Neurological Conditions (Sue Ryder Report)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 5th December 2017.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Linda Fabiani Linda Fabiani Scottish National Party

The final item of business is a members’ business debate on motion S5M-07698, in the name of Bruce Crawford, on a Sue Ryder report. The debate will be concluded without any question being put.

Motion debated,

That the Parliament recognises the devastating impact that neurological conditions can have on the lives of many people affected by these and their families; considers that specialist care and support for people in the Mid Scotland and Fife parliamentary region, and across the country, with a neurological condition can help them to live as independently as possible, minimising the impact of the condition on their day-to-day living and provide quality of life; recognises the Sue Ryder report,

Rewrite the Future

, on the benefits of consistent specialist care and support; welcomes the current review of clinical standards for neurological health services which, if rigorously monitored and measured, should, it considers, lead to better care and support, and notes the call for work to be undertaken between people with neurological conditions, the third sector and public bodies to develop a neurological health and social care strategy to ensure that people with such conditions are supported to live their lives as fully as possible.

Photo of Bruce Crawford Bruce Crawford Scottish National Party

I thank those who signed the motion and, in particular, those who have stayed behind for the debate. I thank Sue Ryder for its support in the lead-up to the debate and, in particular, Elinor Jayne.

Over recent years, I have learned a great deal about the fantastic work that the Sue Ryder charity does, and I have a huge admiration for that work. Sue Ryder delivers high-quality, much-needed home care in my constituency of Stirling and around the country, and it also has a passion for improving care for people with neurological conditions in Scotland.

As we know, neurological conditions can affect anyone at any age and can turn people’s lives upside down by affecting their ability to move, to live the lives that they used to live, to look after themselves and their families, to work or to leave the house, or they can affect their mental health. The list of effects can go on and on. Such conditions include progressive conditions such as multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, and sudden ailments such as head injuries and stroke. All those conditions can have a devastating impact on the individual and their family, so I am delighted to support Sue Ryder in its campaign for better neurological care.

Indeed, that is incredibly important, as we are talking about a group of people who have a devastating condition that can affect every aspect of their lives. As if that was not enough, their condition can be coupled with care that may not always meet their individual requirements. Let us be clear that there is no question but that if you have a neurological condition, you should receive good quality, specialist care to try to manage what can be a complex condition.

One surprise for me in Sue Ryder’s research is that it revealed that we do not even know how many people in Scotland have a neurological condition, or where they live, which raises the question of how health boards and integration authorities can plan to provide services that meet those people’s needs. Sue Ryder’s first report revealed that health boards and local authorities did not know what neurological services they or their counterparts provided in many cases. Gathering such information means that people with neurological conditions and their families can be better advised on where to turn, for instance, for respite care or specialist speech and language therapy. In addition, people of all ages with neurological conditions have been placed in older people’s care homes when those are not the appropriate settings for them. That is simply not a sustainable solution, nor one that can adequately meet the needs of those who require specialist care.

The report also showed that the national clinical standards for neurological health services were not being met in a number of cases. I am delighted, therefore, that since Sue Ryder shone a light on where neurological care in Scotland can be greatly improved, the Scottish Government has listened and is acting. It is vital that everyone works together to design services that meet the needs of people with these complex, life-changing conditions. Coupled with the work that the Government’s national advisory committee for neurological conditions is doing to map neurological services in Scotland, there is now an opportunity to make a real difference. The recent welcome Government announcement, following dedicated and informed campaigning by Sue Ryder and others, that it will produce Scotland’s first ever action plan on neurological conditions, is a huge step forward. Not only that, having carried out a review of the existing neurological standards, Healthcare Improvement Scotland is rewriting them to encompass all health and care services for people with neurological conditions. All that is being done with a view to making those standards as person-centred as possible. That is good work and the agency should be applauded for it.

As the motion notes, it is important that the Scottish Government works with people with neurological conditions, the third sector and our health and care services to ensure that the new action plan and all the other work is a success. I know that that is the Government’s intention, so what now? It is important that all the Government’s goodwill is capitalised on. I would like a commitment that, once the action plan is published, it will be followed through to ensure that the new standards for neurological care are acted on and measured in a meaningful way. To help achieve that, I ask the Government to look at whether the necessary funding is available for appropriate organisations to enable successful delivery.

