Postcode lottery: How very serious patient safety concerns and a toxic culture is not the responsibility of England’s politicians

Yesterday BBC Birmingham & Black Country told us:

An NHS England investigation into claims of a toxic culture at a hospital trust has been described as lacking transparency and undermining trust.

The Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman also said there were “very serious” patient safety issues at University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB).

Dark matters from the Black Country? A ‘toxic culture’ and ‘very serious patient safety issues.’ Heads must surely roll. The Health Secretary musty consider their future?

Nope. There are no calls and the Health Secretary is not even mentioned.

Why should he be mentioned? Day-to-day running is a matter for the trust.

It’s the same everywhere in the UK, surely?

On 8 January 2023, BBC Scotland had:

Scotland’s hospitals are “not safe” for patients under current winter pressures on the NHS, a doctors’ union says.

Dr Lailah Peel, deputy chair of BMA Scotland, said patient safety was now “at risk every day” in A&E departments.

No toxic culture, no very serious issues are mentioned but:

On Friday Nicola Sturgeon chaired a meeting of the Scottish government’s resilience committee to address the pressures on health and social care services.

The first minister and key cabinet ministers met NHS board chiefs, local authorities and the Scottish Ambulance Service.

The committee, which included Scotland’s Health secretary Humza Yousaf, discussed the Covid-19 situation, the flu outbreak and increased demands on acute sites and social care over winter.

Humza Yousaf says there is an unprecedented crisis in the NHS this winter

Mr Yousaf told BBC Scotland that he was doing everything possible to help move fit patients into community care.

He said about 95% of patients were discharged on time, but the remaining percentage was creating “a real issue for capacity within hospitals”.

“Doctors and nurses are working under the most unprecedented pressure of their careers and the NHS’s existence,” he said.

“People are not getting the level of care I would want, for myself or a family member.

“Our focus is on trying to invest more in social care, to improve conditions for the workforce and to try to create every ounce of capacity we possible can.”

Mr Yousaf insisted that the Scottish government had done enough planning for this winter, but said there was not a “silver bullet” that could alleviate current pressures.

He added: “Even with all the mitigation, if we are going to face high levels of Covid, high levels of flu, Strep A and other viral infections, and high energy costs and inflation.

“We planned for this winter as soon as last winter was over, we got right into meetings. There are some things we just could not have foreseen.”

Several of Scotland’s A&E departments have asked for emergency measures to be brought in after concerns about patient safety and “inhumane” conditions due to high occupancy.

On Friday, NHS Borders said Borders General Hospital was at capacity and paused all routine operations.

The health board said the situation was due to high staff absence from illness and the closure of wards due to Covid, flu and Norovirus outbreaks.

Major incident

Scottish Labour last week called for the Army to be drafted in to help.

The Scottish government previously called in soldiers to drive ambulances in 2021 during the Covid pandemic.

Mr Yousaf said the Army would not solve the situation, but said he would look at any request from health boards.

“The biggest issue we are facing is the high level of delayed discharge. Drafting in the army is not going to help,” he said.

He also said he had “no objection” to any health board declaring a major incident, but said it wouldn’t guarantee mutual aid from other boards as all were under pressure.

The latest figures for A&E departments showed a record 1,925 Scots spent 12 hours or more waiting in the week leading up to Christmas.

There have also been reports of lengthy waits to get through to helpline NHS 24 and difficulties getting a GP appointment.

The Scottish Conservatives said Mr Yousaf’s planning for winter “came too little too late”.

Health spokesman, Dr Sandesh Gulhane MSP, said: “He was repeatedly warned a year ago that a winter crisis was looming but he totally failed to act.

“His flimsy NHS Recovery plan which is now well over a year old is simply not fit for purpose. He is offering no solutions to this crisis.”

How’s that for the politicisation of health matters on behalf of the opposition parties?


