Margaret Curran: As I understand it, COSLA has not signed up to the concordat.
Margaret Curran: Presiding Officer?
Margaret Curran: If Mr Swinney honestly believes that the best way forward for mental health services is the abolition of ring fencing, why does the SNP say in its manifesto that it will improve mental health services "backed with ring-fenced funding to health boards and local authorities"? Either he should win the prize for the greatest hypocrite of the year or he is misleading the people of Scotland. He...
Margaret Curran: Why, then, did the SNP manifesto say "An SNP government will restore ring-fenced funding for drugs education"?
Margaret Curran: Is that you being positive, Alex?
Margaret Curran: Why did the SNP have the increasing of ring fencing for mental health services in its manifesto?
Margaret Curran: With the greatest respect, Christine Grahame cannot have it both ways. She says that I should make a specific proposal but, when I do so, she tells me that the place for that to happen is the committee. She should make up her mind.
Margaret Curran: Will the member give way?
Margaret Curran: I am not on a committee, Presiding Officer, but I presume that, in making this suggestion, I am keeping within the rules. Does Alex Neil agree that we should increase resources to tackle health inequalities and that we should shift some money away from information technology?
Margaret Curran: If that is the case, cabinet secretary, why are you not consistent in your approach?
Margaret Curran: I apologise, Presiding Officer, through you then. Why have you therefore kept ring fencing, cabinet secretary—[ Laughter ]—for some elements of funding to tackle violence against women, but abandoned it for others?
Margaret Curran: I asked to speak in this debate even though the subject is outwith my shadow portfolio, because it means so much to people in my constituency. The debate gives me an opportunity to relate some of the serious experiences that I have heard about. I am grateful for that opportunity. As has been widely acknowledged, serious crime matters. It profoundly affects the quality of life of many Scots....
Margaret Curran: To ask the Scottish Executive what guarantee it can give to ensure that expenditure on mental health services will remain at current levels.
Margaret Curran: I, too, thank Bashir Ahmad for securing the debate, and I will address my comments to the motion. I have worked, sort of, with Bashir Ahmad in the past through my own relations with the Pakistani community. Bashir Ahmad will know that that work has been more with Mohammad Sarwar than perhaps directly with him, but we have both genuinely worked together to support the Pakistani community in...
Margaret Curran: He was not a nationalist.
Margaret Curran: I thank the minister for an advance copy of her statement. I have one note of significant disappointment—although there are perhaps a few others—that ministers have yet again made a statement rather than introduce a debate. It is curious that in the past few weeks we have had three debates on European Union reform and not one on health. I hope that that does not indicate the significance...
Margaret Curran: I would like to press the minister a bit more on the announcement that she made yesterday on free prescriptions and the implications that that will have for the budget. She seemed quite sure yesterday that her calculations were right. I ask her to think again about the evidence that might come from general practitioners about the prescribing budgets. If there is pressure on those budgets,...
Margaret Curran: To ask the Scottish Executive when the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing last met NHS board chairs. (S3O-1526)
Margaret Curran: I am sure that, through her many discussions with health boards, the minister will be aware of the evidence from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde on the profound impact of inequality on health outcomes and health services. Particularly given the fact that she is a Glasgow MSP, does she believe that the NHS in Glasgow should get extra resource to recognise the disproportionate burden that it...
Margaret Curran: Will Nicola Sturgeon give way?