Monday 31 May 2010

Temporary Traffic Order - South Tay Street

Dundee City Council proposes to make an Order under Section 14 (1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 for the purpose of facilitating construction works. The Order is expected to be in force for ten days from 21st June 2010. Its maximum duration in terms of the Act is eighteen months.

The effect of the Order is to prohibit temporarily all vehicular traffic in South Tay Street from Nethergate to Tay Square (at No 18 South Tay Street).

Access to premises will be maintained where possible.

An alternative route will be available for Northbound traffic via Nethergate, West Marketgait, Hawkhill, Hunter Street and Old Hawkhill, and for Southbound traffic via Old Hawkhill, Hunter Street, Hawkhill, West Marketgait (southbound), Riverside Roundabout, West Marketgait (northbound) and Nethergate.

Please forward any comments you may have regarding this proposal to the Network Management Team, City Development Department, Tayside House, Crichton Street, Dundee, no later than five working days prior to the commencement date. If you have any queries please contact the City Council on 433168.

Tavish yesterday ...

Excellent article by Tavish Scott MSP in yesterday's Scotland on Sunday - see

Bunty slumbers

Here's our wee dog Bunty taking a nap ... looks a bit like rigor mortis!

Press update ...

* This morning's Courier and Press and Journal covered my concerns over the future of Ward 6 at Royal Victoria Hospital - see

* This evening's Evening Telegraph notes my welcome for nearly £60 000 of funding for a new community and arts centre at Dundee Rail Station, but
I also point out the need for substantial investment to improve the station, particularly as it is adjacent to the site of the proposed V&A in Dundee.

* Tomorrow's press will report on Dundee Councillors' Salaries and Expenses for 2009/10. Dundee's two Liberal Democrat councillors - Helen Dick and myself - have the lowest salary/expenses of all councillors across the city in 2009/10. Along with two of the three Conservative councillors, we did not accept the last pay increase, given the financial challenges facing the City Council. Neither Helen or I have claimed any expenses, throughout our time on Dundee City Council.

Ali El-Awaisi

My thoughts tonight are with the family of Ali El-Awaisi, the 21 year old from Dundee, caught up in the massacre of the flotilla taking much-needed aid to the people of Gaza. Ali's family have been, as yet, unable to make contact with him following the disgraceful and unlawful actions of Israeli commandos.

I know Ali's father - Professor Abd al-Fattah El-Awaisi - well, from his period as Principal of the Al-Maktoum Institute in Dundee. Ali was part of a humanitarian relief effort and I hope and pray that he is safe and well.

Sunday 30 May 2010

Talks with NHS Tayside over the future of Ward 6, Royal Victoria Hospital

Last week, I wrote to NHS Tayside again to highlight my concerns - and those of many constituents - over the future of elderly persons' services at Ward 6, Royal Victoria Hospital.

I am pleased to say that NHS Tayside has given me an invitation to meet with Gerry Marr, Chief Operating Officer, NHS Tayside, on Tuesday to discuss the issues and the concerns I have raised.

It is clear from medical professionals’ concerns that the proposals in relation to Ward 6 have thrown up very real issues and I therefore welcome the opportunity to meet with NHS Tayside.

It is particularly important that NHS Tayside hears Dundee constituents’ concerns give that Shona Robison, Public Health Minister, has unfortunately washed her hands of the issue.

I felt it was important that the Public Health Minister took action rather than simply listening to the views of NHS Tayside and apparently not hearing the views of patients and senior clinicians. I have been inundated with concerns from constituents about this matter and its all the more disappointing that Shona Robison has chosen not to listen to the concerns.

I do, however, hope for constructive talks on Tuesday with NHS Tayside, when I can highlight the issues raised by many constituents across the West End.

Eurovision 2010 winner - Germany

Pleased to see that (for once!) one of my hot tips for Eurovision success proved to be the winner!

Graffiti Action Day – 2

Sunday morning's graffiti clean up was slightly curtailed by heavy rain, but we still managed to get a load of graffiti cleaned up at the industrial units off Hawkhill!

Saturday 29 May 2010

Willie Rennie's Party in Dunfermline

I spent a fair bit of time at the General Election working with Willie Rennie in Dunfermline and West Fife - and despite being a superb MP, Willie narrowly lost on 6th May.