8 thoughts on “Postcode lottery: How very serious patient safety concerns and a toxic culture is not the responsibility of England’s politicians

  1. Borders NHS the BMA Scotland , the Labour Party in Scotland
    The Conservative Party in Scotland
    never voted for by the Scottish voters LIST MSP Sandesh Gulhane
    Are all in it together as if we don’t know what they are up to
    We know their game doing Scotland down at the behest of Westminster
    All part of the colonial attitude England has to Scotland
    We will be coming for them to oust them from their jobs when we become an independent country

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beach pollution: An off topic but this issue was raised here fairly recently. An article in the Independent today advising people to avoid 83 UK beaches that are not safe due to sewage pollution. Nothing remarkable about that you might say but of the 83 only one was in Scotland and guess what one topped the list? Yes you got it….. ‘Dhoon bay, Kircudbright’ just I guess to emphisize that Scotland is up there with the very worst.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aye, Dhoon is on a tidal inlet from the Solway Firth, so a more a victim of pollution from elsewhere than a contributor to the issue.
      England has huge water pollution problems because of years of Tory meddling which thankfully didn’t cross the border.
      The max population for the “token Scot” is in the hundreds, not the hundreds of thousands, so I’d rather trust SEPA’s assessment than anything “Surfers Against Sewage” or Labour politicians have to say….

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yep, hospitals can’t just discharge people who have ongoing care needs, its usually older people who need to be in a care home. Social care is costly, if people can’t afford private care, then it’s got to be provided by the state. There is a bit of a problem with that, and like many services in Scotland, the lack of provision is largely a legacy of Labour and Tory neglect. I wonder also if it’s now harder to provide care in the home for folks, because, lack of care workers due to mainly, England’s BREXIT forced into Scotland.

    I had an old friend who became too ill to stay at home last year, he was taken to hospital and would very likely have had to spend weeks there for end of life care. He could afford to move to a private run care home and did so, thereby no doubt freeing up a bed for someone who could not afford that.

    The SNP need to point out in no uncertain terms how they are held back financially by the English government, and how the provision of social care was neglected by the Labour party in their ten years at Holyrood, and prior to that, by the various political administrations in London. Things are going to get worse, it’s a perfect situation for the English government, who can and will point the finger at the SNP for any problems in the care system, and Scotland’s NHS. It’s the Tories and Labour who have created this problem, and who have underfunded our health services for decades now.
    SNP need to point the finger at the English government, otherwise people will be brainwashed even more into falsely believing the SNP are making the mess on the floor.


  4. The Tory Gov not spending enough on the NHS. Cut the budget from 2015 to 2020 instead of increasing it.

    The Scottish Gov increased SNHS funding and social care. The elderly can stay in their own homes longer. Instead of expensive residential care or hospital care.

    The Westminster Gov spent £270Billion over two years funding Covid. £370Billion over a lifetime. Billions were wasted on non scruntinised contracts and fraudulent claims. Instead of on the NHS. Total Westminster mismanagement. Concentration on Brexit instead of the pandemic warnings.A total shambles.


    1. ‘The Tory Gov not spending enough on the NHS.’ This also seems to be the conclusion of the authoritative health think tank, the Nuffield Trust.

      On its website (published 15 March) it responds to the Spring Budget under this headline: ‘NHS faces unrealistic budget and uncertainty over significant workforce challenges in the year ahead’.

      It concludes (with my emphasis): “Just two weeks from the new financial year, THE NHS HAS BEEN LEFT WITH AN UNREALISTIC BUDGET FOR THE YEAR AHEAD. It seems almost inevitable that the Chancellor will have to return to Parliament to address this in the not-too-distant future.


      “The Chancellor made this a budget about boosting the workforce across the economy, but the lack of the long-promised fully funded workforce plan for the NHS continues to delay meaningful action. THE GOVERNMENT REMAINS SILENT ON ANY FUNDING TO SHORE UP A SOCIAL CARE WORKFORCE ERODED TO NEAR COLLAPSE.

      “Abolishing the lifetime cap on pensions is a broad measure and isn’t NHS targeted. It will likely address the concerns of some senior clinicians, but this one measure alone does not address the significant concerns over pay and working conditions of the majority of staff which is fuelling damaging strikes across the sector.’


      But despite this – and despite the weak fiscal and non-existent monetary levers available to the Scottish government, unlike Westminster – Unionists in Scotland (including audiences for BBC panel ‘shows’) demand that NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government avoid the evident crises befalling NHS England.

      And Unionist Labour politicians in Scotland demand that NHS Scotland avoids the NHS problems all too evident – in many ways worse – in Labour run Wales!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.