Health Matters

More than 4400 Covid vaccine doses ‘wasted in one week in Scotland’ – STV news

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More than 4400 doses of coronavirus vaccine were wasted in Scotland in one week, figures have revealed.

Statistics published by the Scottish Government under freedom of information requests showed that in the week ending August 1, a total of 4,448 doses of vaccine were not administered.

Between February and July the number totalled 34,026.

The Scottish Government said there are “several reasons a vaccine may not be administered before being discarded, and therefore ‘wasted’”, including issues with storage, expired doses and “specific clinical situations where there may be some dose loss”.

The figures covered all three of the coronavirus vaccines being given in Scotland – Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna – with the total wasted amounting to 0.51% of the 6,643,551 jabs given.

However the statistics do not include wastage of vaccines in GPs practices, as “GPs do not record this information”.

The figures were released as the Scottish Government continues to urge everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

From Monday this will include healthy youngsters aged between 12 and 15, after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the vaccine programme was being expanded following advice from the UK’s chief medical officers.

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Warning as nurse and midwife vacancy rate breaks record in Scotland – Nursing Times

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Nursing and midwifery vacancies have been at a record high in Scotland since March, with over 4,800 posts unfilled, unions have warned in response to latest workforce figures.

Latest NHS Scotland workforce statistics, published this week, show that 4,845 whole-time equivalent (WTE) nursing and midwifery posts were vacant at the end of June, representing 7.1% of the total.

They also reveal that in the previous quarter, ending in March, 4,494, or 6.6%, of WTE nursing and midwifery posts were unfilled.

The latter figure has only just been published as not all health boards were able to submit data. The Royal College of Nursing highlighted that the previous record had been 4,013, or 6.3%, in June 2019.

The RCN noted that there were “particular challenges” in a number of health boards and in some nursing areas, such as community and mental health.

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Pensioner dies waiting 40 hours for ambulance after collapsing in Glasgow flat – The Scotsman

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According to a report in the Herald Gerard Brown, 65, was found by family on the floor of his flat in Dumbreck, Glasgow last Monday with injuries to his back and arms from a fall.

Paramedics eventually arrived around 3am on Wednesday, after which time Mr Brown had passed away.

Mr Brown’s son Dylan, told the Herald: “They pronounced that he was only just dead because he still had warmth in his body.

“In this day and age, it should not be happening. I know with Covid people are busy and the NHS is struggling, but that’s unacceptable and we just don’t want it happening to another family.”

Dylan added that his father’s GP had told him “I can assure you that if they’d got to him your Dad would still be here”.

Mr Brown was reportedly a cancer survivor, weighing just six stone, who had a history of alcohol-related health problems.

The GP, Dr O’Neill, was reported as first being made aware of Mr Brown’s situation by his ex-wife on Monday morning, after she called let the practice know the family were waiting for an ambulance.

Dr O’Neill told the Herald: “At 9am on Tuesday we get a phonecall from his ex-wife to say ‘listen, he’s still in the house’. I was like ‘you are kidding me?’.

“I got on the phone to the ambulance service at 9.15am and I said ‘this man is going to be found dead’ – and I used that language, because I knew the situation he was in.

The GP was called by police on Wednesday to inform him of Mr Brown’s death. But he said that the long wait was not an isolated incident.

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Doctors are exhausted, says BMA Scotland chief – BBC news

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Scotland’s doctors are “exhausted” and many are cutting working hours or leaving the health service altogether, according to a senior doctors’ leader.

BMA Scotland chairman Dr Lewis Morrison told BBC Scotland that doctors were “washed out physically and mentally” after 18 months of the Covid pandemic.

He said action was needed to stop doctors leaving the profession and to boost recruitment of new medics.

The Scottish government said it was working to manage the pressures.

Speaking ahead of the BMA’s annual representative meeting, Dr Morrison said the “workforce crisis” had its roots in the number of senior doctor vacancies before the pandemic.

But he said that the NHS “being run at 110% capacity” during Covid had deepened the crisis.

The pressures across the NHS had been “immense” in the past few weeks, he said.

Dr Morrison said doctors traditionally had low levels of sickness but it was starting to rise.

“I think the cumulative effect of the pandemic is now starting to show,” he said.

“The main other thing is to look after people, to give people the space to have rest and recuperation as best they can, to not pressurise people to do more and more.

“The message needs to go to the public to still be patient with the NHS because it cannot meet the needs of everybody right now.”

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NHS faces ‘staffing disaster’ as 5,000 nursing jobs left vacant – The Times

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The Royal College of Nursing Scotland has demanded action as it emerged that vacancies within nursing and midwifery amounted to 4,900 posts,
Vacancies within the NHS have reached “record levels”, as figures showed that more than 500 consultant positions and almost 5,000 jobs in nursing and midwifery are vacant.
The staffing gaps came as the health secretary warned that the summer had seen a “perfect storm” for the NHS in Scotland amid high demand and a “knackered” workforce.
Humza Yousaf said health boards were having to make difficult decisions about the types of treatment they could offer when he appeared at Holyrood’s health committee yesterday.
Asked about recently declaring “code black” — meaning they had reached full capacity — and fatigue among staff, Yousaf said the NHS was still “in the midst” of the pandemic and were having to take “tough decisions” about non-urgent surgery.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland has demanded action as it emerged that in June this year vacancies within nursing and midwifery amounted to the whole-time equivalent of 4,900 posts.
That is the highest number ever, the union claimed, up from 4,000 posts in June 2019, with the current total meaning around 7 per cent of roles are unfilled. Meanwhile, the same figures showed 540 consultants posts were vacant in June — up from a previous high of 514 two years ago.
RCN Scotland claimed the vacancy rates in some areas, such as NHS Highland, NHS Shetland and NHS Dumfries and Galloway, meant that more than one in ten nursing and midwifery roles were lying empty.
The union added that across Scotland, 10 per cent of district nursing posts were vacant, while there were 8 per cent of mental health nursing posts unfilled — a record high

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Scotland’s swamped contact tracers told to stop ringing people with Covid if two calls ring out amid virus surge – The Sun

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SWAMPED contact tracers are being told to stop chasing Covid-positive Scots if two calls ring out in four hours.

Backlogs caused by the recent virus spike, coupled with staff shortages, are pushing Scotland’s Test and Protect system to breaking point, according to one insider.

The whistleblower says the system is overwhelmed by surging infection rates, adding: “Cases are closed after two attempts.”

They say staff are now only able to do the “bare minimum” by ringing people with the bug twice before giving up and moving on.

And they told how — with new cases topping 7,000 last Sunday — flowcharts and scripts used by call handlers had been changed to get through jobs faster.

The insider claimed most positive cases in their late teens or early 20s who were successfully reached had been in a nightclub since venues reopened on August 9.

And they revealed “burnt out” workers are increasingly frustrated with the Scottish Government’s handling of the crisis.

Critics have demanded an overhaul of the contact tracing system amid claims it is “running on fumes”.

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