Integration authorities also need to be given support to provide care for this group of people, so I would like the Government to give consideration to another of the Sue Ryder recommendations, which is to provide commissioning guidance for neurological services. The process of reforming neurological care in Scotland will require dedication to, and support of, our integrated local health and social care services. I am confident that we can build a system of care that is fit for the future. Indeed, to its credit, the Scottish Government is trying hard to do that. All that we need to see now is action on the ground.

There is really only one way to ensure that some people with neurological conditions in Scotland no longer feel written off and are supported to live their lives as fully as possible.

In conclusion, I am determined that this is one area of care that should not be used as a political football for cheap political point scoring. It will take all of us working together, while recognising the very real challenges that exist, to achieve solutions. Let us just do that.

Photo of Jeremy Balfour Jeremy Balfour Conservative

I thank Bruce Crawford for securing the debate.

I suspect that being informed that you have been diagnosed with a neurological condition is shocking. You must feel that you will never be able to cope with what life has dealt you. Overwhelming feelings of sorrow, anger and unfairness would suddenly appear.

Eventually most people adjust to their new lives, but often only with the support of organisations such as Sue Ryder, which provides hospice and care at home for people who are facing a life-changing diagnosis. As well as providing expert medical care, Sue Ryder also provides emotional and practical support, from personalised care through to advice, education and support services, to help improve the lives of individuals, including carers and their families. Its knowledge and insight is vital if we are to improve services for people with neurological diseases, and I welcome the findings of its report.

The first report published by Sue Ryder, in 2016, identified a lack of consistent data on the number of people with neurological conditions. Clinical standards for neurological services were not being followed, and the vast majority of health boards did not have a service delivery plan despite that being required by clinical standards.

If we fast-forward to 2017, its report published in September aimed to establish how much progress has been made and what difference the integration of health and social care was making to the lives of people with neurological conditions.

Disappointingly, it found that health boards still do not have a neurological service plan in line with national clinical standards. Six health boards stated that they had no plans to develop joint plans with local authorities, despite the national and local policy direction to integrate health and social care services.

When I was elected last year to the Scottish Parliament, I was made aware of NHS Lothian’s Lanfine service by a constituent with multiple sclerosis who had used the service. He lived on his own and appreciated the respite care that was provided by the Lanfine service. He particularly enjoyed the environment where he could talk with people and discuss their condition. However, in 2010, NHS Lothian commenced the process of redesigning the service. Key elements of the redesign included a reduction in bed numbers from 33 to 10; an outreach team that, when fully established, would have more than seven staff; a new carer support officer; and a fund to support carers with breaks from caring.

NHS Lothian has assured me that cost has not been the driver during the redesign; instead it wanted a service that was fit for the 21st century. That is all well and good, but I discovered that six years on from the start of the redesign, there are still outstanding vacancies in the outreach element and on-going discussions about the remaining posts.

I accept that many people want to be treated in their homes and I welcome care in the community, but in my view the redesign has not ensured better local health care and faster access to it, but has made a vulnerable group even more vulnerable, and we simply have not learned the lessons.

I welcome the minister’s intent to produce an action plan, and I am pleased that acknowledgment is being given to the need to improve services for people living with neurological conditions. However, when I read the Sue Ryder report, I was struck by the lack of data on people with neurological conditions and their use of health and care services. Bruce Crawford picked up on that. Therefore, I ask the minister to ensure that any changes that are recommended in an action plan are evidence based and effective. There is no point in producing an action plan before we have a good, clear view of the services that we have at the moment and what is and is not working. We need to look at what local authorities are doing and ensure that everyone in Scotland gets the service that they require.

Photo of Lewis Macdonald Lewis Macdonald Labour

I congratulate Bruce Crawford on securing today’s debate.

Like other members, I have seen Sue Ryder’s work at first hand—in my case, because of its excellent work at Dee View Court, in Aberdeen, which is in the minister’s constituency. It has been inspiring to see the facility develop over the years and to hear from its users and their families about the quality of their experiences there—I am sure that Maureen Watt will vouch for that.

Sue Ryder’s “Rewrite the Future” reports on the state of neurological care in Scotland have made an important contribution, identifying gaps in the provision of care and what must to be done to fill them.

For 13 years, Dee View Court has provided care for people with multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, cerebral palsy and acquired brain injury, enabling residents to live as independently as possible in shared houses and to feel that they are still part of the local community. There are spaces for only 24 residents, which means that many people in the north-east who need expert care and supported living are not able to take advantage of Dee View Court’s excellent facilities. In that context, a waiting list is partly a problem of success; nonetheless, it is a problem for those concerned. Too many people under 65 are in older people’s care homes in Aberdeen, as is the case elsewhere.

