MSP reveals one patient had data breached twice by NHS Highland

Highlands and Islands MSP, David Stewart, has been told that one patient has found his confidential data breached twice by NHS Highland after the latest incident was made public yesterday.

Mr Stewart, who is Labour’s Shadow Public Health Minister, said the patient found his data breached last year when the email addresses of almost 40 people living with HIV were accidentally published by the health authority to others with the illness.

The man, who is also diabetic, has now discovered his data was circulated for a second time in the latest incident when NHS Highland apologised for sharing an excel spreadsheet containing confidential information with other patients.

“Quite honestly I could not believe it when the constituent contacted me to tell me he had his information shared again,” said Mr Stewart.

“He is absolutely devastated by the second breach as it shows lessons have not been learnt from last year and I can clearly understand why he feels so let down.”

Mr Stewart explained that the patient had initially contacted him last year following the first breach and the MSP had kept in contact as there were a number of problems thrown up by this case.

The patient, who does not want to be identified, told Mr Stewart: “When I contacted you last year, I was a newly diagnosed HIV patient and, as a direct result of the last breach, my care had to be transferred to NHS Glasgow. I will be looking for Jeane Freeman to launch an inquiry.”

Mr Stewart has already written to NHS Highland’s Chief Executive, Pam Dudek, and is now writing to Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman, highlighting the latest incident and the fact that a patient has suffered a data breach on two occasions. The MSP is calling for her to ensure proper protections, staff training and systems are in place to prevent such incidents happening again.

“Data and confidential information of national health service patients must be treated in the strictest confidence by those handling it,” said Mr Stewart.

“I am aware that there is tremendous pressure on front-line staff, not only on nurses and clinical staff, but on administration staff, due to the pandemic.

“However, this is serious and the second time in 17months that an NHS Highland data breach has been raised with me.”

  • Last year Mr Stewart raised the first data breach in the Scottish Parliament with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. The MSP said then: “Whilst I welcome the apology by the board, does the First Minister share my view that confidentiality is a core principle of the NHS and the decision to disclose HIV status is a matter for individuals themselves and theirs alone.” Nicola Sturgeon agreed very strongly saying that the safety of patient data was of “the utmost importance”.
  • She added that the breach was reported to Information Commissioner within 24 hours. NHS Highland had taken steps to apologise to patients, respond directly to any concerns and a formal internal review was being carried out. The First Minister admitted that “clearly there have been failings”.
  • Afterwards Mr Stewart added that he had written to NHS Highland’s Chief Executive, Iain Stewart, to ask that he be kept informed of the outcome of the internal review and the findings of the Information Commissioner.
  • “Keeping patients’ data confidential is essential for everyone and I hope lessons can be learned as a result of this breach,” said the MSP. “HIV is a very sensitive subject for those with the virus and I am told this breach has caused some distress.”

Road safety campaigning MSP David Stewart’s demands for traffic speed survey on the A82 between Drumnadrochit and Lewiston have been met – but extra sensors are being requested on the danger spot



Road safety campaigning MSP David Stewart has welcomed traffic speed surveys on the A82 between Drumnadrochit and Lewiston.

The survey is getting underway and includes a number of sensors at key points.

It follows the regional Labour MSP’s calls for an investigation to determine whether the road meets the criteria for speed cameras.

The community is concerned cars and HGVs are speeding through the area, paying no heed to the 30mph signs.

Mr Stewart said: “This speed survey intervention will be welcome news for residents and I am pleased it is underway and that it includes an impressive number of sensors at nearly all the key points. 

“However, risks were flagged up by a constituent and by the Glen Urquhart Community Council that traffic coming over Borlum Bridge were not slowing down sufficiently ahead of the Lewiston cross roads.  

“And as I understand it, unfortunately, the various sensors in place will not pick this up. I have therefore today written to Transport Scotland’s chief executive Roy Brannen to ask if an additional sensor can be installed close to the Lewiston cross roads.”

Successful Inverness-born footballer Ryan Christie gets recognition in the Scottish Parliament

Successful Inverness-born footballer Ryan Christie was recognised in the Scottish Parliament today by MSP David Stewart.

The Highlands & Islands MSP kicked-off a crucial debate on improving youth football in Scotland with words of praise for the home-grown Celtic FC star.

Mr Stewart, who chairs Caley Thistle’s charity arm, the ICT Trust, told his colleagues in the chamber youth football had played a vital role in the club’s success, growth and development – and he said Ryan Christie was an excellent example of its success, and a “shining ambassador for the Highlands”.

Christie, who began his career with Inverness Caledonian Thistle, scored the vital goal that helped the qualification to get Scotland into Europe for the first time in 22 years.

Mr Stewart said: “As a life-long football fan who has followed Inverness Caledonian Thistle since its inception, I am honoured to be opening such an important debate for Scottish Labour.

