Over the past few weeks we have heard of further problems with our local health service which continue to highlight the lack of resources allocated from the Scottish Government.
We are lucky in Grampian to have some of the most committed health staff and able medical experts in the country. However despite the repeated promises of action from Health Secretary Alex Neil, it is clear that a lack of resources is continuing to be a pressing concern.
It was revealed last week that NHS Grampian flew in a locum doctor from India at a cost of over £5,000 to cover a weekend shift. Having to fly doctors half way round the world at huge cost cannot be sustainable and there needs to be a Scotland-wide investigation into where else this type of practise has happened before.
The situation at ARI needs to be investigated as a matter of urgency and I cannot see how this is a valid use of limited resources.
Figures released this week also show that NHS Grampian is still not meeting the Scottish Government’s waiting time targets for cancer patients. Whilst the Scottish Government continues to underfund our local health service, we continue to see these targets being missed and it is clear that this is a major problem for them with the target not having been met since December 2012.
When a patient is presented with the news that they are suffering from cancer, I can only imagine the distress this causes them and their family. That is why it is even more important that they can be assured that they will be treated as soon as possible. We must do better for our cancer patients and ensure that people are seen within these targets set by the Scottish Government.
The issue of resourcing and failure to meet performance targets are undoubtedly linked however there seems to be no acceptance of this from the Scottish Government.
That is why I believe that Ministers must begin to provide the resources needed or despite our local health service’s best efforts, waiting times targets will continue to be missed and our local health service will continue to struggle to ensure that they have all the staff they need. Ministers are failing patients here in the North East and it cannot continue.