS and Perth and Kinross Council (who tendered the service for NHS Tayside) on the matter.
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to discuss the matter further with my friend and colleague Cllr Willie Wilson of Perth and Kinross Council.   Willie has met with NHS Tayside representatives and staff regarding the situation.   The positive news is that core journeys will be saved and, although it will not be at the previous level of service, it will at least provide some service in the evenings and at weekends.   The additional Service 16 journeys (click here to see – new journeys highlighted in yellow) are to be welcomed.

Medical records dumped in West Port

Following the revelation that NHS Tayside medical records have been found dumped in a bin recess area at the back of tenements in West Port, I have had several constituents express concern about this and I have written to the Chief Executive of NHS Tayside in the following terms:

“I have had a number of constituents express concern to me about the recent finding of medical records dumped in a bin recess area in the West Port area of my ward.

I would be grateful if you would give me an explanation as to how this happened and a reassurance that, on fully investigating the circumstances as to how this happened, procedures will be tightened to ensure that this could not occur again in the future.”

Having in the past raised residents’ complaints about the state of some of the back areas at West Port, I have also been again in touch with one of the landlords about getting these back areas properly tidied.

Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader, Willie Rennie MSP, has rightly called for a Scotland-wide investigation of the safe and proper disposal of medical records – see below:


A Scotland-wide investigation into information management by the NHS has been called for following the dumping of patient records in Dundee.  The records which hold sensitive information on 22 patients from Dundee, Angus and Fife were found dumped in a bin recess in Dundee.

Willie Rennie, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, has called for a Scotland wide inquiry.
Commenting, he said:

“This is yet another example of poor control of patient records and information management in the NHS in Scotland.  To dump sensitive information in a bin instead of ensuring safe disposal could be an indication of a slack attitude.

“I am pleased that NHS Tayside has already agreed to investigate the matter, but the problem is that NHS Tayside is not alone.  

“NHS Ayrshire and Arran were heavily criticised by the Information Commissioner for their management of important information.  The failure in Ayrshire and Arran crucially involved learning the lessons from patient deaths.

“The Health Secretary has so far refused to conduct a Scotland wide inquiry but she needs to think again after this latest episode.  I urge her today to agree to an inquiry so that the mistakes in Ayrshire and Arran and in Tayside are not repeated.”  

Problems with parking at Ninewells Hospital

As residents are aware, I have long campaigned for improvements in the parking situation at Ninewells Hospital, including campaigning against parking charges at the hospital (that Scottish Government, despite SNP election promises, has failed to abolish), difficulties getting parked in the Vinci Park-operated car parks in the hospital grounds, and the overspill of cars that impact upon residential streets in the West End Ward to the east and south of the hospital area.

Following a spate of further complaints from staff and visitors (both out-patients and friends and relatives visiting in-patients) about difficulties finding a parking space at the hospital, I wrote to NHS Tayside recently asking if Vinci Park and NHS Tayside are aware of these difficulties, monitor the growth of car usage within the hospital site and have considered future provision of further car parking capacity.

I have received a detailed response from NHS Tayside’s Head of Site and Support Services at Ninewells Hospital as follows :

“In respect of the issues around car parking I can advise that we are indeed experiencing our annual/seasonal high pressure on parking at the hospital and we do keep a close eye on the varying demands by close monitoring with the car park contractor Vinci Park.
I have confidence that the changes we mad a few years ago to protect car parks closest to the hospital is continuing to provide the desired effect and by and large these car parks (car parks 5, 6 and 7) do indeed turn over on  regular and frequent basis during the day due to the time restriction control (4 hours). Similar time controls in the disabled car park area also continues to allow ease of access for disabled drivers arriving at site throughout the day.
In terms of staff, we are continuing to review our site Travel Planning approach with efforts to encourage higher use of public Transport, given that we have an excellent bus terminus at our main entrance.  Additionally we will experience an increase in the use of bicycle transport by staff as is normal once the winter period is over. Also at this time of year, there is a generally low uptake of staff annual leave but this increases from February onwards which will reduce the pressure experienced at this time of year.
In respect of Park & Ride, we do already work very closely with TACTRAN and also Dundee City Council and fully support the Park & Ride initiative that is being planned for the Dundee West location.  We fully believe that this will greatly assist with the continuing parking pressures.
In terms of providing additional parking facilities on site, I’m sure you will appreciate that for a number of reasons this is not in our strategic plans.  Likewise we understand that Dundee City Council (supported by TACTRAN) do not consider increased parking provision to be something that can be supported from a planning perspective. 
Out with what is currently our Seasonal high pressure we will continue to closely monitor parking capacity and in reviewing our Travel Plan (with support from TACTRAN) we will continue to focus efforts to try and encourage staff in particular to make higher use of what is already a very good public transport network in and around Dundee along with further promotion of walking and cycling to work, which also has a health benefit for staff.”

