NHS Scotland

NHS needs major reform, agree Scottish health secretaries

Scotland’s new health secretary, Neil Gray, has started his tenure by visiting an innovative A&E service that is helping thousands of patients get quick access to treatment and alleviate pressure on the NHS.

Gray met staff at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s flow navigation centre, which, last year, helped the vast majority of patients presenting to the service avoid physical A&E.

NHS figures indicate that, of the 20,000 calls to the virtual service, only 16% ended up going to an actual emergency department. Instead, they were directed to minor injuries units, referred elsewhere, or given advice that kept them out of hospital.

“The service plays a crucial role in directing people to the most appropriate care and is just one of the ways the NHS is modernising to meet the needs of the people of Scotland,” said Gray.

He added that reform is needed across NHS Scotland and the flow navigation centre is a “perfect example” of how to improve productivity and patient outcomes.

Gray replaced Michael Matheson who resigned as cabinet secretary last week as a Scottish Parliament Corporate Body review into his data roaming charges continues.

Matheson said his resignation was in the government’s, and his own, best interests so he does not “become a distraction to taking forward the government’s agenda.”

In light of the growing demand currently placed on services, “major reform” is needed to ensure a sustainable NHS, according to Matheson.

In his letter to Matheson, Humza Yousaf, Scotland’s first minister, highlighted his achievements throughout office, including the 10-year cancer strategy and the deal with junior doctors.

Yousaf said: “Your efforts have ensured that Scotland continues to be the only nation in the UK that has not lost a single day to strike action.”

Image credit: iStock

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