Willie held a 'thank you' party in Dunfermline today, and despite my hair being caked with brown paint from this morning's graffiti action day, it was great to be there - a huge turnout of Willie's supporters and many friends.

Willie is now an adviser to Danny Alexander, the new Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland, and I wish him well in his new role.

Here's Chris, me, Willie and Craig in Dunfermline today!

Graffiti Action Day - 1

This morning, along with West End residents, city council representatives, fellow councillors, a local community police officer and with assistance through the Community Justice Authority, we undertook the first of two days of graffiti clean ups - starting at the former Homebase site on Riverside Drive and getting rid of the mess along Roseangle, including the Tay Rope Works site.

Superb start, and it was great to see the community spirit of many residents who came along and helped today. More tomorrow - the north of the West End Ward - but here's a few photos from today :
Above : some of the team

Above : Homebase before
Above : And after ...

Digital Switchover latest!

Yesterday at Tayside House, I had a useful meeting with John MacNeil, Assistant National Manager, STV North with Digital UK and Luke McCullough, National Manager for Scotland for the BBC Switchover Help Scheme, to get an update on how the switchover to digital TV is going - with just a couple of months to switchover in Dundee.

And the answer is that it is going well. Most people are well aware of the digital switchover and are prepared for it. Further information can be found at :

Digital UK :

BBC Help Scheme :

Digital Outreach :

Last year, along with Alan Cowie of Digital UK,
I held digital switchover surgeries at sheltered housing lounges across the West End - these were extremely well attended and I am holding two further surgeries at Sinderins Court and the Lime Street sheltered lounge next month - this time with Colin Scott from the Help Scheme - details to follow!

Here's me with John & Luke at Tayside House yesterday.

Friday 28 May 2010

My Eurovision 2010 hot tips ...

My hot tips for 2010 :

Azerbaijan :

Germany :

But best of all - Israel :

Cleaning up graffiti in the West End

As reported tonight in the Evening Telegraph, this morning I attended the graffiti clean-up by Scottish and Southern Energy of Electricity Sub Stations across the West End - the photo (below) is of me with some of the Scottish and Southern team at Milnbank Road.

Tomorrow morning, the West End graffiti weekend graffiti clean-up by residents, councillors, community groups, and supported by the City Council, begins in earnest at the former Homebase site in Riverside Drive.

Liberal Democrats riding high ...

Following the announcement of the coalition agreement, there has been much spin in sections of the media implying that a drop in Liberal Democrat support is supposedly inevitable.

The result of the delayed Thirsk and Malton election- announced today - saw the Tories increase their vote by 0.2 per cent, a rise of five per cent for the LibDems and a decrease of 11.6 per cent for the Labour Party, thus showing what total cobblers some political commentators talk. Liberal Democrat support is doing well, and, judging by the Dundee LibDem membership increase in the past couple of weeks, the future for the party is bright.

Thursday 27 May 2010

Eurovision 2010!

Eurovision final on Saturday!

Tomorrow, I'll give you my top tips for the winning song ... but meantime, here's my two favourite winners of all time - both from the 1970s.

Sinderins - pedestrian safety - an update

Last month, I reported on the site visit I organised with City Council, community council and parent council representatives about pedestrian safety at the Sinderins junction.

I have now had the following positive feedback from the City Council :

“Regarding your concerns relating to the operation of the traffic signal junction at Perth Road / Hawkhill / Blackness Avenue, I will arrange for the green man indicator to be illuminated for a longer period and also the audible signal for the visually impaired to sound for this duration.”

A follow-up site visit is now arranged for early next month.

Busy day ...

After attending the West End Schools Project Board this morning, I passed the rather amazing sight of the 'post-it-padded' motorbike in Roseangle - see below - and it is now the star of tonight's Evening Telegraph!

A busy surgery tonight at Blackness Primary School - but no surgeries next Monday because it is a school and public holiday.

Wednesday 26 May 2010

Magdalen Green grass restoration - an update

On 16th May, I advised that the grass restoration works on part of Magdalen Green (following drainage works by Scottish Water) were about to start, but this has not, as yet, taken place.

I today received the following update from the City Council - hopefully the restoration works will be underway next Monday :

"We are working our way towards Magdalen Green, but have encountered a slight change of plan on the pitch re-instatement, and therefore running a bit behind.

