Sunday, 29 August 2004

Sick Scotland

Andrew Duffin has e-mailed me about a story in Friday's Glasgow Herald:

"Waiting times for patients at Scotland's accident and emergency departments are rising and have now reached unacceptable levels, the health minister said yesterday. "
And Andrew comments:
What, despite all those extra £billions? Well, colour me surprised!
This story was also big news in Friday's Scotsman:
Indeed, rather than generating vast improvements in the health service in Scotland, the Executive’s massive extra investment - £2 billion extra in the past four years - seems to have made no noticeable improvement. Waiting lists are greater now than they were before devolution and key waiting times are longer than under the Tories.
Surely the explanation must be a "lack of resources", some will claim.

Not so:

The government spends £1,190 per head on health in England. In Scotland the figure is £1,500, the equivalent of 10 per cent of Scottish GDP - well ahead of the EU average of 8.2 per cent. But the English NHS has managed to make great strides in cutting waiting lists and times, improving productivity and making the whole service more efficient.
And there was yet more about this fiasco in another Scotsman article on Friday:
Yesterday’s official waiting time statistics revealed that the average wait for inpatient treatment at Scottish hospitals was 43 days in June - five days more than last year. They also showed that patients are waiting longer for treatment in Scotland’s accident and emergency departments.
An editorial calls for the resignation of Scotland's health minister:
UNDER Malcolm Chisholm, Scotland has set two records: the highest healthcare spending ratio in Western Europe, and the lowest life expectancy. The health minister appears to be gunning for a third title: the biggest investment for the poorest results.

.... Scotland is rich in healthcare professionals, who have the intellect (and the resources) to tackle the problems mainly created by pockets of Labour-sponsored urban poverty which now make Glasgow’s life expectancy lower than that of Iran. The problem is the politicians.

Rejecting reform may have been an easy choice for Mr Chisholm, but Scotland’s sick are now paying the price. For their sake, he must go.

I have spent the last two weeks at the Edinburgh Book Festival listening to speaker after speaker praising the Scottish Enlightenment and its contribution to mankind - especially in medicine - and yet the population of Glasgow, once the proud Second City of the Empire, is sicker than that of Iran.

Yes, Malcolm Chisholm should go. But he's just carrying out a policy supported by all of the Scottish Labour Party as well as virtually every other politician in the Scottish parliament. It's unfair to lay all the blame on the hapless Chisholm - the whole Scottish Executive should resign in shame. It's time for a new Enlightenment.

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

"The government spends £1,190 per head on health in England. In Scotland the figure is £1,500, ...". Here is where the major misunderstanding lies. "The government" has no money. It should read "The taxpayer accords ... etc." This should clear up the misunderstanding that governments are like companies and earn money. They leech off wealth creators.

2 September 2004, 02:35:49 GMT+01:00
– Like – Reply

Sandy P
Support Socialized Medicine has some of the best bumperstickers. 
You guys should get some.

31 August 2004, 15:59:02 GMT+01:00