Question Time — Scottish Executive — Health and Well-being – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:15 pm on 7th June 2007.
To ask the Scottish Executive what plans it has to open Scotland's third dental school in Aberdeen. (S3O-102)
Our manifesto commitment is to open a third dental school by expanding Aberdeen dental institute. We are currently exploring the options to deliver that commitment.
I thank the minister for her response, but she will forgive me for saying that we had a commitment four years ago from the
Unlike the previous Administration, this Administration will deliver on its manifesto commitments. Officials are working hard on the options at the moment, and I am hopeful that, if all goes well, we will be in a position to move forward to an implementation date of around October 2008.
On a point of order, Presiding Officer. I seek the guidance of the chair. I have expressed concern in the past about the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing's huge portfolio, which of course encompasses all the communities issues—with the exclusion of the voluntary sector and planning—that were, in the past, covered by a minister and deputy minister. That has been reflected in today's question time, in which only one question was anywhere near that critical area. I attempted to come in on two separate questions but was unable to come in on either.
I ask that some consideration be given to separating communities questions, so that we can address the critical issues of equalities, anti-poverty measures, deprivation, community planning and community regeneration. Those matters sit with Nicola Sturgeon, but they have not been addressed and they have not been referred to at any stage by the First Minister in statements in the Parliament.
With respect to the member, the breadth of a ministerial remit is not my affair, although the selection of questions is. I am afraid that I often have difficult decisions to make, and I have made them.
On a further point of order, Presiding Officer. Currently we have questions on health and well-being, and afterwards we have questions on rural affairs. I ask you to consider, in deciding the categories for questions, whether it is possible to separate the health and well-being portfolio into two separate question times to ensure that the critical communities issues are addressed.
The allocation of questions is due to be reviewed in about six months' time, but I am willing to take that suggestion away and consider what you have said.