Erm, nice scarf.
The hapless Richard Leonard, seemingly always trying to get one over on the SNP, took to Twitter to elicit stories about NHSS.
Good bad or indifferent, he said, but it seemed to me that he was probably looking for bad stories, the better to beat Nicola Sturgeon around the head with.
And he got lots of comments.
But, as they say, one should always be a little careful what one wishes for. Because his very first reply was from Joe Kane:
I’ve a real shocker for you Richard. It’s difficult to imagine such exploitation in a modern health service, but Scottish Labour used the
#SNHS to line the pockets of rich tory #PFI shareholders. I’m sure you’ll mention it at the next #FMQshttps://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/wishaw-general-set-cost-taxpayers-7895927 … #ShareYourStories
One of the reasons that the health service in our country is short of money is that we are paying for the hideously expensive PFI contracts signed by his predecessors. Joe pointed this out, as did several other people.
Wishaw hospital, for example, would have cost around £100 million bought and paid for, but thanks to Labour’s financing schemes, it will cost £800 million. And who is pocketing the £700 million extra?
These contracts were repeated all over the country, and not just for NHSS facilities. (We know about the PFI schools so badly built that they fell down!)
Richard wasn’t any luckier with his second respondent.
We had a terrible time in A&E in October with my sister’s knee injury, after the initial triage we waited SEVEN hours, although the target is to be seen within 4. She was in a lot of pain, it was awful. This was in Wales. You’re lucky that you live in Scotland.
Virus affected my asthma, got emergency appointment with GP same day. Antibiotics and referral for X-ray. Seen at Wishaw General within 1/2 hour. Back to GP for results the next week. Great service, but hey, that’s not what you’re want to hear, is it Richard?
No, probably not, but he did ask!
Phoned surgery AM, got appoint AM, seen by Doctor on time, walked to Chemist got my FREE prescription all before 11.30am. Excellent Service, love my Scottish NHS.
Three family experiences in last three weeks. One at A&E. all excellent experiences. I hope you read this out at FMQs.
#ShareYourStories Vascular ward at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary absolutely first class over winter including Christmas Day. Staff from all over the world contributing. I wish your party would stand up for them or there will be a real crisis.
In the hashtag, as far as I read down, I couldn’t find one critical comment of NHSS.
That’s not to say it doesn’t have its faults and that there won;t be some negative comments as the day goes on. It would be weird if there were not.
Indeed the FM has accepted and apologised for delays.
My own family’s experience this winter has been, as most of you will know, the absolutely first class treatment my mother received at Ninewells in Dundee. Also, another family member had a baby in the same hospital just after Christmas, and again they reported nothing but total satisfaction with the way they were treated at the time and in the aftermath.
The UK’s health services are short of cash and they are short of staff. Scotland’s may be less so than the others, but it is a UK wide issue.
As well as the massive repayments of PFI debt that Mr Leonard’s party left us with, as a union we spend a good deal less than we should on health.
I remember somewhere back in the early part of this century, that Tony Blair promised to bring UK spending on health, as a percentage of GDP, up to the EU average. (I thought it strange, given how superior Britain thinks itself, that it wasn’t the other way round.)
Brexit, as in so many other areas, must take some responsibility here too. European doctors, nurses and other staff are unsure of their careers in the UK. Recruitment from the 27 is sharply down and some people are returning home as they doubt the stability of their future here. They may be allowed to stay after Brexit, but as aliens, with no rights. People don’t want to do that on a long-term basis, and certainly not as they settle down, buy houses and have children.
An ageing population means that there is more need for hospital treatment, and people may need to stay longer in hospital. Sad truth is it takes longer for older pople to recover than for younger. This was something which could easily have been planned for. All these older people didn’t suddenly appear out of the blue, after all.
Of course, throughout the UK, this winter has seen a particularly virulent flu virus which has doubled the numbers of people requiring beds.
No one pretends that it’s easy to run a health service. Not here, not in England or Northern Ireland, Wales or indeed anywhere else. But with limited funds, Scotland is doing better than most, and certainly all the other UK health services.
I suspect that Richard Leonard wanted to pick some choice complaints for next week’s First Minister’s Questions and for any interviews he might be able to give to the Press or TV in the meantime. And he may yet get some.
But I trust that any comments he makes in the chamber next Thursday will reflect the stories, good and bad, he is getting about the current situation, along with criticism of the utter waste of money that was and still is, PFI.
Feel free to share your stories, good or bad, with Mr Leonard, or with Munguin.