Extreme waiting times for A&E are becoming ‘the new normal’ – Aberdeen Evening Express

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“Extreme waiting” times in Scotland’s NHS have been branded the “new normal” after accident and emergency departments posted the third worst results on record.

“Extreme waiting” times in Scotland’s NHS have been branded the “new normal” after accident and emergency departments posted the third worst results on record.

The most recent data showed that in the week ending September 19, fewer than three quarters (74.4%) of patients were dealt with in this time – an increase from the record low of 71.5 that was recorded the previous week.

But this was still the third worst performance since weekly monitoring began, and well below the Scottish Government’s target of having 95% of patients in A&E dealt with within four hours.

Public Health Scotland data showed that of the 26,872 people who attended A&E in the week ending September 19, 1,413 were there for more than eight hours.

This included 341 patients who spent more than 12 hours there.

Tory health spokesman, Dr Sandesh Gulhane, responded: “Our A&E departments are still overwhelmed, and Scotland’s NHS would be much better served if (Health Secretary) Humza Yousaf focused on fixing the problems on the front line, instead of making sure he gets a photo op.”

With coronavirus continuing to put pressure on the NHS, the Scottish Government has already called in the help of both the army and firefighters to drive ambulances.

But with patients reported to have died while waiting for help to arrive, Mr Cole-Hamilton demanded an independent inquiry into “all unnecessary deaths connected to ambulance waiting times”.

The Scottish Liberal Democrat leader said: “Extreme waiting times in A&E seem to be the new normal in the eyes of the SNP Government.

Scotland has ‘lowest number of hospital beds in a decade’ – STV News

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Scotland has fewer hospital beds than at any time in the last decade, new figures show.

There were 12,869 staffed beds available on average each day last year, a 9.5% decrease from the 14,227 per day in 2011-12 when the current records began.

Bed numbers free and staffed for acute patients have also fallen by 2.5% in the last year, although the numbers that were actually occupied dropped from 85.8% in 2019-20 to 74.7% in 2020-21.

The figures for available beds in acute settings include emergency treatment; routine, complex and life-saving surgery as well as specialist diagnostic procedures.

Beds used for giving birth, psychiatric services and long-stay care are not included in the Public Health Scotland figures.

The latest NHS Scotland figures for admissions and discharges also show there were almost 900,000 patients admitted to hospital in 2020-21 — 30% fewer than the previous year.

This was in addition to approximately 673,000 Scottish residents who visited an outpatient department in the last financial year, taking the total number of attendances to approximately three million, 28% fewer than 2019-20.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman suggested the decrease in acute beds was lower than the 6.5% recorded in England and explained that health boards “regularly adjust the number of staffed beds to reflect actual and projected demand”.

Deluded, Divisive and Morally Bankrupt, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon uses HGV Driver and Fuel shortages to attack UK Government -The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow Uni

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I suppose it was only a matter of time before Nicola Sturgeon jumped on the grievance wagon again, and unsurprisingly, her ‘any issue to complain’ is about the HGV driver and fuel shortage. There are two things which should be established about both issues which the ‘pro Brexit’ camp has skated over which are very important.

1/ The HGV driver shortage was caused by poor pay and conditions.

2/ The mainstream media created the fuel panic buying.

Driving for a living is highly different than driving to work or indeed driving for pleasure, for one thing, most people get to go home at night to their own bed. HGV driving because of its nature sees some drivers having to sleep in their cabs, and not have proper access to shower or toilet facilities. So, when you hear stories of drivers sleeping in lay-bys and pissing into milk bottles, you get to see a snippet of the real life of a trucker. Another which is important to everyone regardless of what job they do is pay. You will hear tales of magical amounts of money being paid to drivers such as fuel drivers, but the reality is far from the truth of most drivers. The average hourly pay for a Fuel Tanker Driver in United Kingdom is £12.66. When you consider the the average salary for a CSCS Labourer is £11.13 per hour in Scotland, you can see how this highly skilled HGV job is underpaid massively. My brother is a joiner, if he does a date time shift in an agency, he can make between £20 and £22 an hour, and if he does a ‘shop fitting’ job, he can pull in a 70 hr week. So, his top line before tax and deductions is £1540. An HGV driver gets hit with not just with low pay, but also with strict legal laws regarding the amount of time they can work. A HGV driver must not exceed 60 hours working time, which includes driving and other work, in any single week. In addition they must not exceed an average of 48 hours working time over a specific reference period. It is important to stress the reason for the restricted working is health and safety.

