Monday, 30 April 2018

Glasgow - A Resigning Matter?

What has no one resigned or been sacked over the appalling handling of equal pay in Scotland's largest council?

Now I'm not in favour of witch hunts or scapegoating people, but I think it's a fair question to ask of Glasgow City Council especially as the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, has just resigned over the WIndrush scandal.

And just days ago the Chairperson and Chief Executive of Tayside Health Board resigned after being publicly criticised by Scotland's health minister, Shona Robison.

Shona Robison herself was urged to resign last week during First Minister's Questions after a cancer patient, Margaret Goodman, had a nightmare experience at the hands of the Scottish Ambulance Service and her local NHS Accident and Emergency department. 

Margaret Goodman had this to say as she called for the health minister to resign:

“It’s the one at the top – it’s always the one at the top. Who else is responsible? Who’s put this in place?”

In Glasgow City Council, senior officials are still refusing to accept responsibility, individually or collectively, for the dog's dinner they have made and continue to make of equal pay.

Officials are still proclaiming the creation of Cordia as a great success (despite its track record) and are still trying to defend their discredited WPBR pay scheme which has been condemned as 'unfit for purpose' by the highest civil court in Scotland.

So I find it quite astonishing that, so far, no one has had the integrity to reflect on their position before deciding it really is time to go.


Dying grandmother calls on Health Secretary Shona Robison to quit after 'horrific' ordeal

By Alistair Grant - The Herald

Cancer patient Margaret Goodman

A DYING grandmother has spoken of her “horrific” experience at the hands of Scotland’s NHS after she was forced to wait hours to receive basic pain relief – despite phoning for an ambulance three times.

Margaret Goodman, 58, joined calls for embattled Health Secretary Shona Robison to resign in the wake of her treatment and insisted she had been stripped of her dignity.

Her husband Gavin was eventually forced to drive her to hospital, where the couple were told to wait in A&E on a busy Saturday night while Mrs Goodman writhed in pain.

She was finally given morphine at 3am – more than three hours after she had first collapsed at the family home. She did not see a doctor until four hours later.

Mrs Goodman’s story was highlighted by Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard during First Minister’s Questions, where he revealed more than 16,000 ambulances had taken longer than an hour to arrive during 2017.

Speaking afterwards, Mrs Goodman insisted the Health Secretary should resign as she was ultimately in charge.

She added: “This isn’t about, ‘Oh, we’ll look at it, and we’ll put something in place.’ For 16,000 people? I don’t think that cuts. I was shocked. That is scary.

“It’s the one at the top – it’s always the one at the top. Who else is responsible? Who’s put this in place?”

Wiping away tears, the former secondary school teacher from Clackmannanshire described her experience earlier this month as “horrendous”.

Mrs Goodman, who is receiving palliative care for aggressive brain cancer, was found curled up in excruciating pain at home on the evening of Saturday, April 7.

Her palliative care nurses declared it an emergency and phoned for an ambulance. But despite calling three times, none arrived.

Mr Goodman was forced to drive his wife to Forth Valley hospital in Larbert, where they were told they would have to wait in A&E, despite having a palliative care plan in place.

He added: “It was like a warzone in there. She was writhing in pain.

“So I went to the reception desk and asked if we could get Margaret fast-tracked in there, so she could be seen. No, she would have to sit and wait in the queue.”

He was forced to plead with a nurse, who “saw the state Margaret was in” and eventually took her into a cubicle and administered morphine.

Mrs Goodman added: “It only took three or four minutes. That’s all it took. But I had been trying to get pain management since 11.45pm.”

Mr Goodman, a maintenance engineer at Dollar Academy, described his wife’s treatment as “appalling”.

The 60-year-old said: “Nobody wants to be in pain. Nobody. Especially when you’ve got palliative care.

“But it wasn’t palliative care that let us down, it was the call handling to get the ambulance to her. It was nothing to do with the drivers, nothing to do with anybody else – it was the time it took.

“Where was the ambulance? We have an ambulance station a quarter of a mile from our house. We’ve had no explanation at all.”

Mrs Goodman, who was diagnosed last year and was previously an area secretary in the teachers’ union EIS, said she had deliberately put plans in place for her care early on, adding: “I’m no hero, I just wanted dignity at the end.”

Mr Leonard repeated calls for Ms Robison to step down, adding: “The debate about our NHS is not just about statistics in the end, it is about real lives and real people like Margaret."

Figures show more than 16,000 ambulances took longer than an hour to arrive last year. They were almost all for cases not considered immediately life-threatening.

During First Minister’s Questions, Scottish Liberal Democrat Willie Rennie echoed calls for Ms Robison to stand down after raising capacity issues at Raigmore hospital’s maternity unit in Inverness.

Meanwhile, Labour MSP Neil Findlay piled on the pressure over GP shortages, insisting Breich Valley medical practice in Bathgate had received no applicants in response to recent job adverts.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon personally apologised to Mrs Goodman for the treatment she received.

She said she would look into her case, adding: “We expect the highest standards of care for patients throughout the country."

A spokesman for Ms Sturgeon later insisted she had complete confidence in her Health Secretary.