“As Parliamentarians, we have a dual interest in this issue. Firstly, we have a responsibility to use the scrutiny and legislative powers we have to ensure that children who are part of professional youth academies are adequately safeguarded, especially when it comes to registrations and contracts.

“And secondly, we have an interest in ensuring that Scotland’s best young footballers are able to thrive and grow to reach their maximum potential as athletes.”

 

 

 

guidance and financial assistance is being provided to professional football clubs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During Portfolio Questions this afternoon, I asked the Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing, Joe Fitzpatrick, what advice, guidance and financial assistance is being provided to professional football clubs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Scottish Labour Leader, Richard Leonard, last week repeated his call for a ‘Scottish Football Aid Fund’ to be launched following redundancies in the game caused by the catastrophic impact of the pandemic. Mr Leonard called on Ministers to step in with urgent financial support as the loss of matchday revenue caused by the ban on crowds is having dire implications for clubs.
The Minister responded to me today that the Scottish Government has been working with football authorities and he recognised the relative reliance on gate receipts for clubs in Scotland compared to clubs elsewhere in the United Kingdom, and in recognising this he has written again today to the UK Sports Minister seeking clarity on the financial package being developed to support sporting organisations reliant on fans being able to return to stadia.
Professional clubs are facing the perfect storm of very few, or no, fans allowed to attend football matches due to the pandemic. The loss of match day revenue from gate sales and hospitality, coupled with clubs having to spend extra on PPE and testing to comply with COVID regulations, is having a significant impact on clubs throughout the country.
Many are already in a precarious financial position and it is well known that banks are generally uncomfortable lending to football clubs, as such, many clubs don’t have overdrafts to fall back on. Even government schemes like CBIL (COVID Business Interruption Loan) are ruled out for many clubs as they have to be able to prove they were financially viable before the outbreak.
This will lead to the demise of football clubs throughout the country unless government starts to support them. A football club is more than just a business, it is part of the very fabric of life in our towns and cities. Clubs do large amounts to promote health and wellbeing and they do great charity work across the country.
It will be an absolute tragedy if we lose any of our football clubs. Some have been established for over a century or more so I had no qualms in pressing the Scottish Government to look again to see what support clubs can be given.
As a member of the Health and Sport Committee, this week I secured the support of that committee to look into the plight of clubs. I was delighted when the Committee backed my calls for an inquiry into support for our clubs and I hope the Scottish Government and the UK government will ensure financial help is granted for Scottish clubs at all levels as a matter of high priority.

Scottish Government and NHS Highland will not change Healing Process despite concerns

Regional Labour MSP, David Stewart, and victims of NHS Highland bullying and harassment are extremely disappointed that the health authority and Scottish Government will not be changing one stage of the ‘Healing Process’.

Mr Stewart, who represents the Highlands and Islands, asked for a rethink on how the Healing Process Remuneration Committee had been set up after concerns from members of the T-Party group, formed before the Coronavirus hit, to help victims of NHS Highland bullying and harassment get together for support over a cup of tea and a chat.

T-Party members said the Remuneration Committee, which will discuss compensation for some of those involved in the Healing Process, is not independent enough and could have members, or those sitting in on the meetings, who have been involved in individual cases of staff or former staff.

However, although NHS Highland recognised that the group had concerns and were “deeply impacted by their experiences”, it said that the Healing Process “had been fully co-produced with representatives of interested groups including the whistle-blowers and staffside and it has been approved by the Board and Scottish Government. This is now in operation and consultation on the design has ended.”

NHS Highland went on to say that the remit and required membership of the Remuneration Committee was set out in the national governance standards for NHS Boards and was not “open for individual boards to amend or alter”.

Mr Stewart said: “It’s regrettable that both the Scottish Government and health authority would not move on this as it caused real concern for many people who have already been damaged and badly affected by their experiences.

“However, I’ve been assured that confidentiality and personal data will be protected and I sincerely hope that this will be followed through.”

The Scottish Government’s Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman, said: “I am confident that the Healing Process, as designed, meets with the recommendations and intentions of the Sturrock review.”

The Healing Process allows current and former staff of the health authority to talk to an independent panel about their experiences of being bullied or harassed.

This follows whistleblowers, union representatives and Mr Stewart calling for action on a culture of bullying at NHS Highland, a review carried out by QC John Sturrock and intervention by the Scottish Government.

Statement from the T-Party group below:

“We learnt of the NHS Highland led Remuneration Committee existence half way through the Healing Process.

It was not announced and we only became aware of it when one of the support group was looking up the Healing Process guidelines for an unrelated matter.

Some people have even withdrawn from the Healing Process because of the involvement of the Remuneration Committee as the simply do not trust them to follow proper procedure.

In fact it has been notable that the Healing Process was being handled in a transparent and professional manner, up to the point where the NHS Highland Remuneration Committee has become involved, causing it to stall.

