As-it-happened: First Minister's Questions on Thursday, 21 February, 2013

Key Points

  • Scotland's first minister, Alex Salmond, answered questions from opposition leaders and backbenchers at his weekly chamber appearance.
  • Scottish Labour's Johann Lamont and the Scottish Lib Dems' Willie Rennie both focused on the NHS waiting lists report by Audit Scotland.
  • Conservative Party leader Ruth Davidson quizzed Mr Salmond on the horsemeat scandal and the Food Standards Agency budget.

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  1.  
    1148:

    Hello and welcome to our coverage of First minister's questions from the Scottish Parliament.

     
  2.  
    1148:

    Alex Salmond will be on his feet at midday, and right now, it's questions to ministers.

     
  3.  

    To follow the FMQ debate on social media, use #fmqs

     
  4.  
    Information

    Watchdog Audit Scotland said the management and scrutiny of the NHS waiting list system "had not been good enough". The body looked into the issue of logging when problems were discovered in NHS Lothian and in Tayside. They were criticised for removing patients from the 18-week waiting list when they refused to travel to England for treatment, marking them as "unavailable for social reasons". The Scottish government says the system is now changing. Find out more about the story.

     
  5.  
    1158:

    We may get backbench questions on BBC job cuts, child poverty and obesity.

     
  6.  
    1201:

    Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont (JL) gets straight to the Audit Scotland report, asking why patients were "misled".

     
  7.  
    1202:

    First Minister Alex Salmond (FM) says the current situation is better than the one the SNP inherited from Labour.

     
  8.  
    1203:
    Alex Salmond and Johann Lamont Alex Salmond is asked about the Audit Scotland report by Labour's Johann Lamont

    JL says FM is playing a "political game". She says the SNP government previously says nobody was on a "hidden waiting list". Ms Lamont says in fact they have been "reinvented and reinforced".

     
  9.  
    1205:

    FM says the IT systems in the NHS are being improved. He also says 33% of patients were affected by hidden waiting lists during the time of the previous, Labour-led Scottish government.

     
  10.  
    1206:

    JL says waiting lists were being "falsified" during Nicola Sturgeon's time as health secretary, while she was saying waiting times were coming down.

     
  11.  
    1208:

    FM says the NHS IT systems were not robust enough to get the required information on patients, so they are being improved. He says 88% of patients are satisfied with NHS waiting times and, adding that while that's not 100%, it's still quite high.

     
  12.  
    1209:

    JL says the FM is insisting there is nothing wrong when there clearly is. JL says "patients come second to propaganda" when it comes to the SNP government.

     
  13.  
    1212:
    Alex Salmond and Jackie Baillie Alex Salmond criticises Labour health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie

    FM says the report raises a "small" number of inappropriate uses of unavailability codes. Mr Salmond says this has become a "get Nicola Sturgeon" exercise from Labour. He adds that it was Ms Sturgeon who got rid of Labour's hidden waiting lists when she got into government.

     
  14.  
    1213:

    Conservative leader Ruth Davidson (RD) on the horsemeat scandal.

     
  15.  
    1214:

    FM backs leaving key inspector functions with the Food Standards Agency, rather than taking them inside government (as he said had been done at Westminster).

     
  16.  
    1216:

    RD says £1m has been taken out of the FSA budget. FM says all public agencies are under pressure. He argues that confidence in the Scottish industry has not been lowered in the events of recent weeks. He says work is under way to set up a new, separate food standards agency in Scotland.

     
  17.  
    Ruth Davidson at Holyrood Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson listens to FM Alex Salmond's "advice" to her
     
  18.  

    @petermacmahon tweets: Salmond: waiting times row, Labour attack is all about getting Nicola Sturgeon Yep. He's right. And not working so far. #fmqs

     
  19.  
    1218:

    Green MSP Alison Johnstone asking if building the new Forth road bridge is really needed. FM says maintaining the current bridge would have meant huge costs to the economy. He adds the new bridge was backed by parliament.

     
  20.  

    @lehippity tweets: Keep #horsemeat out of our haggis! #fmq

     
  21.  
    1220:

    Labour's Rhoda Grant on loss of shooting rights for residents on island of Raasay. FM says it's not really a move which ministers can overturn.

     
  22.  
    1222:

    FM says apologies are made in individual cases were they are needed. But he says the NHS is a "wonderful" public service.

     
  23.  
    1221:
    Willie Rennie Scottish Lib Dem Willie Rennie waves a press release issued by the government

    Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Winnie Rennie (WR) asks if the FM regrets previous "bragging" over NHS waiting times, in light of the Audit Scotland report.

     
  24.  
    1223:

    WR says 50 "bragging" press releases about the NHS were sent out. FM says there are proper reasons why people might not have a procedure in a set timescale.

     
  25.  

    @GeorgieHill77 tweets: Hate to praise a Lib Dem but have to say Willie Rennie is the most effective opposition leader ... #fmq

     
  26.  
    1226:

    SNP's Jim Eadie on BBC Scotland job cuts, in the wake of strike action on Monday. FM suggests there is "huge disquiet" among staff and says he has met with key BBC figures on the issue.

     
  27.  

    @CalumMeeeler tweets: The opposition to the Nationalists in the Scottish Parliament is embarrassing. As someone who believes in the Union, it's worrying. #FMQ

     
  28.  
    1228:

    Labour's Drew Smith on child poverty. FM says it's still too high and work is under way to tackle the issue, including a "preventative" policy.

     
  29.  
    1230:

    Tory MSP Murdo says tackling obesity should focus on personal responsibility, rather than things like a fizzy drinks tax. FM says the government is considering options.

     
  30.  
    1231:

    That's all from first minister's questions this week. There'll be more on NHS waiting times this afternoon when health secretary Alex Neil makes a statement to parliament. You can watch that on BBC Democracy Live. Bye for now!

     

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