Health Secretary Michael Matheson’s warning that the NHS is facing “very significant challenges” this winter will have come as no surprise to anyone. These days, the NHS seems to exist in a state of all-year-round crisis.

Yet Matheson and his Cabinet colleagues almost appear paralysed, incapable of realising that the situation has become so dire that radical action is required. Planning for the surge in demand over winter has begun early, Matheson told the Scottish Parliament’s Health Committee. But, almost seeming to accept the situation, he added: “It will be a challenging time, I’m not going to shy away from that, and I’m not going to kid on that it won’t be difficult.”

He needs to realise that it is his job to ensure the health service is in a fit and proper state. Simply trying to continually firefight problems is a short-term approach that will not last, but instead continue the current process of managed decline. John-Paul Loughrey, the Scottish vice-president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, told MSPs that last winter was the “worst for a generation, and the worst probably in the history of the NHS” for emergency care staff. Will the coming winter surpass it?

Want to see more SNP fails? – Transport Matters

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