Falklands : LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY MEETING THURSDAY, 27 OCTOBER 2011
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 31.10.2011 (Article Archived on 14.11.2011)
A meeting of Legislative Assembly took place at 0930hrs on Thursday, 27 October 2011 in the Court and Assembly Chamber of the Town Hall.
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY MEETING THURSDAY, 27 OCTOBER 2011
Commentary by J. Brock (FINN)
A meeting of Legislative Assembly took place at 0930hrs on Thursday, 27 October 2011 in the Court and Assembly Chamber of the Town Hall. Present were the Hon Mr Dick Sawle, the Hon Mrs Sharon Halford, the Hon Mr Mike Summers, the Hon Mrs Jan Cheek, the Hon Mr Gavin Short and the Hon Mr Roger Edwards. Also present were the Attorney General, Mr Mark Lewis, the Financial Secretary, Mr Keith Padgett, the Clerk of Council Mrs Claudette Anderson Prior, and Chief of Staff at Mount Pleasant Complex, Group Captain Jim Kline and the Speaker the Hon Mr Keith Biles. Prayers were said by the Rev Richard Hines of Christ Church Cathedral.
Election to Executive Council took place with the Hon Mr Dick Sawle being elected as Member for Stanley, the Hon Sharon Halford being elected as Member for Camp and the Hon Mrs Jan Cheek being elected for Stanley and Camp.
Minutes of Legislative Assembly meeting held on 26 August 2011 were confirmed and papers laid on the table The Honourable the Chief Executive. They included:
Copies of Subsidiary Legislation published in the Falkland Islands Gazette since the last sitting of the Legislative Assembly and Laid on the Table pursuant to section 34(1) of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance 1977.
Road Traffic (Variation of Fines) (Correction) Order 2011
Census (Postponement) Order 2011
Taxes and Duties (Defence Contractors’ Employees Exemption) (No 3) Order 2011
Coins Order (No 3) 2011
Coins Order (No 4) 2011
Pedestrian Crossings (Revocations) Order 2011
Road Traffic (Mobile Phones etc) Order 2011
In accordance with Section 80 of the Constitution the reports of the Public Accounts Committee on the accounts of: Stanley Services Ltd, Media Trust, Falkland Islands Meat Company, Falklands Conservation Falkland Islands Tourist Board to year end 30 June 2010.
Question Number 11/11 by the Honourable Dick Sawle:
Could the Honourable Sharon Halford please advise the House on the following:-
The number of patients referred to Chile per annum for the last five years;
The number of patients referred to the UK per annum for the last five years;
The cost of MTO treatments in Chile per annum for the last five years;
The cost of MTO treatments in the UK per annum for the last five years;
How many patients are currently waiting in the Falklands for visits from specialists;
What is the average waiting time for patients in the Falklands for treatment that is not available normally in the Falklands?
Has this waiting time been reduced or increased in the last five years and if so, by how much?; and; is there a patient’s charter in the Falklands which details patient’s rights regarding length of time for consultations and treatment, information given to the patient, complaints procedures and patient duties towards the medical service provided?
Answer by the Hon Mrs Sharon Halford:
Mr Speaker, I would like to thank Michael Poole for this reply. The number of patients referred to Chile Per Annum for the last 5 years; in 2006/07 there were 133, in 2007/08 there were 168, in 2008/09 there were 122, in 2009/10 there were 124 and in 2010/11 there are 139. The total number of individual referrals to the UK per annum were 2006/07, 82, 2007/08, 85, 2008/09, 95, 2009/10, 134 and 2010/11, 172.
The cost of MTO treatments in Chile per annum for the last 5 years; in 2006/07, £502,486.00, 2007/08, £1,045,282.00, 2008/09, £617,952.00, 2009/10, £620,450.00 and in 2010/11, £699,080.00
The cost of MTO treatments in the UK per annum for the last five years; 2006/07, £212,775.00, 2007/08, £525,860.00, 2008/09, £305,971.00, 2009/10, £517,340.00 and in 2010/11, £484,438.00
How many patients are currently waiting in the Falklands for visits from specialists? Waiting lists for the specialist who commonly visit the Islands as at the 14th of this month were: Gynaecologist – 22, (And incidentally the next visit is scheduled for November this year) Orthopaedic Surgeon – 30, (the next visit for them is due in January 2012), Ophthalmic Surgeon, 28 (a visit is expected early in 2012) ENT Specialist, 48, (a visit is expected early in the new year) Psychiatrist, 25. That was the number seen on the last visit and they are expected in February 2012, Maxilla Facial Consultant, 67. That was the number seen in the last visit and they are expected to return again in March but this is yet to be confirmed.
