Pressure on the system
Vacancies at Hairmyres Hospital
A number of vacancies in key medical positions at University Hospital Hairmyres is putting extra pressure on hard-pressed staff, local politicians have warned.
While latest statistics for waiting times at the East Kilbride A&E department have shown an improvement, NHS Lanarkshire say there are 10 vacancies at the hospital across a number of specialities.
The board told the News consultants have been recruited this week in care of the elderly and acute medicine, and interviews are scheduled this month.
At Hairmyres five locums are currently in post in medicine, while a locum post in surgery is currently advertised and there is also a post vacant within vascular.
A locum is in post in care of the elderly and there are two vacant posts in ophthalmology with interviews scheduled this month.
Dr Jane Burns, NHS Lanarkshire acute divisional medical director, said: “In the last week we have been successful in recruiting two consultant level vacancies in care of the elderly and acute medicine at University Hospital Hairmyres. Although these posts have been filled, the individuals have still to start in post. A total of 10 doctor vacancies remain.
“Medical and managerial staff work closely to manage periods of peak activity in our hospitals and to fill any gaps in the rota to ensure we have the right combination of medical staff to deliver safe and effective care. Where necessary, we use locum doctors to provide continuity of service while we recruit.”
Tory List MSP Graham Simpson said: “Vacancies in key positions has been an ongoing problem in Lanarkshire and certainly doesn’t help in meeting waiting time targets.
“The use of locums is, therefore, essential but it is far better to have people permanently in post. I hope that the move to university hospital status will help attract the best and brightest medical staff to East Kilbride and the rest of Lanarkshire.”
Labour MSP Monica Lennon said: “Staff working at Hairmyres Hospital continue to provide excellent care despite resources failing to keep up with demand.
“Overall staff numbers are at their highest level but there are urgent workforce challenges, and the Scottish Government and health boards have not planned effectively for the long term. That’s not simply my opinion but the independent view of Audit Scotland.
NHS Lanarkshire owes it to staff and patients to take workforce planning seriously as vacancies in our hospitals are putting pressure on existing staff.”
SNP MSP Linda Fabiani said: “It is welcome news that NHS Lanarkshire has recruited permanent consultant level staff for East Kilbride over the past couple of weeks, in care of the elderly and acute medicine.
“It has been made clear by NHS Lanarkshire that there is no resource issue, and the re-designation of our hospital to University Hospital Hairmyres makes us an attractive location. The additional £400 million injected into our NHS will ensure health boards can continue to recruit the required staff.”
Figures for the week ending January 28 show that 89.3 per cent of patients were seen at Hairmyres within four hours – below the Scottish Government’s target of 95 per cent – but an improvement on 84.7 for the previous week.
The latest statistics cover the final week of extended GP opening hours in January. But Hairmyres was once again below the NHS Lanarkshire average of 93.4 per cent for the fourhour target and the NHS Scotland average of 89.7 per cent.
Meanwhile, 20 patients waited over eight hours and five over 12 hours.
Recruiting University Hospital Hairmyres