So all things equal we should be able to start & finish as from next Monday."

The Queen's Speech

Dear Fraser,

Yesterday's Queen's Speech was unlike any we have seen for years. It was not simply another list of bills from a government determined to rule from the centre. It was not simply a speech from another one-party Government able to push through measures without the support of a majority of the country.

Instead, the speech marked the beginning of a radical move to rebalance the relationship between people and their government, making life better for everyone.

It was the first time the Queen has ever delivered a speech listing the Bills to be introduced by a coalition government.

It is a testament to the hard work of Liberal Democrat campaigners and supporters across the country that crucial policies we fought the election on will now be enacted in Government. It is these policies that, although times are tough and savings will have to be made, will ensure that our country is made a fairer place.

I am looking forward to overseeing a radical programme of political reform that will result in an House of Lords elected on a proportional basis, the right to sack corrupt MPs and a referendum to finally change our outdated voting system.

A Great Repeal Bill will roll back Labour’s surveillance state, scrapping ID cards, the children’s database and restoring civil liberties.

In areas like education, health and policing people are going to get much greater powers over the services in their area. And we are going to hand more powers to communities and councils.

This will have a real impact for people, not just giving them control, but also making Britain a better place to live with good schools, a stronger economy, support for businesses and real action on the environment.

For too long the Queen's Speech has been used by the government to explain how it is going to hoard more power in Whitehall. We have now explained how we will start giving that power back.

Best wishes,

Nick Clegg
Leader of the Liberal Democrats

Tuesday 25 May 2010

The Juniper Singers

A trio of tuneful and distinctive singers from Peebles - “an eclectic mix that ranges from 16th century madrigals through traditional folk songs to 1970s chart hits”

Saturday 29th May 2010, 10.30am for 11.00am at the Wighton Centre - Upstairs in Dundee Central Library.

Admission £5, includes coffee and newspapers served from 10.30 am

Tickets available on the door.

Friends of Magdalen Green committee meeting

We had an excellent meeting of the Friends of Magdalen Green committee this evening at which, following our concerns about recent damage to the green caused by disposable barbeques, a senior representative of the City Council's Leisure & Communities Department attended and we discussed alternative BBQ provision that would ensure no damage to the green.

The agreed solution? Picnic tables with BBQ bricks - see below - as at Tentsmuir across the Tay.

Information about our public meeting in June to follow ...

The Korgis - Everybody's got to learn sometime

Just in from a Friends of Magdalen Green committee meeting and a cover of this superb 1980 hit from the Korgies was on the telly - on Luther on BBC1/BBC HD. The Korgies' version is rather better than that on TV tonight as this video shows :

Monday 24 May 2010

City Council tonight ...

After two busy surgeries at the Mitchell Street Centre and Harris Academy, I attended Dundee City Council committtees tonight where :

* I asked a question about monitoring the
changes to the October schools holidays to ensure that the City Council is able to monitor any changes - to ensure that it actually benefits pupils and parents.

* In commenting on the revised scheme for the operation of community councils, I pointed out the superb work of community councils in Dundee but asked how the City Council can encourage the establishment of new community councils in the city.

* I
welcomed progress on a Demand Responsive Transport pilot in the city. TACTRAN, the regional transport partnership, had previously updated me as follows -

"The proposals are for two different services to operate from the Mid-Craigie/Linlathen area. The Citybuzz that will start from alternately Morrisons supermarket on Forfar Road and the Criagie Asda, picking up door-to-door in the Mid-Craigie/Linlathen area, then operating along the Forfar Road/Albert Street corridor allowing for diversions to serve doctors surgeries, etc and terminating in the City Centre. It will be open to the public and fares will be charged. National Entitlement Card holders will be able to travel free of charge as with any other public service.
The Flexibuzz will be limited to elderly people and people with restricted mobility resident in Mid-Craigie/Linlathen and will provide door-to-door travel. The fare level for the duration of the pilot will be £3.00 single / £5.00 return to any destination within the City Council area outwith the area served by the Citybuzz. Both services will operate between 09.00 and 17.30 on Mondays to Fridays. It is intended that both services will be operated by Dundee Community Transport.

