I was listening to a news item on Radio Scotland on the morning of 19 August, when a topic on unfilled posts in the NHS caught my attention.
A neurologist doctor was complaining that a number of posts were not being filled by appointments but were being covered by locums, at very expensive rates. “Why waste the money on locums?” was his complaint.
I had a lightbulb idea moment and saw the answer: with a number of such posts, it will eventually be cheaper to take agency staff from a private company.
A financial case will be made, passed through the bureaucracy, the Scottish Parliament and into practice by issuing contracts. Partial privatisation and saving money.
Of course it would be cheaper still to employ staff directly into the NHS by filling the posts, but clearly that is not the object of the exercise.
The SNP seeks to make the future of the Scottish NHS a key issue in the referendum. However, the SNP’s track record is highly flawed. I focus upon two examples.
It is simply impossible to engage in robust forward planning for medical staffing when so many graduates from Scottish medical schools depart Scotland as and when the opportunity appears.
A low-morale Scottish NHS has been created by the Scottish Government/SNP over the past seven years, cowed by bullying related to meeting targets, now a poor environment for quality care, employment and training.
Too many medical graduates will vote neither Yes nor No, but will vote with their feet; alternatively they will vote either Yes or No, but will nevertheless vote with their feet. There seems little point in seeking skilled immigrants and simultaneously exporting skilled emigrants – this comment applying to all expertise, not only medical expertise.
South Erskine Park Glasgow