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

Thursday, May 12, 2016: What did our new MSPs do before?

There are a remarkable 51 new faces at Holyrood this week compared to the beginning of April.

In all 46 are new to full time political office. A further four are former MSPs who were not at Holyrood for the last session but have now returned; while one has been an MP at Westminster.

It is always informative and useful to look at what people did before coming to the Scottish Parliament – their 'hinterland' as some would put it.

No one profession stands out and, although a significant number have served as local councillors, for relatively few has their experience been solely in political backroom jobs.

The information has been gleaned from the webpages that many set up for the election and since, and also from declarations of income made while councillors.


  1. Tom Arthur (Renfewshire South): company director; piano teacher and keyboardist.
  2. Ash Denham (Edinburgh Eastern): head of campaigns and advocacy for the Scottish think tank Common Weal.
  3. Mairi Evans (Angus North and Mearns): hospitality; councillor.
  4. Kate Forbes (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch): Chartered Accountant in the banking industry.
  5. Jeane Freeman (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley): special adviser to First Minister Jack McConnell; chair of the NHS Waiting Times Centre Board; CEO of Apex Scotland (criminal justice employment organisation).
  6. Jenny Gilruth (Mid Scotland and Fife): teacher; secondary school head of department; Modern Studies qualifications development at Education Scotland.
  7. Emma Harper (South Scotland): NHS Clinical Nurse Educator; nurse
  8. Clare Haughey (Rutherglen): NHS mental health nurse supporting pregnant women and new mothers.
  9. Fulton MacGregor (Coatbridge and Chryston): social worker; councillor.
  10. Rona Mackay (Strathkelvin and Bearsden): parliamentary assistant; journalist.
  11. Ben Macpherson (Edinburgh Northern and Leith): solicitor in private, public and third sectors across renewable energy, financial services and an international charity.
  12. Ruth Maguire (Cunninghame South): therapist; whisky industry; IT industry.
  13. Gillian Martin (Aberdeenshire East): FE lecturer; owner video production and training business; manager emergency media response team for oil and gas companies.
  14. Ivan McKee (Glasgow Provan): engineer; manufacturing.
  15. Gail Ross (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross): confectioner; pharmacy assistant; glass engraving; councillor
  16. Shirley-Anne Somerville (Dunfermline): deputy chief executive of the SNP; MSP for Lothians; Policy and Public Affairs Officer at the Chartered Institute of Housing; Media and Campaigns Officer for the Royal College of Nursing.
  17. Maree Todd (Highlands and Islands): Clinical Pharmacist, NHS Highland specialising in psychiatry; postgraduate tutor.



  1. Jeremy Balfour (Lothian): solicitor; charity policy lead; Baptist minister; councillor.
  2. Miles Briggs (Lothian): parliamentary manager.
  3. Alexander Burnett (Aberdeenshire West): company director; renewable energy – biomass.
  4. Donald Cameron (Highlands and Islands): lawyer; Scottish Government advocate/ counsel in agriculture, crofting and employment; family faming and holiday business.
  5. Finlay Carson (Galloway and West Dumfries): IT solutions company director; councillor.
  6. Peter Chapman (North East Scotland): farmer; vice president NFU Scotland; director NFU mutual insurance society; board member Scottish Natural Heritage; councillor.
  7. Maurice Corry (West Scotland): councillor and party policy lead on health and social care integration.
  8. Maurice Golden (West Scotland): Environmental Campaigns Manager for Keep Scotland Beautiful.
  9. Jamie Greene (West Scotland): broadcast industry; Business Development Director at Viacom; TV software specialist.
  10. Rachael Hamilton (South of Scotland): hotel director; hospitality.
  11. Alison Harris (Central Scotland): accountant.
  12. Liam Kerr (North East Scotland): lawyer.
  13. Gordon Lindhurst (Lothian): lawyer; advocate.
  14. Dean Lockhart (Mid Scotland and Fife): diplomat; international business, development and economic policy advisor.
  15. Edward Mountain (Highlands and Islands): farmer; rural surveyor.
  16. Oliver Mundell (Dumfriesshire): Westminster parliamentary researcher; Royal Dutch Shell.
  17. Douglas Ross (Highlands and Islands): football referee; councillor.
  18. Graham Simpson (Central Scotland): journalist; councillor.
  19. Alexander Stewart (Mid Scotland and Fife): relief senior support worker, Ark Housing Association; councillor.
  20. Ross Thomson (North East Scotland): retail; retail training; branch banking; councillor.
  21. Adam Tomkins (Glasgow): professor and teacher of constitutional law at Glasgow University.
  22. Annie Wells (Glasgow): food retail manager.
  23. Brian Whittle (South Scotland): international athlete; coach.



  1. Daniel Johnson (Edinburgh Southern): Retail company director, owning shops in Edinburgh.
  2. Monica Lennon (Central Scotland): Freelance planning consultant and local councillor.
  3. Richard Leonard (Central Scotland): Trade Union organiser for GMB.
  4. Pauline McNeill (Glasgow): MSP for Glasgow Kelvin; trade union organiser; President of the National Union of Students in Scotland.
  5. Anas Sarwar (Glasgow): MP for Glasgow Central; NHS Dentist.
  6. Colin Smyth (South Scotland): General Secretary of the Scottish Labour Party; local councillor; teacher.



  1. Ross Greer (West Scotland): Communities Coordinator at Yes Scotland; member SYP.
  2. Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife) MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife; community development; conservation management; councillor.
  3. Andy Wightman (Lothian): writer, blogger and campaigner on land rights, democracy and the economy.


Lib Dems

  1. Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western): policy and parliamentary lead in the third sector.
  2. Mike Rumbles (North East Scotland): MSP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine; soldier.