North East MSP Mike Rumbles has condemned Scottish Government Ministers for threatening to cut vital funds for veterans unless NHS Grampian can find half the money to pay for it.
In a letter regarding the closure of Veterans First Point service in NHS Grampian, the Scottish Government’s Health Minister told Mr Rumbles that she disagreed with his term “cash-strapped” to describe the local Health Board. But recent reports have shown that NHS Grampian is the poorest funded NHS Board in the country, receiving only 90% of the national average per head of population. The Board has also reported huge staff and nursing shortages without the resources available to maintain the quality of service over recent years.
Last week Mr Rumbles wrote to the Health Minister after analysis by a national newspaper revealed that NHS Grampian performed 17% (3,741) fewer planned operations than the previous year, the largest decrease by far of any health board in Scotland.
The Minister does, however, claim that the local Board are to blame, noting: ‘Unfortunately, NHS Grampian and its partners are unable to provide a commitment to the future of the service and are therefore unable to accept the Scottish Government’s offer of [match] funding [for Veterans First Point] support this year.’
Mr Rumbles said: “I do not say this lightly, the Scottish Government seemed determined to hammer the last nail into the coffin of our health services in the North East.
“The Minister is so clearly unaware or indifferent to the dire situation of NHS Grampian that she is prepared to massively underfund our local service while at the same time passing on all responsibility for cuts on to the Health Board. Blaming them for not making the money available to support our veterans.
“Staff and bed shortages, cancelled operations and now vital support units pulling down the shutters. Frankly, this situation simply cannot go on, but I fear that nothing will change until we get rid of this unwilling and incompetent Scottish Government altogether.”
Notes for editors:
- Analysis by The Times revealed the number of operations across Scotland this year fell 7% compared to 2016, with 12 of 14 Health Boards reporting a decrease. NHS Grampian performed 17% (3,741) fewer operations, the largest decrease of any health board.
- Budgetary figures. Full stats available at: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Finance/Resource-Allocation-Formula/resource-allocation-latest.asp