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Doctor: Ministers don’t listen to staff on NHS frontline

© Fraser BremnerHealth Secretary
Humza Yousaf.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf.

A doctor whose 96-year-old mother spent 40 hours on a trolley in an A&E ward has warned ministers are not listening to the people working on the NHS frontline.

GP Norrie Gaw’s mother Evelyn had to remain in the corridor of an Ayrshire hospital beside constantly opening electric doors for almost two days as overworked staff treated her and searched for a bed.

The former head teacher had been admitted to hospital with a serious chest infection but there was no room for her in an assessment ward.

She is now recovering but her case was raised at Holyrood last week and Gaw has now written to Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf.

Gaw, a Glasgow GP and former head of the city’s out of hours doctors’ service, fears staff are not being listened to as fears mount for the NHS.

“There are a lot of very bright people on the frontline of the NHS who know the solutions but are not being listened to,” he said. “The staff are fabulous but exhausted and their hands are tied. There are people suffering and losing their dignity and this could be remedied if we accepted that the system is failing.”

During a Holyrood debate on the NHS crisis, Tory health spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane raised the case of the great-grandmother, who was taken to A&E after collapsing at her home.

The health secretary was condemned for lauding a marginal improvement in figures.

Public Health Scotland figures for A&E waiting times for the week ending September 18 showed only 66.2% of people were dealt with within the four-hour target, up slightly from 63.5% for the week ending September 11, the worst on record.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran said: “ We are aware that, unfortunately, sometimes patients have waited significantly longer than we would wish and we unreservedly apologise for that.”

Yousaf said: “While it is clearly welcome this patient is getting the right care now, I am sorry to hear that her initial experience fell short of what everyone should expect.

“I’ll be setting our health and care plan to help support our NHS through the winter.”

Meanwhile, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary’s emergency department has asked patients with non-urgent conditions to stay away because it is under extreme pressure. They should instead call NHS24.