Nicola Sturgeon told to ‘wake up’ to NHS crisis

Nicola Sturgeon said she will never shirk her "sacred responsibility". Picture: Ian Rutherford
Nicola Sturgeon said she will never shirk her "sacred responsibility". Picture: Ian Rutherford
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NICOLA STURGEON has today been urged to “wake up to the crisis” in the NHS in the aftermath of two damning watchdogs reports on Scottish hospitals this week.

The First Minister pledged she will never shirk her “sacred responsibility” to the health service as she faced questions from MSPs and branded the reports’ findings “unacceptable.”

Glasgow Royal Infirmary has been warned to improve cleanliness after inspectors saw patient equipment spattered with blood and body fluids, a report today finds.

It followed a report this week which raised grave concerns about the behaviour of managers and some top doctors at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

Ms Sturgeon told MSPs at First Ministers Questions today that health Secretary Shona Robison had spoken with the chairman of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde after the failings at the city’s biggest hospital.

But Labour’s Jackie Baillie said Ms Sturgeon has been health secretary for five of the past seven years.

“We know the crisis in Grampian is not an isolated example and that right across Scotland the health service is in a state of chaos,” Ms Baillie said.

“If further evidence were needed today’s damning report on Glasgow Royal Infirmary lays bare the need for immediate action from the First Minister and Health Secretary.

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She added: “The problems we are seeing today are a direct result of decisions they have taken. Nicola Sturgeon and Shona Robison can no longer pass the buck and pass the blame on to others. They need to wake up to the crisis that is the reality today in Scotland’s NHS.”

But Ms Sturgeon said NHS Grampian has a new chief executive who has accepted all the findings of the watchdog report and will address them.

“I will never avoid taking responsibility for the NHS - that is one of the most sacred responsibilities that any Government has,” Ms Sturgeon said.

“I’m very proud of our National Health Service, but I will never ever shy away from facing up to the challenges in our National Health Service.”

She pledged to work with frontline NHS staff to meet the challenges in the service.

“That’s why we’re committing extra resources to our NHS. John Swinney has already committed £80m more than planned for next year. Yesterday, he announced £125 million of extra funding and I have a commitment that if this Government is re-elected, then for each and every year of the next Parliament we will commit to above inflation increase in health spending.”

The First Minister said that the report on Aberdeen was clear that patient safety “had not been compromised”, although it had been put at risk which was “inexcusable.”

But she insisted that hospitals are cleaner and waiting times are lower , while infection rates are at an all time low.

“This Government is making significant progress,” Ms Sturgeon added.

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