Sturgeon gives ‘wrong pre-scripted answer’ to SNP MSP’s question – The Herald

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NICOLA Sturgeon has been accused of giving the “wrong pre-scripted answer” to a question from one of her own backbenchers for the second time in a week.

Scottish Conservative MSP Stephen Kerr raised a point of order in Holyrood following the apparent mistake.

It came after Ms Sturgeon responded to a question from SNP MSP Stuart McMillan about a public inquiry into the coronavirus crisis.

Instead of addressing the issue, the First Minister referred to Covid measures in the education sector.

On Wednesday last week, Ms Sturgeon made a similar mistake after a question from SNP MSP Stephanie Callaghan about NHS Lanarkshire.

The First Minister read out the answer to the next question due in Holyrood, from the SNP’s Evelyn Tweed, and later said there had been “confusion on my part”.

Raising a point of order today, Mr Kerr said: “Presiding Officer, for the second time in two weeks, the First Minister has read the wrong pre-scripted answer to her backbencher’s pre-scripted question.

“Stuart McMillan asked about the inquiry into the Scottish Government’s handling of the pandemic.

“The First Minister’s answer was all about schools.

“Can you, Presiding Officer, please advise as to what options there are to ensure that we hear an answer to the question that was actually asked?”

For health news, please click here: https://www.scotlandmatters.co.uk/health-matters/

SNP official under investigation over ‘threatening phone call’ claim – Daily Record

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An SNP official is under investigation after claims he made a threatening phone call to a new business owner.

Ian McPherson, a staffer for Westminster MP Allan Dorans, admitted making a “terrible error of judgement” in his call to Ayr painter Craig Hainey.

It followed the opening of Mr Hainey’s new business in Ayr’s North Harbour, to which he had invited Tory MSP Sharon Dowey.

He then claims to have received a call from McPherson asking why Ayr MSP Siobhian Brown had not been asked along instead.

Mr Hainey, who has opened Pro Paints, claims McPherson warned him: “I hope this doesn’t affect your business”.

The SNP worker this week admitted making the call and said he had been “trying to clear up confusion between list MSPs and MSPs”.

For political news, click here: https://www.scotlandmatters.co.uk/politics-matters/

More than 4400 Covid vaccine doses ‘wasted in one week in Scotland’ – STV news

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More than 4400 doses of coronavirus vaccine were wasted in Scotland in one week, figures have revealed.

Statistics published by the Scottish Government under freedom of information requests showed that in the week ending August 1, a total of 4,448 doses of vaccine were not administered.

Between February and July the number totalled 34,026.

The Scottish Government said there are “several reasons a vaccine may not be administered before being discarded, and therefore ‘wasted’”, including issues with storage, expired doses and “specific clinical situations where there may be some dose loss”.

The figures covered all three of the coronavirus vaccines being given in Scotland – Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna – with the total wasted amounting to 0.51% of the 6,643,551 jabs given.

However the statistics do not include wastage of vaccines in GPs practices, as “GPs do not record this information”.

The figures were released as the Scottish Government continues to urge everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

From Monday this will include healthy youngsters aged between 12 and 15, after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the vaccine programme was being expanded following advice from the UK’s chief medical officers.

For political news click here: https://www.scotlandmatters.co.uk/politics-matters/

Warning as nurse and midwife vacancy rate breaks record in Scotland – Nursing Times

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Nursing and midwifery vacancies have been at a record high in Scotland since March, with over 4,800 posts unfilled, unions have warned in response to latest workforce figures.

Latest NHS Scotland workforce statistics, published this week, show that 4,845 whole-time equivalent (WTE) nursing and midwifery posts were vacant at the end of June, representing 7.1% of the total.

They also reveal that in the previous quarter, ending in March, 4,494, or 6.6%, of WTE nursing and midwifery posts were unfilled.

The latter figure has only just been published as not all health boards were able to submit data. The Royal College of Nursing highlighted that the previous record had been 4,013, or 6.3%, in June 2019.

The RCN noted that there were “particular challenges” in a number of health boards and in some nursing areas, such as community and mental health.

For more health news, please click here: https://www.scotlandmatters.co.uk/health-matters/

Pensioner dies waiting 40 hours for ambulance after collapsing in Glasgow flat – The Scotsman

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According to a report in the Herald Gerard Brown, 65, was found by family on the floor of his flat in Dumbreck, Glasgow last Monday with injuries to his back and arms from a fall.

Paramedics eventually arrived around 3am on Wednesday, after which time Mr Brown had passed away.

Mr Brown’s son Dylan, told the Herald: “They pronounced that he was only just dead because he still had warmth in his body.

“In this day and age, it should not be happening. I know with Covid people are busy and the NHS is struggling, but that’s unacceptable and we just don’t want it happening to another family.”

Dylan added that his father’s GP had told him “I can assure you that if they’d got to him your Dad would still be here”.

Mr Brown was reportedly a cancer survivor, weighing just six stone, who had a history of alcohol-related health problems.

The GP, Dr O’Neill, was reported as first being made aware of Mr Brown’s situation by his ex-wife on Monday morning, after she called let the practice know the family were waiting for an ambulance.

Dr O’Neill told the Herald: “At 9am on Tuesday we get a phonecall from his ex-wife to say ‘listen, he’s still in the house’. I was like ‘you are kidding me?’.

“I got on the phone to the ambulance service at 9.15am and I said ‘this man is going to be found dead’ – and I used that language, because I knew the situation he was in.

