This week it was revealed that NHS Grampian spent almost £11 million sending patients to private hospitals and other hospitals in Scotland in order to meet treatment time targets set down by the Scottish Government.
These figures show that a staggering amount of money is being spent to meet these targets and that is simply unacceptable. Treatment can be stressful enough for patients and their families without the inconvenience of having to travel to be treated.
Investing in capacity in order to ensure that as many patients as possible can be treated locally should be the priority but we know that NHS Grampian doesn’t get the support it needs from the Scottish Government and without a fair deal on funding, issues like these won’t go away. This is a symptom of a bigger problem at NHS Grampian and a fair deal from the Scottish Government is the first step in making sure that these types of problems can be tackled.
Another issue which was highlighted recently was the cleanliness of hospitals and NHS Grampian being named the joint worst performer in this area. At the time of the last statistics being released I raised concerns over NHS Grampians performance and called on the Scottish Government to provide them with the support they need to make the necessary improvements. While the results this time around were a slight improvement on last time, it is still worrying that NHS Grampian does not perform as well as other health boards across Scotland and steps need to be taken to ensure that this is not the case in the future.
Again, this is a symptom of the underfunding of NHS Grampian and highlights why it is so important for the Scottish Government to listen to calls for a fairer deal on funding. Problems in recruitment and retention of staff, missing waiting times targets, patients having to travel for treatment amongst others require a lot of work locally however without the support of the Scottish Government and a fair deal on funding, finding the solutions is a lot more difficult. That is why I have made repeated calls to the Scottish Government to appropriately resource our NHS in Grampian and I will continue to make these calls so that patients can get quality of health service they expect.