New report reveals NHS scarred by the pandemic

A new report published today by Public Health Scotland has offered new insights into the experience of critical care units during the pandemic, showing the significant strain staff had to deal with.

The Audit of Critical Care in NHS Scotland found that during the pandemic:

  • Some units were looking after three times their baseline capacity without access to additional ICU trained staff.
  • Staff with ICU experience were stretched, and other staff had to regularly supplement these units without the relevant expertise.
  • Wearing PPE for prolonged periods caused physical strain, and the necessity for frequent end-of-life care, often without access to in-person family visiting caused a “significant psychological burden”.
  • Hospitals serving deprived areas managed a disproportionate number of cases.
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Wishart: SQA boss should move on after results day

Responding to young people and students in Scotland receiving their exam results today, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP said: 

“I would like to congratulate all of those getting results today for their hard work. The pandemic has had an enormous impact on schooling so everyone deserves a huge amount of credit for the work they have put in.

“Likewise I want to thank all the teachers and school staff, whose professionalism and dedication has kept our school system running in these difficult circumstances."

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Wishart: Scotland at risk of another exams debacle

Speaking ahead of Scottish school children getting their exam results on Tuesday, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP said:

"I am hoping that every pupil gets the results that they deserve but I worry that this will not be the case. The fact that the head of the SQA didn't see fit to apologise for last year's results shambles suggests that few lessons have been learned.

"Pupils were forced into exams in all but name, sitting as many as 40 assessments in 8 weeks, crammed in with little notice. The SQA shifted workloads onto teachers and gave them precious little leeway to recognise that some of their students had missed months of education due to repeated stints in isolation or disruption at home.

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Carmichael presses SNP over 100 days pledges

Scottish Liberal Democrat interim leader Alistair Carmichael MP said:

“Nicola Sturgeon has one more week to deliver on her pledges for her first 100 days in power.

“Most significantly we are still waiting on the NHS recovery plan to help our health service recover, not just from the pandemic, but from 14 years of her government’s mismanagement.

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NHS recovery plan must hold answers on staffing, operations and A&E

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton has today proposed new measures for inclusion in the forthcoming NHS Recovery Plan and challenged Health Secretary Humza Yousaf to recognise within the plans that the NHS didn't have the resources to meet waiting times for years before the pandemic struck.

The SNP have promised that their NHS recovery plan will be published by 14th August, within 100 days of the new Parliament starting. 

Mr Cole-Hamilton is today asking the Health Secretary to ensure that the plan includes: 

  • Resources to ensure that missed targets for A&E performance, operations and screening programs are met.
  • Increasing the number of diagnosis and treatment centres within health boards. 
  • Expanded testing capacity in every health board to meet the need to assess more people on suspicion of cancer and other life-limiting conditions.
  • Listening to the views of NHS staff as to which service innovations they pioneered during the pandemic will be essential to rebuild the health service.  
  • Funding a bigger range of specialists, diagnosis and treatment in local communities and expanding the services available in GP surgeries.
  • Training more mental health specialists.
  • Specialist long Covid clinics and new in-home support.

It comes as new Scottish Liberal Democrat analysis of statistics has also found that 230,000 scheduled operations have been lost to the pandemic.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said: 

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Lib Dems warn against letting ministers take over care services

As a new consultation opens on the future of care services, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today warned against centralising services and putting them in the hands of the same Scottish Government ministers who oversaw the discharge of untested and covid-positive people into care homes during the pandemic.

The SNP promised in their plan for the first 100 days of the new parliament to start a formal consultation on legislation to centralise care services. This consultation is set to be launched on Monday 9th August.

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Carmichael: Harsh truths for PM on Scottish fishing trip

Responding to the Prime Minister's meeting with fishing leaders today and comments from Scottish Seafood Association chief executive Jimmy Buchan urging the Prime Minister to “stem the haemorrhage of overseas workers” and warning that the Brexit deal “had fallen far short of expectations”, Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael said:

“The Prime Minister has heard some harsh home truths on his trip to Scotland. His promises to the fishing industry collapsed at the first opportunity and his Brexit deal is riddled with holes.

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Cole-Hamilton: Long Covid sufferers would be better off moving to England

Scottish Liberal Democrat leadership candidate Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today used a visit to Future Gym in South Queensferry to set out proposals for helping people with long Covid, as he warned that Scots with the condition would be better off moving to England given how woeful provision for the condition is in Scotland.

Last week Mr Cole-Hamilton met with a spokesperson from the group Long Covid Scotland to hear what measures they would like to see put in place. He is now calling for a coordinated national action plan on long Covid including:  

  • Specialist long Covid clinics  
  • The training of long Covid community nurses to offer in-home support  
  • Country-wide access to long Covid physiotherapy and multi-disciplinary rehab
  • A policy of no financial detriment for Scottish public sector workers who are absent for long periods of time due to long Covid.  

Patients in England have access to a network of specialist clinics and other support services. Meanwhile patients in Scotland are directed to a charity advice phoneline, internet guidance and what support their GP can offer. 

Long Covid has been described as potentially the largest mass disabling event in modern times. It is characterised by symptoms including cognitive impairment (brain fog), gastrointestinal problems, chronic fatigue, dizziness, muscle wastage and ‘air-hunger’ (when someone feels they can’t fill their lungs with enough oxygen.)  

Alex Cole-Hamilton said:  

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Cole-Hamilton: End imprisonment for drug possession

Responding to the statement from the Minister for Drug Policy, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:

"1,339 people had their life cut short, their potential extinguished, decades before their time. 

"Apologies are hard to accept because pleas were dismissed for years. I will never understand why ministers surrendered services and expertise by cutting Alcohol and Drug Partnershop budgets. 

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Carmichael condemns vaccine passport “flip-flop”

Scottish Liberal Democrat interim leader Alistair Carmichael MP has urged the Scottish Government to call off its illiberal steps towards the introduction of domestic vaccine passports, after the First Minister confirmed that an app will pave the way for the introduction of the system.

During the statement on the easing of restrictions the First Minister moved the Scottish Government closer to introducing domestic “vaccine passports” , putting the plans back on the table and soon on phones.

Reacting to the news, Alistair Carmichael MP said:

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