Local MSP Jackie Baillie has attacked what she has called the ‘cover up culture’ in the NHS on which she sees the Scottish Government as having a permissive stance.
Ms Baillie’s party, Scottish Labour, for which she is Health Spokesperson, has made this accusation after it became known that health inspectors shelved and then diluted a damning report into Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.
A draft report by Healthcare Improvement Scotland into care for older people at Ninewells revealed that 35 patients had been left on trolleys and in wheelchairs, in some cases for six hours, waiting for a bed over the period of an afternoon and evening.
When the report was finally published after pressure from Labour MSP, Jenny Marra, the report simply said that ‘some’ patients were left on trolleys and hospitals. Other concerns were also omitted.
Jackie Baillie says: ‘Over the last few days, we have seen the lengths that the SNP Government will go to in a bid to cover up the mismanagement of our health service.
‘The full extent of the hidden waiting list scandal under Nicola Sturgeon was laid bare yet the SNP continue to deny there is a problem and insist this is somehow about IT systems.
‘Now we have NHS bosses trying to bury and play down the poor treatment of elderly patients at Ninewells who were left to wait for hours on trolleys and wheelchairs in corridors because beds were unavailable.
‘It is clear we face real pressures in our health service and patients are suffering as a result. But rather than face up to this and tackle these underlying problems, Nicola Sturgeon and now Alex Neil are content to turn a blind eye or help cover up these failings. Scottish patients deserve better.’
Jenny Marra, Scottish Labour’s MSP for the North East, says: ‘It is clear that the Scottish Government knew over two months ago that the Ninewells report had been buried.
‘The Cabinet Secretary for Health needs to explain why he didn’t take action to have the report publishing swiftly.
‘He has been sitting on his hands and allowing this turmoil to develop in the Government’s health inspectorate, hoping it would never come to light.’
The fundamental issue here is one of trust.
When people discover that, in practice, they can be left waiting for inordinately long periods of time for an NHS appointment while their NHS Board’s performance looks fast and efficient; and when they find that critical reports into hospital practice are suppressed and then doctored before release – they lose trust.
That is a dangerous situation and it is one we are getting deeper into.
Health professionals ag all levels are in the so-called ‘caring professions’. The first thing they jave to remember at all times and in every action, is that they are dealing with a human being – not a patient or a client.
Anything, moreover, that renders public information a reasonable subject of mistrust corrodes the body politic – and that is not in great shape already.