Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Totally Unfit for Purpose Under The SNP, Nicola Sturgeon’s Government introduces ‘health care rationing’ in Scotland's NHS as sick people are being denied health provision in order to ease waiting lists, the people of Scotland need to be the ‘surgeons’ that cut the cancer of the SNP from government via the ballot box

Dear All

The NHS, the health service is 70 years old, the creation of the NHS post war was one of the crowning achievements of UK Government which regardless of wealth, everyone was treated on the basis of need.

Under Nicola Sturgeon, the first SNP health minister, the health service went into decline, the ‘hands off’ and inability to have a vision for the service started to creep in, and in came spin plus, selected targets were used to promote Sturgeon as a health minister getting things done, when the opposite was the case.

In Scotland, there is a health crisis, a shortage of GPs, shortage of surgeons, waiting times missed from A&E, to cancer to surgery, Sturgeon left the health service severely damaged.

And so did the SNP Ministers who followed after her, they didn’t fight its corner as they should, it was supposed to be a flagship policy. The worst health minister after Nicola Sturgeon was her ‘pal’ Shona Robison, a woman so incompetent that everything was out of her depth.

Instead of pressing the case for having two deputy health ministers to assist and turn round the service, the SNP opted for the ‘one band man’ approach, spin that a single person at the helm was getting things done. It seems that illusion was more important to the SNP than the health of the patients.

The NHS has always been about treatment on the basis of need, now we find that opticians in Ayrshire have been told not to refer patients for second cataracts op to ease waiting times.

For the SNP, spin is more important to make Nicola Sturgeon look good than people’s well being. The sad fact is that under the SNP, patients in Ayrshire are being refused cataract surgery on a second eye under new restrictions. Sight loss campaigners and opticians are angry about this move, and rightly so, but it is time that the public became angry.  

The problems in Ayrshire stems from new rules have been implemented to ease pressure on the service there is a shortage of surgeons and theatre space to cope with demand. We now have in NHS Ayrshire and Arran rationing of treatment, this isn’t the first time this has happened. In 2017, the NHS Ayrshire and Arran introduced a strict threshold for cataracts surgery, to get treatment patients’ vision had to deteriorate below the legal standard for driving before they could get the proper treatment, and then be referred on for surgery.

Samantha Watson, chair of Optometry Scotland, said:

“There is some frustration amongst our colleagues in Ayrshire and Arran about this change in policy. Opticians in the area are at the frontline of care and have to manage patient expectations, which can be challenging in this situation. We would stress that, regardless of any policy change, an optometrist should be patients’ absolute first port of call for any eye issues. They are the ‘GPs of eyes’ and are best placed to assess eye health and decide on the path of care.”

The policy change is the wrong decision from a moral standpoint, health standpoint and contradicts guidelines recently issued by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

NICE concludes second eye cataract surgery is highly cost effective and should be offered using the same criteria as for first eye surgery. It also said access to cataract surgery should not be restricted on the basis of visual acuity.

David Stubley, 68 has cataracts in both eyes, his optician said that he does not qualify for referral because his sight is not yet poor enough, even though he experiences other debilitating side effects such as migraines, sensitivity to light, and milky vision.

David said:

“I think it is most unfair, not just for myself but the rest of the population of Ayrshire, that we are being arbitrarily made to accept approaching blindness or at least very restricted vision just on the basis that they decide this operation shouldn’t be done. If I was living in Inverclyde I would be able to say to my optician ‘can I get my cataracts done?’ and they would say ‘yes’. But because I live in Prestwick, I’m told I’ve just got to suffer it.”

Given his family history, Mr Stubley, said he was particularly concerned because his sister had developed glaucoma and his mother had suffered a burst blood vessel in her eye, which prevented her from undergoing cataract surgery. The NHS in Scotland is a Scotland wide service; if a patient cannot be treated in Ayrshire then alternative arrangements should be made.

I suppose the question should be asked, given that treatment should be done and the cost is around £3000 per eye, should there be a grant or award available that allows him to use another service provider?

In Ayrshire, there is only capacity for 75% of the patients who need treatment, due to not enough surgeons and facilities. As with everything, Nicola Sturgeon will try to blame anyone but herself for this, lack of surgeons, she will possibly try the old chestnut of ‘Brexit’. Lack of facilities would be fobbed off by the merger and centralisation of services, basically to hide the real problem which is cuts, cuts and more cuts.

A spokesman for the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) said:

"Cataract surgery is a very successful and cost-effective treatment. Denying this to people who need it is a false economy as people with sight loss are at greater risk of falls, depression and isolation which can result in more costs to the public purse.”

Ten years of SNP Government have seen the run down of the health service and the higher education system which has seen places for medicine and nurses cut, we shouldn’t have a shortage of surgeons, not in Scotland which has some of the finest medical schools in the UK. The SNP are running down Scotland to such an extent that services right across the board cannot cope.

The focus needs to be on what is the SNP spending taxpayer money on?

Finally, the problems in the NHS in Scotland didn’t happen overnight, they have built up over years, tenure of Nicola Sturgeon steered the ship ‘onto the rocks’, the replacements to her, didn’t try to refloat the ship, rather they were content to stay on the rocks kidding themselves on that the ‘ship was still at sea’. What is needed is a change of government with new ideas, ability to fix problems, and to get the NHS in Scotland back on its feet. The people of Scotland need to be the ‘surgeons’ that cut the cancer of the SNP from government via the ballot box.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University


Anonymous said...

My mum got that operation. They removed the cataract from one eye only. She’s 90 and this was over 2 years ago. She has asked repeatedly for her other eye to be done but is being totally ignored. My mum lives in South Lanarkshire.

Anonymous said...

Hi, just wanted to mention, I loved this article.
It was practical. Keep on posting!

Anonymous said...

Funnily around the time the tories came to power again, also funnily enough Scottish NHS budget is tied to the English NHS budget. A budget that under the tories has fallen by around 68%. Strange eh.
Also in case anonymous didnt know this, at 90 surgery can be very traumatic maybe that is part of the reason they won't operate on her. Better to be half blind than dead, because if she died on the operating table I'm sure you'd be saying it was the snp fault for allowing the operation

Anonymous said...

Better to be half blind than dead? says a supporter of Krankies SNP. He\she doesn't need a cataract operation, they need a lobotomy.

Anonymous said...

You should run for the snp as a candidate.you have al the right qualities.you ignorant wretch.

G Laird said...

Dear Anon

"You should run for the snp as a candidate.you have al the right qualities.you ignorant wretch2.

You drunk when you wrote this?


Anonymous said...

I believe Anon was talking about the SNP crank who thinks it's better to have one good eye than dead.

G Laird said...

Dear Anon

"I believe Anon was talking about the SNP crank who thinks it's better to have one good eye than dead"

Some times, the replies can be confusing, as too many people use anon.


Alf said...

Alf says : Re the writer who said better half blind than dead Take it you don't know how cataract ops are done And re your comment on budgets the Scottish Executive have free rein how they spend their budget on health service or on putting Gaelic on police and ambulance service vehicles road signs etc That's peoples gripes HOW the budge is spent.