‘NHS Lothian can’t cope with our demands’

The very idea of private firms playing such a central role in delivering NHS healthcare as they will in the Lothians will be anathema to many people.

But the reality for most patients is that they simply do not care who provides the service as long as the care on offer lives up to their expectations.

What we all want is high quality care, promptly delivered within a reasonable distance of where we live.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The hard truth is that right now, in the wake of the recent waiting times scandal, NHS Lothian is failing to live up those expectations.

Today’s plans are a blueprint for putting that right, but are they likely to deliver?

As a short-term fix, it makes sense to ignore the restraints of any political dogma and make use of spare capacity in any local hospitals – whether they be privately or state-run – to treat the thousands of patients currently facing long waits.

Without outside help, it seems clear right now that the NHS cannot cope with the demands we place upon it.

In the longer term, there needs to be a serious debate about what the NHS can do on its own, the investment needed to achieve that and what role there might be for the private sector.

It is also worth asking whether an hour-and-a-half’s drive is a reasonable distance to travel for treatment?

The answer to that depends on individual circumstances.

For most it will be acceptable, but for some who are less able or particularly vulnerable it may only be practical with extra help and support for them and their families.

That is why the checks and balances that are put in place will be crucial to ensuring the new system delivers for all.

Art attack

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

THE idea of using shop shutters as an art canvas at night is, of course, not a particularly new one.

But the project to allow Leith Walk shutters to be decorated in a slightly more official way is an imaginative one.

It will brighten up an area of the city which hasn’t had its troubles to seek in recent years with the tram fiasco.

In this case, rather than random graffiti, artists will be setting to work to create something truly special.

We can only hope the finished artworks remain intact for us all to enjoy, and don’t fall victim to any budding Banksys.