Oncology Services (Tayside)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 7th November 2019.

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Photo of Jenny Marra Jenny Marra Labour

Last week, I raised the issue of the Tayside breast oncologists’ right to reply submission to the Healthcare Improvement Scotland report that was published in April. The oncologists made their right to reply submission at the end of April this year, but it has never seen the light of day and it has never been published.

In response to my written question, I received a delayed answer from the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, who says that this is not a matter for the Scottish Government; it is a matter for Healthcare Improvement Scotland.

Can the First Minister confirm the cabinet secretary’s view that the fact that the oncologists’ response has never been published is not a matter for her Government and that it is not something that she will demand that Healthcare Improvement Scotland publishes?

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

The independent report by Healthcare Improvement Scotland had input from experts locally and nationally, including from the chief medical officer and the chief pharmaceutical officer, who directly reported to HIS concerns that had been raised by local oncologists earlier this year.

The process by which HIS conducted the review was independent of the Scottish Government and we would expect it to consider all feedback that it received. However, I say to Jenny Marra—I mean this sincerely—that, if she imagines another context in which I was instructing Healthcare Improvement Scotland about an inquiry that it was carrying out, understandable and legitimate concerns would be raised, no doubt by members in the chamber, about Government interference. If we have independent inquiries, it is crucial that their independence is respected, and usually I have members demanding of the Scottish Government that that is the case.