Minister promises ‘to listen to NHS staff’

The Scottish Government “must do better” at listening to NHS staff, the health secretary has said.

Alex Neil will visit care workers, ambulance staff, ward nurses and elderly carers to find “new and innovative ways” of delivering healthcare.

He has also conceded that there has been a decrease in nurses and midwives “in the last few months”, but said there has been an overall “increase of 4,000” in the past five years.

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Labour accused Mr Neil of being “shameless” and “insulting” NHS staff with “made-up figures”.

The party accused the Scottish Government of “using nursing and midwifery interns to artificially boost staffing figures since 2011”.

Mr Neil said: “I am absolutely clear that what we must do better is to listen to the people delivering healthcare services across NHS Scotland.

“That is why I am announcing today my personal commitment to talk to practitioners on the ground about their experiences of providing patient care.”

He added: “As we move to integrate health and social care, the way people are treated in Scotland is starting to change.

“Hospital stays are shorter than ever before and more people are being treated in the community, by more nurses based in the community.

“The need for us all to work together in new and innovative ways has never been greater.

“I want to speak to the people directly delivering care.”