These commentaries by John Macgill represent his opinions only and not those of any Ettrickburn client.

Medicines shortage – a new prescription for an old problem

Ettrickburn commentary - Labour's plans to radically shake-up the pharma industry (part 2)

Ettrickburn commentary - Labour's plans to radically shake-up the pharma industry (part 1)

Cost of medicines falling

Three Nations Three Practices

Community Pharmacy Eliminating Hepatitis C

Homeless People make Glasgow

Heart Failure – we can get treatment right for everyone

Bundles of Safety

Community Pharmacy’s Leader in Scotland

CPO: On the Road to Achieving Excellence

Pharmacy technicians may become prescribers

Profile: Dr Norman Lannigan OBE

Profile: Jonathan Burton MBE

Profile: Clare Morrison MBE

Deep Dive Pharmacy

Mind the Gap - Diagnostic Skills for Pharamacists

Bundles of Safety

Supporting Excellence - Alison Strath Interview

2018 Pharmacy Forum Agenda Launched

Which Referendum to Choose

Three Perspectives on Pharmacy and Mental Health

Pharmacy and the New GP Contract

Bordering on Problematic

Recognised by the Queen and her community

VACANCY Reporter/Researcher: Health and Care Policy in Scotland

Prescribing in Mental Illness – A Practice Pharmacist’s Perspective

What Matters to You? Communication in Pharmacy

Prescribing in Mental Illness – A Patient’s Perspective

Focusing the Vision: Dr Rose Marie Parr on the new strategy for Scottish pharmacy

All the things that could go wrong - looking ahead to the SNP conference

Ask Once, Get Help Fast? Pharmacy and Mental Health

Automation and Delegation in Pharmacy: Understanding the Moving Parts

Pharmacy First in Forth Valley One Year On

Initiatives Highlight Potential of Community Pharmacy

Trying to concentrate on the day job

Health and the Local Elections – a strange silence

The Pharmacist Will See You Now – The Growth of GP Pharmacy

Montgomery’s Review – Dr Brian Montgomery answers questions on access to new medicines in Scotland

An afternoon with SMC

Pharmacists at SMC

SMC – are drug firms voting with their feet?

Radical Surgery on the Horizon for Scotland’s NHS

The Future’s Bright – in General Practice

Community Pharmacy in a Changing Environment

Disclosing payments to doctors – has Sir Malcolm done the pharma industry a favour?

Health and Care in the First Minister’s Programme for Government

CMO: Scotland’s pharmacists “absolutely ideally placed” to practice Realistic Medicine

Profile: Maree Todd – MSP and Pharmacist

Scottish Parliament Health Committee Work Programme

Scotland’s new NHS – a Summer of Speculation

Scotland’s New Health Committee

Two million voices in Scotland – is integration the big opportunity to listen?

Medicines – levelling the playing field

Key appointment raises the bar for health & social care partnerships

What did our new MSPs do before?

SMC says no then NICE says yes – three times

SNP promises single formulary and a review of Scotland’s NHS

More Generous than the CDF – but less transparent

Comparison of Funds: New Medicines v Cancer Drugs

Bonfire of the Boards? SNP signals NHS Review

A tribute to five retiring MSPs

New Medicines Review - Health Committee sends findings to Government

Medicines New & Old in the Scottish Cancer Strategy

Great Ambitions, Slow Progress – New Models of Care in Scotland

Scottish Minsters Demand Up-Front Medicine Price Negotiation

Opportunity and Disappointment: MSPs Investigate New Medicines Access

Scottish NHS Strategy calls for 'Realistic Medicine'

The Scottish Model of Value for Medicines: Taking Everything into Consideration

When SMC Says No: An Access to Medicines Lottery

Reviewing the Review: Access to New Medicines in Scotland

A day of psephology and kidology

Insulting the Lifesavers

Worthy of Mention – Health and Science in the Honours List

News Silence from North of the Border

A Christmas PPRS Present from Pharma

Friday, May 19, 2017: Trying to concentrate on the day job

This commentary was commissioned by the Public Affairs network organisation PubAffairs

For the last six months, Scottish Conservative leader, Ruth Davidson MSP, has implored First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, to ‘get on with the day job’.

Ms Davidson’s charge is that the SNP Scottish Government is more interested in picking fights with the UK Government over a future referendum on independence, than in addressing the needs of, for instance, Scotland’s NHS and schools.

Last week Ms Sturgeon came to parliament to fight back, armed with statistics suggesting it was the Conservatives who have been most ‘obsessed’ with the constitution having mentioned it 153 times in recent press releases compared to twelve mentions of education and one for health.

The problem is that the ‘day job’ of the Scottish Parliament is being eclipsed by the UK General Election and the battle for seats in a parliament that does not look after the majority of the day to day issues that affect people in Scotland such as health and social care, education, transport, environment, justice or culture.

So, instead of concentrating on policy, the Scottish Conservatives want the General Election to be about sending a ‘clear message’ that ‘we don’t want another vote on independence’.

It’s an approach that served the Conservatives well in the recent local council elections and this week I received a glossy leaflet from Ruth Davidson telling me that my vote in June is a vote ‘to stop the SNP threatening our future with Sturgeon’s push for another independence referendum’. Across the leaflet’s four A4 pages there were two mentions of Brexit (give Theresa May a strong hand in negotiations) but no mention of things that the UK government decides that affect Scots such as taxation, benefits or defence.

Nicola Sturgeon for her part might not complain too bitterly if the election turns into a bit of a referendum, though she might prefer it to be on an issue where the numbers are more clearly on her side, such as Brexit, rather than independence. At the moment, the SNP’s key focus is on painting a vision of Thatcherism 2 if Mrs May was to achieve a big majority.

With nearly three weeks and a series of launches and leadership debates to go, it is still possible that Scottish voters will be offered a broader menu of issues, ideas and policies on which to make their choice on 8 June.

What is unlikely to change in Scotland any more than anywhere else in the UK, is the belief, however flawed, that voters choose leaders first, then their parties and policies second. So, in the same way as we see a big blue ‘Theresa May for Britain’ bus with little party logos on the front doors, the Scottish electorate will hear daily from Nicola, Ruth, Kezia [Dugdale, Labour], Patrick [Harvie, Green] and Willie [Rennie, Liberal Democrat], rather than from colleagues actually standing for election to Westminster.

All the above party leaders are members of the Scottish Parliament. Indeed, at ground level, every MSP is being expected to pitch in with local campaigning as, much of the time, they are better recognised that their Westminster counterparts.

Apart from election day in June, the Scottish Parliament is open for business as usual during the UK General Election. But the truth is that, until then, none of its members will be concentrating as much as normal on the day job of being an MSP.