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MSP Wants A Resignation
An MSP has called on the chief executive of crisis-hit NHS Lanarkshire to resign.
John Pentland, the Wishaw and Motherwell MSP, has called for Calum Campbell to make way for someone else to take the reins.
Speaking about the plethora of long-running issues such as staff shortages, poor A&E waiting times, GP out-of-hours cuts, and patients waiting many months for appointments, Mr Pentland claimed those in charge needed “to face up to the problems” or “make room for those who will”.
And the call comes in the week that it emerged that doctors sent a letter to pregnant Wishaw woman, to tell her that she had miscarried her baby. But her scan showed her child was in good health.
Other problems that have came to light:
A disabled woman collapsed and suffered a panic attack in the lift at the new under-fire £23m Houldsworth which people described as a shambles and waste of money.
A Great-grandmother,87, was removed from Wishaw General Hospital by her furious husband after he found her with two black eyes.
Figures revealed the hospital had the second-worst waiting times at A&E in Scotland, with 82.6 per cent of patients being seen within the government’s four-hour target.
Fears were raised that the casualty department at Wishaw General could close after health bosses classified A&E treatment as “very high risk”.
Mr Pentland said: “I have not been impressed by the NHS chief executive, who seems to think that concerns about problems that are growing on his watch are just scaremongering, while the health board, rather than fulfil its role as a scrutiny body accountable to the public, seems to think its job is to defend such comments.
"Like any good marketing department, the press releases from NHS Lanarkshire are relentlessly upbeat. Now I like a good news story as much as anybody but they shouldn’t be allowed to obscure and get in the way of admitting and tackling problems."
“The problems manifest themselves in many ways. Staff shortages are part of the problem. They contribute to issues such as the difficulty of providing out-of-hours primary care, A&E waiting times, long waits for tests and appointments, and the resulting stress and sickness levels among staff further exacerbate the problems. They create additional costs of employing agency workers, flying in locums from all over the world, and for patients, the need to travel outside Lanarkshire to get treatment.”
Mr Pentland insists the problems have been getting worse for some time. He said: " We cannot simply blame the problems on staff shortages. We need to look at why people don’t want to work for NHS Lanarkshire and to look across the board at how NHS Lanarkshire works and how it could be made to work better, not just in one department, but as an organisation as a whole across all its activities. We can’t just wish these problems away, they have to be dealt with, and for big problems we need to look at the big picture to get the big answers."
"NHS Lanarkshire is either unwilling or unable to do that, and that reflects badly on the people in charge. If chief executive Calum Campbell doesn’t like bad news stories, he clearly shouldn’t have come to Lanarkshire, and if he is not willing to face up to the problems, then maybe he should make room for those who will, and let somebody else have a go – hopefully someone who won’t bury their head in the sand or flinch from criticising the government.”
NHS Lanarkshire chief exectutive Calum Campbell has hit back at calls urging him to step down. Mr Campbell said: " As John Pentland highlights, there are many NHS Lanarkshire good news stories. We are one of the best performing boards in Scotland for cancer care and routinely outperform the national target for referral to treatment waiting times. I think it is right and proper that we shout about these successes by our staff to acknowledge the excellent work they carry out day in, day out . We know that there are difficult challenges and areas for improvement. We will take to address them."
"Among the challenges are recruitment difficulties, which are a problem not just for Lanarkshire, but across Scotland . We have repeatedly invited Mr Pentland to meet with us to discuss these issues. It is very disappointing that he has chosen not to take up our offer."
Mr Campbell pointed out that Mr Pentland’s quotes about out-of-hours are “highly misleading as they include the period before the introduction of the interim service model on July 1, 2015.
These out-of-date figures, in fact, reflect the difficulties we were having in getting GPs to work in the previous service model and they underline one of the key reasons we needed to take action to ensure the safety of the service,” he added. The latest figures which illustrate the interim service model’s excellent current performance.
"The latest figures show that the new out-of-hours model introduced on July 1 has led to a dramatic increase in the number of GP sessions filled with fewer than two per cent of shifts unfilled in recent weeks. Both out-of-hours centres have been opening each week and the service is successfully seeing many more patients within one hour than before the new model was introduced. The bottom line is that patients are now being seen sooner in improved facilities. The current model is an interim arrangement and we are committed to waiting for the outcome of the national review of out-of-hours services before a final decision is taken about the future of the Lanarkshire service."
"The GPs and other staff who work in the service would welcome the chance for Mr Pentland to visit a centre and see at first hand the service and facilities now available for patients and staff."