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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 September, 2004, 17:53 GMT 18:53 UK
MSP facing no confidence motion
Malcolm Chisholm
Mr Chisholm said he will not revisit past decisions
Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm is facing a motion of no confidence over his handling of hospital reforms.

The Tories will use opposition debating time at Holyrood on Thursday to force a vote on the minister's competence.

The party drafted a motion expressing no confidence in Mr Chisholm's ability to deliver a NHS which serves the needs of local communities across Scotland.

He has received criticism for his handling of the government's planned cuts to hospitals and services.

Conservative leader David McLetchie called on MSPs from all parties to support his party's motion.

He said: "It seems clear to us that there is very little confidence indeed in Malcolm Chisholm as minister for health and very little confidence in his ability to devise and implement a strategy which will make a fundamental change to the way things are going."

He said Mr Chisholm would be "expected to resign", if the motion was passed.

However, Scottish National Party health spokeswoman Shona Robison said the motion was a "missed opportunity" which should have focused on uniting the parliament on hospital closures.

She said: "While it is true that the SNP has little faith in the health minister, a vote of no confidence is unlikely to gain support from Liberal and Labour members."

The party had hoped for cross-party support for independent MSP Jean Turner's call for the suspension of hospital reorganisation which it believed had a better chance of leading to an executive defeat on the NHS.

Major changes

Health services right across Scotland face a series of major changes under the Scottish Executive's plans.

NHS boards are drawing up proposals to centralise key services like maternity and accident and emergency with many hospitals facing mergers or closures.

There has been fierce local opposition to the plans right across Scotland.

This weekend there will be a national rally in Glasgow's George Square to protest against the national reorganisation of the NHS.

Protesters outside the Scottish Parliament
There has been fierce opposition to the proposed NHS reforms

But the Conservatives will hope to have forced the issue over Mr Chisholm's ministerial ability to a vote in parliament by then.

In the past fortnight the Labour minister has come under increasing fire and was first told by Westminster MPs to "get a grip" on the health service reforms north of the border.

Many of his Commons counterparts are angry at the way he is handling the changes and fear a public backlash over proposed hospital closures ahead of next year's potential general election.

He has since sought to clear up confusion over his role in the changes and told Holyrood's health committee he did not intend to approve any new, or revise any existing proposals, until a national framework had been agreed.

The only exception would be where clinical safety was deemed to be at risk.

HOSPITALS FACING REORGANISATION
1. Balfour Hospital, Kirkwall
2. W' Isles Hospital, Stornoway
3. Caithness Gen. Hospital, Wick
4. Belford Hospital, Fort William
5. Lorne and Isles Hospital, Oban
6. Perth Royal Infirmary
7. Forth Park Hospital, Kirkcaldy
8. Queen Marg't Hospital, Dunfermline
9. Stirling Royal Infirmary
10. Vale of Leven Hospital, Alexandria
11. Inverclyde Royal, Greenock
12. Falkirk Royal
13. St John's Hospital, Livingston
14. Monklands Hospital, Airdrie
15. Stobhill Hospital, Glasgow
16. Western Infirmary, Glasgow
17. Queen Mother's Hospital, Glasgow
18. Victoria Infirmary, Glasgow
19. Wishaw General
20. Hairmyres Hospital, E' Kilbride
21. Ayr Hospital




SEE ALSO:
Chisholm outlines reforms stance
21 Sep 04  |  Scotland
Chisholm is told to 'get a grip'
14 Sep 04  |  Scotland
Labour MSP pleads for cuts freeze
10 Sep 04  |  Scotland
Health reforms 'not set in stone'
09 Sep 04  |  Scotland
Health focus at Holyrood showdown
08 Sep 04  |  Scotland
A&E protesters march on Holyrood
08 Sep 04  |  Scotland


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