22 November 2009

The Sunday Whip

A quiet, mostly consensual week, which was legislation-heavy, and generally successful for the Government - though there was one major missed opportunity on the opposition's part.

On Wednesday, the Business Motions were waved through, as were the Arbitration (Scotland) Bill (all its amendments having been passed earlier on in the afternoon) and the Water Environment (Groundwater and Priority Substances) (Scotland) Regulations 2009.

On Thursday, it was much the same, though a Labour Party motion on tackling Clostridium Difficile did bring some divergence. There were eight absentees: LibDem Justice Spokesman Robert Brown (Glasgow), Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead (Moray), Margo MacDonald (Ind, Lothians), Michael Matheson (SNP, Falkirk West), Tom McCabe (Lab, Hamilton South), Peter Peacock (Lab, Highlands & Islands), Shadow Climate Change Minister Cathy Peattie (Falkirk East) and LibDem Culture Spokesman Iain Smith (North East Fife). They missed the LibDem amendment to the SNP's amendment fall by 61 (SNP/Tory) votes to 59 (Lab/LD/Greens - had Labour and the LibDems mustered everyone, this amendment would have passed) and the SNP amendment itself, along with the amended motion pass by 77 (everyone but Labour) votes to 43:

That the Parliament agrees that tackling Healthcare Associated Infection (HAI) must continue to be a top priority for the Scottish Government; notes the range of actions that are now in place to drive down infections, backed by an investment in excess of £50 million; welcomes the establishment of an independent Healthcare Environment Inspectorate that has begun its programme of announced and unannounced visits to all acute hospitals over the next three years; acknowledges that the establishment of a public inquiry into the events at the Vale of Leven Hospital last year will ensure that any additional actions are identified to help prevent such a tragedy happening again; further acknowledges that the HAI Taskforce has fully considered the Labour Party 15-point action plan and has agreed to further consider those measures not already included in its current three-year work programme; recognises the progress that has been made on a national staff uniform for NHS Scotland; further notes that the Scottish Government has agreed to pilot approaches to electronic bed management and tracking infections and will fully evaluate these pilots and take whatever action is appropriate, and further notes that the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing will continue to ensure that systems and processes for the notification and management of outbreaks are improved in light of experience.

Following that, the Schools Consultation (Scotland) Bill passed unanimously. Earlier in the day, the amendments had been considered: Amendments 1 to 12 passed without dissent, while Amendment 13 was not moved and Amendment 13A fell.

Finally, another minor Committee reshuffle was agreed to.

So all in all, another quiet week. Next week sees a motion entitled "Learning about Scotland and its History", an LCM on the Child Poverty Bill, and Stage 1 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Bill. Let's see what comes of those.

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