ATSSJH Newsletter - 16th January 2016



We said that we would bring you more revelations from the health board that plays fast and loose with our lives. Now we have evidence of yet another waiting times scandal. This cost the last Chief Executive his job. Perhaps Mr. Davison should look at his position.

It’s clear from the articles in the Press over the last few days in the Sunday Times, Express, etc., ( that NHS Lothian will do everything it can to fiddle its waiting time figures. Despite tens of millions of pounds being given to the Board by the Scottish Government, waiting lists are going up! Much of the money is going straight to the private sector, so to prevent further embarrassment, the Board has discovered a new fiddle.

They are cancelling clinic appointments at St. John’s, and the cancelled appointments are then used for Edinburgh patients! These serious decisions to cancel appointments for West Lothian patients should be made by doctors who can judge clinical need. Not in NHS Lothian. These life or death decisions are apparently being made by ADMINISTRATORS who have little or no clinical knowledge whatsoever!! This is stupidity of epic proportions. Only the waiting times “czar,” Jim Crombie, and his team could think of something so despicably appalling, purely to help improve the waiting times figures which, from NHS Lothian, are now completely meaningless.

NHS Lothian is now routinely interfering in a patient’s right to see a hospital specialist based upon clinical need. Instead, their administrators are deciding priorities simply to massage their statistics.

The Board has said that this applies only to “a number of cardiology patients.” But people who have been referred to OTHER clinics have contacted us to say that they too have lost their appointments! The Board now needs to admit that this is happening in other specialities.

It appears from the comments that we are getting that patients are being bumped off lists and NOT being offered alternative appointments. They are told that “they will be seen within the guaranteed period” but that they will have to wait until a fresh appointment is sent. When will this be? Will the Board conveniently “forget” about these patients until they phone up to complain. Some patients, of course, might simply die while waiting which will spare the need to offer them another appointment.

We think that this is simply wrong.

A gigantic fraud is being repeatedly perpetrated by NHS Lothian. They are telling the Scottish Government through their statistics that waiting times are being met while depriving West Lothian patients of their appointments on the back of a random decision by an administrator. In NHS Lothian, clinical priority doesn’t matter so long as the statistics are fiddled and then presented as “fact.”

This applies to many specialities and there is a pattern of behaviour here which can only be described as “rotten.”

The Board often talks about “capacity”. What they are really saying is the Royal can’t cope with its workload. We said this at the start of the downgrade of St. John’s many years ago. At public meeting after public meeting we insisted that the Royal wouldn’t cope. But we were mocked and belittled as knowing nothing about healthcare.

It seems that we were right.

NHS Lothian doesn’t have capacity because it has sold off its hospitals one by one to make ends meet.

It doesn’t have capacity because it mismanages its resources.

It doesn’t have capacity because it has alienated so many of its staff that many doctors are now apparently ADDING to their waiting lists! This shocking story we received this week alleges consultants in Edinburgh are making sure that their clinics are full to overflowing. This means that there is constant pressure on waiting times. NHS Lothian then adds even more consultants at the RIE (to reduce the waiting time) who instead keep the whole merry-go-round going!

The clear message from this latest waiting times fiddle is that NHS Lothian management do not have the common humanity or the skill to run a modern health service.

Under Mr. Crombie, far from “kicking waiting times to death” as he claimed he would at the start of his tenure, they have become worse. Despite engaging in the worst form of clinical malpractice where bureaucrats decide when patients are seen, based not on clinical need but on a desire to manipulate statistics, his legacy is one of failure.

We say no more unnecessary waits for appointments, or for the departure of Crombie & Co.

There are more scandals in the offing. We are going to give them maximum publicity.



Action to save St. John's Hospital Party, 19 Wilton Road, Edinburgh. EH16 5NX
Tel: 01501 228813 Mobile: 07917 076204
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