Lib Dems call for an overhaul to the 'broken' Fatal Accident Inquiry system

Responding to a study into deaths in custody in Scotland over the past 15 years, the Scottish Liberal Democrats have again called for an overhaul to the "broken" Fatal Accident Inquiry system. 

The study by the University of Glasgow into FAIs of 196 deaths in custody from 2005 to 2019 has raised "serious questions about the role played by the Crown in providing adequate scrutiny of these deaths".

According to the study, the average number of deaths in Scottish prisons per year between 2016 to 2019 has increased to 32 deaths, and "suicides are normalised, and seen as regrettable but inevitable”.

It also reveals a number of significant failures to Fatal Accident Inquiries with 40% of cases taking more than three years to complete and on 94% of instances no recommendations were made on how to improve practice. The report states that "not a single FAI in the case of a woman dying in prison made a finding identifying any precautions, defects or recommendations."

Liam McArthur, Scottish Liberal Democrat Justice spokesperson, said:

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Rennie: SNP has lost its way on education

Responding to today's (October 5th) publication of the education recovery report, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Willie Rennie MSP said:

“This is the same old, same old plans reheated by an SNP government that has lost its way on education. The poverty related attainment gap is as wide as ever and the SNP have run out of ideas on how to close it.  The pandemic hit young people hard so you would expect the government to step up the support rather than just repackaging the same policies in a shiny new document.

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Lib Dems call for 'reinvigorated' cervical screening awareness campaign

Scottish Liberal Democrats have today called for a “reinvigorated” cervical screening awareness campaign after new statistics confirmed that “uptake has declined in recent years”.

The number of tests processed in 2020/21 was half the normal rate, “at least in part due to the pausing of the screening programme in response to the COVID-19 pandemic”.

The figures, published by Public Health Scotland, also follow on from the public health scandal that has seen women wrongfully excluded from the Scottish Cervical Screening Programme, which has so far been linked to the deaths of three women, triggering a review of 200,000 medical records.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton commented:

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A&E waiting times crisis continues

Responding to the publication of weekly A&E waiting times, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP warned that without new guarantees for staff wellbeing, staff will “head for the door”.

Only 76% of those attending A&E were seen within the SNP’s four hour target time. Six weeks ago, this figure was a record low.

Commenting, Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

“The crisis in emergency care continues.

“Even with staff working harder than ever and police officers and the army pitching in, more than 6,000 people a week are waiting more than four hours to be seen. Over a thousand are waiting more than eight.

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Rennie: Scottish Government must 'stop sidelining' disadvantaged families

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Willie Rennie MSP has today told the Scottish Government to “stop sidelining” disadvantaged families, as new information shows the number of 2-year-olds receiving funded childcare decreased in the last six months.

An Improvement Service update published today shows that the number of 2-year-olds reported to be receiving funded ELC in August 2021 was 5,954 children. This is a decrease from the 6,204 reported to be receiving funded childcare in April 2021.

The Scottish Government estimates that around 14,500 2-year-olds are eligible for this entitlement.

Commenting, Willie Rennie said:

“The SNP’s childcare offer was supposed to be revolutionary for children and families, but somehow the number of two year olds in funded childcare is actually going down.

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McArthur on reviews into deaths of children and young people

Responding to the news that new reviews will be conducted into deaths of children and young people in Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP commented:

“While new opportunities to learn lessons and improve practice could prove beneficial, the Scottish Government must itself learn some lessons before building families’ hopes up.

“The Scottish Government have a terrible track record on inquiries into deaths. The Fatal Accident Inquiry system is completely dysfunctional and marred by decade long delays.

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'Clear failures' as reconviction rates increase

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has today called out “clear failures” in rehabilitation policy, as statistics published today by the Scottish Government show the reconviction rate has increased to 3 in 10. 

This increase is evidenced across all male age groups, almost all female age groups, and for nearly all categories of crime.  The increase to reconviction rates follows several years of decreases. 

Those released from custodial sentence in 2018-19 had one of the highest reconviction rates and average number of reconvictions.

Commenting, Liam McArthur said:

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Lib Dems bid to fix the lack of Highlands and Islands voice on just transition

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today set out proposals to establish a new Highlands and Islands Just Transition Commission, to take account of their specific needs and unique opportunities.

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Scotland restarts Mental Health First Aid training, 20 months after England

Scottish Liberal Democrat mental health spokesperson and practitioner Jane Alliston has today criticised the Scottish Government after it was revealed that Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Programmes suspended when the pandemic hit, will finally restart in October, 20 months after similar programmes in England shifted to an online model.

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Public inquiry must provide answers on care home discharges

Speaking after it was revealed that early in the pandemic more than half of older hospital patients discharged to nearly 200 care homes had not been tested for Covid, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

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