Saturday, 16 Oct 2021

‘Disgrace!’ Sturgeon ‘missing in action’ as Scotland plunged into new NHS crisis

Humza Yousaf claims nursery discriminated against daughter

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The Scottish First Minister was forced to ask for military assistance last week with the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) at breaking point and patients waiting up to 40 hours. FOI data revealed SAS’s worrying projections of waiting times without further investment despite the service being asked to make £15.35m of cuts this year.


Internal SAS analysis estimates that if the status quo is maintained, by 2022 response times will “worsen across the country”.

By next year, only 59 percent of “immediately life-threatening patients would be responded to within 8 minutes against the target of 75 percent.”

Last night, the SNP led Scottish Government was urged to turn to the Ministry of Defence for a second time to create more NHS capacity.

Paramedics suggested that field hospitals should be set up to tackle the crisis.

Jamie McNamee, Unite Convener at the Scottish Ambulance Service, said: “This is the worst it has ever been for waiting times but it isn’t just about being short of staff, it’s about what we do with patients when we get them to hospitals.

“We need capacity in A&Es to be increased to hand over patients.

“You could give me 100 additional ambulances in Glasgow but it won’t make a blind bit of difference as they’ll be queued outside the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. You’ll just have longer queues.

“We need a field hospital to enable us to hand over patients to clinicians to free up mobile resources because people are dying due to delays.”

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, added: “I’m glad that the Government has called for the Army to be brought in to help but they only did so after political pressure.

“The SNP’s complete failure to ensure our NHS has proper surge capacity means that our hospitals are now at breaking point.

“The Scottish Government must give serious consideration to asking the Army to set up field hospitals.”

Scottish Conservative chief whip, Stephen Kerr, said: “As the mistakes mount up each day, this scandalous SNP Government have put up another wall of silence.

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“At a time when the NHS and Scottish Ambulance Service are at breaking point, Nicola Sturgeon and her ministers have gone into hiding in the hope things will suddenly get better.

“Scotland is in a crisis due to this inadequate SNP Government who only want to speak about one thing – independence.

“People are needlessly dying because of the SNP’s failings yet they can’t even bring themselves to address the public on what is being done to alleviate the situation.”

Former party leader and Eastwood MSP Jackson Carlaw branded the situation a “disgrace” and claimed Ms Sturgeon was “missing in action”.

 

Glasgow’s SEC Hydro was transformed into the NHS Louisa Jordan emergency hospital in less than three weeks in April 2020 thanks to logistical support from the Army.

But on Friday, a senior doctor said its closure to make way for Cop26 may turn out to be “one of the worst decisions” of the pandemic.

Dr John Thomson, vice-president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Scotland, said bringing in the Army should cut waits but won’t help overstretched A&Es.

He said: “It’s not going to have any impact on waits in emergency departments in any way shape or form. It’s slowly getting worse.

“There are an increasing number of eight to 12-hour waits and decreasing performance overall so things are continuing to deteriorate. We’re in for an exceptionally difficult winter.

“What will fix this, from an emergency department perspective, is increased capacity.”

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf is expected to update MSPs this week.

However, it is understood it will be Friday at the earliest before 200 soldiers are deployed.

In response, a Scottish Government spokesperson said it was “false” to claim that ministers had been avoiding scrutiny.

He added: “Because of the global pandemic and its multiple knock-on effects, the Ambulance Service is under the most pressure it has ever been since the inception of the NHS in 1947.

“As the First Minister has set out, we are giving urgent consideration to temporary admission wards to ease bottlenecks between ambulances and our hospitals, and we are investing an extra £20 million to fund almost 300 new Ambulance Service staff.”

But the Scottish Government failed to provide examples of them taking part in live interviews since last Wednesday.


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