It is anticipated that the services will start before the end of the calendar year and then continue for a minimum period of 12 months. Evaluation of them will be undertaken within the initial 12 month period."

Civic recognition for Joe and Rory

Back in April, the Evening Telegraph reported the brave actions of two West End residents - students Rory Brogan and Joseph Rennucci - who confronted a knife-wielding mugger, in Seafield Lane.

Following the suggestion of residents that the city recognise the selfless behaviour of Joe and Rory, I asked our Lord Provost John Letford if he would be willing to hold a civic event to mark the city's appreciation for the actions of Rory and Joe.

The LP was very supportive and we met Joe and Rory at the Chambers today, where they were each presented with a civic gift.

Both Rory and Joe have come to Dundee to study - Rory from County Donegal and Joe from Glasgow - and, in the words of Sheriff Alistair Duff - their courage and determination helped police take a dangerous offender off the streets.

We wish them both all the best for the future. The LP and I are pictured with Joe and Rory below :

Proposed Riverside Nature Park - progress

Back in February, I last reported progress with the planned improvements that will hopefully allow the proposed Riverside Nature Park to be available for public access in the future. The City Development Department of Dundee City Council has now given me a further update as follows :

"The Riverside Nature Park proposal has advanced significantly in recent months and we are now in the process of finalising the necessary approvals to enable work to start on site during the summer. A programme for the works is currently being developed and it is hoped to let the contract shortly.

There is a significant amount of earthworks required on the site before planting can be undertaken. Planting specifications are currently being agreed. In addition, a draft management and maintenance plan for the Nature Park is being prepared.

Consultation will continue with key stakeholders and I understand that the West End Community Council has requested another visit from the Project Team. This will be arranged shortly.

A report on the Nature Park proposal is being prepared and will be submitted to the appropriate Committee of the Council in the near future."

Royal Victoria Hospital - update on concerns about older people services

Following the numerous further concerns about the review of older people services at NHS Tayside, the threatened closure of Ward 6 at Royal Victoria Hospital and the failure of the Public Health Minister to intervene, I have now written to Professor Tony Wells, Chief Executive of NHS Tayside, in the following terms:

"Further to your letter of 11th May to me, I have continued to receive numerous concerns from constituents about the proposals relative to Ward 6 at Royal Victoria Hospital and these concerns have clearly been recognised by the senior clinicians who I understand have written to you to also voice their concerns.

I would be grateful if you would now consider reconsideration of the proposals that will give reassurance to my constituents who are most concerned about the effect on the quality of care for elderly people. "

Sunday 23 May 2010

Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Group - new website!

Last weekend, I spent a bit of time putting together the website for the Tay Rail Bridge Disaster Memorial Group and you can see this at

With thanks to the Evening Telegraph for its article about this on Friday, we intend to update the site with news about the memorial group, its public appeal launch (due in September) and the history surrounding the disaster.

Concerns about dogs left in cars in hot weather

Over the past couple of days, I have received concerns from constituents in the West End about dogs left in vehicles during the hot weather. People should not leave their dogs in a parked car in such weather conditions.

I firstly received a concern from one of my constituents that a dog was left for at least over an hour in Dobbie’s car park at Ethiebeaton Park Monifieth on Friday. The SSPCA was contacted by the worried constituent and although the dog owner eventually turned up, the dog had been left panting and distressed for a considerable period. I don’t doubt that the owner did this in all innocence but he should realise that dogs should not be left in a parked car in hot weather.

My council colleague Cllr Helen Dick from Strathmartine Ward received a similar concern yesterday and I had a further complaint from a West End resident about a similar issue yesterday too. Obviously the vast majority of owners act very responsibly and do not leave their dog in the car in the heat but I am awfully concerned by the incidents reported to myself and Cllr Dick over the past few days.

Fencing danger near rail line - an update

I am pleased to advise that a temporary repair to the fencing at the rail line I highlighted yesterday was completed very promptly this morning.

This is most welcome in terms of public safety.

Saturday 22 May 2010

Rail boundary danger reported

This morning, following concerns from residents, I reported to Network Rail the damage to the fencing at the rail line on Magdalen Green near to the footbridge over the railway at the green's west end. It is a great concern that children, adults and dogs would have no difficulty getting onto the rail line and I have asked Network Rail for urgent repairs.

