Call made for Health Minister to visit Paisley’s RAH as a “priority”

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A Paisley politician has hit out at Health Minister Humza Yousaf over his failure to visit the under-pressure Royal Alexandra Hospital.

The Scottish Government health supreme pledged last November that he would visit the Corsebar Road facility to hear firsthand the concerns of workers.

It came after Unison reps at the RAH highlighted a string of concerns, including a “chronic” shortage of staff.

Paisley-based MSP Neil Bibby wrote to the SNP’s Mr Yousaf after Unison reps Barbara Steel and Margaret Duffy went to him to flag up their worries.

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But he pressed him for answers during a parliamentary showdown in November after he failed to receive any reply to correspondence with the Supreme Health.

Instead, Mr Yousaf vowed to visit the RAH to speak to staff leaders first hand in the wake of the women’s claims that frontline workers at the site were “burning out” and pleaded with GPs to see more patients in a bid to keep desperate residents from turning up at the hospital’s buckling A&E department.

But Mr Yousaf has yet to confirm when he will go to the RAH as further evidence that the hospital is facing extreme pressures continues to emerge.

Neil, Labor list MSP for the West of Scotland, told the Express: “It has been over two months since the Health Secretary pledged in Parliament to meet RAH staff and hear their concerns about the crisis in the NHS but still there has been no meeting .

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“To act on the concerns of staff and patients, Humza Yousaf must first listen to them. He has to understand the pressures frontline workers are facing.”

He added: “There is still time for the Health Secretary to meet RAH workers and I urge him to do so as a priority.”

We told in December how reps Barbara and Margaret again warned of a tough situation at the hospital, branding the staffing situation “dire” amidst warning that hospital bosses needed to “shut the doors” due to pressures on staffing capabilities.

They spoke out after it emerged that a nurse, who had been qualified for just one year, had been left in charge of a gastro ward at the RAH overnight with just an auxiliary as backup, as staffing pressures continued.

We also told last week how NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde were carpeted by a Scottish Public Services Ombudsman inquiry after it emerged that a female patient undergoing a hysterectomy at the RAH was left with bowel damage after her operation was carried out by a surgeon deemed too junior .

The probe found there had been attempts to cover up the bungle after the woman was left facing emergency surgery to correct the “large” injury to her bowel which specialists found to be a wound from a “scalpel or scissors” during the op in January 2020 .

In light of the news last week, Mr Bibby raised questions about when Mr Yousaf could be expected to visit the hospital.

A written reply from the Minister claimed he had not yet visited the site over concerns about the rise of the new Omicron variant, saying: “On 18 November, I confirmed with Mr Bibby that I will visit the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley when it is the appropriate time to do so.

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“Ministerial visits are being carefully considered at present in light of the implications for health and social care services from the Omicron variant. I continue to maintain strong communication with trade union representatives and health boards to understand the experiences of our frontline health and social care staff .”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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