Friday, June 29, 2012

Health Minister Nicola Sturgeon comes under fire over closure of children's ward, the ‘glory days’ of health as SNP flagship seem distant memory

Dear All

Efficiency savings is something which has been going the rounds in the Scottish Government for sometime now.

What is efficiency saving?

Its code for a cut, in the main dressed up dressed to look like money has been “found” which has been wasted and could be better spent.

There are other buzz words like ‘prioritising’ which politicians slide in when money is reallocated from one service to another as well.

But for those who aren’t getting the help or treatment, it’s a cut and they are on the receiving end.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has been strongly criticised for claiming that the closure of a children's hospital ward was not for financial reasons.

In politics; ordinary working class people don’t understand when it seems that children are suffering due to SNP government cuts.

They just don't understand at all!

The closure of the children’s ward in NHS Lothian has caused trade union fury as the GMB union hit out after NHS Lothian who decided to close the unit at St John's Hospital in West Lothian.

Reason for closure was due to the removal of trainee paediatricians.

Last night the GMB's public services senior organiser, Alex McLuckie, claimed "the real reason for this closure is a result of years of cutbacks within the NHS in Scotland".

Mr McLuckie said Ms Sturgeon had claimed the closure had nothing to do with money or resources, but he added:

"Of course it has to do with money. The reason the ward is closing is the health board do not have the resources to staff the ward."

Mr. McLuckie is going to find out in the near future, that cuts cuts and cuts are a sign of things to come, post independence vote.

At present, Scotland is in a bubble regarding health spending, and the ‘Sturgeon bubble’ is going to burst because the pressure from other governments will cause serious problems right across the board.


There isn’t enough money and there isn’t the political will in the SNP Government to think creatively enough to generate revenue.

The second term of the SNP Government was never about independence, it was about public sector reform.

That has been disastrously sidelined in favour of the status quo for probably the entire term of this increasingly paralysed government while government ministers abandon their desks to chase the independence dream.

The SNP should have started public sector reforms now but didn’t, in late 2014 after the loss of the independence vote, it will be too late to start major reforms and we are talking major reforms.

As to future cuts, the union warned it could be "a sign of things to come" in the NHS in Scotland and could be "the tip of the iceberg".

McLuckie warned:

"We could see more of this as Scottish health boards are told to make more budget savings in 2012. As we hear of this decision in the east of Scotland, in the west of Scotland GMB organisers have been informed that while NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde – the country's biggest health board – has received £27.7 million from the Government, they are required to make £60m worth of cuts. Greater Glasgow and Clyde proposes to make the cuts by filling one vacancy in every two. How long will it be before they do not have enough staff to resource all their wards and other health outlets? No part of the public sector is going to escape from the austerity measures including the NHS and it is about time we had an honest debate about this."

So, given what is in the wind, people are going to suffer, there is real discontent and the flagship of the SNP Government and Nicola Sturgeon, will come under closer scrutiny.

Cuts allow opposition parties to score political points and hit home with real impact.

Braveheart Alex Salmond admitted yesterday the crisis that had forced the closure at St John's was "unsatisfactory".

Old people can’t get blankets, new born children get wrapped in a towel, dirty hospitals, ambulance crews happy to sit on their arse when people need help because they are on a break, and now a children’s ward is closed down.

The second term of the SNP Government in the health brief under deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon isn’t going to be remembered as the ‘glory days’!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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