Bunty's negotiating skills

The little white & black dog is our Bunty, and the larger dog is Millie, her older cousin. As you can see, Bunty is an expert in negotiation!

Retro Dundee

I have previously mentioned the excellent Retro Dundee blog - and it has recently covered past times around the Hawkhill, including an interesting item about the former Corner Bar - now the Hawkhill Tavern - on the corner of Hawkhill and Peddie Street.

It includes a great video clip of the area from the 1960s.

See The photo below is from the 1980s :

Friday 21 May 2010

On BBC4 tonight

Awfully good ...

Peddie Street - dropped kerbs needed

Residents with mobility difficulties and, in particular, those who use motorised scooters, have welcomed the improved dropped kerbing recently provided for Perth Road, but I recently received this from one of the local sheltered housing wardens :

“Tenant who uses a motorised scooter has reported difficulty going from Peddie Street to Alan Clark’s Bakery. She says that due to the lack of dropped kerbs she has to go on the road in places to get along to the bakers.”

I have therefore asked the City Council if it can consider improvements for Peddie Street.

Thursday 20 May 2010

Thursday update

In both tonight's Evening Telegraph and on STV News at 6pm, I made clear my concerns at the failure of Public Health Minister Shona Robison MSP to intervene regarding the future of Ward 6 at Royal Victoria Hospital. It is important that Shona Robison now promptly intervenes given the extent of concerns about NHS Tayside's proposals.

Tonight, after a busy surgery at Blackness Primary School, I attended the West End Local Community Planning Partnership meeting that was kindly hosted (at short notice) by Tayside Police at the Lochee Police Station. There was a very useful update from Social Work on protecting vulnerable adults and children and on social work caseloads in the West End post code areas.

Lastly for today - following a letter in
Monday's Tele about an apparent mis-spelling in the quote from William McGonagall’s poem about the Tay Bridge rail disaster that is carved along the footway in Riverside Drive, the City Council advises me :

"In response to the letter about the word 'beatiful' in McGonagall's poem at Riverside, we would like to point out that the quote uses the poet's own unique spelling.

In the spirit of historical accuracy, and in a nod to his idiosyncrasies, it was decided his version of the word would be retained."

Wednesday 19 May 2010

Future of Ward 6 at Royal Victoria Hospital

As reported in today's Courier and in my interview today on Radio Tay, I have called on the Minister for Public Health and Sport, Shona Robison MSP, to intervene to protect services for elderly patients at Ward 6 in Dundee’s Royal Victoria Hospital.

Following senior doctors protesting at the possible closure of Ward 6, it is vital that the Minister intervenes to protect these important services for elderly patients in Dundee.

Following a flurry of concerns about the situation from constituents, earlier this month, I wrote to Professor Tony Wells, Chief Executive of NHS Tayside to voice concerns. His response is pasted below.

During the recent general election, Ms Robison’s colleagues in the SNP had made much of a “community charter” they had launched that First Minister Alex Salmond said was a ‘contract with the community’. This document committed SNP parliamentarians to campaign against cuts to our local services and in this case actions speak louder than words and I hope Shona Robison will stand up for Ward 6 at Royal Victoria Hospital.

It is clear from the medical professionals’ concerns that the proposals in relation to Ward 6 that there are very real issues here and it is important that the Public Health Minister takes action here. I have been inundated with concerns from constituents about this matter and I hope NHS Tayside listens carefully to concerns raised by senior doctors and by the wider community.


Dear Councillor Macpherson


Thank you for your email received yesterday (10 May 2010).

Due to the physical environment of Ward 6, the proposed changes mean that there will be a planned, phased closure of this ward over the next five months. However, over the same period, we will be increasing the number of acute medicine for the elderly beds at Ninewells.

NHS Tayside is embarking on an ambitious programme of modernisation of older people services across Tayside as part of our Older People’s Strategy. These plans look at how we can ensure that older people are assessed more quickly and are cared for with all the support they need in the most appropriate environment for their individual needs.

This includes looking at reducing unnecessary admissions and also reducing prolonged lengths of stay for older people in a hospital bed.

Part of the modernisation programme includes a review of the services provided at both Royal Victoria Hospital and Ninewells to ensure that older people requiring admission to hospital are placed in the correct setting and that we have a range of services to support alternatives to admission where this is appropriate.

