Results 1–20 of 264 for speaker:Elena Whitham

Scottish Parliament: Alcohol and Drugs Policy (Budget) (11 Jan 2024)

Elena Whitham: The 2024-25 alcohol and drugs budget has remained the same as that for 2023-24. The minor change seen in the published 2024-25 budget is not a proposed budget spend increase; rather, it shows funding being formally baselined into the alcohol and drugs budget line. The £13.6 million budget increase from 2022-23 to 2023-24 includes an additional £12 million to deliver the cross-Government...

Scottish Parliament: Alcohol and Drugs Policy (Budget) (11 Jan 2024)

Elena Whitham: I thank Carol Mochan for that question, which gives me the opportunity to inform the Parliament that, in the coming weeks, we will have a debate in the chamber on alcohol harms and how the Scottish Government is seeking to address the matter. I look forward to having Carol Mochan and others participate in that debate with me.

Scottish Parliament: Medication Assisted Treatment Standards (19 Dec 2023)

Elena Whitham: Today, I want to assure members that I am determined to continue to work across these benches, across all sectors and across each and every community throughout Scotland to embed the critical aims of the national mission to save and improve lives. My thoughts are with everyone impacted by the loss of a loved one. I acknowledge the suspected drug deaths figures that were published last week by...

Scottish Parliament: Medication Assisted Treatment Standards (19 Dec 2023)

Elena Whitham: I recognise Sue Webber’s commitment to and passion for this subject. Access to specialist treatment is slightly different from access to same-day treatment in the MAT standards. Perhaps I need to do a bit of work to communicate that more effectively. We are making progress in achieving MAT standard 1 across the board, which is very welcome. Harm reduction is a form of recovery; I do not...

Scottish Parliament: Medication Assisted Treatment Standards (19 Dec 2023)

Elena Whitham: I absolutely recognise that we have lost far too many people in our country to wholly preventable deaths. There have been significant increases in funding for drug and alcohol services as a result of the national mission. Funding for drug policy has increased by 67 per cent in real terms from 2014-15 to 2023-24, according to figures that were published by Audit Scotland last year. Although I...

Scottish Parliament: Medication Assisted Treatment Standards (19 Dec 2023)

Elena Whitham: I thank Audrey Nicoll for asking that important question. Buvidal and naloxone are medicines that need to be available everywhere to help to save the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. It is simply unacceptable for health boards and integration joint boards to single out those medicines and treat them differently from all other medicines. Stigma is pervasive in...

Scottish Parliament: Medication Assisted Treatment Standards (19 Dec 2023)

Elena Whitham: I recognise that, across the chamber, we all want a reduction in drug deaths, and I recognise that each and every one of those people is an individual. So far in my time in this job, I have met several families who have been affected, and I know of far too many people and families who have suffered that loss. I will remain steadfast. A safer consumption facility is one thing that we can do to...

Scottish Parliament: Medication Assisted Treatment Standards (19 Dec 2023)

Elena Whitham: S mall teams and those in remote and rural settings have particular challenges. However, ADP areas with remote and rural settings have demonstrated innovation in maximising the use of technology and flexible models of care so that people can benefit from equitable care and treatment. Those in our remote and rural communities have always had the adage that, as my grandpa would say, “‘Huv...

Scottish Parliament: Medication Assisted Treatment Standards (19 Dec 2023)

Elena Whitham: I absolutely recognise the issue that Paul Sweeney raises. The model that is on offer in Glasgow started during Covid, so there was an interruption to the number of people who were brought on board. We know that the number is increasing as time passes after Covid, but I am also aware that there are other models that we can implement across the country. Funding has been made available for...

Scottish Parliament: Medication Assisted Treatment Standards (19 Dec 2023)

Elena Whitham: The definitions that are used for drug deaths statistics are consistent across the UK, but there are important differences in data collection methods and in the death registration systems that affect the comparability of the statistics, due to there being different levels of missing data across the UK nations. The same comparability problem that is found with identifying drug misuse deaths...

