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Sturgeon and Robison apologise to patients for ‘exceptional pressures’ placed on Scottish NHS

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon and health secretary Shona Robison have apologised to patients for the problems caused by massive winter pressures on the country’s health system.

Sturgeon said she was sorry for any patients who were not seen as soon as the NHS would normally be capable of over the past year.

“I would apologise unreservedly – not just during the winter but at any time of the year – to any patient who is not seen as quickly as we would want them to be seen in the NHS or who doesn’t get the treatment that they have a right to expect,” she told the BBC.

“We have seen exceptional pressures this winter largely due to the increase in flu cases but also, particularly in the period immediately before Christmas, weather-related pressures.”

Later, in a statement after meeting with handlers at the Scottish Ambulance Service, the first minister thanked staff who worked in the service over the overwhelming winter period.

She said: “Thousands of staff across Scotland have missed out on precious time with friends and family to make sure patients have received the care and treatment they need over winter.

“I am very proud of all the NHS staff achievements in delivering this care during this period of sustained pressure, and we are determined to support them through this.

“The call handlers and NHS 24 staff I met today, and the out of hours teams they work with in each health board, do a tremendous job to keep the system moving and to alleviate some of the pressures on front line services.”

Robison also apologised to patients, later adding that NHS boards had put “robust planning” in place for the winter.

She said an extra £22.4m had been invested across the service to deal with the pressure over winter, pointing out that there had been no blanket cancellations of routine procedures in January, unlike in other parts of the UK.

In England, health secretary Jeremy Hunt and prime minister Theresa May have also recently apologised to patients following the increased pressure.



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