Wednesday, 24 March 2010

The NHS in Scotland is in safe hands

I'm making an effort to do shorter and more regular posts on the blog so here is today's. Spent the morning in the Public Audit Committee which I love! Everyone imagines it to be boring. It is not! It is fascinating. Anyway today we were looking at an Audit Scotland report on NHS performance for 2008/09 and we took evidence from various medical professionals and CEOs of Health Boards.

I asked about the preparation for an ageing population and what impact it had on NHS services and funding. However I was happy to congratulate those sitting in front of us (and everyone who works for the NHS) on some absolutely astonishing results in recent years. Achieving better than expected (and better than asked for) efficiency savings; the reductions across the board in deaths from cancer, heart disease, stroke, AIDs and suicide; reduction of waiting lists, excellent waiting times and the getting rid of the dreadful "hidden waiting lists"!

They've achieved all of this in a very difficult economic climate and although the Scottish Government has protected the NHS in terms of budgets, we should not underestimate the tremendous work that they have undertaken to get to where we are. Robert Calderwood, the CEO of my own Health Board when referring to waiting times at the meeting today, said that where we are today is completely "unrecognisable" from where we were at the start of the decade.

That revolution didn't happen without a lot of hard work and clever thinking on the part of NHS staff and I was really proud listening to their evidence today. (Note to self - this is not a "short" blog update!)

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