Scottish Parliament: Medication Assisted Treatment Standards (19 Dec 2023)

Elena Whitham: I have been pondering how we ensure that we collate the information that we get from the RADAR reports and collect from the Queen Elizabeth university hospital’s programme, which monitors people in real time as they come into accident and emergency, and examine that information in totality. I am concerned about what might be coming down the line to us. I visited local organisations this...

Scottish Parliament: Medication Assisted Treatment Standards (19 Dec 2023)

Elena Whitham: Annie Wells asks an important question. Cocaine use is rising across the country in different age groups and cohorts of individuals. Although there is no medication substitute for such a stimulant, detoxification can work well. We have committed £5 million per year to look at our stabilisation and detoxification provision across the country. Of that, £3 million is to increase the provision,...

Scottish Parliament: Medication Assisted Treatment Standards (19 Dec 2023)

Elena Whitham: Following on from the question that Annie Wells has just posed to me, Jackie Dunbar has asked another really good question. We are committed to expanding access to residential rehab. We are investing £37 million in seven residential rehabilitation capacity projects across the country. Through that and other funding over the course of this session of Parliament, we are working to increase...

Scottish Parliament: Medication Assisted Treatment Standards (19 Dec 2023)

Elena Whitham: I thank Gillian Mackay for that question, which is a very important one that has several facets to it. As per MAT standard 8, the Scottish Government is working with Public Health Scotland and experts across the sector to ensure that people who use drugs have access to independent advocacy and support for their housing, welfare and income needs. The Scottish Government is committed to...

Scottish Parliament: Medication Assisted Treatment Standards (19 Dec 2023)

Elena Whitham: I thank Clare Haughey for the question, because it is on the fundamental aspect of ensuring that people who have co-occurring issues with substance use and mental health are not bounced around services, which happens far too often. We have commissioned Healthcare Improvement Scotland to produce an exemplar protocol, which will build on best practice from across the country and...

Scottish Parliament: Drug Law Reform (19 Sep 2023)

Elena Whitham: Presiding Officer, I am pleased to open this afternoon’s debate on drug law reform. I regret that I am unable to be there in person, due to being ill with Covid. Problem drug use impacts on many people in Scotland. It leads to lives ending prematurely and tragically. In 2022, 1,051 lives in Scotland were lost to drugs and, although the number was lower than the number in 2021, it is still...

Scottish Parliament: Drug Law Reform (19 Sep 2023)

Elena Whitham: I recognise the concern that the member has just intimated. Our whole-family approach, which our whole family wellbeing fund underpins, will help to secure additional resources and support for those front-line social workers because we recognise their value in the lives of our families and young people across the country. We are supporting a broad range of community-based initiatives and...

Scottish Parliament: Drug Law Reform (19 Sep 2023)

Elena Whitham: In the past two years, the University of Stirling has undertaken work to look at how we could roll out a drug-checking pilot within Scotland. During that research phase, several potential locations were identified. We know that Aberdeen, Glasgow and Dundee have expressed their wish to be part of the pilot. The research was published at the end of July and we are now helping those areas to...

Scottish Parliament: Drug Law Reform (19 Sep 2023)

Elena Whitham: I share Alex Cole-Hamilton’s desire to see safer consumption facilities and drug-checking facilities being rolled out across the country. Once the safer consumption pilot is up and running in Glasgow, we will evaluate it as soon as possible. After that, and once we understand how the facilities are working in practice, we will have conversations with other areas that might want to have the...

Scottish Parliament: Drug Law Reform (19 Sep 2023)

Elena Whitham: I thank Jackie Baillie for giving way, and for her well-wishing. I point out that once the new Lord Advocate took up her position, she laid out to the Criminal Justice Committee the parameters by which she would be willing to look at a proposal for a safer consumption facility. The Scottish Government, Police Scotland and Glasgow health and social care partnership then worked solidly for...


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