Leader’s diary reveals paperwork takes precedence over crucial healthcare issues, says MSP
Move forward without me – Council leader excuses himself from healthcare meetings for trivial reasons, including a cold.
By Bill Heaney
The response to a Freedom of Information request made by MSP Jackie Baillie has revealed that West Dunbartonshire Council’s leader, Jonathan McColl, has missed crucial meetings of the Board of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde “to do admin and paperwork”.
Jackie made the request for the details of Councillor McColl’s diary after it was revealed that he had attended just 36% of meetings of the health board and its committee’s since the council election last year.
On 6 March 2018, the councillor missed a meeting of the Clinical and Care Governance Committee to do admin and paperwork all day.
This is the committee that has responsibility for ensuring that the quality of care provided to patients by the health board is appropriate, and that the clinical proposals made by the board provide of safe and effective care.
Other diary entries show that Cllr McColl has missed meetings of the full Health Board to attend councillor briefings on the Information Management System and Data Protection, and to have catch up meetings with the Chief Executive, all of which could have been rearranged.
The MSP said: “Earlier this month, Councillor McColl blamed a cold for his non-attendance at a crucial meeting of the Health Board which was deciding whether services will be delivered at the Vale of Leven hospital or centralised to Paisley.
“Now, his diary reveals that he has missed several meetings of the Health Board and its Committees for appointments which, to be frank, are not as important as our local hospital.
“It seems that many of the appointments that Cllr McColl has in his diary which clash with the health board meetings could easily have been rearranged.
“The acute services review,which the health board is currently undertaking, is the single biggest issue for people in our community.
“It is so important that the views of people in Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Helensburgh are heard, which is why I am so disappointed that our only representative doesn’t see the meetings of the health board as a priority.
“I am equally disappointed that Cllr McColl appears to be endorsing the actions of the health board with their Moving Forward Together programme, which will see more services taken from the Vale and centralised in Paisley.
“I sincerely hope he will take time to listen to local people who want to keep their services at the Vale.”
Meanwhile, Jackie Baillie says she is disappointed that the SNP’s A&E waiting time standard has been missed for 11 months in a row.
Official figures published this week show 95 per cent of patients have not been admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours from Emergency Departments across Scotland at any point since July 2017.
In June 2018, 2403 patients were left waiting more than 4 hours by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, of which 605 patients were left waiting beyond the target time in the Royal Alexandra hospital.
The figures, provided by ISD Scotland, also show that so far in 2018 more than a quarter of cancelled operations were scrapped due to capacity or non-clinical reasons.
The local MSP said the figures showed the scale of the challenge for new SNP Health Secretary Jeane Freeman MSP, pictured right, – and urged the SNP to use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to invest in our health service.
She added: “These figures reveal that our local health board is struggling more than ever. In June, 2403 patients had been left waiting more than 4 hours to be seen at A&E in NHS Glasgow Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 605 of which were at the Royal Alexandra. In the week ending the 29th June alone, 109 patients were left waiting for more than 4 hours in the RAH.
“These missed targets, and the length of time that they have been going on for, highlights a clear mismanagement of our local public services by the SNP Government.
“NHS staff do a wonderful job but they are overworked and under resourced, and patients are suffering as a consequence. Instead of sending everyone to the RAH for emergency treatment, I would like to see more use made of the Medical Assessment Unit and the Minor Injuries Unit at the Vale of Leven hospital.
“Under Scottish Labour, the NHS would enjoy the full powers that the Scottish Parliament hold, which would mean an increase in funding for the services that need it the most.”
No comment was available from the SNP who are boycotting The Dumbarton Democrat.