Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Your life not safe in Nicola Sturgeon's hands, SNP Health scare fiasco comes back bite the Nationalists as their scaremongering over Brexit leads foreign medics to consider whether they have a future in Scotland, 200 GPs are wondering if they are doing to have to quit their Scottish posts, Westminster will not be deporting a single doctor from our NHS, and they won’t be used as pawns either

Dear All

During the course of 20 years at Glasgow University, I met a ton of medics, and as a fitness instructor, I knew some people very well, some of these people are working in the NHS as GPs and other types of specialists. Training to become a doctor is a five year gig which demands a lot of time studying, going to hospitals and GP practices. One female medic during her summer went to a hospital in Malta to get experience of delivering babies.

As to the female medic, she graduated but her boyfriend dumped her and cleaned out their flat and even took the light bulbs, moral of that story, don't date an engineer.When she told me that story I burst out laughing, as I noted laughter is the best medicine to her. I also mentioned I was sorry for her, she was in my dealings with her a really great person to know. 

Medicine is a profession that opens lots of doors, it is something which is like an international passport, if you are a doctor and you wish to live in another country then having a doctor’s qualification is a huge bonus. Governments recognise the value of medical qualifications, and the bodies that represent the profession are taken seriously in high circles.

In Scotland, the health service has been badly managed by the Scottish National Party while in Government; the ‘rot’ started when Alex Salmond appointed Nicola Sturgeon as Health Secretary and boldly declared that health was a flagship priority. Like many people back in 2007, I was hoodwinked into believing this was true. The reality was that Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP narrowed their focus to certain targets while the rest of the service slipped downwards.

Nicola Sturgeon is now First Minister but her tenure at health planted the seeds of disaster which simply grew, no nipping in the bud from Nicola. We have had various crises in health, A&E crisis, Cancer waiting time’s crisis, Operations cancelled crisis, GP crisis, midwife crisis, nursing crisis, lack of surgeons crisis, bed blocking crisis, people left with no blankets crisis.

We have a new super hospital in Glasgow; sadly one of the biggest problems is that it is too small to cope with the volume in A&E, what was the SNP response by Nicola Sturgeon’s pal, Shona Robison?

Too many sick people were using the service!

In December 2014, I nearly died; I went to A&E with a life threatening illness and was kicked out as a time waster and told to go to my doctor. The triage nurse and the doctor at A&E nearly killed me by denying me treatment and didn’t even give me a physical examination. I was forced to wait 55 hours during which time I was in incredible physical pain. I returned to the hospital with a letter from my GP, within 10 minutes of handing this over, I was dragged past a huge queue of people and treated. The symptoms I told my GP were enough to give him the information he needed along with a quick ‘prod’ to know what was wrong. I was told to immediately get back to the hospital.

I was unfortunate to get sick at the height of the A&E crisis at the Southern General, many ill people got turned away only to find their stories making headlines in the Daily Record. My return to hospital was surreal, after the initial treatment in A&E, I was told that I wasn’t going anywhere and I was to be admitted as a patient. I was kept in for 5 days as they were concerned about my kidney function which had been frying in toxic blood for some considerable time, along with other issues. When I was released, I was just at the start of my troubles which became a running saga of failures. Asked to go back in two weeks, this was cancelled and I wasn’t informed, the medical supplies given to me to cover this period which had to be ordered in were running out and I had to end up getting an emergency prescription and then to try to hunt round Glasgow desperately trying to get the supplies. Having left me in the lurch, the hospital when I went back refused to help me with more supplies after they had cancelled my appointment…. and to make matters worse, my GP went on holiday!

If it hadn’t been for my friends making their time available to run me about, I would have been in serious trouble. After I came out of hospital, I was so ill that even little old ladies using walking sticks would blow right pass me like Olympic athletes. The old saying ‘couldn’t walk the length of himself really did apply to me. To add insult to injury, my back seized up partially on the 23rd December, Xmas that year was a nightmare, if they say there is a point when you hit rock bottom, I had reached it physically. My time was a series of cancelled appointments, no information and feeling low. The next piece of bad news dropped as they put me through a huge battery of tests because they were concerned I might have cancer, my weight was falling like a stone and they couldn’t understand why.

