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SP Paper 812 HE/S2/07/R9

9th Report, 2007 (Session 2)

Remit and membership

Remit:

To consider and report on matters relating to health policy and the National Health Service in Scotland and such other matters as fall within the responsibility of the Minister for Health and Community Care.

Membership:
Roseanna Cunningham (Convener)
Helen Eadie
Janis Hughes (Deputy Convener)
Kate Maclean
Mr Duncan McNeil
Nanette Milne
Shona Robison
Euan Robson
Dr Jean Turner

Committee Clerking Team:

Clerk to the Committee
Karen O'Hanlon
Simon Watkins

Assistant Clerk
David Simpson

The Treatment of Drug Users (Scotland) Bill

The Committee reports to the Parliament as follows—

INTRODUCTION

1. The Treatment of Drug Users (Scotland) Bill (SP Bill 79) was introduced in the Parliament by Rosemary Byrne MSP on 29 September 2006.  The Parliamentary Bureau subsequently referred the bill to the Health Committee as lead Committee on 3 October 2006.  In considering all Members’ Bills, the Bureau noted the difficulties committees had in managing existing workloads and agreed not to set a deadline for Stage 1.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE OF THE BILL

2. The objective of the bill is to provide for all drug users to be assessed for an individual holistic care plan within 7 days of requesting such assistance, and for this care to be financed in part from a percentage of the monies seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act (2002).  Under the proposals a range of treatment and rehabilitation options based on the needs of users and their families would be available.  These would include: physical, psychological and emotional care; housing and, social care issues including child protection, education and employability.  It is argued that this approach would address the inequality in service provision and availability across Scotland.

CONSULTATION

3. The member in charge of the bill conducted a consultation on the proposals in the draft bill between April and August 2006.

THE PROCESS UNDERTAKEN BY THE COMMITTEE

4. The Health Committee has taken the view that it received the Treatment of Drug Users (Scotland) Bill too late to allow it to undertake proper scrutiny.

5. The Committee has therefore taken the following approach to its consideration of the Bill:

  • asked the Convener to write to the Procedures Committee outlining the Committee’s dissatisfaction with the existing deadline for the introduction of members Bills;
  • opted to consider some of the issues raised by the Bill through an oral evidence session;
  • achieved this through a one-off ‘roundtable’ hearing on 23 January;
  • reported to the Parliament thereafter.

6. The Health Committee has therefore come to no view on the Bill.