NHS Lothian and NHS Borders (Meetings with Government)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 25th January 2023.

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Photo of Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf Scottish National Party

Ministers and Government officials meet regularly with the leadership of all national health service boards including NHS Lothian and NHS Borders, to discuss matters of importance. It will be no surprise at all to the member that the most recent discussions have centred around the challenging winter pressures.

Ralph Roberts, the chief executive of NHS Borders, was on the most recent Scottish Government resilience call, which was chaired by the First Minister last week, in his role as the chair of chief executives.

Photo of Christine Grahame Christine Grahame Scottish National Party

The cabinet secretary will be aware that, in November last year, NHS Borders launched a single-point-of-contact cancer hub for people who are referred to Borders general hospital with a suspected cancer diagnosis, to provide support and information and to relieve stress. That is being phased in now, and everybody who requires it should have access to that service by spring 2023. Does the cabinet secretary, like me, welcome the initiative, and would he like to comment on it?

Photo of Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf Scottish National Party

I welcome the initiative. All members across the chamber—whether we have personal experience of going through a cancer journey or know somebody, such as a constituent, who has—know that one of the common points of feedback that we get is that people often feel that they are being passed from pillar to post. They want a single point of contact to help to navigate a very difficult time in their lives.

The initiative is one of the key actions in our national cancer plan, and it will remain an important part of our new cancer strategy, which is due to be published in the spring. I commend NHS Borders and the other boards that have the single-point-of-contact cancer hub in place. As the member says, we will look to roll the hubs out nationally.