THE SECRET SERVICE – NHS Glasgow and Clyde exposed by new survey
Jackie Baillie MSP and Vale of Leven Hospital – “the public are not stupid, they know fine well what is going on.”
February 22, 2018 – MSP Jackie Baillie has warned NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to be honest with patients in Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Helensburgh about the cuts facing local health services in the health board’s upcoming acute services review.
The call comes after a survey of Scottish health board members revealed that almost 60 per cent believe their board is not always transparent with members of the public.
The anonymous survey into NHS corporate governance for the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport committee reveals that a total of 59 per cent of members do not believe their board is always open and transparent with the public about decision making.
In one damming reply, an anonymous board member said: “We are terrible at admitting that we are financially constrained and pretend that decisions are based on clinical grounds when in most cases they are based on clinical, staffing and financial elements. The debate with the public is therefore fundamentally dishonest (and the public are not stupid).”
Another member said: “Government is so dominant in the delivery of health care that it would be naive to imagine that the Board has significant control over strategic direction.”
The responses are published with cuts and closures in the NHS in the spotlight. It is just weeks since the SNP government chose to shut down the children’s ward at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley.
Meanwhile, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde will soon launch its acute services review which will be the biggest shake-up in local health services for years with fewer beds and more centralisation.
Jackie said: “The survey reveals the impact of financial constraints from the SNP government to our health boards, leading to a culture of secrecy and spin.
“The responses suggest that health boards may be being forced into claiming decisions are based solely on clinical reasons, rather than due to financial pressure and staffing gaps.
“NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is about to launch a consultation on some of the biggest changes to hospital services in a generation in its acute services review. This could have far-reaching implications for the Vale of Leven Hospital with more cuts to beds and staffing and more centralisation in Paisley and Glasgow. I will work closely with local campaigners and patients to see through the health board spin and demand more services at the Vale.
“The reality is our health service has been treated to a series of sticking plaster solutions from the SNP government rather than the support it needs to deliver the care we deserve.
“That’s why Labour has set up a workforce commission to deliver a blueprint to solve the NHS staffing crisis, to deliver the care Scots deserve.”
The DEMOCRAT editor BILL HEANEY writes: On February 16, just six days ago, I commented in my NOTEBOOK column here that duplicity was the name of the game in our public services. And that it was time it was vetoed and we had real democracy here, not just something the officials and politicians pay lip service to – ‘For the people in charge of our courts, councils and even government departments to realise we, the general public, have a legal right know what is being done in our name. Anonymity is no longer an acceptable strategy for public officials, politicians and accused persons to take when they want something covered up and kept away from the press and public.’ Scroll down to read that NOTEBOOK.
NOTES TO READERS: The survey is available here: http://www.parliament.scot/S5_HealthandSportCommittee/Meeting%20Papers/HSPPUBLIC_PAPERS_20.02.18.pdf