Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Where’s the Action, Where’s the Public Health Minister; SNP Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick’s Emergency Drugs Death Taskforce has still not met four months after SNP Government set it up, yet again senior SNP figure at the centre of failing the Scottish people over health issues, why is it that SNP Taskforces always seem to fail to deliver?

Dear All

One thing the SNP excel in is promising action then failing to deliver it, for them getting the sound bite out as intent to be doing something actually trumps action. The SNP Government under Nicola Sturgeon is a sham, incompetent, unable to do their job and lazy. When Scotland learned we are the drug death capital of Europe, the SNP promised action, an emergency taskforce to address our drug deaths crisis. In this regard, it is the only real claim to fame that Nicola Sturgeon has a ‘world leader’.

But so far, the emergency taskforce to address our drug deaths crisis has never met, not even once, which begs the question, does the SNP understand the term ‘emergency’? Just like we have a duff health minister in the shape of Jeane Freeman, we also have a public health minister Joe FitzPatrick. FitzPatrick is part of the SNP Dundee operation which was seen as the SNP powerhouse under the Hosie Dynasty.

Public health minister Joe FitzPatrick promised that an expert group would quickly be assembled to address the issues but unlike the Avengers, this expert group couldn’t assemble.

Did they need instructions from Ikea?

So far, than the chair, Professor Catriona Matheson of Stirling University, there is a distinct lack of members been announced, which begs the question, other than Matheson is there anyone else in the emergency taskforce? At the time of her appointment Fitzpatrick said:

“I am very pleased that Professor Catriona Matheson has agreed to head up this taskforce. She has a great deal of experience in this area, both through her role as Trustee of the Society for the Study of Addiction and as Convenor of the Drugs Research Network Scotland.
“What Scotland faces in terms of drugs deaths is an emergency. Every one of those deaths is a tragedy and tackling this issue is a public health priority. I want to ensure that the work of the taskforce is driven by a strong evidence base and it is my desire to ensure that the voices of those with lived experience of using drugs, and their families, are heard. I will give consideration to any proposals that may help to tackle this issue.”

It seems that action doesn’t match Fitzpatrick’s words.

Professor Catriona Matheson said when joining:

“I am honoured to accept this responsibility to deliver real change through a strengthened public health approach. I am keen to examine the evidence, and work across the landscape, involving those with lived experience of drug use and their families.  We need to be bold in our thinking and our actions to reverse the trend, recognising that behind the statistics is personal tragedy.”

So, everyone has congratulated themselves but where’s the action, where’s the team and more importantly where is the recommendations?

Could it be that there is none?

Think about it, the worst drugs death crisis ever in Scotland and no action.

Scottish Labour’s shadow health spokeswoman Monica lennon said:

“Joe FitzPatrick announced the ministerial drug death taskforce in the Daily Record in March – we’re now in August and its membership still hasn’t been finalised and it still hasn’t met. This isn’t good enough. We’re more than half-way through 2019 and our national response to the drugs death crisis is inadequate. Scottish Labour is continuing to press the Scottish Government to take urgent action and I have lodged a parliamentary motion calling on the government to legally designate a public health emergency.”

So far no public health emergency has been announced, and when you think about the people who are dying, it isn’t like they matter to the SNP, mostly junkies don’t vote.

FitzPatrick has announced that a drugs summit will be held in Glasgow to address the crisis which is handy because it provides Nicola Sturgeon with a photo op if the SNP can cobble together someone’s plan of action with their stamp on it. And with Nicola Sturgeon doing a drive to be popular and caring at present, perhaps she could pop in like Santa Klaus.  

A SNP Government spokesman said:

“The taskforce remains on track. Since the announcement of Professor Matheson as chair, terms of reference have been published and the public health minister has written to potential members inviting them to confirm their interest. Details of the full membership and next steps will be announced shortly and the taskforce is expected to hold its first meeting in September.”

What we need is an expert group on £300 a day?

Finally, Monica Lennon apparently offered to join the expert group but her offer was refused by Public health minister Joe FitzPatrick, clearly Ms Lennon hasn’t grasp the SNP’s addiction to ‘it’s my ball’.  It seems that party politics takes priority over a public health emergency. Fitzpatrick studied Forestry at Inverness College and worked for the Forestry Commission in Angus and Tillhill Forestry in Argyle which doesn’t really equip him for anything in the role of public health minister.  But I am sure he can say, ‘it’s Westminster’s fault’.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University


Anonymous said...

No one should be surprised about this. Grabbing the headlines by announcing that a task force was to be set up was always going to be the sole activity of the SNP.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps they are figuring out how to pay for it. The SG has just spent £500,000 to pay for Alex Salmond's legal bills caused by a notched investigation. A minister must be held to account.

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Anonymous said...

Very energetic blog, I liked that bit. Will there be a part 2?

Anonymous said...

Life expectancy going in reverse and we already had one of the lowest life expectancies in the western world. Highest drug deaths in the western world. The lowest live birth rate ever, since records began.
Have we been invaded by some evil foreign power because these statistics are disgusting.