Monday 30th June 2014


 “What I have seen over the past five years is the continuing crisis management of the longest car crash in history – and it’s time for our politicians to face up to  the challenge”

These were not the words of a politician but one of Scotland’s top doctors – Dr Brian Keighley the outgoing chair of the British Medical Association.

In his speech to the BMA’s annual conference he listed a raft of symptoms that show that all is not well with our NHS.

The crisis in out-of-hours health care provision. The huge queues at A&E. Increases in Bed Blocking. Vital cancer treatments being delayed. GP’s coping with a 20% increased workload. And staff shortages.

But Dr Keighley is not the only one to have raised concerns. We’ve had the General Medical Council raise concerns last year that nearly 20 per cent of junior doctors were short of sleep because of their shift patterns.

In a survey the Royal College of Nursing found that over half of nurses are working more than their contracted hours each week so that they can meet demand, with 58 per cent saying they are under too much pressure.

And just last week, Healthcare Improvement Scotland – the country’s inspection watchdog -  found patients being moved wards at the Victoria Hospital in Glasgow to meet the demands of the service rather than their clinical need.

In his closing remarks to the conference Dr Keighley said: “It is now time for our politicians, whatever their party, whatever the outcome on 18th September, to recognise the long-term viability of our National Health Service”

He’s right of course. After the Referendum there will be no hiding place for government or politicians from whatever party there from.