Kezia Dugdale: NHS is critically ill under SNP doctor do-little – and cardiac arrest is round the corner


WITH patients treated in Portakabins, Facebook appeals for volunteers and operations cancelled left, right and centre, NHS is far from peak condition reckons KEZIA.

IF you want to take the pulse of Scotland’s NHS, listen to the beat of our accident and emergency departments.

They’re racing, staff are under severe pressure and starved of the resources they need. A cardiac arrest is just around the corner.

With patients treated in Portakabins, Facebook appeals for volunteers and operations cancelled left, right and centre, the NHS is far from peak condition.

The SNP Government are quick to dismiss those examples and say that’s just trouble-making. I’d call it proper journalism.

Putting that to one side, what do the cold, hard facts tell us about the state of the NHS? If you had a chart at the end of its bed, what would the vitals be?

Problem is, we don’t know because the SNP Government won’t tell us. The president of the British Medical Association said as much this week when he revealed his organisation have to use FOI requests to get the information they want about staffing levels.

A secretive culture is being imposed on the NHS by an SNP Government who shove bad news, difficult numbers and uncomfortable truths into drawers.

Nicola Sturgeon promised us she’d be the most accessible First Minister ever. I took that to mean she’d run an open and transparent government, not that she’d do a Facebook Q&A every Thursday.

For years, she was Scotland’s health secretary before she gave up running the NHS to run the referendum. Now it’s Shona Robison at the helm but there’s a sense that Sturgeon has a stethoscope in her back pocket.

She’d do well to take her fingers out of her ears and start listening.

Let’s begin with the pulse of the NHS. Why doesn’t the Government report on the health of our accident and emergency departments? We know they get weekly reports, why can’t we see them?

The NHS isn’t any old faceless Government department. It’s part of our identity, in our blood. It’s there at certain times of our lives, the great moments of joy and sadness, distress and relief. It’s an emotional connection that means when it’s in pain, we feel it.

Once we know its vitals, we can fight for the best medicine, like we could with Labour’s £100million front line fund.