I last formally met the chief executive of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde on 18 August, when I chaired the board's annual review. Most recently, I saw him yesterday at the opening of Springburn health centre, when he updated me on the record attendances at accident and emergency units throughout the board's area on Tuesday. We agreed that the staff had done a sterling job.
I am sure that, from her discussions with the chief executive, the minister is aware of the widespread concern about the recent review of the health visitor service in greater Glasgow. Does she agree in principle that health visitors should continue to be attached to general practitioner surgeries? If so, will she give me or GPs that assurance in writing?
Not only do I agree with that in principle, but if Ken Macintosh cares to read the principles that have now been agreed between Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS Board and the local medical committee, he will see that they state that every GP practice will continue to have an attached health visitor within the primary health care team. That principle is now recognised by everyone involved. I am pleased that the principles have been agreed and I encourage GPs, staff, stakeholders and, indeed, the health board to continue discussing the issues and taking them forward in a spirit of consensus.
Is the cabinet secretary aware of suggestions that Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS Board is introducing a number plate recognition scheme as an alternative to the hated hospital car parking tax, with fines applying after four hours? Does she agree that while the scheme, if confirmed, will certainly address casual commuter parking, it is debatable whether the period will be long enough for patients, it is doubtful whether it will be
I know that Jackson Carlaw supported the Administration's decision to abolish car parking charges at hospitals, which was a positive development that will benefit patients, staff and visitors. As a result of the decision, all the affected boards were asked to submit alternative car park management strategies to the Scottish Government. They have either done so or are in the process of doing so, and we will scrutinise and consider the plans carefully to ensure that they are fair to patients, visitors and staff.
It is no secret—and nobody in the chamber should ignore the fact—that there is enormous demand for car parking at some of our hospitals and that demand is often bigger than the supply of car parking spaces. Hospitals and boards have to manage that, but they should do so in a way that is fair. That will be the guiding principle as we scrutinise the policies.