We believe these improvements will enhance the pathway of care for older people in Tayside and improve care within Medicine for the Elderly services.

Yours sincerely

Professor Tony Wells

Tuesday 18 May 2010

Glorious afternoon on Magdalen Green ...

Dundee City Council Best Value 2 pathfinder audit report

Today, along with other city councillors, I attended a briefing and discussion with Audit Scotland on the City Council's Best Value 2 audit report, a report that has many positives but equally highlights many areas for improvement.

I raised questions about councils learning from good practice elsewhere and also on asset and workforce planning.

On Friday, along with other council group leaders, I will attend a meeting with the Accounts Commission about the BV2 report.

Monday 17 May 2010

Tonight's City Council Development Quality Committee

At tonight's Development Quality Committee, I moved refusal of a recommendation to agree to variation of the period for the erection of a wall to be erected at the west end of Hillside Terrace on the following grounds :

"The permanent closure of the west end of Hillside Terrace, in accordance with a confirmed Stopping Up Order, formed a key element in the approval of the development of the site for dwelling houses. The proposed variation would result in an extended delay in the provision of a wall in this location to the detriment of the environmental qualities of the local residents."

Despite this being the view of six objectors in Hillside Terrace, I unfortunately lost the vote 14-9. Somewhat unfortunate, given that it pre-empts a public inquiry.

The nation's finances

Dear Fraser

My Labour predecessor, Liam Byrne, left me a note saying 'Dear Chief Secretary, There's no money left.' He may claim this is joke, but sadly it is all too true.

Labour have left the nation's finances in an utterly ruinous state and we face a colossal task ahead of us. That is why today the Chancellor and I announced the creation of the Office of Budget Responsibility as well as the date for the emergency budget in six weeks time on 22nd June.

It is also why over the next week I will be working to identify £6bn of wasteful government spending that we can save in order to start to pay down the disastrous deficit left to us by Labour.

In addition to this, every new spending commitment and pilot project signed off by Labour ministers since the turn of the year will be individually reviewed in a bid to find additional savings. This is simply due diligence by the new coalition government in relation to some of the irresponsible decisions we have inherited.

I would like to give you my personal guarantee that whilst the decisions ahead will be tough I will always put social justice as their heart. I have, and I will continue to reject any proposals which would damage key services or put at risk those on lower incomes.

This is not merely a coalition of competent accountants. The challenge we face is how to address the deficit while protecting the quality of key services, making this a fairer country and ensuring that those on the lowest incomes are protected as far as possible from the actions that are necessary.

This will not be easy. But there is more chance of it being achieved with Lib Dem presence in HM Treasury than without it.

Best wishes,

David Laws MP
Chief Secretary to the Treasury

Former Lawrie's Nursery site

Following complaints from residents about the overgrown state of the site on Perth Road, I contacted the City Council's Planning Enforcement Officer, who now updates me as follows :

"I've visited the site and have drafted a letter to the last known owners of the site requiring them to do the following :

* remove the vandalised 'For Sale' signs and their frames

* cut back the weeds and ivy at the entrance to the site and

* remove all cuttings from said site"

A couple of photographs from the site :

Sunday 16 May 2010

Sheila's bench

A year ago, our friend and West End stalwart, Sheila Roy, passed away.

This afternoon, around 25 of us met on Magdalen Green to welcome the bench that has been provided by Friends of Magdalen Green and Sheila's many friends.

The bench reminds us of the huge contribution Sheila made to the life of the West End. She will live on in our hearts.

Magdalen Green - grass restoration work to start

I am pleased at a commitment from Scottish Water and Dundee City Council that a large damaged section of grass on Magdalen Green will be restored, with the work starting this coming week.

A significant area of the Green, towards its western end, was subject to drainage works by Scottish Water to improve the drains serving the Richmond Terrace area - some months ago.

Scottish Water has advised me, “Our contractor has been able to confirm that they have received a quotation from Dundee City Council for the reinstatement works at Magdalen Green. This has now been authorised and we were advised the council plan to start the works on Monday.”