That is why, earlier this year, Sue Ryder launched a campaign to raise £3.9 million to build a new wing at Dee View Court, to accommodate an additional 20 residents. I am pleased that, last week, Sue Ryder was able to announce that the campaign had raised its first £1 million, just five months after being launched. That is a great achievement by Sue Ryder and good news for people in the north-east who are affected by neurological conditions.

The support that is provided at specialist facilities such as Dee View Court is important to residents and their families. Our wider health and social services must also be equipped to provide the care that people need if they are to treat or manage their symptoms and live independently in their own homes. Sue Ryder’s first “Rewrite the Future” report, which was published last year, found that six of Scotland’s 14 regional health boards either had no current plan for providing neurological health services to their population or were unable to say whether such a plan was in place. It is worrying that when Sue Ryder updated its report this year, the number of boards that were unable to report positively had increased from six to nine.

The Scottish Government’s commitment to developing a national action plan on neurological conditions is welcome, but, as with all such plans and strategies, actions matter more than words. As Alan Milburn said in another context at the weekend, ultimately what counts is not what the Government says but what it does. The Scottish Government has promised that the first national action plan on neurological conditions will be published in summer. I hope that the minister can confirm that today.

I also hope that the minister will confirm that additional resources will be provided to health boards to allow them to take the actions that are required under the action plan, and that resources will be related to levels of need. The incidence of multiple sclerosis in the Aberdeen area is one of the highest in the world, and general year-on-year funding of NHS Grampian is lower than it should be under the NHS Scotland resource allocation committee formula. It would do no favours to anyone in the north-east to impose additional spending requirements on NHS Grampian without also increasing the resources available to meet those needs.

Sue Ryder will continue to campaign for improved care for people with neurological conditions. It will have the support of members of this Parliament in doing so, and I am confident that we will soon be congratulating the charity on reaching its next million-pound milestone as it raises funds for the very welcome expansion of Dee View Court. l look forward to continued co-operation between all parties in the Parliament, the Government and Sue Ryder itself in delivering the quality of care that people with neurological conditions require.

Photo of Graeme Dey Graeme Dey Scottish National Party

I begin, as is customary, by congratulating my friend Bruce Crawford on securing the debate, which allows members to highlight the report and the work of Sue Ryder home care staff across Scotland.

In my constituency of Angus South, we are lucky to have a Sue Ryder team that offers expert care for people living with neurological conditions. Most areas in Scotland do not yet have access to such a specialist service. I want to highlight the tailored care that Sue Ryder offers service users in Angus, not simply to blow the trumpet of my constituency but in the hope that that care points the way for the wider care provider community in supporting people with neurological conditions and allowing them to live as independently as possible.

Since the provision of home care started its move from Angus Council to external organisations, Sue Ryder has become one of the largest home care providers in the area. The team, which is based in Arbroath, currently operates with a staff of 47, who deliver 1,300 hours of care a week for more than 200 service users. As well as providing day-to-day home care, Sue Ryder staff in Angus offer help with end-of-life care, provide respite to carers and offer short-term rehabilitation programmes so that people can leave hospital sooner and continue their recovery at home.

To be honest, I usually cringe when I hear the phrase “person centred”. First, it represents the jargon that pervades the service element of the public sector. Secondly, on the ground, it is all too often deployed simply to mask the delivery to individuals of the care that they can be given rather than the care that their circumstances require or that they want. However, it seems to me that the Angus Sue Ryder team reaches beyond the standard care process and provides users with a tailored service that truly focuses on their overall quality of life.

The report urges healthcare professionals to focus on the experience of living with a condition and how that informs the person’s whole life, rather than on the neurological disease. That means listening to them and considering them as a person rather than simply treating them as a patient with a condition. The Angus team’s desire to put that approach into practice is demonstrated by how it has organised its Christmas party this Thursday. As we are all aware, life with a debilitating neurological condition can be lonely and isolating, especially at this time of year. The party—in which local school kids take part—is an opportunity to bring service users together in a social setting, in the company of the familiar faces of the Sue Ryder home care team.

That approach to building relationships outside working hours is not confined to annual gatherings. For example, the Angus team recently took an elderly service user out of her home to see the town’s Christmas lights, and on another occasion a member of staff accompanied a lady to a family member’s wedding, thereby allowing her to take part in that special day with the support of a specialist carer by her side. To me, that sounds like care that is genuinely “person centred”—in other words, care that is tailored to the needs and wishes of the individual.

