Huge challenges facing our NHS

Monday 8th December 2014


Another week and another damning report on our National Health Service. On Tuesday, it was the turn of inspection watchdog Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS).

Their review into the safety and quality of care at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary found low morale amongst staff, poor leadership from management and most worryingly of all, problems with patient flow and capacity potentially putting patients’ safety at risk.

The Scottish Government can no longer afford to dismiss such findings as isolated incidents. Following critical reports of recent times in NHS Lanarkshire, NHS Lothian and NHS Greater, Glasgow and Clyde its clear there are systemic problems facing our greatly respected institution which we ignore at our peril.

However, the day following the report on the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, it was announced there would be an additional one hundred and twenty five million pounds flowing from the Barnet consequentials for the Scottish Government to spend on the health and social care sector.

In the coming weeks we have an opportunity to have a reasoned and honest debate about how we can spend this money differently. We need to ask ourselves if recruiting our way out of this problem really is the best solution. And we also need to consider if the current waiting time targets are sustainable and whether or not they are adversely impacting on other areas of hospital care.

Where I think we can all agree, is that we must invest more money into community care so that unplanned admissions to hospital are reduced and to prevent people from occupying beds they don’t need. Let us use this consensus to move forward and to meet the huge challenges facing our National Health Service.