Given there are many lesser skilled jobs which pay higher hourly rates, allow you to do a 9 to 5 job, instead of shifts, why would you sign up? The main reason for such low pay was EU membership, specifically ‘freedom of movement’. Freedom of movement only benefits a few people in real terms, but what it does do, is suppress wages by flooding a country with cheap labour. The people like Nicola Sturgeon aren’t affected by freedom of movement in her job, nor does it affect the rate of her £157,861 a year plus expenses salary. When Nicola Sturgeon travels abroad she doesn’t sleep in a drivers cab, she doesn’t wash with baby wipes, and she doesn’t piss in a bottle, her experience is 5 star hotel, luxury shower and toilet. Of course I have written before how Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t care about working class people many times, she would rather sacrifice them, so that she can move on from First Minister and join the EU elite. In every stunt she has been involved in, to save Scottish jobs via the taskforce farce, she has never saved one! She uses working class people with the sole intention of pushing her independence agenda forward and shining a spotlight on herself as some kind of saviour.

Nicola Sturgeon is quite the despicable human being.

If we come back to the fuel shortage, this has been entirely whipped up by the mainstream media, they have used the lack of fuel drivers affecting a few garages to create a nationwide demand, that has resulted in panic buying. This isn’t the first time that this tactic has been used, it was done during Covid, people flocked to supermarkets to panic buying of food and household essentials. Who would have thought at the supposed end of the world, the British people would be so concerned about access to bog roll. In this current manufactured crisis by the mainstream media, their efforts have caused emergency planning to be brought forward so that if needed, the British Army could ensure fuel supplies got through. Driving a fuel tanker isn’t just a matter of having an HGV licence, there are other qualifications required, and it is also an anti social job with some fuel deliveries done at night. The average pay for a tanker driver using “indeed” as a source, puts their rate of pay at £14.50 an hour. Recently at the Labour Party Conference, activists called for a McDonald’s worker to get £15 hr. If they believe that is fair, what price do they or should they put on the men and women who supply everything they use to live? Driving an HGV isn’t the same as driving a car, and driving an articulated lorry isn’t the same driving a lorry dubbed a ‘rigid vehicle’. I know this from experience because I have passed my car licence, my rigid vehicle licence, my bus licence and also my articulated lorry licence. However, I would need a refresher course to feel comfortable with the bigger vehicles.

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Glasgow is suffering because SNP council leader won’t stand up to Nicola Sturgeon – The Scotsman

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Home to around one-fifth of the nation’s population and sustaining hundreds of thousands of jobs, the city will shape Scotland’s economic performance in the years ahead.

This week, the 23rd annual State of the City Economy Conference will be held in Glasgow and hear about the opportunities for growth. The city has a chance to transform into a green powerhouse and take advantage of new industries such as digital tech.

We have the people and we have the talent. But this transformation will also require ambition for Glasgow. And that is sadly lacking in the current SNP administration in the City Chambers. With Susan Aitken in charge, we do not have a champion for our city.

Instead we have someone who refuses to take responsibility and blames the residents of Glasgow for its current challenges – wrapped up in rhetoric that would make Margaret Thatcher blush.

It’s just a “spruce up” that the city needs, she told STV in a car-crash interview. It’s “wee neds” to blame for the state of the city, she told the BBC in another attempt at deflection.

