Glasgow’s NHS service on ‘brink of collapse’

Glasgow’s NHS is on the “brink of collapse” according to councillors, after residents were advised not to visit A&E unless it was vital.

It comes as the latest government figures show just over 60% of patients were seen in under four hours.

The issue was brought to the attention of full council on Thursday by Labour councillor Eunis Jassemi who raised concerns about the recent advice issued to residents encouraging them to avoid visiting A&E during the winter.

During the meeting councillor Jassemi asked what communication the local authority had had with the health board and Scottish Government regarding the issue ahead of a “challenging winter”.

The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.
The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

He was advised by councillor Chris Cunningham, convenor of health and social care, that the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (GGC) uses the Right Care Right Place model for unscheduled or emergency care to ensure residents get access to the most appropriate care quickly and safely.

Councillor Cunningham said: “It is also intended to protect our accident and emergency departments so they can look after patients with life threatening conditions.

“There are a range of options available to citizens to guide them towards the most appropriate pathway including primary care, pharmacies and minor injury units.

“I hope councillor Jassemi will agree with me that making use of all pathways in the NHS is something that we should encourage and not diminish by default.

“As a member of the health board I can assure the councillor that I have been actively engaged in discussions on these matters most recently at the health board meetings this week when detailed discussions took place on winter planning and performance against targets.

“Let me be clear, these are challenging times and we face a winter with a range of unknowns from possible new covid variants, the impact of the cost of living crisis and even the potential for industrial action.

“I hope residents would agree with me that our fellow citizens will be best served by all of us in positions of responsibility ensuring they are directed to the right information at all times.”

Concerns were then raised that funds could be taken from the health and social care partnership to help address problems facing the NHS.

Councillor Jassemi said: “Just 62% of NHSGGC patients were seen within four hours according to the latest government statistics.

“It is clear there is still huge demand for the service which is on the brink of collapse. The convenor and the leader of the council have received a letter from the Scottish Government wanting to claw back covid money from the HSCP surplus to fix the mess that they have caused to our health and social care system.

“This is nothing short of a cash grab which will put more pressure on our hard pressed staff.”

Councillor Cunningham responded: “I absolutely understand people will want to see resources maximise and I would endorse any call for the maximum number of resources to be spent where they are available.”