Waste of talent

November 14tth, 2011

We all know that public services are being stretched as budgets are squeezed and the challenge becomes about doing more with less.

But for many of us, we don’t see the important and frantic work going on behind the scenes to paper over the cracks.

And there is a human cost as well as people make the best of a bad situation and talent is wasted.

That’s the newly-qualified teachers who rather than giving up their dream of a full-time job in a school because of the lack of opportunities, get dressed for work every morning and wait by the phone for a supply job.

That’s the freshly-trained midwives and nurses who go down south or even abroad to put their skills to use because Scottish hospitals don’t have a place for them.

That’s the police officers forced to do more paper work because of the cuts to support staff, taking off the streets where they can catch criminals.

And it is junior doctors who bend the rules to meet the demands of the job by lying about their compliance with European Working Time Directive that are supposed to cap their working week to 48 hours.

That was the bombshell that emerged this week, with our own Inverclyde Royal Hospital among the most pressed in Scotland.

It seems inevitable to me that there will be a high price to pay for overstretched workers saddled with stress, vulnerability to sickness and low morale and motivation.

And the consequences impact on us all as services that we all rely on suffer.

It is clear that the Scottish Government face major challenges in trying to deal with falling budgets at a time of such high demand.

A good starting point would be admitting there is a problem, something the First Minister failed to acknowledge when I quizzed him about the junior doctor situation in Inverclyde.

His complacent message that everything in the garden is rosy will not be appreciated by those doctors, nurses, teachers and police officers who see different every day at work.