Rubbish piling up on the streets? People need to take more responsibility for cleanliness in their communities, according to Councillor Aitken. Every single time, whatever the problem, there is always someone else to blame for the SNP.

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NHS Highland pays out millions of pounds to bullied members of staff – STV news

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NHS Highland has paid out millions of pounds to current and former staff who said they were victims of workplace bullying.

The health board, which covers the Highlands and Argyll and Bute, has so far made 150 financial payments – totalling more than £2m – as part of a “healing process”.

It expects to pay a total of £3.4m once all remaining cases have been settled.

But NHS Highland says that is a lower figure than the anticipated £4.2m it had earlier set aside, adding that funding provided by the Scottish Government “should be sufficient” to cover the settlements.

The health board was heavily criticised after an investigation found hundreds of staff across the region may have endured inappropriate behaviour.

Many said they had been victims of bullying within the service, while many quit their jobs or transferred elsewhere within the NHS.

The extent of the bullying was exposed by whistleblowers in 2018.

QC John Sturrock led an independent inquiry into the allegations after several hundred staff lodged complaints.

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Social care sector ‘on its knees’ amid recruitment crisis – STV news

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The social care sector in Scotland is “on its knees”, it has been claimed, amid a warning that a lack of new recruits could force services to grind to a halt.

Lynn Bell, CEO of LOVE Group, a care provider based in Hamilton, highlighted the recruitment crisis in the sector in an interview with STV News.

And she explained that her organisation has had to consider prioritising certain care packages as a contingency measure in place of not delivering care.

“I think the social care sector is actually on its knees in terms of recruitment,” Bell said.

“What we are trying to do is attract people into a sector that’s broken.

“We could quite literally hire 500 people tomorrow and we can’t attract people into the jobs.

“So, it’s been quite disastrous and without exaggeration, the care sector itself is going to grind to a halt and people’s care might stop.”

She added: “Care is going to stop. People are going to stop receiving their care at home, it is an absolute fact.

“And as a care company, we have already started to look at prioritising certain care packages as a contingency to not delivering care.”

Bell indicated that the sector is experiencing challenges with recruitment across the board.

“It will quite literally stop and that doesn’t just apply to our organisation, that applies to every organisation,” she said.

“We go into provider meetings with local authorities, local authorities are providing care to families and everybody has the same message.

“Everybody is struggling, nobody can recruit and we just can’t get the bodies through the door.

“So, it will quite literally stop and we’re not far away.”

Donald Macaskill, chief executive of Scottish Care, urged national and local government to invest in care.

Covid, ambulance waiting times, energy bills and empty supermarket shelves have created a perfect storm that reveals how badly Scotland is governed – The Scotsman

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It is difficult at the moment not to feel that we are in the very eye of a momentous political and economic version of exactly that.

For 18 months, we had endured the seemingly unending and life-threatening waves of the pandemic, to the point where we seemed almost to have become inured to it.

We are braced – but not prepared – for the national and personal economic impact of the end of furlough, the Universal Credit uplift and business support.

And now we find that our energy bills could rocket, inflation is rising, the impact of Brexit is contributing to empty supermarket shelves, and the Scottish government is putting our travel and hospitality industries at a disadvantage to the rest of the UK.

That list was already challenging enough without the stark realisation over the past few weeks that our NHS, which has got us through this crisis, is now at breaking point.

I know that is a claim which politicians are often accused of making simply to weaponise a public service which is held in such specific and special regard by so many of us.

But sadly, all the evidence tells us that the claim is true. Both for the institution itself and the many courageous and tireless staff at its heart.

It must be tempting for those responsible for the well-being of the NHS to blame its current predicament on all the other elements of the storm. That somehow the crisis which has necessitated calling in the Armed Forces to support our ambulance service is purely the result of the circumstances we find ourselves in. That they can look to the example of our energy industry which is defending itself with evidence of an unusual lack of wind and solar resources and a fire on an interconnector.