Also asked was what is the average waiting time for patients in the Falklands for treatment that is not available normally in the Falklands? This is difficult to say depending on when the referral is made and the date of the next visit. Waiting time for non-urgent referrals can be anything from a small number of days to 12 months. For genuinely urgent medical requirements, the referral overseas would usually be organised as quickly as possible. In addition when a number of urgent cases are required for a specialist, KEMH try their best with current resources and the availability of specialists to bring them in as soon as possible to address our needs. For example, an extra Gynaecologist’s visit was organised in mid-2011 due to extra demand. It’s worth noting that the amount of preparation work for referral to a specialist is increasing and that specialists are being asked to see more patients during their visits so that as many as possible can be seen whilst they are here.
Also asked was has this waiting time been reduced or increased in the last five years and if so, by how much? Again, unfortunately this is difficult to say. On the whole the number of specialists visits have remained relatively stable over the past 5 years, therefore suggesting that waiting times have remained relatively stable.
You also asked is there a patient’s charter in the Falklands which details patient’s rights regarding length of time for consultations and treatment, information given to the patient, complaints procedures and patient duties towards the medical service provided? A draft Charter had been drawn up but it was decided that more measurable terms needed to be included. Work remains in progress on this, which includes Ambulance response times, waiting times for GPs, specialists and other allied healthcare professionals and emergency equipment to name just a few. Information leaflets for both in patients and GP clinics as this has been identified. But this work is still in its infancy. Patient information leaflets for certain conditions and diseases are only available in the waiting area and out patients’ clinic and available to the GPs through the EAMUS computer system. A complaints/complements policy has been compiled along with the leaflet which identifies how individuals can raise concerns about the service. With the advent of a website dedicated to Health and Social Services, it is envisaged that all this information and much more besides will be available to service users in the near future.
DS: Mr Speaker, I would like to very much thank the Honourable Sharon Halford for her extensive response and my apologies for the number of questions that were involved in formulating the question. There is a lot of information there Mr Speaker, which will take time to digest but I probably will refer back to it later on today if I may. But in the meantime I was wondering if the Honourable Sharon Halford with regards to the patients’ charter, I went into the government system the other day and looked in the public folders and I was looking for ‘medical policies’ and noticed I was denied access to that particular folder. I wonder if the Honourable Sharon Halford has any idea about what may have happened to cause those folders to be denied access to members of the government or indeed members of the public.
SH: Mr Speaker, I have no idea. I can only look into that and come back with an answer. And the Attorney General could perhaps..
ML: I don’t have anything to add to that question. Sorry.
KB: In a point of order, to refer back – you can’t ask any further questions once we have cleared this.
DS: Understood Mr Speaker. I will give an opinion next time.
KB: During which stage?
DS: During the motion for adjournment.
GS: Would the Honourable Sharon Halford clarify please whether we are talking about the treatments referred out to Chile. I noticed some of the figures were quite large. Do those figures include – if you like – the walking wounded who go on a normal flight or does that include the cost of casi-vacs to Chile which would include the cost of the aero-med flight over here and not just the treatment costs?
SH: Mr Speaker, I am not sure if it includes the cost of aero-meds or not. It would, however, include the total of patients sent there and what we have to look at with the numbers of people who have been sent to Chile or see that they are larger to those sent to the UK. We do have a policy whereby a lot of people are sent to Chile for a scan prior to going to the UK, so that’s why you would see greater numbers. But as to whether or not that actually includes the cost of the aircraft, I would have to revert back with an answer.
KP: Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, I can’t give a definitive answer to this but looking at the size of the figures involved, I would say that these figures include all those costs.
Question Number 12/11 by the Honourable Gavin Short
Could the Honourable Jan Cheek please advise the House if there are currently any plans to close any of the existing camp schools and if so, which one, when and what is the reasoning behind this decision?
