Jim Murphy calls for matrons to cover A&E

Murphy also wants to review the number of acute beds in Scottish hospitals. Picture: John Devlin

Murphy also wants to review the number of acute beds in Scottish hospitals. Picture: John Devlin

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SCOTTISH Labour say they want to reintroduce matrons to oversee hospital A&E departments.

Leader Jim Murphy said SNP ministers have “taken their eye off the ball” when it comes to emergency hospital care.

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The party is expected to announce tomorrow a number of measures which it says would improve efficiency, cleanliness and patient experience.

Scotland’s emergency departments have been under pressure recently and some have been failing to meet the four-hour target for treatment.

Mr Murphy has previously stated his party would recruit 1,000 extra nurses in Scotland using money generated by a tax on properties worth more than £2 million.

He said: “First of all, we are going to review the number of acute beds in hospitals. There has been a reduction in acute bed numbers since 2007 by 1,190.

“There is a growing problem of cleanliness in some of our A&E departments. A lot of them haven’t been inspected regularly enough, so we want urgent inspections of all of Scotland’s A&E departments and then mandatory annual inspections.

“We now want to reintroduce matrons in each of our A&E wards to play a supervisory role.

“We will introduce the open, transparent publication of weekly accident and emergency statistics. The government has these, they don’t share them.”

A spokesman for Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “There is nothing new in any of these proposals from Labour, who are guilty of appalling hypocrisy after presiding over plummeting bed numbers and having no hospital inspections when they were in office.

“We have ensured every A&E department already has senior charge nurses who perform the old so-called ‘matron’ role, and that is on top of the number of A&E consultants nearly tripling under the SNP, as part of boosting overall NHS staffing and spending to all-time record high levels.

“We have also cut infections, including C.diff and MRSA, by around 80% as a result of the unannounced inspection regime and world-leading patient safety programme we have introduced - as well as ending private contracts for cleaning in NHS-owned hospitals.”

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