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New P-8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft arrives in Scotland – UK Defence Journal

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RAF Lossiemouth have welcomed their newest Poseidon MRA Mk1 Maritime Patrol Aircraft, ZP806.

The submarine-hunter, named ‘Guernsey’s Reply’, is the sixth Poseidon aircraft to arrive at the Moray base and will operate as part of the re-established 201 Squadron.

The Royal Air Force say here that the aircrafts name honours the close bond between 201, the island of Guernsey and Jurat Herbert Machon OBE who named his Mk XVI Spitfire ‘Guernsey’s Reply’ during World War II.

Wing Commander Smolak, Officer Commanding 201 Squadron, was quoted as saying:

“I am thrilled to welcome Guernsey’s Reply to RAF Lossiemouth.  Not only does this mark a further increase to our maritime air capability here at RAF Lossiemouth but it is also a fitting tribute to the association between 201 Squadron and Guernsey. 

Everyone on 201 Squadron is very proud of this long-standing association and the history which it represents. As we move forward, we must continue to foster the links which brought us to where we are now, and I am personally grateful to be able to play my small part.”

Poseidon is equipped with sensors and weapons systems for anti-submarine warfare, as well as surveillance and search and rescue missions. It features an APY-10 radar for high-resolution mapping, an acoustic sensor system, an electro-optical/IR turret and electronic support measures.

Nine Poseidon MRA Mk. 1 aircraft have been ordered.

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NHS may need to cut all non-urgent care this winter, say unions – The Scotsman

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The health service is in “absolute crisis”, warned Unison, while the Royal College of Nursing said nurses were “crying on a daily basis” and frightened of the winter to come.

It comes as the first soldiers are set to begin driving ambulances this weekend, after a request for help from the Scottish Government.

Several health boards have already cancelled non-urgent surgeries, and in a statement on Friday NHS Grampian said it would be forced to prioritise the most sick children at the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital over the weekend.

“This is the worst it’s ever been in the NHS,” said Willie Duffy, head of health at Unison.

“People are really struggling. They’re working extra shifts, they’re not getting any holidays, they’re having to stay on shift longer. There are real issues just now.”

Mr Duffy said he would write to the Scottish Government next week about the union’s concerns.

“It might be that we’re going to have to stop a lot of the [routine and elective] work that we do,” he said.

“I know that increases waiting times, but we’re struggling just now in terms of emergency stuff.

“They are going to have to really consider that as an option.”

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Text pest Derek Mackay let scandal banker head £2bn fund without ‘proper scrutiny’ – Daily Record

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Shamed Derek Mackay allowed a controversial banker to be appointed head of a new £2billion government fund without ethics watchdog oversight.

The former Finance Minister personally approved an “unregulated” selection process that installed Willie Watt as chair of the Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB), the Sunday Mail can reveal.

Watt has been appointed despite the firm he previously led being fined £8.6million in the UK and America over a conflict of interests scandal.

Benny Higgins meanwhile – the Government’s chief adviser to help set up the taxpayer-funded bank – was eviscerated in 2015 for spending £18,000 on taxis in eight months while CEO of Tesco Bank at a time the supermarket was firing frontline staff.

We have learned Scotland’s dedicated public appointment ombudsman had to stand aside from overseeing Watt’s appointment after Mackay – who was forced to resign after sending hundreds of inappropriate texts to a schoolboy – allowed Higgins to head an unregulated interview panel.

Labour MSP Neil Findlay has demanded an inquiry into the lack of public or parliamentary scrutiny.

He said: “The Scottish National Investment Bank has to start its life with the full confidence of the Scottish people. It shouldn’t repeat the discredited practices of the private banks that took our economy to the brink. I fear we’re seeing it do exactly that.

“The parliament’s committee system needs to scrutinise this organisation that will be responsible for hundreds of millions of public money.”

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