THIS IS A PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT FROM TALKING UP SCOTLAND
– Scotland’s GPs can and do help Long Covid sufferers
(Ed: TuS does not usually assume a role as a public service provider of information: it does not have for example a comparable mission to the public service broadcaster, BBC Scotland. However, we feel obliged today on one specific issue to perform a public service for the reasons that will become obvious below. We trust our regular readers will understand and support this action.)
Despite the inevitable and continuing pressures on Scotland’s health and care system due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the delivery of primary and secondary healthcare continues to function effectively. Those with health issues – Covid-related or not – will find care and expertise available to them within all parts of NHS Scotland.
Regrettably, reassurance of this kind may be necessary for those concerned with the health condition known as Long Covid following the appearance – now over two successive days – of an article on the Scotland page of the BBC News website that contains the following statement:
“I don’t want to give patients false expectations that they can come to their GP and we can send them somewhere – there is nowhere for us to send them to.”
This stark claim is especially notable – and might be taken seriously and at face value – because it is made not by a journalist but by a healthcare professional, a General Practitioner.
The GP in question is Dr. Sandesh Gulhane. His remark was made during a BBC Radio Scotland prime time interview – on Good Morning Scotland – before being amplified through the BBC News website.
The GP’s remarks quoted above clearly seeks to imply that a patient in Scotland coming to their GP with concerns about Long Covid would be unable to access further, more specialist sources of treatment even if the patient’s GP felt this was necessary. It is the carefully considered view of TuS that this claim needs to challenged in the strongest possible terms and reassurance given to those who may be worried by its implications.
Dr Gulhane’s is a bold statement. At TuS we are not medics but based on all the information we have, his claim is wrong. GPs in Scotland continue to have access to a wide range of specialist services in community and hospital settings. For an individual GP to make such an unequivocal statement is alarmist and it risks discouraging sufferers from seeking diagnosis and treatment from their GP. Candidly, this rhetoric is unprofessional.
It is doubly disappointing to learn that the GP, Dr Gulhane making this alarmist claim is a Scottish Conservative MSP.
We would strongly advise Dr Gulhane as an MSP – and especially one who seems to make much of his own professional credentials in public pronouncements – to argue the Tory case for health policy or operational/delivery changes with greater candour and without recourse to alarmist statements.
BBC Scotland should take more care before amplifying unfounded alarmist statements.
And finally, we strongly advise those considering a visit to their GP on potentially Covid-related chronic ailments to do so confidently: do not be put off by the inappropriate, alarmist rhetoric of a Tory politician!
This ends the public information statement from Talking up Scotland!