James Arrott Drive

As reported in tonight’s Evening Telegraph, NHS Tayside is considering permanently closing James Arrott Drive in the Ninewells Hospital grounds to through traffic, following the completion of work on two major developments that have closed the road temporarily – the new nuclear medicine unit building project and a new extension to the assisted conception unit. 

As I said in the Tele, I appreciate the problems of irresponsible speeding on this stretch of road but I hope NHS Tayside will consider all options, including traffic calming.

Last couple of days …

Yesterday, as well as attending the latest meeting of the West End Schools’ Project Board and my weekly surgery at Blackness Primary School, I had the pleasure of attending a civic reception at the City Chambers to highlight Dundee’s support for the Perth 800 celebrations and for Perth’s bid for city status. Both Dundee Lord Provost John Letford and Perth and Kinross Provost Dr John Hulbert gave entertaining speeches and it was good to see a good turnout of both Perth and Dundee representatives.

Today, I had a very productive meeting with Chief Superintendent Gavin Robertson, Detective Chief Inspector Shaun McKillop and Inspector Dave Scott from Tayside Police,
following concerns about break-ins in parts of the West End.

The police representatives emphasised that the police are giving high priority to the break-ins situation across the Dundee Division of Tayside Police. Specifically, in terms of Beat 26 in the West End Ward, which covers the east part of the ward (excluding the Perth Road corridor) from the river up to Pentland, there has been significant targeted police resource being put in and in terms of detection and prevention this is showing signs of improvement with a detection rate above the city average (covering both theft and reset). Use of proactive patrols and intelligence-led stop and search is proving helpful.

The police are keen to ensure that residents are given good security advice and we had a very useful discussion about promoting and extending controlled entry systems for tenement/flatted properties. They are also keen to meet with local residents’ groups to update them on what action is being taken both to prevent and detect thefts from houses, garages and sheds in the area.

A new crime prevention advice book is also being published and I have asked for copies for constituents.

I am pleased that the police are taking very proactive and positive steps to tackle this serious issue.

Also today, I took part in a briefing about suicide prevention at which representatives of various organisations, including the City Council, NHS Tayside, Tayside Police, the University of Dundee, took part. It was appropriate that this took place on World Suicide Prevention Day.

Given the concerns we all have about the suicides of young people in the city over the summer, this was an important event to discuss suicide prevention measures being taken locally, multi-agency working, and support for people and their families.

I asked questions about support and about awareness training. A full report on the outcomes from today’s meeting will go to the council’s Social Work and Health Commitee. Full details of the Scottish Government’s Choose Life campaign is available at http://www.chooselife.net/.

NHS Tayside – Transportation of drugs

Last month, I reported upon a useful and productive meeting I had with the Chair, Chief Executive and Head of Pharmacy at NHS Tayside about the transportation of drugs issue.   I had previously raised concerns about this matter.

As reported in today’s Courier, the issues have been resolved and I pay tribute to NHS Tayside for its willingness to discuss my concerns and react positively to the points I made. Here is the letter that I have received from the NHS Tayside Chief Executive :

Dear Councillor Macpherson


Thank you for coming to see us last week. I hope you found our meeting helpful.

Just to confirm that following our meeting we have agreed to:-

1 Take a paper to our Improvement and Quality/Clinical Governance Committee of the Board explaining the arrangements for transport of non controlled medicines from Ninewells Hospital to Perth Royal Infirmary and to ask for their endorsement of the arrangements.

2 To retain the paperwork associated with the receipt and recording of medicines from Ninewells Hospital to Perth Royal Infirmary for a period of 6 months.

I trust this confirms your understanding of our discussions.

Yours sincerely

Professor Tony Wells
Chief Executive