Miscarriage surgery wait ‘isolated case’, says Shona Robison

Shona Robison. Picture: Greg Macvean
Shona Robison. Picture: Greg Macvean
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Health secretary Shona Robison has said it is “totally unacceptable” for a woman to have to wait up to five weeks for surgery after pregnancy loss.

But she said the case of a woman who was sent away from hospital in the Glasgow area with antibiotics after suffering a missed miscarriage with surgery scheduled for five weeks’ time was an “isolated incident”.

Campaigners from Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, are reported to have claimed five-week waiting times for the procedure, known as a D&C (dissection and curettage), were “normal” across the area.

In the case highlighted at the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) annual review meeting, the woman is said to have haemorrhaged while awaiting surgery, resulting in an emergency admission to hospital.

Labour health spokesman Anas Sarwar pressed Ms Robison on the “shocking and heartbreaking” case at health questions at Holyrood.

He said: “Resource isn’t meeting demand within the NHS, with health boards telling us they are having to make over £1 billion of cuts over the next four years.

“That is having devastating consequences for the workforce and on patient care too. One shocking example of this is the revelation that a woman in Glasgow who suffered a miscarriage having to wait up to five weeks to have a surgical removal of the foetus. That is a shocking and heartbreaking revelation.”

Mr Sarwar demanded: “What will it take for the Cabinet secretary to wake up and realise there is a problem in the NHS and give patients and NHS staff the treatment they deserve?”

Ms Robison told him there was more money being put into the NHS in Scotland than ever before, but accepted “demand for the NHS continues to grow and puts pressure on services”.

With regard to the “very serious case” at NHSGGC, Ms Robison said there was a full investigation being carried out into the circumstances. She said the chief medical officer for Scotland had been asked to look into the situation both in the Glasgow area and the rest of Scotland.

But Ms Robison stressed: “This is an isolated case, totally unacceptable and I am ­absolutely determined that that standard of healthcare is not something we would accept for anybody anywhere in Scotland.”