Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Tina McGeever petition

Another useful discussion today about Tina McGeever's access to cancer drugs petition. This was the first time we had discussed the petition since the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing gave evidence to us on 17 November 2009. At that meeting she agreed to send us a copy of the Scottish Government’s draft guidance to NHS boards on the introduction and availability of new medicines. This is intended to provide a framework to which boards must align local policies on access to new medicines. It also contains specific advice on what is now called individual patient treatment requests (previously exceptional prescribing requests). The Cab Sec was keen to hear the views of the Committee and Tina McGeever on this guidance before it was issued given the impetus for all of this has been the petition and our inquiry report.

Today we agreed our response back to the Cab Sec. While we had a some questions and made a number of points which the Scottish Government may wish to reflect on before it issues the new guidance, overall we think this will be another step in the right direction and demonstrates further action being taken to address the key issues which Tina raised in her petition. It has been really useful working with the government on this issue and for the important points which Tina raised to be taken seriously and for positive action to be taken as a result.
Frank McAveety MSP, Convener


  1. Have many public petitions resulted in legislative change?

  2. Yes they have. I cannot give you a list but the committee touched on this issue in its petitions inquiry report (paras.196-200)

  3. Thanks for that.

    It seems that the petitions listed have had some impact albeit not necessarily resulting in legislative change.

    I looked at the report you cited and noticed one change arising from a petition that seemed eminently sensible – the introduction into building regulations of a requirement to install thermostatic mixer valves to prevent scalding (particularly scalding of children as the petitioner had in mind).

    I thought I’d try to find out if the petitioner’s good work had resulted in practical change. The RoSPA website noted that it had, indeed Scotland was hailed as leading the field. The following quote is from the RoSpa website.

    ‘An amendment to the Building Regulations means that all new-build homes across England and Wales will have devices fitted to baths to limit the temperature of the water to 48°C. That temperature is still more than hot enough for domestic use, but it removes the potential for the most serious scald injuries to happen. Northern Ireland will also adopt the amendment, but at a slightly later date. The move comes three years after such devices - called thermostatic mixing valves (TMVs) - became a requirement in new homes in Scotland.’


    However, worryingly, an update on the same webpage noted a delay in England & Wales resulting from the EU Commission examining this change as a possible technical inhibitor to trade. It is a worry that this might impact on the earlier Scottish improvement to child safety regarding scalding. Perhaps any success and proof that the benefits of the change outweigh any possibility of inhibiting trade from Scotland could persuade the EU Commission not to hamper such a positive safety move across Europe?