Sturgeon shamed over patient forced to wait never-coming ambulance

Nicola Sturgeon grilled on Scottish NHS by Anas Sarwar

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The First Minister was dealt yet another blow over the SNP’s poor handling of the NHS backlogs, with Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar telling the tragic story of an elderly patient. After taking a fall, the 81-year-old patient waited for almost 24 hours for an ambulance – but it ever showed up. The long wait left the elderly woman in extruciating pain due to the SNP’s mishandling of the NHS, Anas Sarwar slammed.

Addressing Ms Sturgeon during First Minister’s Questions, the Scottish Labour leader told fellow MSPs: “President Officer, this Government has no grip on the NHS crisis. 

“Staff are being asked to do the impossible and patients are being asked to accept the unacceptable.

He went on to give the example of an 81-year-old patient with bone cancer who waited more than 24 hours for an ambulance when she suffered a fractured pelvis.

Mr Sarwar said: “Last month, she had a fall in her home and she and her husband heard a snapping sound.

“She was in extreme pain. Because of her condition, she was told she would need to be transported to the hospital in an ambulance.”

Ms Sarwar deplored the 81-year-old patient had to wait in pain from 7:15 am to 11 o’clock pm without any care being provided during that time.

He continued: “The emergency operator who was in tears said that they could not even get an ambulance by the next morning. 

“The following day, Caitrina’s husband gave up on waiting for an ambulance and in desperation took her to hospital himself – she was diagnosed with a fractured pelvis.”

The Scottish Labour leader asked: “First Minister, why did she have to wait in pain for nearly 24 hours for an ambulance that never turned up?”

Ms Sturgeon said: “Obviously, I’m happy to look into Catrina’s experience. Nobody Should wait that amount of time for an ambulance, and I will not say otherwise.”

Defending her government’s track record, Ms Sturgeon said they will continue to support the NHS in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic until it goes back to its pre-pandemic service levels, as “all patients have a right to expect.”

“Looking specifically at the ambulance service, which again is dealing with significant pressures, staffing under this government up by 67.3 percent, the number of paramedics up by almost 40 percent, ambulance technicians up by more than 60 percent,” Ms Sturgeon said, adding an additional £45 million were allocated to ambulance services. 

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Citing the 82-year-old patient, Ms Sturgeon said: “And while of course, an experience like that is not acceptable – and there will be other patients with experiences like that right now – the fact is that the vast majority of people who are on our ambulance service, or any part of the NHS, get an extraordinarily good service from those who work in our National Health Service.”

Despite the government’s additional investment in the NHS, opposition politicians have accused the SNP of failing to divert enough funds to solve the long-standing issue of Scotland’s crumbling NHS hospitals.

Shadow Health Secretary Dr Sandesh Gulhane reportedly said the “jaw-dropping” backlog figures was further proof of the SNP Government’s “shocking failure” to fully resource health boards across the country.

According to an analysis by the British Medical Association (BMA), the NHS waiting lists have been surging from 3.85 million patients in May to 7 million in late August.

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