At FMQs today in Holyrood, the leader of the Labour Party in Scotland – is he the most unctuous performer in the Parliament? – returned to attacking the Scottish Government on A&E waiting times.
Was Mr Sarwar’s choice of questions today an attempt to dilute any impact on the news agenda of significant improvements in NHS Scotland’s waiting times performance plus early signs of attendances at A&E dropping, presumably due in part to NHS Scotland and Scottish Government actions.
As Mr Sarwar again berates the Scottish Government he is in denial about the significance of Westminster decisions taken over more than a decade on resource levels for NHS England. This is in sharp contrast to Labour’s Mark Drakeford, FM in Wales who frequently and passionately calls out the Tory government.
And what of NHS Wales? As far as I can see this new report by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) has received no news coverage by the BBC:
Source: RCEM Wales (January 2023) Wales’ Emergency Medicine Workforc Census 2023 (https://rcem.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/Wales_Emergency_Medicine_Workforce_Census_2023.pdf )
First from the foreword by Dr Suresh Pillai, Vice President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (Wales): ‘ EMERGENCY CARE PERFORMANCE IN WALES RANKS THIRD IN THE UK and in recent months, performance against THE FOUR-HOUR STANDARD HAS HIT RECORD LOWS with UNPRECEDENTED NUMBERS OF PATIENTS WAITING EIGHT AND 12 HOURS IN EDs (Emergency Departments) from their time of arrival. (with my emphasis)
‘.Welsh EDs have been UNDERSTAFFED FOR SOME TIME NOW resulting in PARTICULARLY HIGH LEVELS OF BURNOUT, more so than any other specialty. As a result, more clinicians are RAPIDLY CHOOSING TO LEAVE EMERGENCY MEDICINE.’
Among the main findings:
‘Since the start of the pandemic, the percentage of people being admitted, transferred, or discharged within four hours at major EDs in Wales has DETERIORATED BY ROUGHLY 15 PERCENTAGE POINTS.
‘In recent months, the four-hour standard has been as low as 55%, despite the target being 95%. THE FOUR-HOUR STANDARD TARGET HAS NOT BEEN MET BY MAJOR EDs IN WALES SINCE 2010.
‘Furthermore, the NUMBERS OF PATIENTS WAITING EIGHT AND 12 HOURS IN EDS FROM THEIR TIME OF ARRIVAL HAS RAPIDLY INCREASED IN RECENT YEARS. On average, 9,906 patients waited 12 hours or more from their time of arrival during the first six months of 2022. This is unacceptable, and there is now a growing body of evidence to show that PATIENTS ARE HARMED WHEN THEIR ADMISSION IS DELAYED.’
On other health-related matters: ‘PRIOR TO THE PANDEMIC, LIFE EXPECTANCY IMPROVEMENTS HAD STALLED IN WALES. A recent report from Public Health Wales found that THE GAP IN LIFE EXPECTANCY BETWEEN THOSE LIVING IN THE LEAST AND MOST DEPRIVED AREAS OF WALES IS INCREASING.’
‘RCEM recommends that safe recruitment of Emergency Medicine Consultants should be based on one WTE Consultant for every 4000 annual ED attendances. When analysing the responses to the census, it was clear that there was substantial variation in the Consultant:attendance ratio between departments. For example, the minimum ratio was one WTE Consultant to 4988 attendances while the maximum stood at one:13,290 attendances – both of course, are OVER THE RECOMMENDED RATIO AND ARE DEEMED UNSAFE.’
‘There were 16 unfilled funded Emergency Medicine Consultant posts in Wales with a range of reasons given. The most common answer was recruitment issues, meaning departments were struggling to fill funded posts. This is concerning as THERE IS NO TELLING HOW LONG THESE WORKFORCE GAPS WILL EXIST.’
‘The findings of the census have quantified what we already knew to be true: THERE ARE DANGEROUS LEVELS OF WORKFORCE SHORTAGES ACROSS EDs IN WALES. Furthermore, AS PERFORMANCE DETERIORATES AND THE JOB BECOMES EVER MORE UNSUSTAINABLE, WE ANTICIPATE RETENTION ISSUES TO CONTINUE.’
Regrettably, the RCEM in Wales – just like Mr Sarwar in Scotland – fails to acknowledge the root cause of most of these problems – resourcing decisions made in Westminster. However, Mr Drakeford recognises the source of the problem.
Source: BBC News website (25 January 2023): ‘Mark Drakeford accused of being ‘in denial’ on NHS’.
In the Senedd recently in response toTory leader (in Wales) Andrew RT Davies on matters concerning NHS Wales, Drakeford noted: ‘.. funding had been SQUEEZED BY THE UK GOVERNMENT and the amount the Welsh government can borrow has been FROZEN SINCE 2016. – “WHERE DOES THE MEMBER THINK THE MONEY COMES FROM TO DO THE THINGS HE SUGGESTS”.
On these difficulties facing the NHS, the UK context and perspective gained from both a quick look at the prevailing situation in Wales and the response of the Labour Welsh government, reveal the extent of the hypocrisy on display in Holyrood today from the Labour leadership. It is just so crass: presumably Labour is calculating that the corporate media and especially BBC Scotland will amplify their attack lines towards a less than fully informed section of the public and do so, as is normal practice, without accompanying challenge or analysis.
For the avoidance of doubt, it give me no pleasure to recount the problems facing NHS Wales and the Welsh Government at this time. My purpose, my sole objective, is to reduce the credibility of the Labour Party LEADERSHIP in Holyrood!
6 thoughts on “The most unctuous performer in the Parliament?”
”Labour Leadership ” ??? Oh, you mean what passes for the Scottish ( sic ) Labour Party .
Had me going for a moment there , Stewartb. Thought someone had resurrected the old Scottish Labour Party before it became a career-path for turds like Foulkes , McConnell , Darling et al .
Now they have reached their nadir with the millionaire dentist ambulance chaser posing as a man who gives a f*ck about anything but his career .
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The Ambulance Chaser gives unctuosity a bad name.
Nailed it Stewartb in the first two paragraphs, oily and getting the first lie/misintepretation in, before any facts get the chance to squeeze out past the MSN barricade to the populace.
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Useful training for a possible future governor general of the Punjab or Scotland.
The bbc website currently has a ‘how is the NHS doing in your area tracker’. If you look at addresses in Scotland or Wales it gives information regarding ambulance response times. If you look for English addresses it doesn’t give response information but what percentage of ambulances take more than 30 minutes to hand over their patients.
Very telling I thought.
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Unfortunately, the principal job of the three unionist parties is not, as it should be, concentrated on Scotland. Their raison d’etre in Holyrood is simply to denigrate everything the SG does, spout as much bile as they can muster about Scottish politics in general in the time permitted, using our parliament as a platform to promote the Union at the expense of Scotland. Truth doesn’t matter. All they need is for the public to hear their malicious speeches and hope some of the mud sticks.