Answer by the Hon Mrs Jan Cheek:
Mr Speaker, Honourable members, decisions to close or open schools are based entirely on the numbers of pupils. It’s been custom and practice to provide a settlement teacher at a location with four or more school aged children from two or more families and where the settlement is able to provide suitable accommodation for that school. It’s also custom and practice that schools are not closed until absolutely necessary. The Education Department tries to anticipate future needs by monitoring the movement of families in Camp and there are currently no plans to close either of the settlement schools.
Question Number 13/11
KB: This question in fact has now lapsed under standing orders 37.7
Motion No 8 of 2011: “That this House accepts the response from the Governor (in Council) on the report of the Public Accounts on the private use of Government telecommunications facilities by Government Employees (Laid on the Table under Motion No 3 of 2011 on the 25 May 2011)”
Proposed by the Hon Gavin Short: Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, this report provides the Government’s response to the report of the Public Accounts Committee on the private use of Government Communications facilities by Government Employees received by this Assembly during the January meeting.
The Public Accounts Committee has recommended that FIG should review and update the relevant sections of the FIG Management code as soon as possible, formulate specific guidelines within this process on employees’ desktop access to the internet, reflecting best practice from elsewhere in the world, incorporating direction and guidance on what constitutes appropriate use of resources for business and if permitted, personal use, the need for employees to be scrupulous, efficient and economical in their use and management of the public resources provided to them to do their work and the fact that any use of e-mails or web browsing for private purposes is to be with the specific permission only and is limited to lunch breaks or outside of business hours.
In addition that FIG should investigate the cost and effectiveness of more sophisticated monitoring software in relation to private phone calls made in relation to private phone calls made by the FIG system to ensure that such costs incurred are understood and monitored regularly.
Finally the PAC report recommended that there must be a careful judgement regarding the level of resources taken up with this matter. The PAC noted that they are of a view that FIG overall could do more to assure itself that the private use of the FIG system does not interfere with the production of work and does not increase costs, threaten system security or incur potential liability and that its staff as is their right can be clear about the limit supplied to personal use of the FIG communications systems.
The recommendations of the PAC were considered by Executive Council, which accepted the recommendations in principle and agreed that during the 2011/2012 financial year the Director of Central Services in conjunction with the Head of Human Resources, the Computer Co-ordinator, the Attorney General who would review and update the chapter on the FIG Management Code, investigate the costs and effectiveness of more sophisticated monitoring software and ensure that FIG continues to ensure that the private use of telephones is not abused.
Mr Speaker, I move the Motion.
Seconded by the Hon Jan Cheek:
I support the Motion.
There being no further debate the motion passed.
Motion No 9 of 2011: “That this House notes the Report of the Public Accounts Committee Inquiry into Stanley Dairy.”
Proposed: The Hon Roger Edwards:
Seconded: The Hon Jan Cheek:
There was no debate and the motion passed.
Motion No ( 9) of 2011: That this House notes the report of the Public Accounts Committee enquiry into the Stanley Dairy.
Proposed by the Hon Mr Roger Edwards: Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, I would firstly like to commend the work of the Public Accounts Committee in producing this long, detailed report. I know there are members of the public who will be disappointed with this report because it doesn’t name individuals and put the blame down to individuals. However, I will come on to that shortly.
The terms of reference for this report were given policy to provide fresh milk to Stanley, to determine whether value for money had been achieved by the time the project was closed. If value for money was not achieved, identify what were the factors leading to poor value for money; and how these could be prevented in future such projects.
All the points of the terms of reference, I believe, were covered in this report. The broad conclusions are that value for money was not achieved by this project and in fact the sum of in excess of £660,000.00 has been effectively wasted.
However, the report does recognise that many of the decisions taken were collective decisions. They were Committee decisions by various boards, including Government, FIDC, private sector and the like. And therefore I think it is right and proper that this report does not name individuals as the sole source for the failures of this particular project.
I would like to propose that the House (lifts) the report to the Public Accounts Committee inquiry into the Stanley Dairy and recommends that all people who have an opportunity to read this report in its entirety.
Seconded by the Honourable Mrs Jan Cheek:
In seconding the Motion, I too would like to commend the work of the Public Accounts Committee. They put in many, many hours going through masses of information – a pretty thankless task – but I think they do it extremely well. I think the most important thing to be taken from this report is lessons for the future and that is the whole point of having a public accounts committee – so that we can learn from past mistakes and, we hope, avoid them in the future.
