HEALTH BOARD clinicians write to First Minister and Cabinet Secretary over ‘unfounded criticism’ by politicians and in media

Senior clinicians from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have written to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, PICTURED RIGHT,  and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, Humza Yousaf, to express their disappointment and frustration about the way in which their work and integrity have been portrayed in the Scottish Parliament and the media in recent days.

Here is the full text of that letter:

Dear First Minister and Cabinet Secretary,

Queen Elizabeth University Hospital/Royal Hospital for Children

As NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde clinicians and clinical leaders, we write to express our immense disappointment and frustration about the way in which our hospitals, our colleagues and the treatment of our patients is being portrayed in the press and the chamber of the Scottish Parliament.

Our highly specialist services care for, treat and support some of the most vulnerable adults, young people and children in the country. Our sole aim is to deliver high quality, person centred care to our patients and focus on what matters most to them; fundamental to this is the strong working relationship between our clinical teams and infection control teams to keep our patients safe.

We have been, and remain, fully committed to being completely open and transparent in all that we do and we are dismayed that the integrity of our staff has been repeatedly called into question. Do we always get everything right when we discuss issues with families? Perhaps not. Do we ever wilfully withhold information from them? Absolutely not.

We have grave concerns that the continued undermining nature of the current negative headlines will result in an erosion of trust between clinical staff and patients and their families. Indeed, we have already seen evidence of the impact this is having on individual patients and carers, with staff reporting that families are very anxious about the safety of their relative while in our care.

We are particularly disappointed that individual patients are being discussed in Parliament without the knowledge of the families concerned, causing untold distress to families already grieving the loss of their loved one.

This unfounded criticism of our clinical teams and staff as well as the safety of our hospitals, is also hugely detrimental to staff morale at a time when so much is being asked of them. Our staff across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, including the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital campus, provide professional, dedicated care to their patients and as we prepare for a challenging winter, this sustained criticism of our staff is undoubtedly causing them distress and worry.

We are proud of all of our teams, many of which include leading specialists, but we fear that such negativity will have an enormous impact on our ability to recruit and retain such skilled individuals in the future as well as those of wider clinical, nursing and support staff. We will always treat our patients with integrity, dignity, respect and honesty and this should never be in doubt.

We accept that there will always be improvements we can make and learning we can implement, but at the heart of all that we do, is the commitment from every clinician working within NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to provide the best quality of care for all of our patients and to be open and honest with them and their loved ones about their diagnosis and treatment. Anything less would undermine the professional code of practice each of us sign up to at the start of our careers and adhere to throughout.

Yours sincerely

Dr Jennifer Armstrong, Medical Director
Dr Margaret McGuire, Nurse Director
Dr Scott Davidson, Deputy Medical Director (Acute)
Angela O’Neill, Deputy Nurse Director (Acute)
Dr Chris Deighan, Deputy Medical Director (Corporate)
Dr Kerri Neylon, Deputy Medical Director, Primary Care
Mr Wesley Stuart, Chief of Medicine, South Sector
Dr Claire Harrow, Chief of Medicine, Clyde Sector
Ann-Marie Selby, Interim Associate Chief Nurse Clyde Sector
Hon. Professor Colin McKay, Chief of Medicine, North Sector
John Carson, Chief Nurse, North Sector
Hon. Professor Alistair Leanord, Chief of Medicine, Diagnostics
Dr Alan Mathers, Chief of Medicine, Women and Children’s Services
Morag Gardner, Chief Nurse, South Sector
Mandy Meechan, Interim Chief Nurse, Women and Children’s (designate)
Patricia Friel, Interim Chief Nurse, Women and Children Services
Dr David Dodds, Chief of Medicine, Regional Services
Lorna Loudon, Interim Chief Nurse, Regional Services
Dr Martin Culshaw, Associate Medical Director, Mental Health
Gail Caldwell, Director of Pharmacy
Fiona Smith, AHP Director
Evelyn Frame, Chief Midwife
Margaret Connelly, Assistant Chief Nurse, Governance and Regulation
Lesley Rousselet, Chair, Area Clinical Forum

Leave a Reply