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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain


Hospitals to Make You Sick

by our Scottish political correspondent

REGULAR readers will be familiar with the saga of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow that since its opening in 2015 has been plagued with a leaking sewage system, ventilation issues, falling windows and a contaminated water supply, which has resulted in an unknown number of infections deaths in children’s cancer ward.

Now, after a period of saying there was nothing more than teething problems associated with the new hospital, the NHS is suing its construction firm, Brookfield Multiplex, for the £73 million that it claims are needed to remedy the defects. This same firm was chosen for the Edinburgh children’s hospital that is unfit to be used by patients. It is worth remembering that the Health Minister at the time of its commissioning and construction went on to be first Minister.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman put NHS for Greater Glasgow and the Clyde under increased levels of scrutiny and intervention last week amidst concerns that the board faces “significant risks to delivery, quality, financial performance or safety”. This mean that the regional health board will be more closely monitored by the Health Minister. One waits with baited breathe to see what difference that makes.

On Tuesday she announced an investigation into 80 cases of infection at the hospital and announced that two paediatric cancer wards which closed in 2018 as a result of the infections will not reopen until the summer at the earliest.

Such is her faith in the regional board, she said that she might rule that it is in danger of being deemed “unable to deliver effective care”, which would demand and would require even more ministerial intervention.

Glasgow Labour MSP Anas Sarwar said the latest move was a “step in the right direction” but the “heart of the problem” had not been dealt with, and demanded that: “Those responsible for creating this mess can’t be the ones to fix it. The health board leadership has lost the trust of patients, parents and the public — and those in charge must be removed.”

All these problems are beginning to undermine the Scottish National Party (SNP) in the eyes of all but their most rabid supporters.

On Tuesday the {Scottish Sun} published a series of pictures of disgusting hospital food. The political significance of that particular news item should not be underestimated. That paper, which has the largest circulation in Scotland and is a reliable SNP supporter, always keeps a close eye on what its readers are thinking. Just a few day earlier it also demanded that Nicola Sturgeon shut up about another independence referendum and thundered that: “There are issues closer to home that should be prioritised. Failing schools, a health service that lurches from crisis to crisis and a cash-strapped Police Scotland — to mention just three.”