I support the Motion.
DS: Mr Speaker I would just like to put my name to those comments as well. I think this is yet another example – both reports in fact – are results of the sterling work being undertaken by the PAC which I, for one, am very grateful and I am sure it takes many, many hours; there is a huge amount of information to digest and the reports are readable, reasonable and of a very high quality as well. And I’d like to personally thank all Members of the PAC both past and present for their work.
SH: Mr Speaker, I would also like to add my appreciation for the PAC as well. As has already been said, I think they do a sterling job and it takes up an awful amount of time and we should be grateful for all the effort they actually put in.
There being no more debate the Motion passed.
The Jury (Amendment) Bill (remaining stages):
Intro by the Hon Chief Executive Mr Tim Thorogood:
Mr Speaker, Honourable members, for reasons I will explain briefly, I would like to seek the leave of the Assembly to withdraw this Bill under Standing Order 58.
When the legislative Assembly considered this Bill at its last meeting, it was clear that Honourable members wanted there to be further discussion and wider consultation on the Bill. As Honourable members will be aware, there has been a period of consultation on the Bill. Full consultation documents were issued, there was coverage in the Media and a presentation was made at a recent public meeting.
In addition to the 8 written responses being submitted, informal feedback was received throughout the consultation period and there was a lively discussion about the Bill at the public meeting.
To reflect this and to take account of the views expressed during that consultation, a number of changes need to be made to the proposals.
Rather than making further amendments to the existing Bill, the easiest way to deal with this would be to start the process again by withdrawing the current Bill and bringing forward a brand new one.
The new Bill will be published in the Gazette shortly and it will come before the Assembly at its next meeting in December. In the meantime, the current bill needs to be withdrawn.
Accordingly, Mr Speaker, I seek the leave of the Assembly to withdraw the Bill under Standing Order No 58.
There was no objection to withdrawing the Bill
Offshore Minerals (Amendment) Bill 2011 (Executive Council 29.09.11 – Gazette Supp 12 30.09.11)
Intro by the Hon Chief Executive Mr Tim Thorogood:
Mr Speaker, the Offshore Minerals Ordinance contains provisions that deal with the requirements for environmental impact assessments known as EIAs and environmental impact statements known as EISs in relation to offshore hydrocarbons activity.
The existing provisions, Mr Speaker, date from 1994. However, it has been recognised for some time that there is a need for them to be revised to make sure the legislation reflects best practice in the industry.
After research had been carried out into the legislation which applies in other jurisdictions, and also after industry representatives had been consulted a report outlining the proposed changes was submitted to the Mineral Resources Committee in December 2010.
That report was then approved by Executive Council in January 2011.
Mr Speaker, the Bill that follows that process makes the following changes:
1. An environmental Impact Assessment would become mandatory before an exploration appraisal or production well is drilled. Currently the requirement for an EIA is discretionary.
2. An environmental impact assessment would also become mandatory before a drill stem test is conducted.
3. The Governor, normally acting on the advice of Executive Council, but still have power to require an environmental impact assessment to be carried out for other offshore activities such as 3D Seismic Surveys. However, the criteria used by the Governor when deciding whether to exercise his power, would be updated to make an equivalent to the ones that apply in the UK while still being conducted below the circumstances.
4. The requirements about the content of environmental impact statements would be updated to bring them into line with those that apply in the UK.
5. Operators would be required to organise the public consultation process for the environmental impact statements.
6. The Governor acting on the advice of Executive Council would have the power to exempt projects from these requirements but this would be limited to cases in which the proposed activity is already covered by previous environmental impact statements.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move the second reading of this Bill.
KP: I second the Motion
There was no debate and the Bill was dealt with by the Short procedure and passed.
The Supplementary Appropriation (2011-2012) Bill 2011:
Intro by the Hon Financial Secretary Mr Keith Padgett:
Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, this Bill, if enacted, will provide the legal authority for the additional sum of £1,293,570.00 to be withdrawn from the consolidated fund. This sum relates to carry-overs of unspent funds from the 2010/11 financial year. It was set out in detail in the paper approved by