The GP was called by police on Wednesday to inform him of Mr Brown’s death. But he said that the long wait was not an isolated incident.

For more health news click here: https://www.scotlandmatters.co.uk/health-matters/

Letters to the press, 15/09/21: FM has nothing new to say, Scots in England should get indy vote, Sturgeon needs to get real.

New CalMac Islay ferries will not be built in Scotland – STV news

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Two new ferries for Islay will not be made in Scotland after four shipyards from elsewhere were invited to tender for the contract.

More than 30 organisations expressed an interest in taking on the job and 11 entered submissions that Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) said were “rigorously” assessed.

But only four companies, one from Romania, another from Poland and two in Turkey, reached the final stage of the procurement process.

A decision on which shipyard will win the job will be made before the end of March 2022, CMAL said.

The Islay route is one of the busiest services for freight on the Clyde and Hebrides network, and it was decided to contract two new ferries after discussions with Transport Scotland, ferry operator CalMac and communities on the island.

This week CMAL announced that the new vessels will be built at either Damen Shipyard in Romania, Remontowa Shipbuilding in Poland, or one of the Turkish shipyards Sefine Denizcilik Tersanecilik Turizm or Cemre Marin Endustri.

The procurement process for new ferries has come under scrutiny recently because of issues with two vessels from the publicly-owned Ferguson Marine shipyard in Inverclyde.

Holyrood’s rural economy and connectivity committee described the process as a “catastrophic failure”.

For more transport news click here: https://www.scotlandmatters.co.uk/transport-matters/

Electric car chargers ‘to switch off at peak times to avoid blackouts’ – STV news

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Home charging points for electric vehicles will be shut off at peak times to combat fears they could cause blackouts.

The Government plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2035, meaning the number of electric vehicles on the road is set to soar.

However, there are fears that millions of motorists plugging their cars in to recharge at home when they get home from work could put too much pressure on the grid.

The move would see home charge points turned off for up to nine hours a day, with randomised 30-minute shutdowns if demand is too high.

The Sunday Times reports that regulations submitted to the World Trade Organisation suggest home and workplace chargers would not operate between 8am and 11am, or 4pm to 10pm.

Public charge points, often found at the side of the road or at motorway service stations, would not be affected by these rules, allowing those charging on the move to top up at any time of day.

The strain on the National Grid has long been of concern as EV uptake has increased, with motorists encouraged to charge at off-peak times. Chargers and vehicles allow owners to schedule their charging, particularly useful for waiting until electricity is less expensive overnight.

Sales of electric vehicles have been slow to take hold, but there are signs that the switch is beginning to pick up pace. Although the pandemic has skewed last year’s numbers and the semiconductor shortage is limiting production this year, data shows electrified vehicles sales have increased significantly in the past year.

For more environmental news, click here: https://www.scotlandmatters.co.uk/environment-matters-2/

The ‘unhackable’ phones given to prisoners by Scottish Government – which were hacked to buy drugs – ITV news

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So-called ‘unhackable’ mobile phones given to prisoners in Scotland during lockdown by the Scottish Government at a cost of £3 million are now being used for drug deals and other criminal activity, ITV News has learned.

During lockdown when prison visits were restricted, 7,600 inmates in Scotland were issued with their own mobile phone by the Scottish government.

But these supposedly tamper-proof phones were almost immediately hacked by inmates, and, according to the Scottish Prison Service, 728 have been found since August 2020 to operate with illegal SIM cards, used for drug deals and other criminal activity.

ITV News has been given exclusive access to Scotland’s largest prison, Barlinnie, where addiction is described as “worse than ever before.”

John McTavish, Prison Officer at HMP Barlinnie told ITV News: “You give a prisoner a phone, and they’re very, very ingenious. If they put their mind to something, they can do anything at all. Within hours, the tamper proof was gone.”

The prison officier estimates about a third of phones have been tampered with.

“I checked the phones in one of the halls here in March time, and of the 300 prisoners that were there, it was probably about 100 phones tampered with altogether.”The drugs bought with these phones are often simply thrown over the prison walls, but inmates are finding ever more complex and covert methods to smuggle in drugs, including legal letters soaked in drugs that the prisoner then dissolves in water and drinks.

Scottish independence: Support for Yes drops if voters think it will cost them money – Daily Record

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Scots are far less likely to back independence if they believe it will cause public spending to drop, the introduction of a hard border, or the pound being replaced, a new poll has found.

A survey carried out by Survation on behalf of pro-UK campaign group Scotland in Union found that 50 per cent of those asked would be less likely to vote Yes in a referendum if it meant their personal income was reduced.

Respondents were given a number of scenarios around the question: ‘If you thought the following scenarios were likely to occur as a result of Scottish independence, would this make you more or less likely to vote for independence?’.

The introduction of a hard border between Scotland and England could dominate any future referendum campaign.

41 per cent of the people asked in the survey said they would be less likely to vote for independence, compared to 17 who would be more likely if border posts were put up.

If people knew that taxes would increase following independence then 45 per cent of the 1,040 people asked said they would be less likely to vote ‘Yes’, while 36 per cent said they would be neither more or less likely.

The Scotland in Union poll comes days after Nicola Sturgeon’s campaign to end the Union has received a boost.

A survey found a narrow majority in favour of Scottish independence.

The survey, by pollsters Opinium, asked 883 people how they would vote if the referendum question asked was ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’.

Once don’t knows were excluded from the total, 51% said they would vote Yes and 49% said they would vote No.

Here’s all you need to know about the Scotland in Union poll: