Trib­ute to work­ers killed in ac­ci­dents Nearly a quar­ter of op­er­a­tions can­celled

24.3 per cent of ops called off due to staff short­ages

West Lothian Courier - - News - Deb­bie Hall

West Loth­ian joined in a world­wide day of re­mem­brance to mark In­ter­na­tional Work­ers’ Me­mo­rial Day.

The day of re­mem­brance for work­ers killed in ac­ci­dents at work, or by dis­eases caused by work, is marked in coun­tries across the world.

The We s t Lot h i a n cer­e­mony in Bal­bardie Park of Peace in Bath­gate, fea­tured an in­tro­duc­tion from Ge­orge Paul, chair of the West Loth­ian Trade Union Coun­cil (TUC), with an open­ing com­ment from Provost Tom Kerr.

Speak­ers were Mar­tyn Day MP and Neil Find­lay MSP rep­re­sent­ing the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC), and the event also in­cluded prayers and the lay­ing of flo­ral trib­utes. The poignant cer­e­mony was brought to a close with a minute’s si­lence, fol­lowed by the ‘Flow­ers of the For­est’ lament by piper Grant Walker from Boghall and Bath­gate Pipe Band.

Provost Tom Kerr said: “In­ter­na­tional Work­ers’ Me­mo­rial Day is an im­por­tant event that high­lights the need for bet­ter health and safety. The coun­cil is de­lighted to sup­port it, and we would like to thank Jim Swan and West Loth­ian Trade Union Coun­cil for or­gan­is­ing it.”

Al­most a quar­ter of op­er­a­tions were can­celled by NHS Loth­ian last year due to staffing short­ages.

New fig­ures re­vealed 24.3 per cent of sched­uled ops were scrapped be­cause of ca­pac­ity issues.

The num­ber of pro­ce­dures can­celled by the health board due to ca­pac­ity or non-med­i­cal rea­sons in 2017/18 was 1660.

Health bosses have been ac­cused of “mis­man­age­ment” in not en­sur­ing enough staff mem­bers are on hand to al­low op­er­a­tions to go ahead.

MSP Miles Briggs, Scottish Con­ser­va­tive health spokesman, said: “In the past year al­most a quar­ter of op­er­a­tions that were can­celled by NHS Loth­ian were due to ca­pac­ity issues.

“Over the last 11 years SNP Min­is­ters have mis­man­aged the work­force plan­ning of our NHS to the ex­tent that we now have a staffing cri­sis.

“In­stead of try­ing to se­cure a sec­ond in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum, Stur­geon should be fo­cussed on tack­ling the im­me­di­ate prob­lems in our health sys­tem that af­fect Scots ev­ery day.”

The fig­ures re­vealed that NHS Borders had the largest num­ber of op­er­a­tions can­celled be­cause of staffing short­ages at 51.8 per cent and next was the Golden Ju­bilee Na­tional Hos­pi­tal with 42.3 per cent.

NHS Fife can­celled 39.9 per cent of ops while NHS Forth Val­ley can­celled 34.5.

The to­tal num­ber of op­er­a­tions can­celled due to ca­pac­ity rea­sons in Scot­land as a whole was 8124, or 25.1 per cent.

Jac­quie Camp­bell, chief of­fi­cer, NHS Loth­ian said op­er­a­tions are only can­celled as a last re­sort.

“We apol­o­gise to any­one who had their op­er­a­tion resched­uled. We know it can cause in­con­ve­nience for pa­tients, and I would as­sure them that it is a de­ci­sion that is never taken lightly,” she said.

“There are un­avoid­able cir­cum­stances which mean some­times op­er­a­tions have to be resched­uled, in­clud­ing emer­gency ad­mis­sions which ob­vi­ously have to re­ceive pri­or­ity, be treated quickly, and can­not be planned for.

“Although we are per­form­ing bet­ter than the Scottish av­er­age, we recog­nise there is more to do.”

Labour MSP Neil Find­lay said staffing lev­els need to be ad­dressed as a mat­ter of ur­gency.

“Here is yet more ev­i­dence of our NHS un­der huge pres­sure,” he said. “An in­crease in can­celled op­er­a­tions sees more peo­ple left in pain, more peo­ple in dis­tress and more peo­ple un­able to live life to the full.

“Our NHS has to be staffed ap­pro­pri­ately to en­sure that it can treat peo­ple at their time of need with­out leav­ing staff over­whelmed and un­able to cope.”

How­ever, SNP MSP Fiona Hys­lop de­fended the Scottish Gov­ern­ment, say­ing it was help­ing health boards to avoid can­cel­la­tions.

She said: “The Scottish Gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues to sup­port health boards to keep all can­cel­la­tions to a min­i­mum through bet­ter sched­ul­ing and plan­ning of elec­tive care.

“In 2017/ 18, 830 op­er­a­tions were car­ried out each day on av­er­age across Scot­land, which com­pares with around 22 op­er­a­tions can­celled for ca­pac­ity or non-clin­i­cal rea­sons.

“NHS Scot­land staff num­bers un­der this Gov­ern­ment are at a record high, and the SNP Gov­ern­ment has com­mit­ted to an ad­di­tional 2600 nurs­ing and mid­wifery train­ing places as well as ad­di­tional med­i­cal train­ing places over this par­lia­men­tary ses­sion.

“The Scottish Gov­ern­ment is work­ing with health boards to re­duce the num­ber of can­cel­la­tions and to re­duce waits.

“Th e e l e c t i v e a c c e s s col­lab­o­ra­tive pro­gramme and the mod­ern out-pa­tient pro­gramme, which is be­ing de­vel­oped, are about im­prov­ing the po­si­tion, and they will con­tinue to work on them – and they will re­main fo­cused on en­sur­ing that the num­ber of op­er­a­tions that are can­celled for rea­sons that are not clin­i­cal is kept to an ab­so­lute min­i­mum.”

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