The care that is provided by the Sue Ryder team in Angus is greatly valued by those who receive it, and it is frequently rated by the Care Inspectorate as “excellent”. In the inspectorate’s most report on the team, one service user described the staff as “superb” and acknowledged that some staff “go above and beyond”.

Only last year, alongside Sue Ryder colleagues in Stirling, with whom they made up the Scottish home care team, representatives from Angus scooped the accolades of team of the year and overall winner at the Sue Ryder UK awards, in recognition of the Scottish team’s commitment, resilience and excellent care.

Those of my constituents who live with a neurological condition have access to top-class personal home care from the Sue Ryder team. As we seek to make the Scottish Government’s healthcare quality strategy a reality by 2020, I hope that it is seen as a role model for services elsewhere in Scotland.

Photo of Alexander Stewart Alexander Stewart Conservative

I am very grateful for the opportunity to participate in the debate. I pay tribute to Bruce Crawford and congratulate him on securing it.

Mr Crawford’s motion asks that the Parliament

“recognises the devastating impact that neurological conditions can have on the lives of many people affected by these and their families”.

It must be very harrowing for people to find themselves in that position, supported by their family. That statement in the motion is extremely poignant, and a huge push for recognition is needed. I have been looking at diseases of a similar nature, and I look forward to putting forward my report on and proposal for a member’s bill on brain tumour and the disability that that can cause people to suffer.

During my research into neurological care, it has become clear that Sue Ryder is unquestionably a beacon and a force to be reckoned with. I had great pleasure in attending a recent parliamentary event that gave us the opportunity to find out more about what is taking place.

However, I have been disappointed at health boards’ continually slow reactions to individuals who have neurological conditions. The situation is quite tragic, and the plans that are put in place are vital. We have already heard in the debate that health and social care integration is still causing some concerns.

Sue Ryder wants everyone with a neurological condition in Scotland to receive incredible care—we would all want to see that happen. Yet, in reality, we have found that the care provided across Scotland can be patchy—it can be poor or not well co-ordinated, which the individuals affected and their families find difficult to understand. Patients feel as though they are stuck in yet another postcode lottery. It really is a scandal that nine of our 14 health boards have no neurological services plan and that six of them do not intend to introduce such a plan.

I know that the Government is looking at and addressing such issues. However, it is vital that we look forward to what can be achieved—actions are required, not words or documents. Sue Ryder’s new “Rewrite the Future” report for 2017 shows that there is still a lot of work to be done on the ground to improve care for people with neurological conditions.

We talk about councils having a role to play and about how they need to do much more if they are to be effective in supporting people who have neurological conditions. Mr Crawford’s motion makes it clear that third sector and public bodies want to do all that they can and that they want to co-operate with people who have such a condition. They have a part to play in ensuring that everything comes together, which must happen if we are to ensure that people can go forward with confidence.

However, I would go further. The Scottish Government has had 10 years in which to gather momentum on the issue. Vital work urgently needs to be commenced on overhauling health boards’ plans in order to ensure that the quality of care for those who live with neurological conditions is at the forefront. Ultimately, that is what we are trying to achieve. Individuals and families are suffering every day. They must be able to have confidence in the health service and in the services that look after them. They should not have to rely on charitable organisations to provide them with support and care.

Photo of Gillian Martin Gillian Martin Scottish National Party

I thank Bruce Crawford for securing the debate and for hosting Sue Ryder in Parliament a few weeks ago, when I was able to learn more about the work that it does across the country. That gave me the opportunity to talk to Valerie Maxwell, who is centre director of Dee View Court in Aberdeen.

For more than 13 years, Dee View Court has played a key role in the delivery of expert and compassionate long-term care for people with neurological conditions who live with complex care and support needs. It is Scotland’s only purpose-built specialist residential facility for people who live with such conditions. Although Dee View Court is not in my constituency, it is very near to it, being in Kincorth, in Aberdeen city, in the Aberdeen South and North Kincardine constituency of my friend and colleague Maureen Watt, and some of its residents are from my constituency of Aberdeenshire East. We are tremendously fortunate to have a facility such as Dee View Court in our area, but I am conscious that most of Scotland does not have access to such specialist residential care.

The staff at Dee View Court work closely with a range of health and social care professionals to deliver incredible 24-hour care and support to people who live with very complex needs and neurological conditions. They provide a safe environment in which people can live as full a life as possible, and where staff provide quality care and support. As Lewis Macdonald has mentioned, they are very much integrated in the local community and live a full life there. Each resident has their own specially adapted room, is free to participate in recreational activities and is able to get a good deal of independence back in their own space, whereas many had previously been reliant on family members for their care.

