FMQs: Labour attack Nicola Sturgeon over NHS

Scottish Labour Deputy Leader Kezia Dugdale. Picture: Scottish Parliament

Scottish Labour Deputy Leader Kezia Dugdale. Picture: Scottish Parliament

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NICOLA Sturgeon was urged to sort out Scotland’s NHS when she was tackled on the SNP Government’s health record at First Minister’s Questions today.

Scottish Labour deputy leader Kezia Dugdale said patients were being turned away from hospital and people were being treated in a Portakabin.

Ms Dugdale questioned the First Minister after a series of health boards confirming that they had been forced to postpone operations amid complaints of A&E departments being overwhelmed with patients

lying on trolleys and some waiting for 12 hours or more.

Ms Dugdale said: “The people who work in our NHS do great work every single day. They are working under immense pressure without the support they need from the SNP Government in Edinburgh.

“With patients being turned away from hospitals across Scotland and appointments being cancelled, it’s clear the NHS here faces huge problems.”

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Ms Dugdale said patients were being treated in a Portakabin at Glasgow’s Victoria Infirmary, treatment had been delayed at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, and there had been 80 operations cancelled at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary including 15 that morning.

Email

Ms Dugdale also picked up on reports that a Scottish Government official had written to health boards advising them to stop providing journalists with information about their problems.

The email from an official suggested that boards should stop publicising how many A&E patients they are treating within their four hour target.

The email argued that A&E statistics would be published monthly from February, a change that would stop data that had not been validated being put into the public domain.

Ms Dugdale said: “Instead of trying to silence NHS staff, Nicola Sturgeon needs to sort things out. We are just days into 2015, yet it’s already clear this is a government that is losing its grip on events.

“The workers in the North Sea say there’s a crisis in our oil industry, yet the First Minister is posted missing.

“The nurses who keep our NHS going are crying out for support, yet the First Minister offers no action.

“And our teachers are saying that the Scottish Government has abandoned Scotland’s pupils, yet the First Minister has nothing to say.

“Scots don’t want warm words. They just want the Scottish Government to fix this mess. It’s time Nicola Sturgeon delivered.”

Ms Sturgeon said that email had been sent from “an official to statisticians”.

She added that the Portakabin at Victoria Infirmary had been opened 10-years ago.

Ms Sturgeon acknowledged that there were pressures on the NHS, but added that they would be “considerably worse” if Labour had remained in power.

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