Health Secretary must accept responsibility for paediatric staffing shortage

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Jim Hume MSP hasJim HumeJim Hume criticised the Health Secretary for failing to guarantee that children’s units across Scotland would remain as its revealed that widespread staffing shortages have left units at breaking point, described by one doctor as a “national crisis.”

Mr Hume raised the issue of unfilled paediatric vacancies, which has seen posts across Scotland empty for as long as two years, with the Health Secretary during Topical Questions.

Commenting after Topical Questions, Mr Hume said:

“Parents across Scotland will rightly be concerned about the possible impact staff shortages could have upon children’s units. Some paediatric units are already operating with less than half the staff they need, with posts remaining vacant for over two years. Rather than set out a plan of action, the Health Secretary chose to list who he felt was to blame. Alex Neil’s failure to accept responsibility for the national crisis in paediatric staff and his failure to provide assurances that no wards will close because of this is shameful.

“When we learnt that patients were being left to languish on trolleys in cold hospital corridors it was two weeks before the Minister took decisive action and allocated funds for consultants to tackle the crisis in our A&E wards. We cannot afford any more time to be wasted in addressing this staffing crisis. It is time the Health Secretary accepted responsibility for his portfolio and sorted out the staffing shortages which are affecting hospitals across Scotland.”