In 2015, I was to get an operation, only to be told near the date that it was to be cancelled, I was offered another date but not with the same surgeon, if I didn’t take that date, I was told I could wait up to 3 more months. From the start of my illness to getting operated on, it took 27 weeks, and given the treatment I was getting, I didn’t want to hang around, so jumped in feet first and said I would take the new appointment. My new surgeon was Dr. Hasan Qazi, when we did our doctor/ patient chat, he asked me did I have an question, so I said that I had purposely not looked up what was involved in the surgery but I did have one question.

So, can you guess the question?

I asked him straight to his face, ‘I have just one question, are you any good at this’, he burst out laughing and said ‘don’t you worry I will take care of you’. He put me at ease, and strangely I had no more worries after that, prior to getting to hospital I was a nervous wreck, fear of the unknown. I get to the hospital then it was like a dream, I am feeling like I am a spectator. Dr. Hasan Qazi probably more than anyone in medicine gave me back something I had lost, he gave me back hope, I wasn’t out of the woods after surgery, I spent 3 weeks solid with blood pouring out me every 15 minutes but I had turned a corner. In 2015, I wasn’t politically active, as I said the medical problems had physically wrecked me, so the election campaign that year was for me just a spectator sport.

2016, I return to politics, that year, I did the campaign of Johann Lamont which strangely for me I made my sole campaign for various reasons, normally I campaign in more than one so I get a feel of how a party is doing with the public, and it also helps my posts as a by-product. 2016 was also the year of Brexit, and being a known campaigner, I was asked to ‘fix’ the Brexit campaign which got off to a shaky start in Glasgow. The Brexit campaign on day one of me attending saw a dramatic rise in volume as I explained to the group that we aren’t involved in a passive activity. The Brexit campaign in Buchanan Street was one of the most successful parts of Brexit in Scotland. It lead to me being made an official Brexit spokesman and it also saw me getting one of my bucket list ticked off; being a panellist on the Gordon Brewer radio show. Brexit for some people focused on a single issue but the prime reason which all other reasons were just symptoms was sovereignty. We as a people must have the right to hold people to account who make our laws, the European Union has lost its way; it is anti country and anti worker. I knew campaigning for Brexit was morally right, and politically correct, cut through the nonsense of both sides, and the sovereignty issue sticks out like a sore thumb.

Brexit threw up many scare stories, one of the chief ones is deportation; today we see a report by Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) that 200 family doctors could leave their jobs. If they did this would put pressure on an already badly managed and failing health service. The reality is that no doctor currently working in Scotland or indeed Britain has anything to fear after Brexit, no European doctor prior to us joining the then ‘Common Market’ in 1973 had any fear either. In medicine, due to the nature of the profession, it sees doctors crisscross the world learning, teaching and practicing. Once passed medical school training still continues for medics, they go on to do many courses to learn new skills and also update existing.

If as the NHS says that half of all Edinburgh GP practices might soon be forced to turn away new patients as the lack of family doctors heaped further pressure on practices. This is more an argument for controlled immigration, better forward planning and the medics telling Nicola Sturgeon to ‘get her act together’ regarding funding. Scotland is still a great place to work for a doctor, we have five exceptional medical schools in Scotland, who churned out very good students, after spending 20 years at University of Glasgow, I met a ton of them.

At present there is a GP shortage, the blame doesn’t rest with the NHS, the blames lies with the Scottish Government, we shouldn’t have a GP crisis, not in a country like Scotland, but the SNP aren’t focused on government, they are focused on independence. Is there a case for a permanent task force in government to go recruiting, probably not happen, ideas aren’t an SNP strong point!

In October, Nicola Sturgeon who boldly pledged £500 million for primary care has only handed over half that amount so far, given the extra money handed over by Westminster, you have to ask, where the hell is the money being diverted to?

Dr Miles Mack, chairman of the RCGP said:

“The full £500m promised to GPs and health centres by the first minister in October could be clearly outlined for the GP service, to show medical students a career with a bright future”.

So, it seems that there are many problems in medicine but I would strongly suggest there is no problem at all for any European doctor currently practicing in Scotland regards to their status in the country or their status in their current position. I would expect total cross party support for them without exception. These scare stories are a distraction and unhelpful, the purpose of Brexit was to reclaim sovereignty so that we can hold our elected politicians to account at the ballot box. Any fair minded person wouldn't have any truck with dragging up this rubbish, but sadly the SNP leadership aren’t fair minded people, the Nationalists have latched onto scare stories in an attempt to garner votes. 

It is the type of petty mean spirited politics which thrive under the SNP so easily.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University  

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