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Health Secretary reveals shortfall in promised A&E consultants

October 11, 2013 2:39 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Jim Hume MSP has hit outJim HumeJim Hume at the SNP government after Health Secretary Alex Neil revealed that only 3 out of a promised 18 additional A&E consultants have been secured.

The A&E crisis last year saw hundreds of patients across Scotland left languishing on hospitals trolleys due to a lack of resources. The SNP government pledged £50 million to be invested over the next three years as part of an emergency care action plan. In June this year, the Scottish Government pledged that health boards will begin to recruit the 18 additional pledged consultants "immediately."

Deputy Chairman of the BMA, Dr Charles Saunders, has already warned that the £9 million tranche of funds already released for the programme is "simply not enough" for the 14 health boards and was merely a "sticking plaster" which would do little to address the harsh winter.

Mr Hume has challenged the SNP government to deliver the remaining 15 consultants immediately.

Commenting after general questions, Mr Hume said:

"It is disgraceful that only three out of a promised 18 A&E consultants are in post. The Health Secretary told me that there were only three consultants appointed since June, and they were all appointed for Glasgow's health board. This leaves 13 health boards without the additional consultants they were promised.

"Patients and their families will not forget the reprehensible state of affairs earlier this year when hundreds of patients were left to languish on trolleys in cold hospital corridors due to a lack of staff and beds. It took the health secretary months to accept that this was happening and even longer to set out a plan of action. Now we learn that it has taken four months to get a sixth of the specialist consultants they need for the whole of Scotland.

"Our hospitals and patients cannot wait for this government to get its act together. People will have noticed a real drop in temperature lately. We need to know that our hospitals have the resources they need to deal with any influx in winter demands. Alex Neil must deliver the remaining 15 A&E consultants immediately."