A good state education gave me the life I have today, but on the 10th of December 2015 the staff in ERI saved it. Reading about the pressure staff are under there today (report, 25-04-17) both angers me and breaks my heart.
Even in 2015, however, it was very clear that the staff and systems in NHS Lothian were stressed. The nurse who took me to theatre did so in her lunch break. I saw a doctor offer to take casework off an overloaded ECG specialist. These acts of good will typified my experience. Every member of NHS staff I met during my 24 hours in the ERI was absolutely dedicated to their job and willing to go the extra mile to help patients and colleagues, but it was clear that they were stretched. Without their goodwill, our NHS would be on its knees.
At the core of the problem that NHS Lothian faces under the SNP is “delayed discharge”. Indeed, an Astley Ainslie ward in the process of being closed permanently, was forced to take fresh admissions last week.
To be fair to the SNP’s Health Secretary, Shona Robison, she said cutting the number of people stuck in hospital waiting for a care package to be arranged is an “absolute key priority” for the Scottish government and committed to eradicating it… by the end of 2015.
It’s time the SNP took this seriously. Both the NHS and Scotland’s councils need the adequate resources to genuinely end delayed discharge and enable patients to be treated with the dignity they deserve. Without this, I fear we will test the patience of those working so hard in our NHS.