It is deeply disappointing that the Healing Process, designed to bring closure, is in fact being handled by the very Health Board that dealt the harm in the first place.”

 

“Diabetes Champ” MSP welcomes £2million funding package for outdoor education centres

A REGIONAL MSP who co-chairs the Scottish Parliament’s Diabetes Cross Party Group has welcomed a £2million funding package to help outdoor education centres survive the coronavirus pandemic.

Highlands & Islands Labour MSP David Stewart, who has represented Scotland twice as a Scottish diabetes champion, has been supporting the Scottish Adventure Activity Forum’s #SaveYourOutdoorCentres campaign as well as making funding representation to the Scottish Government and local authorities on behalf of several outdoor education centres.

Mr Stewart said: “It’s crucially important that young people have an active lifestyle because we have got a horrendous rate of Type 2 diabetes. Scotland has a healthcare epidemic and it particularly it affects children in disadvantaged areas. We have the sick man in Europe title and outdoor education plays a great role in fighting against this.

“I applaud everyone who joined the campaign, the enormity of this work kept enough pressure on the Scottish Government until it eventually buckled and agreed to give out the cash. It’s extremely welcome but a long-term strategy is still urgently needed and this £2 million is £1 million short of the £3 million the sector said it needed so I am fully behind an ongoing effort to get more support going forward.”

David Thorpe, leader of the Ardroy Outdoor Education Centre at Lochgoilhead, Argyll, which Mr Stewart has been supporting, said: We welcome the Scottish Government’s funding, but we will still press for the £1 million shortfall. That will make a huge difference for a lot of centres.”

Work starts on second A82 crossing in Inverness

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, David Stewart, said it was good to see work starting on the pedestrian crossing on the A82 between Montague Row and Ardross Street in Inverness.

Transport Scotland has notified him that work is due to start on its installation on Monday next week.

“I took up constituents’ concerns about road safety on this stretch of the road in March 2017,” he said.

“Transport Scotland said at first that a crossing there “could not be justified”. However, I joined local campaigners in not giving up and the agency then went on to find out the community’s views and changed its mind and I must congratulate Transport Scotland for that.

“It was good to see the first crossing completed at Smith Avenue recently and I look forward to the second being installed.

“I am sure these will improve safety for children crossing for school, for the elderly and the disabled.”

*photo taken recently at the Smith Avenue crossing.

 

Raigmore Interchange – new scheme with traffic lights proposed

 

Transport Scotland has told Labour MSP David Stewart that traffic lights could be installed at all four entry points to Raigmore Interchange roundabout under a planned new scheme.

The agency has said the move would provide “an equitable split in green time between vehicles and pedestrians and cyclists”.

It added that what the system would provide, at all times, in the traffic light cycle was a green man phase for pedestrians to cross each traffic flow safely in turn.

A temporary speed limit should also be in place on the roundabout and its approach roads in October.

The action comes after road safety campaigner, Mr Stewart, was contacted by constituents concerned about safety at a pedestrian crossing on the south bound slip road where a woman was involved in an incident with a car and later died in hospital.

The transport agency and Highland Council have been working on safety improvements and after the temporary speed reduction, hope to bring in a permanent one with consultation on a Traffic Regulation Order planned for the end of October.

““This is all good news,” said Mr Stewart, who represents the Highlands and Islands.

“One of the issues with the south bound slip road was that it could not have even temporary traffic lights to improve safety as it would result in extremely long traffic queues backing up beyond the retail park and have long waiting times for pedestrians.

“This new scheme being drawn up appears to solve the problem. As a driver I know traffic lights can cause irritation at times, but we must remember there was a tragic death at this spot.

“It was not only devastating for family and friends but brought home the dangers of that section of the road and the need for improvements.

“I’ve also seen a growing trend since Coronavirus of more cyclists on our roads and this project hopefully will provide a safer environment for them.”

Police Scotland previously told the MSP that the installation of two additional warning signs for the crossing was “an insufficient short-term solution” and “more permanent short-term engineering measures should be considered to minimise the potential for future collisions”.

Transport Scotland explained temporary mitigation work, pedestrian warning signs on the A85 approach and on the roundabout, landscape sightline work and an investigation into road marking changes, were completed by March.

It says the new scheme being drawn up is similar to one being used at Inveralmond Roundabout in Perth.

“The project to provide safe crossings for pedestrians and cyclists travelling through this junction is also progressing well,” said Transport Scotland.

“Traffic modelling carried out to investigate various scenarios, which inform future design options, is nearing completion.”

It added: “ At this stage we are only nearing a concept of how safe crossing could be achieved and the next stage once the Council, Sustrans and Transport Scotland have all agreed on this, is the detailed design of the actual layout of wide pedestrian/cycle routes through the junction.”

