SNP can’t ig­nore is­sues

Rutherglen Reformer - - Reformer View -

There were three in­ter­est­ing head­lines in last week’s Re­former, all con­nected: ‘Ro­bi­son sat­is­fied with pa­tient info ac­cess pro­to­cols’, ‘Kelly needs to move on’ and ‘Politi­cians too quick to crit­i­cise the NHS’.

The first was an ar­ti­cle about the prob­lems en­coun­tered by lo­cal peo­ple, in­clud­ing me, with the re­sults of tests done at lo­cal GP surg­eries not be­ing avail­able to con­sul­tants at Glas­gow hospi­tals. This was raised at Holy­rood by James Kelly, the Glas­gow re­gional MSP whose re­mit still cov­ers this area.

The re­ply from health sec­re­tary Shona Ro­bi­son was along the lines of “Prob­lem? What prob­lem? I don’t see a prob­lem.”

This was fol­lowed by the usual govern­ment gob­bledy­gook, namely “both NHS La­nark­shire and NHS Greater Glas­gow and Clyde have as­sured us they have IT sys­tems and pro­to­cols in place to en­able the shar­ing of rel­e­vant pa­tient in­for­ma­tion in­clud­ing lab re­sults.”

Well, they can as­sure her as much as they like but it is not the case, as many pa­tients have dis­cov­ered.

Once again, she does her Lady Mac­beth act and washes her hands of it, pass­ing it back to the health boards.

I have had cor­re­spon­dence with Ms Ro­bi­son on sev­eral health mat­ters and a great deal of help from James Kelly MSP. Each time she has sent me two or three pages of ir­rel­e­vant waf­fle and then de­nied all re­spon­si­bil­ity and bat­ted it back to the rel­e­vant health board.

Read­ers may re­mem­ber the hor­ren­dous time I had at the new Queen El­iz­a­beth Hospi­tal just be­fore Christ­mas. I took this up with the Scot­tish Govern­ment as, in my view, they are ul­ti­mately re­spon­si­ble for what hap­pens in our health ser­vice. I was ad­vised by her, af­ter telling me how much they had in­vested in health, that I should take the mat­ter up di­rectly with the health board. I did this in De­cem­ber. I am still await­ing a re­ply.

It is not the health sec­re­tary that the health boards should be giv­ing as­sur­ances to but the pa­tients. The fact is that there is a prob­lem, or is she try­ing to say that top con­sul­tants do not know which but­ton to press on their com­put­ers? The fact that my GP saw fit to give me a pa­per copy of my blood re­sults speaks for it­self. This is a very se­ri­ous is­sue to be given such an off­hand an­swer.

For some life-threat­en­ing con­di­tions treat­ment can­not be given un­less blood re­sults are deemed to be sat­is­fac­tory. Pa­tients who are al­ready very ill and not fit for the long jour­ney across the city are ad­vised to have these tests done at their lo­cal GP surgery to save them the jour­ney. More stress, un­cer­tainty and de­lay are caused and in some cases treat­ment is post­poned be­cause these tests have to be re­peated, with re­sults some­times rushed through the same day or some­times re­quir­ing pa­tients to come back.

These are ex­hausted pa­tients who need the sys­tem to work smoothly and time is of the essence with some treat­ments. It must also re­sult in fur­ther ex­pense for the NHS.

I then read MSP Clare Haughey’s col­umn and I was not im­pressed. It is not politi­cians who are crit­i­cis­ing the NHS, it is the pa­tients who are on the re­ceiv­ing end. The whole ar­ti­cle reads as if she think she is still a trade union shop stew­ard de­fend­ing the work­ers against crit­i­cism.

No one, least of all my­self, has crit­i­cised the NHS staff on the ground. I have worked for them my­self and never worked so hard in all my life.

What has she or her party had to say about the test re­sult dif­fi­cul­ties? Noth­ing. What had she to say about the prob­lems at the Queen El­iz­a­beth Hospi­tal? Noth­ing. What had she to say last year about pa­tients, my­self in­cluded, be­ing told they would have to travel to Mon­k­lands Hospi­tal for scans? Noth­ing.

I had to take up all these is­sues my­self with the Re­former, with the health boards and with the Scot­tish Govern­ment with, I may add, a good deal of help from James Kelly. I did get as­sur­ances in writ­ing that we in this area would still be able to ac­cess Glas­gow hospi­tals. I ex­pect Ms Haughey to en­sure that this prom­ise is kept.

I give praise and crit­i­cism in equal mea­sure where it is due. I have been ex­cep­tion­ally well cared for by the NHS over this past year. I have also for­tu­nately not had any prob­lems with accessing GP ser­vices as the care I have had from all staff – doc­tors, nurses, re­cep­tion­ists and tele­phon­ists – at the Stonelaw Prac­tice in Ruther­glen has been su­perb.

How­ever, apart from the is­sues above, I have also found gaps in spe­cial­ist ser­vices in Glas­gow and am still en­dur­ing un­ac­cept­able wait­ing times for fur­ther con­sul­ta­tions. For ex­am­ple, I waited a year for one spe­cial­ist re­fer­ral and will be go­ing back to a con­sul­tant who re­ferred me to an­other ser­vice with­out hav­ing seen any­one at the other hospi­tal as yet.

Ms Haughey’s col­umn reads like a party po­lit­i­cal broad­cast and it is clear that she toes the party line. Her phrases are un­can­nily like Ms Ro­bi­son’s.

In­stead of boast­ing about the ad­di­tional £9m of pub­lic money be­ing poured into the NHS this win­ter she should be de­mand­ing facts and fig­ures from the health boards as to how and where this is spent. Mil­lions were poured in last win­ter and I am not alone in dis­cov­er­ing that it was a sham­bles and a hugely stressful and de­bil­i­tat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence be­ing an emer­gency pa­tient.

Her job is to rep­re­sent all the peo­ple of this area and to take up their con­cerns, whether they voted for her or not.

She should be lis­ten­ing to the peo­ple on the ground. They are the ones who put her where she is to­day.

MSPs have no power other than what we gave them. They are an­swer­able to us, the peo­ple. Time to talk less and lis­ten more.

I also see in the Re­former that NHS La­nark­shire is hold­ing a se­ries of pub­lic meet­ings in Wishaw, Air­drie and East Kil­bride but -none in this area. Is that what they call con­sul­ta­tion? Dorothy Con­nor Ruther­glen

The next meet­ing of The Camero­ni­ans Fam­i­lies As­so­ci­a­tion is on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 16, at 2pm.

The venue is the Tan­nochside Olde Club, 416 Old Ed­in­burgh Road , Tan­nochside, Ud­dingston.

The group con­sists of ex-Camero­nian Ri­fle­men, fam­i­lies and friends who have a gen­eral in­ter­est in the reg­i­ment of old La­nark­shire.

All welcome for an in­ter­est­ing af­ter­noon. Dou­glas Tor­rance via email

Camero­ni­ans­meet­ing La­nark­shire­his­tory

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