Dumfries & Galloway MP Russell Brown has criticised the “lack of urgency” by the Scottish Government in tackling NHS staff shortages, after the Scottish Health Minister replied to the local MP saying the Government were still “currently looking at options”.
Russell Brown wrote to Scottish Health Secretary Alex Neil last month calling for action from the Scottish Government to help tackle shortages in NHS Dumfries & Galloway, particularly in the Galloway Community Hospital in Stranraer.
At one point in the last few months, NHS Dumfries & Galloway were short by as much as 22 consultants.
However, in his letter the Health Minister failed to outline any details of what specific action they plan to take to tackle the problem and he added insult to injury by calling the Galloway Community Hospital in Stranraer, the “Dumfries Community Hospital in Stranraer”.
Russell Brown MP said:
“I was extremely disappointed with the reply I received from Mr Neil. The Health Secretary failed to provide any specific details of what his plan of action is for tackling the recruitment issues here in Dumfries & Galloway, and indeed across Scotland. This is not a new problem, and to say he is still looking at options without saying what they are or when we will see action shows a serious lack of urgency”.
“ The continued gaps caused by roles not being filled puts huge pressures on current staff members, who are already working flat out, and this will increase unless the problem is tackled. NHS Dumfries and Galloway are now working closely with the local community to deal with concerns being raised and I think people now recognise the commitment the local NHS has towards tackling the issues caused by staff shortages. I will be meeting with the NHS Chief Executive in the next week to discuss what progress they are making”.
“However, the NHS needs the backing of the Scottish Government. They can no longer go on dragging their feet over this issue. It has become clear from my discussion with other MPs that NHS Dumfries & Galloway and the Galloway Community Hospital are not isolated cases and this is a national problem. Hospitals are being downgraded by stealth across Scotland because positions continue to go unfilled.”