Saturday 15 May 2010

Family Planning Services : NHS Tayside responds

I recently received this concern from a West End resident :

"A concern I have is that the family planning clinic at Ryehill Health Centre has now moved to ninewells. It was very convinient for local residents to have a clinic nearby. It was also needed as now the only family planning clinic for Dundee is at Ninewells."

I therefore wrote to NHS Tayside about this and have received the following reply from Sandy Watson, NHS Tayside Chair :

"Dear Cllr Macpherson

I refer to your email addressed to both myself and Tony Wells regarding the concerns of one of your constituents around the changes to Family Planning Services in Dundee.

Sexual and Reproductive Health Services (SRHS) is a unified service hosted within Dundee Community Health Partnership (CHP). Until recently there were two sites in Dundee, Ryehill Health Centre which focused mainly on reproductive health and contraceptive advice (family planning) and the Ninewells clinic which focused on specialist sexual health screening (genitourinary medicine). The new integrated model based in Ninewells Hospital combines both family planning and genitourinary medicine.

The move to integrate the two parts of the service is in line with both local NHS Tayside and national Scottish Government policy and is planned for all Health Boards in Scotland. During 2005 NHS Tayside and the community planning partners developed the Tayside Sexual Health and Relationships Strategy, which was endorsed by the Board of NHS Tayside in November 2005. One of the strategic aims contained in the action plan was “to build capacity across the clinical services and increase access to specialist sexual health services.”

The first phase of this integrated service model has brought together genitourinary medicine and family planning onto one site at Ninewells to provide “a one stop shop” for patients and to make best use of resources. The ability to have these services on one site has undoubtedly improved the patient journey. The clinical team are able to provide enhanced services, work out of hours and expand the range of services available to patients at their clinic visit.

The service is currently based in an out-patient clinical area on Level 7 at Ninewells Hospital. The Ninewells site was chosen as the base for Dundee as an interim measure as this site has the clinical accommodation and support services required (eg laboratory services) to offer patients all aspects of a specialist sexual and reproductive health service.

The ultimate aim is to move the unified SRHS to a more central community based site, and to offer a specialist service with strong links into Dundee’s localities utilising a hub and spoke model. This model is supported by the staff in SRHS and our colleagues in primary and secondary care, the voluntary sector and local authority.

This new service offers a full range of care and specialist interventions which include Contraception, Psychosexual Counselling, Menopause Clinics, Nurse Led Counselling Services, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) screening, Health Advisory Services, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Clinics and Specialist Genital Skin Clinics. A specialised young people’s service is offered in conjunction with colleagues from child protection and there are plans to develop generic young people’s services.

As a service we are trying to target the vulnerable and hard to reach groups and tackle some of Tayside’s unenviable sexual health statistics. The Ninewells site has already attracted more young people and is accessible through many of the main bus routes throughout the city.

I hope this has given an insight into some of the decisions taken to improve the patient journey and the resultant changes to service delivery in Dundee and how as a specialist service we plan to move forward.

Yours sincerely

Sandy Watson
Chair, NHS Tayside"

I would welcome residents' comments/feedback on this matter - either e-mail me at or call Dundee 459378 - many thanks.

Active Nation Scottish Cup winners!

Well done, Dundee United!

WestFest Ceilidh and Supper

WestFest Ceilidh and Supper

Friday 21st May, 7pm - midnight

West Park Centre

Perth Road (opposite Harris Academy)

Tickets £12.50; (£8.50 under 12s)

Dancing to John Stuart Scottish Dance Band

Friday 14 May 2010

Pennycook Lane Car Park - good news

Following requests from residents, I recently asked for proper bay markings in the Pennycook Lane car park, to make better use of the car park.

I received the following positive response from the City Council - see also the photo below - very prompt action :

"I do agree with your suggestion and would confirm that work has already commenced marking the corners to improve bay designation. For cost reasons, we are not providing full length bay white lining since we believe marking the corners only suffices."

In government - and getting things done ...

If you every doubted that LibDems would make a difference in government - straight away - see this from the 10:10 - the campaign to reduce our emissions - a campaign I strongly support :

And as 10:10 say :

"It’s been an amazing few days: on Wednesday, we were thrilled when the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition announced a commitment to reduce the entire carbon footprint of central government by 10% in a year. The pledge confirmed that both parties’ earlier manifesto pledges to do 10:10 had made it through the thorny negotiation process.