Sue Ryder’s “Rewrite the Future” report highlights that many people without access to a specialist resource such as Dee View Court suffer needlessly and are unable to live their lives as fully as possible. Many neurological conditions are no respecters of age, so the fact is that, without specialist facilities, hundreds of people end up in old people’s homes because they have nowhere else to go for their care, as Bruce Crawford mentioned in his compelling opening speech.

A place like Dee View Court could have made a tremendous difference to the life of my brother-in-law Keith and his mother Audrey when his dad, Eric Allardyce, lost a great deal of his mobility due to the multiple sclerosis that developed in his late 20s and eventually took his life when he was in his mid-30s. Eric was cared for at home until his death by Audrey, who only just managed to raise Keith and arrange part-time work around Eric’s care.

Dee View Court’s very existence depends on fundraising by Sue Ryder. We need more facilities like Dee View Court, which has a waiting list and wants to expand to offer its expert care to more residents. A couple of months ago, Sue Ryder launched a campaign to raise £3.9 million to build a much-needed new wing and cater for an additional 20 residents. The planned extension will consist of 14 new en suite bedrooms and six supported-living apartments.

I end with good news. Just this week, Dee View Court announced that the generous and public-spirited people of the north-east have helped the appeal to reach the £1 million mark. I close by letting everyone know how they can help Dee View Court to reach its target. Simply go to and find Dee View Court to donate there. We can provide specialist care for more than 20 more people in the north-east, but we need commitment from every health board to make services available that are appropriate for those with neurological conditions, whatever their age.

Photo of Anas Sarwar Anas Sarwar Labour

I join others in congratulating Bruce Crawford on bringing forward the debate and for his important work with Sue Ryder.

The good work of Sue Ryder is widely recognised by parliamentarians across the chamber. It has almost 70 years’ experience in the field of neurological care; when Sue Ryder speaks, it speaks with authority. I welcome its significant contribution to the care and improvement of the lives of people in Scotland with a neurological condition. Part of that contribution has been in the form of various reports that Sue Ryder has published on the standard of neurological care in Scotland. Those reports highlight the many benefits of consistent care and support. Sue Ryder is clear that a properly delivered health and social care strategy can help people with neurological conditions to live life as fully as possible.

However, in its 2016 report, Sue Ryder highlighted a number of areas of concern. It said that there was a lack of consistent data, that national clinical standards were not being followed, that there was patchy provision of services, that long-term service delivery plans were not in place and that some people with neurological conditions were being treated in non-specialist locations. It was a poor report card on neurological care in Scotland, which led to the Scottish Government rightly initiating a review of clinical standards and making a commitment to gather better data.

Although there is some progress at a national level on data collection, with the first set of data due to be published next spring, sadly not much appears to be changing for people on the ground. Of particular concern is the fact that, for many, the situation appears to be getting worse. Nine of Scotland’s health boards had no neurological services plan, despite that being a requirement of national clinical standards. One said that it had a draft plan, whereas four had plans that were due to expire. It gets worse. Despite there being, rightly, a national policy direction for the development of joint neurological care plans by health boards and local authorities or integration boards, only one had started to do that. Frankly, that is not good enough.

The evidence is clear that, so far, the integration of health and social care has done little to improve services on the ground. I am sure that that is something that everyone across this chamber, regardless of political party, will want to see made right. There is a real risk of people being left behind as the reforms continue. That is why I ask the Scottish Government to do more than produce a national action plan—although that is important—and simply hand it over to integration joint boards and hope for the best. The Scottish Government has to show real and on-going leadership on this issue to make sure that we see genuine improvement in all health boards across the country.

In particular, if the national action plan identifies the need for new resources, I hope, like Bruce Crawford, that the Scottish Government will commit to those new resources. Will Healthcare Improvement Scotland be given the resources to monitor the new standards and drive forward improvements to make sure that we have a consistent approach across the country? That is crucial, because the last set of clinical standards was not being delivered. It was hard to deliver those standards across the country, because nobody was monitoring their implementation.

The Scottish Government has rightly led people to expect that services will continue, and it has worked to deliver an action plan. I hope that we can all get behind that and see those improvements in resources across the country, and see HIS actually monitoring progress and making sure that we have deliverable and delivered clinical standards. I hope that the minister will address that in her closing comments.

