Colin Smyth MSP
Colin Smyth MSP

An “unprecedented” appeal by NHS Dumfries and Galloway for public help in tackling “the greatest pressures in living memory” must be a wake up-call to the Scottish Government, says South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth.

The local health board are asking families of hospital in-patients to provide “whatever support they can” to allow them to be discharged quickly to tackle a crisis over delayed discharge caused primarily by a lack staff to deliver care packages in the community.

In a statement NHS Dumfries and Galloway Chief Operating Officer Julie White said, “We can’t promise that it’s not going to get any worse……Our fundamental issue at the moment is the volume of people who genuinely require our help and support and finite staffing resource available to meet those needs. We are doing our best to recruit more staff to support us but the pressure is immediate.”

Commenting on the statement South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said, “This is a truly unpreceded statement by the local NHS and really must be a wake-up call to the Scottish Government over the scale of the crisis”.

“We cannot say we hope families will come forward to help before we face a tragedy because frankly I have no doubt that people’s health and well-being has already been affected”.

“Despite the heroic efforts of our NHS and Social Care staff, who we owe a huge debt of gratitude to, we know there are people in their homes right now who are not getting the care they need and that some treatments in hospitals are being cancelled because the local NHS simply don’t have the space or staff to deliver them.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t cause the difficulties recruiting social care staff. It only exasperated a problem that has been building for years. The best way we can find a long-term solution to this  recruitment crisis is start to pay our carers a decent wage. If the Scottish Government’s forthcoming budget does not set out a clear route map towards a minimum wage of £15 an hour for social care staff, then it will have failed carers and those that need care.”

“NHS Dumfries and Galloway aren’t alone in this crisis and should be commended for being open and frank with the public. It’s time other health boards did the same and stopped being in denial because these pressure are happening in every part of the country and the public want a bit more honesty from the NHS and Scottish Government.”


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