Death of every child in Scotland reviewed to reduce mortality rate – STV news

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The mortality rate for under-18s in Scotland is higher than any other country in western Europe.

Information is now being collected about the death of anyone aged 18 or younger, or up to 26 if they had recently been receiving care.

The mortality rate for under-18s in Scotland is higher than any other country in western Europe, with approximately 300 children and young people dying every year.

A quarter of those deaths are deemed preventable, and the Scottish Government hopes that gathering data about the causes could help reduce the number of avoidable deaths.

Public health minister Maree Todd said: “The death of any child or young person is a tragedy.

“Our ambition is for Scotland to be the best place to grow up, where every child can reach their full potential.

“We have put in place this national system so we can learn and prevent avoidable deaths or harm in the future and I welcome that it is now being rolled out.”

The death data be collected by government bodies Healthcare Improvement Scotland and the Care Inspectorate and will be studied by representatives from the health and social care sector, Police Scotland, the Procurator Fiscal and charities, with the aim of improving services or recommending changes to the law.

‘The SNP has leadership pygmies to choose from post-Sturgeon’ – STV news

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Nicola Sturgeon is a “giant among pygmies” in the SNP when it comes to leadership credentials, according to a senior Conservative MP.

Oliver Dowden, the Conservative Party’s co-chairman, took aim at the First Minister as he outlined his hopes for winning seats in Scotland once Sturgeon is no longer SNP leader.

Speaking at the party’s conference in Manchester on Sunday, Dowden said: “I do think there’s a real opportunity for us in Scotland for a couple of reasons.

“First of all, Nicola Sturgeon is not going to be there forever and after Nicola Sturgeon the rest of them – I’m not saying in any way Nicola Sturgeon is a wonderful person, but compared to her comrades as it were, she’s a giant among pygmies, and so I think as she goes they will be very weakened.

“And secondly, I think we have a real opportunity to focus on the actual delivery of the nationalists in Scotland, which has been completely lamentable – whether it’s education, whether it’s health, they are falling massively behind the rest of England.

“Nicola Sturgeon constantly tries to distract from this by talking endlessly about independence.

“We need to bring that focus back on their delivery in Scotland, which is lamentable.”

At Westminster, the SNP currently has 45 MPs compared to six Tory MPs, four Liberal Democrats, two Alba Party, one Labour and one independent from the Scottish seats.

Scotland ‘needs to stop peat-burning to reach net zero by 2045’ – STV news

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Scotland needs to urgently halt nearly all peat-burning or risk failing to meet its ambition of net zero by 2045, a report has indicated.

Current “muirburn” practices, the controlled burning of vegetation in moorland areas, typically to promote new growth, are “incompatible” with the Scottish Government’s climate ambitions, said the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Scotland (RSPB).

The conservation charity said peatlands are key centres of carbon storage and when burned can rapidly release stored carbon, whereas healthy wet peatlands continually store the atmosphere-damaging element.

Peatland is estimated to cover nearly a quarter of Scotland, and last year the Scottish Government announced £250m over 10 years for restoring peatlands, with a target of restoring 250,000 hectares of degraded peatland by 2030.

Scotland has ‘lowest number of hospital beds in a decade’ – STV News

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Scotland has fewer hospital beds than at any time in the last decade, new figures show.

There were 12,869 staffed beds available on average each day last year, a 9.5% decrease from the 14,227 per day in 2011-12 when the current records began.

Bed numbers free and staffed for acute patients have also fallen by 2.5% in the last year, although the numbers that were actually occupied dropped from 85.8% in 2019-20 to 74.7% in 2020-21.

The figures for available beds in acute settings include emergency treatment; routine, complex and life-saving surgery as well as specialist diagnostic procedures.

Beds used for giving birth, psychiatric services and long-stay care are not included in the Public Health Scotland figures.

The latest NHS Scotland figures for admissions and discharges also show there were almost 900,000 patients admitted to hospital in 2020-21 — 30% fewer than the previous year.

This was in addition to approximately 673,000 Scottish residents who visited an outpatient department in the last financial year, taking the total number of attendances to approximately three million, 28% fewer than 2019-20.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman suggested the decrease in acute beds was lower than the 6.5% recorded in England and explained that health boards “regularly adjust the number of staffed beds to reflect actual and projected demand”.

NHS Highland pays out millions of pounds to bullied members of staff – STV news

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NHS Highland has paid out millions of pounds to current and former staff who said they were victims of workplace bullying.

The health board, which covers the Highlands and Argyll and Bute, has so far made 150 financial payments – totalling more than £2m – as part of a “healing process”.

It expects to pay a total of £3.4m once all remaining cases have been settled.

But NHS Highland says that is a lower figure than the anticipated £4.2m it had earlier set aside, adding that funding provided by the Scottish Government “should be sufficient” to cover the settlements.

The health board was heavily criticised after an investigation found hundreds of staff across the region may have endured inappropriate behaviour.

Many said they had been victims of bullying within the service, while many quit their jobs or transferred elsewhere within the NHS.

The extent of the bullying was exposed by whistleblowers in 2018.

QC John Sturrock led an independent inquiry into the allegations after several hundred staff lodged complaints.

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Social care sector ‘on its knees’ amid recruitment crisis – STV news

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The social care sector in Scotland is “on its knees”, it has been claimed, amid a warning that a lack of new recruits could force services to grind to a halt.

Lynn Bell, CEO of LOVE Group, a care provider based in Hamilton, highlighted the recruitment crisis in the sector in an interview with STV News.

And she explained that her organisation has had to consider prioritising certain care packages as a contingency measure in place of not delivering care.

“I think the social care sector is actually on its knees in terms of recruitment,” Bell said.

“What we are trying to do is attract people into a sector that’s broken.

“We could quite literally hire 500 people tomorrow and we can’t attract people into the jobs.

“So, it’s been quite disastrous and without exaggeration, the care sector itself is going to grind to a halt and people’s care might stop.”

She added: “Care is going to stop. People are going to stop receiving their care at home, it is an absolute fact.

“And as a care company, we have already started to look at prioritising certain care packages as a contingency to not delivering care.”

Bell indicated that the sector is experiencing challenges with recruitment across the board.

“It will quite literally stop and that doesn’t just apply to our organisation, that applies to every organisation,” she said.

“We go into provider meetings with local authorities, local authorities are providing care to families and everybody has the same message.

“Everybody is struggling, nobody can recruit and we just can’t get the bodies through the door.

“So, it will quite literally stop and we’re not far away.”

Donald Macaskill, chief executive of Scottish Care, urged national and local government to invest in care.