This is all over the Scottish and UK media including the Times and the Telegraph.
NHS Lanarkshire asked its office staff to consider volunteering to help with cleaning duties as pressure on its frontline departments soared during the festive period.
There was a ‘tremendous’ response across the three affected hospitals including Wishaw General. I have family connections in Wishaw. So far, I’ve only read of what might be a great nephew arrested for firearms offences, so this helps to balance my impressions of the toon.
BBC Scotland, like most of the others, used the story as an excuse to quickly move to, and to spend more time on, reports that ‘some’ health boards were postponing elective operations and that A&E targets were being missed. Mind you, if you read nearly to the bottom you’d see that NHS Tayside actually surpassed the target with 96% seen in four hours or less.
Most reports, with Scottish Tory, Labour and/or Lib Dem voices crying in the background, found a way to turn this into a failure of NHS Scotland to cope with soaring demand, desperately trying to associate Scotland with the all-too-real crisis in NHS England.
The Torygraph, not surprisingly turned this good news into evidence of a crisis with:
‘Office workers at Scottish health board redeployed to hospital cleaning amid NHS ‘meltdown’
I suspect many Torygraph readers will have reacted with disgust at this headline while I, as many of you I think would have, felt a warm glow. As you know there has been no such thing as a ‘meltdown’ in NHS Scotland though it might be a reasonably accurate way of describing some parts of NHS England after years of Tory misrule. Does anyone really think we should staff hospitals, year-long, at the maximum level required for surges in demand of up to 40 or 50%? Also, is actually coping, as they did, somehow a failure because they asked the team to pull together in extreme times? It doesn’t seem like that to me. It seems a glowing success rich in human behaviour at its very best. Had NHS Lanarkshire turned patients away in droves or spent millions on temporary staff, would the media have treated them more kindly? I doubt it very much.
Finally, is this another wee indicator that we are just a bit different in how we do things and different enough to want to run our own show, foregrounding a different set of values? I searched but could find no comparable case in England. How would the office staff of Buckinghamshire have reacted? See these earlier pieces on this theme:
If you search the blog for the word ‘different’ you’ll get many more pieces of evidence for this idea.