Then, yesterday evening, just as we were hosting one of our fortnightly 10:10 seminars, the phone rang. It was 10 Downing Street, inviting us down to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) this morning to meet prime minister David Cameron, along with the new secretary for energy and climate change, Chris Huhne.

The government’s 10% announcement – equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road – is a monumental victory for 10:10 and testament to how far the campaign has come in the eight short months since its launch.
Best of all, when we interviewed him, Chris Huhne agreed to come to 10:10 HQ to give a seminar and discuss our plans – which include everything from a fridge scrappage scheme to turning off the lights overnight in some of the country's biggest landmark buildings, as well as the biggest ever day of climate change action on 10/10/10."

Christmas and Community

Yesterday, we held the first meeting of the West End Christmas Week Committee for 2010. Very early in the year, you might think! However, it is the 10th anniversary and as we want to ensure a superb event to celebrate this milestone - hence the early planning meeting.

We are aiming to hold this week's Christmas Week from 20th to 27th November - the launch on the 20th being a community fayre involving local community groups across the West End, with the Christmas lights switch on and children's Christmas concert taking place on Wednesday 24th November - including a superb fireworks display and a carnival, hopefully on a site site at the Duncan of Jordanstone site (we are grateful for the support of the University of Dundee in relation to this). Celebrities, competitions, concerts - a great 10th Christmas anniversary in the West End - don't miss it! For the first time, there will also be a lights switch-on event in West Port, to publicise the superb shops in West Port and South Tay Street, too.

Last night, as reported in today's Courier, I chaired a great public meeting at Dundee West Church aimed at setting up a sports and community facility at Riverside, for the benefit of the West End community, together with a project to
repaint and repair the Magdalen Green bandstand, last restored 20 years ago. The photo (below) was taken at the meeting.

If you are interested in hearing more about the project, please e-mail me at - many thanks!

Thursday 13 May 2010

Network Rail feedback

Following my raising concerns about the state of fencing at the rail line on Riverside Drive in the area south of the Botanic Garden, and the extent of graffiti in the area, I have had the following feedback from Network Rail :

"I write with reference to your enquiry, regarding fencing situated at Riverside Drive, Dundee, and I can confirm that our Maintenance Department have carried out the necessary repairs to ensure that the fence is now safe and fit for purpose.

With regards to your request that the graffiti situated near to the location mentioned above is removed. I would advise that Graffiti is a major problem within the rail industry. Its removal is expensive and time consuming. We fully appreciate the concern and distress that the irresponsible and anti-social behaviour of graffiti artists can cause.

Given the demands on our time and resources in delivering a safe, efficient and reliable railway, Network Rail is compelled to prioritise all work it is required to carry out. With graffiti, we give priority to the removal of anything that is racist or obscene. We remove other graffiti within our ongoing maintenance and repair schedules.

We have passed details of this graffiti to the relevant manager who will take appropriate action. We can not give you a firm date when the graffiti will be removed - please bear with us."

Harris Academy - discussion with the City Council's Chief Executive

As reported in yesterday's Courier, earlier this week I spoke with the City Council's Chief Executive to express my concern about possible delays to the start of the Harris Academy refurbishment, caused by Scottish Government insistence that procurement goes through the, as yet not fully established, East Central Territory "Hub."

I was given an assurance that a report will come to the Education Committee before the council recess at the end of June to give an update on the proposed project, its timescales and feedback on the revised feasibility study currently underway.

It is vitally important that the project proceeds as soon as possible.

Wednesday 12 May 2010

Busy Wednesday

As well as packed 'day job' activities today, I :

* Attended a briefing from National Express Dundee on their changes to bus services in the city from 27th June. There is (after my - and West End Community Council's input) an improvement to the 9X service (rebranded as the Service 5A) - with a half-hourly service. There is also a new 6 service, on a half-hourly basis between 9am and 3pm, covering Perth Road and Blackness Road - from the City Centre to Ninewells Hospital.

* Thereafter, I attended a walkabout around Pentland with City Council officers and the Community Spirit Action Group to look at issues in the area. A useful walkabout that highlighted concerns in the area.

* And tonight I took the minutes at the latest Tay Bridge Disaster Memorial Group meeting. Very good progress - an excellent meeting.