Mr Stewart first called for a safety review of the southbound A9 slip road, which links to the A96, after the incident involving the Inverness grandmother.

There are no pedestrian crossing lights at the spot, but there are some on the other slip road which is only a few yards away.

 

Highlands and Islands MSP highlights inaccessible treatment for heart valve disease

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, David Stewart, told MSPs that treatment options were all too often inaccessible for many of those affected by heart valve disease.

Mr Stewart was leading a member’s debate to mark Heart Valve Disease Awareness Week in the Scottish Parliament today (Wed Sept 23) to raise awareness of symptoms drawing attention to better diagnosis and treatment options.

He said:  “There were only 1,117 valve surgeries for people over 65 performed in Scotland in the 2018-19, treating less than 1% of heart valve disease patients.

“One such treatment, transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), avoids the need for high-risk and compromising open heart surgery but is only available in selected Scottish hospitals:  Golden Jubilee National Hospital, the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, where access is capped to less than 400 procedures per year.

“In my own region of the Highlands and Islands, constituents may have to travel over 200 miles to get treatment, and this only exemplifies the inequities in access that mark heart valve disease treatment in Scotland nationally. Perhaps, a case of geographic inequality.”

Mr Stewart gave thanks to patient charity, Heart Valve Voice, for their efforts in the debate and for their combined work with Global Heart Hub and other charities in raising awareness across the UK.

Mr Stewart, who is also Scottish Labour’s Shadow Public Health Minister, explained that the issues in diagnosis and treatment have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and that thousands of routine heart check-ups have been missed and scores of people with life-threatening conditions may still be undiagnosed.

Heart valve disease is a debilitating condition that causes functional cardiovascular decline and leads to premature deaths, if left untreated.  It is caused by wear, disease or damage to one or more of the valves affecting the flow of blood through the heart.  For some people, heart valve disease can progress very slowly and with unspecific symptoms, however if left untreated it can be serious.  Symptoms of heart valve disease include tiredness under exertion, breathlessness, and dizziness.

He said: “Heart valve disease is more prevalent in older people, with approximately 130,000 Scots over the age of 65 living with moderate or severe heart valve disease.  Despite this, diagnosis is poor and treatment options are limited.

“Heart valve disease can be detected through a simple stethoscope check.  However, nearly 80% of people age 60 and over report rarely or never being checked with a stethoscope by their GP.  The result of which is a reduction in early diagnosis and proactive interventions that can be both life-saving and more cost-effective to the NHS.”

MSP David Stewart raises demise of Wick air routes in aviation debate at Scottish Parliament today

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP David Stewart brought up the position of Wick air routes today in a debate led by Scottish Labour which called for ministers to secure a sustainable post-Covid future for a sector that has been thrown into crisis by the pandemic.

Mr Stewart asked Transport Secretary, Michael Matheson: “Does the Cabinet Secretary support my campaign and that of the Chamber of Commerce from Caithness to ensure that we have a Public Service Obligation from Wick to Edinburgh and Wick to Aberdeen? Currently there are no flights from this airport at all and it needs a PSO and needs the Government support to get this up and running.”

Mr Matheson gave a short reply which reiterated that the Scottish Government was still evaluating Caithness Chamber of Commerce’s business case and highlighting that MSP Gail Ross had also been pressing for action.

The Transport Secretary added: “I can assure you we will give that fair consideration”.

Afterwards Mr Stewart commented: “The Government has had plenty time to consider what action it is going to take to aid Caithness and Sutherland and restore its connectivity with Scotland, the UK and the rest of the world.

“The situation at Wick John O Groats airport was fragile before Coronavirus hit and the Government should have been looking ahead long before the beginning of this year to how it could ring-fence and protect the area’s flights for the future.

“Instead of fair consideration, it should now be a fast consideration taking into account the future development of Caithness and the fact that it is suffering from the centralisation of services.”

  • Mr Stewart has been supporting the campaign for a Public Service Obligation (PSO) to protect the Wick Edinburgh and Wick Aberdeen routes following Caithness being left without scheduled air services.

In a July PQ, lodged by Mr Stewart, Mr Matheson replied that a PSO “would likely take around nine to 12 months for services to start due to the regulatory and procurement processes required”. Mr Stewart called for rapid movement on the air routes to keep the Far North’s connectivity and to aid development for the future.

Mr Stewart wrote to Mr Matheson, and First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, after Loganair announced the axing of its Edinburgh-Wick service on Friday, March 27.

The MSP had previously asked the Scottish Government for swift action following the collapse of Flybe when the Wick-Aberdeen route was taken over by Eastern Airways which previously ran it under a franchise for Flybe. Mr Stewart argued that the Wick-Aberdeen service was fragile due to falling passenger numbers. Eastern Airways has now withdrawn this route.

Mr Matheson previously said it was considering carefully the business case submitted by Caithness Chamber of Commerce.