The news that only 26% of nurses feel that their department is sufficiently staffed comes as no surprise to me (report 12.12.15). Last week I attended Edinburgh Royal Infirmary to undergo surgery and many of the staff there spoke openly about the stresses they were facing.
The nurse who took me to theatre did so in her lunch break. Another told me of how the closure of the Forth Road Bridge meant that, on top of a 12 and a half hour shift, she faced 3 or 4 hours of driving each day. I saw a doctor offer to take casework off an overloaded ECG specialist. All this was in the space of a few hours.
On discharge I was asked to make an appointment with my GP practice within 72 hours. On calling, I found that no appointment was available for two weeks and that I had to rely on good will to be seen.
This act of good will typified my experience. Every member of NHS staff I met during my 24 hours in the ERI was absolutely dedicated to their job and willing to go the extra mile to help patients and colleagues.
It is a real shame that we don’t have a government in Scotland that values the NHS in the same way. In recent months they have asserted that their council tax freeze has been “fully funded” to the tune of around £500m per year, whilst the IFS and Audit Scotland have stated clearly that the NHS is being underfunded by over £300m. Government is about priorities, and the SNP appear to think that a policy which benefits the richest most is more important than giving our NHS the resources it needs.
People who think the SNP can do no wrong should take the time to speak to one of the 160,000 people who work for the NHS in Scotland. Maybe then we can start the work of giving the NHS is resources it deserves.