Photo of Maureen Watt Maureen Watt Scottish National Party

I am pleased to respond on behalf of the Government. I commend Bruce Crawford for bringing the debate to the chamber. I am encouraged by the commitment across the Parliament to improving the quality of life of people who are affected by neurological conditions, which have a profound effect not only on the individuals but on their families and carers, as Bruce Crawford said.

I assure members that the Government is fully committed to improving the lives of people who live with neurological conditions, and welcomes the Sue Ryder report, which is a valuable contribution to the debate on how we can make things better for people with neurological conditions. As a Government, we have an excellent relationship with Sue Ryder, and we have been working closely with the organisation over the past few years. The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport will visit the Sue Ryder centre in Aberdeen in January to continue discussions on our shared goals. Perhaps Bruce Crawford can go at the same time.

As Lewis Macdonald said, I am also familiar with the excellent care that Sue Ryder provides at Dee View Court. I am a frequent visitor there and have held constituency surgeries in the premises. I was very pleased to note that the fundraising campaign to expand the centre’s facilities recently reached the £1 million mark. That is testament to the high quality life-changing care that Sue Ryder workers provide. In the interests of transparency, I declare an interest, in that I provided a supporting statement for its bid to the Wolfson Foundation for funding for the extension. I am not sure whether that has been revealed yet.

I am pleased to say that the Government is making good progress on a number of the fronts that Sue Ryder highlights in its report. We listened to Sue Ryder and others who called for changes to charges for personal care, and we announced in the programme for government that we will take steps to extend free personal care to all those under the age of 65, thereby fully delivering on the commitment to introduce Frank’s law. That means that up to 9,000 people who are currently in receipt of personal care will no longer be liable to pay charges for the care that they need. That will assist many people with neurological conditions including motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

We are also making good progress on improving the data that is collected on neurological conditions. The data will assist NHS boards and integration authorities, thereby informing better service planning that supports people who are living with neurological conditions. Our aim is to have that data set in place by spring 2018.

We are also committed to reviewing the neurological standards: Healthcare Improvement Scotland is in the process of developing new standards of care.

We know from statistics that people who are living with neurological conditions mainly access primary and community care services. We therefore expect the new standards to apply in a range of care settings across health and social care. Graeme Dey admirably described the excellent level of care that Sue Ryder provides in Angus. I hope that those high standards of care will be replicated elsewhere because, as Jeremy Balfour said, most people really want to live at home or in a homely setting.

The standards will be developed by a project group that will—crucially—include people who live with neurological conditions. It is vital that policy makers and healthcare professionals consult and listen to the people who have lived experience, because they are the experts.

We also note Sue Ryder’s call for the new standards to be accompanied by a programme of measurement and improvement. I assure members that the Government is considering that call closely, and we will be working with partners over the next year to explore what such a programme would look like and how it could be delivered.

Sue Ryder has also been calling on the Government to develop a national approach to neurological conditions. Again, we have listened to that call. The Minister for Public Health and Sport recently announced that work has started on Scotland’s first national action plan on neurological conditions. The new plan will support the development of integrated, expert neurological and rehabilitation services, and will focus on the needs of individuals living with neurological conditions, across health and community services. Gillian Martin mentioned the work of Dee View Court. In addition to providing in-patient services, it provides excellent outreach services. It has recently introduced outreach services for people living with MS, which has had a fantastic and positive effect on those who have taken part.

As part of our work, we will undertake a programme of engagement with health and social care partnerships to ensure that they are sufficiently sighted of and supported on the aims of our national action plan. The plan will incorporate the new national neurological standards that are being developed by Healthcare Improvement Scotland, and will be designed to drive improvements for people in a range of healthcare settings.

To ensure that our approach to the new plan is as open and collaborative as possible, we are seeking to co-produce it with clinicians, the third sector and people who live with neurological conditions. We have also commissioned the Health and Social Care Alliance and the Neurological Alliance. They will, working in partnership, engage with people living with neurological conditions so that we learn and understand their experiences of accessing services, as well as their priorities for the future. I know that Sue Ryder and other third sector bodies will continue to feed into that important work. The draft plan will be produced by next summer and consulted on before being published later next year.

The perspective of lived experience is central to any work that we take forward in this area. I hope that we will be able, as the work progresses over the next year, to rely on support from across the chamber, and that all members get involved and promote their ideas.

I offer my continued support for the work that Sue Ryder does to represent and to support people with neurological conditions. I again confirm that the Government is fully committed to improving the lives of such people throughout the country.

Meeting closed at 18:14.