Dundee Ethics Letters Politics

Save our NHS!

Save our NHS!

Letter in todays Courier.  To say that I feel passionately about the NHS (for personal, biblical and societal reasons) would be to put it mildly!  What is happening in the NHS, especially in Tayside is a disgrace.  Its time for the Scottish government to step in.
Dear Editor,
As someone who has benefited enormously from the NHS and especially Ninewells hospital – not least because they saved my life; and as someone who is waiting for another operation, whose daughter is a nurse in training and many of whose church and friends work in the health service; I would like to express my concern, and that of many others, on the news that NHS Tayside is to cancel all but emergency procedures for a three week period over Christmas.
Whilst I have no doubt that the reason given, to prepare for the usual increase of emergency procedures, is correct, I think it is a little bit disingenuous for the NHS Health Board to give this as the only reason.  The fact is that staff and money shortages are also key factors.   They reckon that the £450 per hour for each theatre could be saved.  Of course staff still have to be paid so it doesn’t really make that much sense.   This suspension is a symptom of the ill health of NHS Tayside. It appears that it is the NHS management and structures which are in need of radical and urgent surgery.    For the sake of the people of Dundee, Angus, Perthshire and NE Fife, can someone please diagnose and operate?
Yours etc

David Robertson

St Peters Free Church


  1. Perhaps if we weren’t squandering £100,000,000,000 so that Brexit-voting xenophobes could feel smug about themselves, there would be some money for the NHS. As it is the far-right you’ve helped empower are just itching to sell off the NHS. Funding the NHS requires real money, not Brexit post-truth fantasy money. Grow up and take responsibility for your decisions and stop blaming everyone else.

    1. What a disappointing comment which shows a disregard for truth and a sad desire for emotive invective. £100,000,000,000 is not being spent on Brexit (just making up figures doesn’t really help). Many people who voted Brexit were not xenophobes (when you have to resort to demonising and calling people names you have already lost your argument). The far right have not been empowered – again if you bothered to read and think for yourselves you would see that the liberal Lefts support of the undemocratic EU autocrats as created a discontent and a gap which the far right have been filling throughout Europe (France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Hungary and now Austria). Funding the NHS does require real money…if we are sending £13 billion into the EU each year (which we are) then this is real money that cannot be spent on the NHS. It is ironic that you ask me to grow up when your post shows an infantile ignorance of the facts and an inability to rationally think through the problem. It would also help if you were able to read because in my letter I do not ‘blame everyone else’ – I blame the NHS Tayside management. When you are ready to engage in a grown up conversation feel free to come back!

  2. Wow…..

    O K

    Having found that I had to wait 2 weeks for a x ray result was a surprise.

    Finding that the following MRI would take a further month of waiting was shall we say disappointing (I took a further week off work in the hope of a cancellation slot for an MRI no work=no pay) and now discover that Tayside is basically bust is galling to say the least.

    A simple fact-when an agency srn can earn 600 pounds for a shift over Christmas day (due to staff booked holidays) you cannot help form the impression that NHS management firmly believe that the magic money tree can solve all their, err, ills.

  3. Staff shortages are an interesting one. EU staff are leaving and new ones arent coming. The RCN, GMC and other professional bodies are raising this at all levels. The Migration Advisory Council (which decides where there are jobs for non-EU immigrants that the government should let people in to do, as opposed to the general immigrant hate as a general policy) has asked that all nursing roles be open as the shortage is so acute. My Zimbabwean friends, who studied nursing and advanced levels of nursing have all left the UK (admittedly only 6 people, 5 of whom have left).

    Some departures were certainly before Brexit but all cited a problem with UK policy and media attitudes to people who weren’t born in the UK. I did debate with them the fact that the countries they were heading to had real race relations problems but the answer was interesting. They said the state is asking them to come and facilitating their move and its only some of the people who are a problem. In the UK the state did ask people to come in the 50s & 60s and it was people who resisted buts its now people who are increasingly xenophobic and the state is supporting that. They felt they should leave because there is declining public and government support for them to be in the UK.

    The EU referendum result is an embodiment of this (you and your 400 million people complex for example). Nurses are getting older and retiring faster than we can recruit and train (see Audit Scotland reports on this). This probably really started in the 90s when it was decided a degree was needed to be a nurse. But what it means now is that there is a lost generation of people who could have been nurses but are not. Immigration helped hide this problem but since that is an issue for so many, staff shortages are no longer being papered over.

    My wifes mother is a nurse and works for an agency. She comes to the UK and works for six months near London and then goes home to Zimbabwe. It suits her semi-retirement to be outside the UK so the anti-immgrantion message doesnt grind her down.

    Staff shortages are going to get worse before they get better because we all know that the NHS is not going to get any extra money from Government, despite the alleged saving of the EU payments.

    1. I;m afraid your EU obsession is coming to the fore again. Only around 5% of NHS staff are from the EU. You have provided no evidence as to how many of those are leaving (none of the ones I know are)…You also seem to be unaware that currently there are far more staff from other countries than the EU – why would it be more difficult for EU staff than them?

      The perception of declining support or racism is actually facilitated and increased by you and your pro-EU colleagues who are talking up racism etc in order to make a political point.

      Your latter point I agree with – the NHS is going to remain underfunded and under-resourced. The EU won’t help that and indeed will be detrimental to it. Meanwhile the bigger problem is UK trained doctors and nurses heading for Australia, New Zealand etc. Last year only 52% of junior doctors stayed on in the NHS after two years. Hunt has been a disaster…but no political party is willing to face up to the issues involved.

  4. Queen of Clubs claims that the UK is squandering £100,000,000,000 on leaving the EU. Well, what’s £10 billion between friends? I take it she is referring to a report that the EU apparatchiks are demanding that the UK pays the EU £90 billion for the privilege of leaving their cosy club. So, the first point is that the UK hasn’t yet spent a penny on leaving the EU. All this talk about £90 billion pounds is just that, talk. If these EU apparatchiks seriously believe that any UK government would pay them anything remotely like £90 billion to leave the EU then they are living in cloud cuckoo land even more than we thought they were.
    As for empowering the far right I haven’t the foggiest idea who she is talking about. Tony Blair’s Labour Government maintained the policy of building new hospitals by using private firms to not only build hospitals but to maintain and manage them. They also used private firms to provide services to the NHS so that patients’ waiting times were reduced and they introduced the internal market. Was Tony Blair on the ‘far right’? And if QOC has any evidence that the government intends to sell off the NHS beyond what Tony Blair’s government did then she might like to share it with us.
    The trouble is that people on the left find it difficult to make arguments without making grossly exaggerated claims. They also seem to think that labelling people as ‘far right’ ends all arguments. The same point applies to people labelling other people as xenophobic and ‘anti-immigrant’.

  5. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/scotland/fears-that-scotland-could-have-1-000-gp-vacancies-by-2021-gqbbghgwh

    GP shortages..

    A spokeswoman for Shona Robison, the health secretary, said funding for GPs will increase by £250m by 2021 as part of a commitment to increase primary care funding by £500m.
    She said: “Coming in the week it was revealed the NHS in Scotland is outperforming the health service in England, where the Conservatives are in charge, this is the height of hypocrisy from the Tories. The SNP has delivered record staffing levels and record high funding for the NHS, increasing investment in GP services every year since 2007, and we are committed to increasing the share of the NHS budget going to primary care in each year of this parliament.”

    I would say g. d help us with this level of governance, but some may misinterpret my meaning…

  6. £200 billion estimated for renewing Trident – nuclear bombs with potential to kill millions of people and devastate the planet – no problem! Funds for the NHS? – well oh no we can’t afford that..

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