As the much-desired NHS Scotland Winter Crisis fails to emerge, in real terms such as delays at A&E or in ambulance response times, the Scotsman can wait no longer to alert the public. Luckily Scottish Ambulance Service figures reveal increased spending on overtime payments to paramedics as the winter, even a mild one it seems, has put ‘huge and growing pressure’ on staff.
Reading Scott McNab’s report, there’s no sign of anyone actually saying that, or even seeing who has said ‘unacceptable staff shortages.’ That usually reliable orator (irony!) Annie Wells seems to have forgotten to say those things so that she can be quoted. McNab’s report is a desperate, vague and uncoordinated list of ‘might be’ problems but contains no actual evidence of these overtime payments being responsible for anything other than, maybe, increased Christmas-giving by paramedics?
He cannot even find one paramedic to say they are unhappy with the extra shifts. He cannot find one disgruntled partner to complain about them being over-tired or feeling guilty about not helping enough with the shopping. He can’t even find one doctor to offer any anecdotal evidence.
Isn’t this just what an efficient system does? Increasing overtime is clearly better than training more paramedics than you need at other times and then trying to employ them on seasonal contracts. Do some folk want to train intensively as paramedics then only work in the winter months?
In the 18th and 19th wee paragraphs, the ambulance service and the Scottish Government get to remind us that actual performance is high.